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General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

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General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
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{{short description|De facto Leader of the Soviet Union}}{{Use dmy dates|date=February 2018}}







factoids
| insignia = КПСС.svg| insigniasize = 102px| insigniacaption = Emblem of the Communist Party| image = RIAN archive 850809 General Secretary of the CPSU CC M. Gorbachev (close-up).jpg| imagecaption = Last officeholderMikhail Gorbachev10 March 1985 – 24 August 1991Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>Central Committee of the Communist Party| style = Mr. General Secretary| status = Party leaderPolitburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>PolitburoSecretariatKremlin SenateГЛАВНЫЙ КОРПУС КРЕМЛЯWEBSITE=THE VVM LIBRARYARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20180128074759/HTTP://VELIB.COM/READ_BOOK/SERGIEVSKAJA_IRINA/MOSKVA_PARADNAJA_TAJJNY_I_PREDANIJA_ZAPRETNOGO_GORODA/CHAST_I_DVORCOVYE_TAJJNY/RABOCHAJA_REZIDENCIJA_PREZIDENTA_ROSSII/KREMLEVSKIJJ_SENAT/DEAD-URL=YES, | seat = Kremlin, Moscow| constituting_instrument = Party statutes Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>Central Committee| formation =
  • Technical Secretary:April 1917
  • General Secretary:3 April 1922
Elena Stasova{{small>as Technical Secretary}}Yakov Sverdlov{{smallNikolay Krestinsky{{small>as Responsible Secretary}}Joseph Stalin{{small|as General Secretary}}Mikhail Gorbachev{{small>as General Secretary}}Vladimir Ivashko{{small|as acting General Secretary}}| abolished = 29 August 1991| deputy = Deputy General Secretary of the Communist Party| succession = | salary = }}General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was an office of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) that by the late 1920s had evolved into the most powerful of the Central Committee's various secretaries. With a few exceptions, from 1929 until the union's dissolution the holder of the office was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union,{{sfn|Armstrong|1986|p=93}} because the post controlled both the CPSU and the Soviet government.{{sfn|Armstrong|1986|p=98}} Joseph Stalin elevated the office to overall command of the Communist Party and by extension the whole Soviet Union.{{sfn|Fainsod|Hough|1979|pp=142–146}} Nikita Khrushchev renamed the post First Secretary in 1953; the change was reverted in 1966.The office grew out of less powerful secretarial positions within the party: Technical Secretary (1917–1918), Chairman of the Secretariat (1918–1919), Responsible Secretary (1919–1922) (when Lenin was leader of the party of Bolsheviks).

