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Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee

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The Politburo (in Russian: Политбюро), known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The body was made up of the top members of the Central Committee. In theory, it acted as the political bureau (hence Politburo) of the Central Committee, elected by them to direct the Party between the sessions of the committee and with a mandate that only covered the Party. The Politburo was responsible to, and its membership was subject to, the approval of the Central Committee.

In reality, the Politburo oversaw the operations of the Committee and made all major policy decisions, which it then passed down through the Central Committee, the Supreme Soviet and the Party Congress. Its control extended from the Party and into government because Party personnel held all key government posts and party discipline therefore insured that Politburo policy was implemented by all government organizations. One example of the Central Committee of the CPSU overruling the Presidium (as the Politburo was known) was the defeat of the so-called Anti-Party Group in 1958.

Lenin set up the Politburo in 1917 to direct the Revolution, and following the Eighth Party Congress in 1919 it became and remained the true centre of political power in the Soviet Union. Originally, the Politburo consisted of 5 members: Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin, Lev Kamenev and Nikolai Krestinsky.

Although, in theory, the Politburo was elected from below, in practice, the leading members of the Politburo and, of course, Lenin were highly influential in determining the body's composition which, in the end, reflected the weight and competing influence of various individuals within the party, their allies within the Politburo and supporters outside of it.

Under Stalin the processes under which the leadership of the party was determined became an entirely hiearchial matter with the General Secretary (ie Stalin) determining the composition of the Politburo and even that of the Central Committee rather than the reverse. After Stalin's death the authority of the general secretary waxed and waned to various degrees and the composition of the Politburo again became a matter of shifting alliances among leading members and interest groups within the party, at least until a general secretary was able to consolidate his position.

The Politburo had both full and candidate (non-voting) members. The actual size of the Politburo varied, but it usually consisted of fourteen full and eight candidate members. Although it had no formal head, the General Secretary of the Party, who was also often head of the Central Committee, always played the leading role. In practice the most powerful Politburo members also had membership of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee, the General Secretary leading of this group. Those who had seats on only one of these two bodies had less influence. Only a few women ever became members of the Politburo.

In order to minimize personal clashes and avoid factionalism there was a convention of procedure which mandated that strong criticisms be circulated beforehand to avoid conflict during actual meetings.

In 1990, the 28th Party Congress agreed to transfer the powers of the Politburo to parliament, and the Politburo ceased to exist in August 1991.

