The Power of the General Secretary of the CPSU

  • Archie Brown


During the sixty-two years of its existence, the Soviet Union has had only four undisputed leaders. We may reasonably leave out of account Georgiy Malenkov who was senior secretary within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) for little more than a week and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for less than two years.’ Iosif Stalin died on 5 March 1953 and by 14 March Malenkov’s supreme power was over. In the two years which followed, there was some ambiguity as to who was the top man in the Soviet Union, but gradually it emerged that the senior party secretary (known for most of Soviet history as the General Secretary, but from September 1953 until April 1966 as the First Secretary) commanded greater political resources than anyone else in the land.


Foreign Policy General Secretaryship Central Committee Party Leader Soviet Leadership 
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© Archie Brown 1980

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  • Archie Brown

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