History

In its first two incarnations the office performed mostly secretarial work. The post of Responsible Secretary was then established in 1919 to perform administrative work.{{sfn|Fainsod|Hough|1979|p=126}} In 1922, the office of General Secretary followed as a purely administrative and disciplinary position, whose role was to do no more than determine party membership composition. Stalin, its first incumbent, used the principles of democratic centralism to transform his office into that of party leader, and later leader of the Soviet Union.{{sfn|Fainsod|Hough|1979|pp=142–146}}In 1934, the 17th Party Congress refrained from formally re-electing Stalin as General Secretary. However, Stalin was re-elected into all other positions and remained leader of the party without diminishment.WEB,weblink Secretariat, Orgburo, Politburo and Presidium of the CC of the CPSU in 1919–1990 – Izvestia of the CC of the CPSU., 7 November 1990, 21 October 2011, Russian, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20111107022847weblink">weblink 7 November 2011, In the 1950s, Stalin increasingly withdrew from Secretariat business, leaving the supervision of the body to Georgy Malenkov, possibly to test him as a potential successor.{{sfn|Z. Medvedev|R. Medvedev|2006|p=40}} In October 1952, at the 19th Party Congress, Stalin restructured the party's leadership. His request, voiced through Malenkov, to be relieved of his duties in the party secretariat due to his age, was rejected by the party congress, as delegates were unsure about Stalin's intentions.{{sfn|Z. Medvedev|R. Medvedev|2006|p=40-41}} In the end, the congress formally abolished Stalin's office of General Secretary, though Stalin remained one of the party secretaries and maintained ultimate control of the Party.Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939 - 1953, p. 345.{{sfn|Brown|2009|pp=231–232}} When Stalin died on 5 March 1953, Malenkov was the most important member of the Secretariat, which also included Nikita Khrushchev, among others. Under a short-lived troika of Malenkov, Beria, and Molotov, Malenkov became Chairman of the Council of Ministers but was forced to resign from the Secretariat nine days later on 14 March, leaving Khrushchev in effective control of the body.{{sfn|Ra'anan|2006|pp=29–31}} Khrushchev was elected to the new office of First Secretary at the Central Committee plenum on 14 September of the same year. Khrushchev removed his rivals from power in both 1955 and (especially) 1957 and reinforced the supremacy of the First Secretary.{{sfn|Ra'anan|2006|p=58}}In 1964, opposition within the Politburo and the Central Committee led to Khrushchev's removal as First Secretary. Leonid Brezhnev succeeded Khrushchev to the post as part of another collective leadership, together with Premier Alexei Kosygin and others.{{sfn|Brown|2009|p=403}} The office was renamed General Secretary in 1966.{{sfn|Service|2009|p=378}} The collective leadership was able to limit the powers of the General Secretary during the Brezhnev Era.{{sfn|McCauley|1997|p=48}} Brezhnev's influence grew throughout the 1970s as he was able to retain support by avoiding any radical reforms.{{sfn|Baylis|1989|pp=98–99 & 104}} Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko ruled the country in the same way as Brezhnev had.{{sfn|Baylis|1989|p=98}} Mikhail Gorbachev ruled the Soviet Union as General Secretary until 1990, when the Communist Party lost its monopoly of power over the political system. The office of President of the Soviet Union was established so that Gorbachev still retained his role as leader of the Soviet Union.{{sfn|Kort|2010|p=394}} Following the failed August coup of 1991, Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary.{{sfn|Radetsky|2007|p=219}} He was succeeded by his deputy, Vladimir Ivashko, who only served for five days as Acting General Secretary before Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia, suspended all activity in the Communist Party.{{sfn|McCauley|1997|p=105}} Following the party's ban, the Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union (UCP–CPSU) was established by Oleg Shenin in 1993. The UCP–CPSU works as a framework for reviving and restoring the CPSU. The organisation has members in all the former Soviet republics.{{sfn|Backes|Moreau|2008|p=415}}