See also Organization of the Communist Party of the USSR

Politburo/Presidium membership

DateComments
10 [23] Oct 1917 Bubnov, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Lenin, Sokolnikov, Stalin and Trotsky elected members of the Political Bureau at the Central Committee meeting
Oct 1917 Political bureau ceased to function after the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Petrograd (25 October [November 7], 1917)
25 Mar 1919 Kamenev, Krestinsky, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kalinin elected candidate members
Jul - Sep 1919 According to an agreement between the Politburo and the Orgburo, chief secretary of the Central Committee Stasova temporarily joined the Politburo from July to Sept 1919
5 Apr 1920 Kamenev, Krestinsky, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kalinin elected candidate members
16 Mar 1921 Zinoviev, Kamenev, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Bukharin, Kalinin and Molotov elected candidate members
3 Apr 1922 Zinoviev, Kamenev, Lenin, Rykov, Stalin, Tomsky and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Bukharin, Kalinin and Molotov elected candidate members
26 Apr 1923 Zinoviev, Kamenev, Lenin, Rykov, Stalin, Tomsky and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Bukharin, Kalinin, Molotov and Rudzutak elected candidate members
21 Jan 1924 Lenin dies
2 Jun 1924 Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Stalin, Tomsky and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Dzerzhinsky, Kalinin, Molotov, Rudzutak, Sokolnikov and Frunze elected candidate members
31 Oct 1925 Frunze dies
1 Jan 1926 Bukharin, Voroshilov, Zinoviev, Kalinin, Molotov, Rykov, Stalin, Tomsky and Trotsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Dzerzhinsky, Kamenev, Petrovsky, Rudzutak and Uglanov elected candidate members
20 Jul 1926 Dzerzhinsky dies
23 Jul 1926 Zinoviev relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Rudzutak elected full member; candidate members re-elected as follows:Andreyev, Kaganovich, Kamenev, Kirov, Mikoyan, Ordzhonikidze, Petrovsky, Uglanov
23 Oct 1926 Trotsky and Kamenev relieved of duties at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission
3 Nov 1926 Ordzhonikidze relieved of duties at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission; Chubar elected candidate member
19 Dec 1927 Bukharin, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Kuibyshev, Molotov, Rykov, Rudzutak, Stalin and Tomsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Andreyev, Kaganovich, Kirov, Kosior, Mikoyan, Petrovsky, Uglanov and Chubar elected candidate members
29 Apr 1929 Uglanov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Bauman elected candidate member
21 Jun 1929 Syrtsov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
17 Nov 1929 Bukharin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
13 Jul 1930 Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kalinin, Kirov, Kosior, Kuibyshev, Molotov, Rudzutak, Rykov and Stalin elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Andreyev, Mikoyan, Petrovsky, Syrtsov and Chubar elected candidate members
1 Dec 1930 Syrtsov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
21 Dec 1930 Rykov and Andreyev relieved of duties at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission; Ordzhonikidze elected full member
4 Feb 1932 Rudzutak relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Andreyev elected full member
10 Feb 1934 Andreyev, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kalinin, Kirov, Kosior, Kuibyshev, Molotov, Ordzhonikidze and Stalin elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Mikoyan, Petrovsky, Postyshev, Rudzutak and Chubar elected candidate members
1 Dec 1934Kirov assassinated
25 Jan 1935 Kuibyshev dies
1 Feb 1935 Mikoyan and Chubar elected full members at the Central Committee plenum, Zhdanov and Eikhe elected candidate members
18 Feb 1937 Ordzhonikidze commits suicide
26 May 1937 Rudzutak expelled from the Central Committee and party after being arrested 25 May 1937
12 Oct 1937 Yezhov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
14 Jan 1938 Postyshev relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Khrushchev elected candidate member
29 Apr 1938 Eikhe arrested
3 May 1938 Kosior arrested (executed 26 Feb 1939)
16 Jun 1938 Chubar relieved of duties by the Politburo decision
