Path: ICPP > ICPP1980 > Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 671

Soviet Union Communist Party, 671
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
8-- Organizational Complexity Variables

Structural Articulation


Frequency of National Meetings


Intensiveness of Organization


Maintaining Records


Extensiveness of Organization


Pervasiveness of Organization


Frequency of Local Meetings

8.01 structural articulation
9, AC7
The CPSU is headed by four clearly identifiable organs--the Party Congress, the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Presidium and the Secretariat. Other organs such as the central Auditing Commission, the Party Control Committee, and various economic and social bureaus within the substructure of the Secretariat and Presidium also exist. The rules of the CPSU provide for the election of members to these bodies and also state their functions. Thus the Party Congress, which serves as a platform for party policies, is composed of delegates elected by lower party organizations. Numerically, the 22nd congress of 1961 consisted of 4,813 delegates which was about 3 1/2 times the size of the three preceding congresses. The Central Committee, which among other duties mainly directs the work of the party between congresses, is formally elected by the Party Congress and numbered from 125-175 members and 111-155 alternates during the period under study. Under the rules, the Central Committee, in its turn, elects the Presidium--known as the Politburo until 1952--and the Secretariat. The Presidium, functioning with approximately 11 full members and about 7 candidates, directs the work of the Central Committee between plenary sessions. The Secretariat, numbering from 3 to 12 members in the post-Stalin era, administers the directives of party organs. It is not uncommon, however, for the literature to present arguments indicating that membership in these organs, and particularly in the Presidium and Secretariat tended to be coopted by the dominant party leadership and the choice then ratified by the Central Committee. On the basis of this evidence, even though the party rules indicate a structurally highly organized party, the overall code was somewhat lowered.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
6, AC9
At the base of the organizational structure is the primary party organization, which may be set up at establishments of no less than 3 party members. In instances where a PPO numbers more than 50 members and candidates, a breakdown into smaller departmental groups, brigades, teams, sections as units of the PPO is possible. In a primary party organization with over 300 members, smaller shop and departmental units may be granted the status of primary party organizations. On the whole, however, the smaller organizations outnumbered the larger ones as shown by these 1961 figures--42.6 percent of the PPO’s had up to 14 members, 24.3 percent with 15-25 members, 28.1 percent with 26-100 members, and 5.0 percent with over 100 members.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
6, AC9
The primary party organizations are generally formed at the places of employment--in factories, farms, military units, educational establishments, offices, etc. The 1961 rules also indicate that organizations may be established on a residential principle in villages and at apartment house administrations. As a result of party policy, which has been to form a primary party organization in every institution, coverage of the various sectors seems to be thorough. There were almost 300,000 PPO’s throughout the USSR in 1961.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
6, AC9
According to the 1961 party rules, the party meeting is considered the highest organ of the primary party organization and is convened at least once a month. In organizations with a membership over 300, the party committee convenes a meeting when necessary or on the demand of a number of shop or departmental organizations.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
3, AC9
The 1952 party statutes as well as the 1961 party rules required that the Central Committee hold plenary sessions at least twice a year. This has indeed been the case for the time period 1950-1962 with only two slight, easily explainable deviations. The 1950-1952 period is marked by only one session and is exemplary of the rarity of Central Committee meeting under Stalin. After Stalin’s death, the Central Committee met regularly until 1957-1958, when a rash of 10 plenary sessions set apart this period. The function of the Central Committee at this time was to consolidate Khrushchev’s position in exposing the anti-party faction and to introduce new policies in agriculture, industrial management, trade unions, education, etc. All meetings since December 1958 to the end of our coding period were held twice yearly.
8.06 maintaining records
16, AC9
There is little doubt about the intensity of activity associated with the publication of party propaganda in all phases--books, journals, pamphlets, newspapers. The newspapers were used primarily to relay ideas and appeals rather than transmit news and events, although the news content increased after 1956. Information on the state of party archives is more difficult to come by directly in the literature. But one can surmise, by the soviet emphasis on education in theoretical and historical aspects of party work and in the transmission of information and policies through the hierarchy, that archives are well maintained. Membership lists are kept by the secretary of the primary party organization who reports exact data of additions and transfers of members and candidates to the Raion Party Committee. These committees function as record offices for the party.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
18, AC9
Virtually all socioeconomic sectors are penetrated by party membership. Of particular importance in channeling party directives to large segments of the population are trade unions, the soviets, and the youth organization--Komsomol.