List of officeholders {| class"wikitable" width100%

! scope="col" style="width:20em;" | Name(Birth–Death)! scope="col" style="width:1em;" | Portrait! scope="col" style="width:15em;" | Term of office! scope="col" style="width:65em;" | Notes! colspan="4" align="center" | Technical Secretary of the Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) (1917–1918)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Elena Stasova(1873–1966){{sfn|McCauley|1997|p=117}}90px|alt=A woman wearing dark clothes and using a pair of glasses)| April 1917 – 1918Clementsp=140}} formulating party structure policy and appointing new personnel.{{sfn1999|p=36}}! colspan="4" align="center" | Chairman of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (1918–1919)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Yakov Sverdlov(1885–1919){{sfn|Williamson|2007|p=42}}90px|alt=A man in a black suit, black shirt and wearing a pair of glasses)| 1918 – 16 March 1919Zemtsovp=132}} ! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Elena Stasova(1873–1966){{sfn|McCauley|1997|p=117}}90px|alt=A woman wearing dark clothes and using a pair of glasses)| March 1919 – December 1919Noonanp=183}}! colspan="4" align="center" | Responsible Secretary of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (1919–1922)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Nikolay Krestinsky(1883–1938){{sfn|Rogovin|2001|p=38}}90px|alt=A man in a grey suit, light shirt and dark tie)| December 1919 – March 1921secretary, a somewhat menial position given that Krestinsky was also a member of the Party's Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>Politburo, Orgburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Krestinsky never tried to create an independent power base as Joseph Stalin later did during his time as General Secretary.{{sfn>Fainsod1979|p=126}}! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Vyacheslav Molotov(1890–1986){{sfn|Phillips|2001|p=20}}90px|alt=A man in a dark suit, light shirt and dark tie, smiling)| 16 March 1921 – 3 April 192210th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)>10th Party Congress held in March 1921. The Congress decided that the office of Responsible Secretary should have a presence at Politburo plenums. As a result, Molotov became a candidate member of the Politburo.{{sfn2002|p=72}}! colspan="4" align="center" | General Secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (1922–1952)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Joseph Stalin(1878–1953){{sfn|Brown|2009|p=59}}90px)| 3 April 1922 – 16 October 195217th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks)>17th Party Congress in 1934, Stalin was not formally re-elected as General Secretary{{sfn1999Ulamp=734}} but Stalin retained his positions and all of his power. The office was formally abolished at the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on 16 October 1952, but Stalin retained ultimate power.{{sfn>Brownpp=231–232}} At 30 years 7 months, Stalin was by far the longest-serving General Secretary, serving for almost half of the USSR's entire existence.! colspan="4" align="center" | First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1953–1966)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Nikita Khrushchev(1894–1971){{sfn|Taubman|2003|p=258}}90px|alt=An elderly bald man in a suit, with several medals pinned on it)| 14 September 1953 – 14 October 1964Anti-Party Group. Georgy Malenkov, a leading member of the Anti-Party Group, worried that the powers of the First Secretary were virtually unlimited.{{sfn>Ra'ananp=69}} Khrushchev was removed as leader on 14 October 1964, and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.{{sfn2009|p=378}}! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Leonid Brezhnev(1906–1982) {{sfn|Chubarov|2003|p=60}}90px|alt=A man with wavy dark graying hair in a suit, with three Hero of the Soviet Union stars pinned on it)| 14 October 1964 – 8 April 1966collective leadership with Premier Alexei Kosygin and others.{{sfn>Brownp=403}} The office of First Secretary was renamed General Secretary at the 23rd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.{{sfn>McCauleyp=48}}! colspan="4" align="center" | General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1966–1991)! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Leonid Brezhnev(1906–1982) {{sfn|Chubarov|2003|p=60}}90px)| 8 April 1966 – 10 November 1982Baylispp=98–99 & 104}} By the 1970s Brezhnev's influence exceeded that of Kosygin as he was able to retain this support by avoiding any radical reforms. ! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Yuri Andropov(1914–1984){{sfn|Vasil'eva|1994|pp=218}}90px|alt=A baldman in a suit wearing glasses)| 12 November 1982 – 9 February 1984Death and state funeral of Leonid Brezhnev>Brezhnev's funeral.{{sfn2000Baylisp=98}}! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Konstantin Chernenko(1911–1985){{sfn|Chubarov|2003|p=60}}90px)| 13 February 1984 – 10 March 1985Servicepp=433–435}} Like Andropov, Chernenko ruled the country in the same way Brezhnev had.{{sfn1989|p=98}}! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Mikhail Gorbachev(1931–){{sfn|Service|2009|p=435}}90px|alt=A man in a grey suit, white shirt and dark tie, balding with grey hair, he has a birthmark on his forehead)| 11 March 1985 – 24 August 1991Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union>Congress of People's Deputies removed Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution from the 1977 Soviet Constitution. Thus, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>Communist Party lost its position as the "leading and guiding force of the Soviet society" and the powers of the General Secretary were drastically curtailed. Throughout the rest of his tenure Gorbachev ruled through the office of President of the Soviet Union.{{sfn20101991 Soviet coup d'état attempt>August Coup.{{sfn2007|p=219}} ! scope="row" style="font-weight:normal;" | Vladimir Ivashko(1932–1994){{sfn|McCauley|1998|p=314}}|| 24 August 1991 – 29 August 199128th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union>28th Party Congress. Ivashko became acting General Secretary following Gorbachev's resignation, but by then the Party was politically impotent and on 29 August 1991, it was banned.{{sfn1997|p=105}}{{Soviet Union sidebar}}

Notes

{{Reflist|30em}}

See also

Sources

{{Lists of Russians}}{{Communist Party of the Soviet Union}}{{Soviet Union topics}}{{featured list}}

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