22 Mar 1939 Andreyev, Voroshilov, Zhdanov, Kaganovich, Kalinin, Mikoyan, Molotov, Stalin and Khrushchev elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Beria and Shvernik elected candidate members
21 Feb 1941 Voznesensky, Malenkov and Shcherbakov elected candidate members at the Central Committee plenum
10 May 1945 Shcherbakov dies
18 Mar 1946 Beria and Malenkov elected full members, Bulganin and Kosygin candidate members at the Central Committee plenum
3 Jun 1946 Kalinin dies
26 Feb 1947 Voznesensky elected full member at the Central Committee plenum
18 Feb 1948 Bulganin approved full member by questionnaire
31 Aug 1948 Zhdanov dies
4 Sep 1948 Kosygin approved full member by questionnaire
7 Mar 1949 Voznesensky relieved of duties
16 Oct 1952 Andrianov, Aristov, Beria, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Ignatyev, Kaganovich, Korotchenko, Kuznetsov, Kuusinen, Malenkov, Malyshev, Melnikov, Mikoyan, Mikhaylov, Molotov, Pervukhin, Ponomarenko, Saburov, Stalin, Suslov, Khrushchev, Chesnokov, Shvernik, Shkiryatov; candidate members: Brezhnev, Vyshinsky, Zverev, Ignatov, Kabanov, Kosygin, Patolichev, Pegov, Puzanov, Tevosyan, Yudin
Unofficial Bureau of the Presidium formed as follows: Beria, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Malenkov, Pervukhin, Saburov, Stalin, Khrushchev
5 Mar 1953 Presidium re-elected at the joint session of the Central Committee, the Council of Ministers and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet as follows: Beria, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Molotov, Pervukhin, Saburov, Stalin, Khrushchev; candidate members: Bagirov, Melnikov, Ponomarenko, Shvernik
5 Mar 1953 Stalin dies
6 Jun 1953 Melnikov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Kirichenko elected candidate member
7 July 1953 Beria relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum (arrested 26 June 1953)
17 July 1953 Bagirov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
12 July 1955 Kirichenko and Suslov elected full members at the Central Committee plenum
27 Feb 1956 Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Kirichenko, Malenkov, Mikoyan, Molotov, Pervukhin, Saburov, Suslov, Khrushchev; candidate members: Brezhnev, Zhukov, Mukhitdinov, Furtseva, Shvernik, Shepilov
14 Feb 1957 Kozlov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
29 Jun 1957 Kaganovich, Malenkov, Molotov and Shepilov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Presidium re-elected as follows: Aristov, Belyaev, Brezhnev, Bulganin, Voroshilov, Zhukov, Ignatov, Kirichenko, Kozlov, Kuusinen, Mikoyan, Suslov, Furtseva, Khrushchev, Shvernik; candidate members: Kalnberzin, Kirilenko, Korotchenko, Kosygin, Mazurov, Mzhavanadze, Mukhitdinov, Pervukhin, Pospelov.
29 Oct 1957 Zhukov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
17 Dec 1957 Mukhitdinov elected full member at the Central Committee plenum
18 Jun 1958 Podgorny and Polyansky elected candidate members at the Central Committee plenum
5 Sep 1958 Bulganin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
4 May 1960 Belyaev and Kirichenko relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Kosygin, Podgorny and Polyansky elected full members
16 July 1960 Voroshilov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
18 Jan 1961 Voronov and Grishin elected candidate members at the Central Committee plenum
31 Oct 1961 Brezhnev, Voronov, Kozlov, Kosygin, Kuusinen, Mikoyan, Podgorny, Polyansky, Suslov, Khrushchev, Shvernik; candidate members: Grishin, Mazurov, Mzhavanadze, Rashidov, Shcherbitsky.
23 Apr 1962 Kirilenko elected full member at the Central Committee plenum
23 Nov 1962 Yefremov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
13 Dec 1963 Shcherbitsky relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Shelest elected candidate member
17 May 1964 Kuusinen dies
14 Oct 1964 Khrushchev relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
16 Nov 1964 Kozlov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Shelepin and Shelest elected full members, Demichev elected candidate member
26 Mar 1965 Mazurov elected full member at the Central Committee plenum, Ustinov elected candidate member
6 Dec 1965 Shcherbitsky again elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
8 Apr 1966 Brezhnev, Voronov, Kirilenko, Kosygin, Mazurov, Pelše, Podgorny, Polyansky, Suslov, Shelepin and Shelest elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Grishin, Demichev, Kunayev, Masherov, Mzhavanadze, Rashidov, Ustinov and Shcherbitsky elected candidate members
21 Jun 1967

