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

Soviet Union Communist Party, 671
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
9-- Organizational Power Variables

Nationalization of Structure


Formulating Policy


Selecting the National Leader


Controlling Communications


Selecting Parliamentary Candidates


Administering Discipline


Allocating Funds


Leadership Concentration

9.01 nationalization of structure
6, AC7
The structure of the CPSU forms a very definite hierarchy ranging from the national organs at the apex through the apparatus at the republic, territorial, and provincial levels, which are supported by a myriad of organizations at the area, city, county, and borough levels--all based upon a network of primary party organizations. One of the guiding principles of this organizational hierarchy is democratic centralism, which among other points, specifies that decisions of higher bodies are obligatory on lower bodies. It would be most natural for any challenges to the central organs within the hierarchy to come from the republic level. However, the powers at the republic level are not very strong. Indeed, the party statutes describe the common duties of the republics and inferior bodies--excepting the primary party organizations--as exercised within their territorial limits in the same paragraphs. One source states that although the republic Central Committee controls all inferior party organizations, in party and legal status it occupies the same position as the lower provincial or regional committees. The republican party organization, therefore, has rarely if ever, been a competing source for power for the central organs during the period under study, and the practice of democratic centralism invites the most centralized score on this variable.
9.02 selecting the national leader
7, AC7
The party rules state that in between congresses, the Central Committee selects and places executive cadres. Indeed, shortly after Stalin’s death Khrushchev was elected first party secretary of the CPSU by the Central Committee and in the 1957 struggle for power within the Presidium, Khrushchev was able to maintain his position as First Secretary only by the supporting vote of the Central Committee, the body that had originally elected him. It is not uncommon, however, for the literature to question the selection process, alluding to power struggles and the leadership as being self-elected with election in the Central Committee amounting merely to the formal endorsement of a previously determined decision.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
5, AC6
Candidates for the Supreme Soviet are selected by delegates of organized groups such as trade unions, cooperatives, youth and public organizations at a joint conference convened in each electoral district. The groups represented may nominate more than one candidate and the process is not restricted to party members alone. The candidates themselves need not be party members, and approximately 20 percent of the deputies elected to the Supreme Soviet during our time period were not party members. While this process might seem decentralized, it seems that the central electoral commission operates to insure that only one candidate is certified within each electoral district. This amounts to approval of local selection by a national organ and reflects a good deal of centralization.
9.04 allocating funds
5, AC5
The major source of funds for the CPSU are membership dues, which are collected at the local level by primary party organizations. The remaining portion of funds, coming mainly from publishing enterprises, is most likely collected at other levels. Information on the transference and allocation of funds is fragmentary, probably because, as one source states, budgetary accounts have not been published since the revolution. It would appear that party finances are controlled and allocated at the national level by the Central Auditing Commission--formerly the Central Revision Commission--which is elected by congress along with members of the Central Committee. It is the responsibility of this body, according to the party rules, to supervise and audit the party’s accounts. Yet, according to one source, effective control rests in the administrative department of the Central Committee Secretariat with the Minister of Finance, who draws up the budget in which allocations are made to local party organizations. These account for approximately 90 percent of the budgetary expenditure as based on figures for the mid-1950’s. Along with the post-Stalin movement towards decentralization, increasing control over expenditures was extended to the republic and lower level committees by budgetary decrees of the Central Committee. The determination of expenditures at these levels, however, was made within the limits of a budget drawn up at the national level.
9.05 formulating policy
7, AC9
Major policy decisions are formulated within the Presidium (or Politburo), which is composed of several top party leaders, including the First Secretary of the CPSU. While there is no doubt that the First Secretary plays an important role in influencing decisions, his power to enact policy is not total. Once a decision is reached among the members of the Presidium, it usually presents a united front to the rest of the party.
9.06 controlling communications
7, AC9
The party maintains direct and indirect control over all media primarily through the department of agitation and propaganda within the party Secretariat. Departments of Agitprop exist at all levels of party administration, and while the tendency has been for the republic and lower party echelons to assume greater responsibility for the guidance of local press, radio and TV for the latter half of our time period, the locus of control still rests at the national level. The central organs enjoy a wide circulation, and--according to one source--approximately 30 percent of their content is reprinted by local newspapers. Radio Moscow, another influential source of communication, also falls under the supervision of this department.
9.07 administering discipline
4, AC5
While no data dealing directly with disciplining government officials is available, information on disciplining party functionaries can be used and applied to this variable. According to the 1961 party rules, the party organization discusses and imposes penalties on members up through the republic Central Committee. On questions of expulsion, however, decisions are made by a 2/3 vote of the committee involved at the appropriate level. Operating at the national level, the party control committee elected by the Central Committee of the CPSU, enforces party discipline and also reviews appeals against disciplinary decisions of the republic, provincial and territorial Central Committees. Members and candidates of the Central Committee of the CPSU may be expelled by the Party Congress or 2/3 vote of the full committee when the congress is not in session. Before the 1961 rules, expulsion was voted upon by all candidates and members of the Central Committee and the party control committee.
9.08 leadership concentration
5 for 1st half, AC7
4 for 2nd half, AC7
A high score was assigned to the first half of the time period because Stalin dominated the leadership until his death in March 1953. Shortly after his death, three men emerged in top positions--Khrushchev as First Secretary of the CPSU, Malenkov as chairman of the Council of Ministers, and Voroshilov as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Khrushchev assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers in the government apparatus in 1958, thereby further extending his power. The latter half of our time period however, is marked by power struggles within the Presidium of the CPSU and Khrushchev’s attempts to eliminate his opposition from this body. By virtue of the size of the Presidium--numbering 11 members in 1961--this variable ought to be scored 3. But the score has been upgraded because of Khrushchev’s influence and leadership, which was tempered somewhat by the fact that his power to control the Presidium was not fully consolidated.