Andropov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum

9 Apr 1971 Brezhnev, Voronov, Grishin, Kirilenko, Kosygin, Kulakov, Kunayev, Mazurov, Pelshe, Podgorny, Polyansky, Suslov, Shelepin, Shelest and Shcherbitsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Andropov, Demichev, Masherov, Mzhavanadze, Rashidov and Ustinov elected candidate members
23 Nov 1971 Solomentsev elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
19 May 1972 Ponomarev elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
18 Dec 1972 Mzhavanadze relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
27 Apr 1973 Voronov and Shelest relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Andropov, Grechko and Gromyko elected full members, Romanov candidate member
16 Apr 1975 Shelepin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
5 Mar 1976 Andropov, Brezhnev, Grechko, Grishin, Gromyko, Kirilenko, Kosygin, Kulakov, Kunayev, Mazurov, Pelshe, Podgorny, Romanov, Suslov, Ustinov and Shcherbitsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Aliyev, Demichev, Masherov, Ponomarev, Rashidov and Solomentsev elected candidate members
26 Apr 1976 Grechko dies
24 May 1977 Podgorny relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
3 Oct 1977 Kuznetsov and Chernenko elected candidate members at the Central Committee plenum
17 Jul 1978 Kulakov dies
27 Nov 1978 Mazurov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Chernenko elected full member; Tikhonov and Shevardnadze candidate members
27 Nov 1979 Tikhonov elected full member at the Central Committee plenum; Gorbachev elected candidate member
4 Oct 1980 Masherov killed in car crash
21 Oct 1980 Kosygin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Gorbachev elected full member, Kiselyov candidate member
3 Mar 1981 Andropov, Brezhnev, Gorbachev, Grishin, Gromyko, Kirilenko, Kunayev, Pelshe, Romanov, Suslov, Tikhonov, Ustinov, Chernenko and Shcherbitsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Aliyev, Demichev, Kiselyov, Kuznetsov, Ponomarev, Rashidov, Solomentsev and Shevardnadze elected candidate members
25 Jan 1982 Suslov dies
24 May 1982 Dolgikh elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
10 Nov 1982 Brezhnev dies
22 Nov 1982 Kirilenko relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Aliyev elected full member
11 Jan 1983 Kiselyov dies
29 May 1983 Pelshe dies
15 Jun 1983 Vorotnikov elected candidate member at the Central Committee plenum
31 Oct 1983 Rashidov commits suicide
26 Dec 1983 Vorotnikov and Solomentsev elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Chebrikov elected candidate member
9 Feb 1984 Andropov dies
20 Dec 1984 Ustinov dies
10 Mar 1985 Chernenko dies
23 Apr 1985 Ligachev, Ryzhkov and Chebrikov elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; S.Sokolov elected candidate member
1 Jul 1985 Romanov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Shevardnadze elected full member
15 Oct 1985 Tikhonov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Talyzin elected candidate member
18 Feb 1986 Grishin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Yeltsin elected candidate member
6 Mar 1986 Aliyev, Vorotnikov, Gorbachev, Gromyko, Zaykov, Kunayev, Ligachev, Ryzhkov, Solomentsev, Chebrikov, Shevardnadze, Shcherbitsky elected full members at the Central Committee plenum; Demichev, Dolgikh, Yeltsin, Slyunkov, S.Sokolov, Solovyov and Talyzin elected candidate members
28 Jan 1987 Kunayev relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Yakovlev elected candidate member
26 Jun 1987 S.Sokolov relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Slyunkov, Yakovlev and Nikonov elected full members, Yazov elected candidate member
21 Oct 1987 Aliyev relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
14 Feb 1988 Yeltsin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Maslyukov and Razumovsky elected candidate members
30 Sep 1988 Gromyko, Solomentsev, Demichev and Dolgikh relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Medvedev elected full member, Biryukova, Vlasov and Lukyanov elected candidate members
20 Sep 1989 Nikonov, Chebrikov, Shcherbitsky, Solovyov and Talyzin relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Kryuchkov and Maslyukov elected full members, Primakov and Pugo candidate members
9 Dec 1989 Ivashko elected full member at the Central Committee plenum
14 Jul 1990 Burokyavichus, Gumbaridze, Gorbachev, Gurenko, Dzasokhov, Ivashko, Karimov, Luchinsky, Masaliyev, Makhkamov, Movsisyan, Mutalibov, Nazarbayev, Niyazov, Polozkov, Prokofyev, Rubiks, Semyonova, Sillari, Ye. Sokolov, Stroyev, Frolov, Shenin and Yanayev elected members of the Politburo at the Central Committee plenum
11 Dec 1990 Ye. Sokolov and Movsisyan relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum; Malofeyev and Pogosyan elected members
31 Jan 1991 Gumbaridze and Yanayev relieved of duties at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission; Annus elected member
25 Apr 1991 Masaliyev relieved of duties at the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission; Amanbayev, Yeremey and Surkov elected members
26 Jul 1991 Pogosyan relieved of duties at the Central Committee plenum
24 Aug 1991 Following the failed August Coup Yeltsin banned the CPSU

External link

  • Leadership of the CPSU (http://www.terra.es/personal2/monolith/ussr2.htm) Full list of members and candidate members of the Politburo includes dates on the body and year of death (or execution).

ro:Politburo al Comitetului Central al Partidului Comunist al Uniunii Sovietice

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