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The Soviet Political Elite and How it is Chosen

  • Bohdan Harasymiw
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

We come at last to the stage of Soviet political recruitment which commonly holds most interest — selection of the elite. By now we appreciate how highly structured is the process up to this point, and how certain key social categories have, at various nodes, their progress impeded by obstacles placed before them by those already in positions of authority. Were it not for these apparently conscious interventions, the aspirants for political roles might have nothing more formidable (and for many, more favourable) to contend with than the ‘law of increasing disproportion’, the law which, in every industrial society, propels those of highest social status into the highest political offices. Unlike ‘eligible’, as we have seen, the ‘activists’ are not selected on the basis of social status, except for education. If the ‘law of increasing disproportion’ is so prominently broken at that juncture, what happens in the selection of the Soviet political elite? How easy is it for various social categories to make the transition from ‘activist’ to member of the elite?

Keywords

Political Elite Central Committee Party Member Chief Engineer Party Membership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Golovko, Rabotu s kadrami, p. 27. In the city of Novomoskovsk (pop. 147,000 in 1979), Tula oblast’, the ‘reserve for promotion’ maintained by the Party gorkom, PPOs of enterprises and collective and state farms, soviets, trade unions and Komsomol totalled 800 Communists and non-Party people (Arbuzov, ‘Deistvennost’ rezerva kadrov’, p. 54; population figure from Naselenie SSSR… 1979, p. 14, in Appendix). For reference to the handling of the ‘reserve’ in a production association, see N. Belukha, ‘Rabota pervichnykh partiinykh organizatsii po podboru, rasstanovke i vospitaniiu kadrov’, in Pervichnaia partiinaia organizatsiia — osnova partii: Iz opyta raboty Kompartii Estonii, Litvy i Latvii po povysheniiu roll i boesposobnosti pervichnykh partiinykh organizatsii v svete trebovanii XXV s’’ezda KPSS (Tallin: Izdatel’stvo ‘Eesti raamat’, 1979) p. 77.Google Scholar
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  26. These are: Dario Staffa, ‘Nomenklatura: il reclutarnento dei dirigenti’, Biblioteca della liberta (Turin), LX (1976) 51–62, and Ghita Ionescu, ‘Patronage under Communism’, in Ernest Gellner and John Waterbury (eds), Patrons and Clients: In Mediterranean Societies (n.p.: Duckworth, 1977) pp. 97–102.Google Scholar
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    One is reminded of the tendency for reorganization to be made a substitute response for policy-making. See, for example, in the context of Canadian federal government, G. Bruce Doern and Peter Aucoin, ‘Public-policy organization, process, and management: Concluding observations’, in Doern and Aucoin (eds), Public Policy in Canada (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1979) pp. 323–7.Google Scholar
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  41. In the Ukraine, in the 1940s and 1950s, students for the republic Party school were being selected by the obkomy with subsequent approval of (presumably the Party Organs department of) the Central Committee in Kiev (I. P. Kozhukalo, ‘Pidhotovka i perepidhotovka kerivnykh partiinykh i radians’kykh kadriv u 1946–1958 rr.’, Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, no. 2 (1977) pp. 79, 84).Google Scholar
  42. In Belorussia in 1947, the oblast’ soviet heads of departments of education were on the republic CC nomenklatura; those at the raion level, the obkom (M. V. Zharskii, ‘Rukovodstvo Kommunisticheskoi partii Belorussii podborom i vospitaniem rukovodiashchikh kadrov shkol i otdelov narodnogo obrazovaniia’, in Deiatel’nost’ Kompartii Belorussii v period sotsialisticheskogo i kommunisticheskogo stroitel’stva (Minsk: Izdatel’stvo BGU, 1969) p. 89).Google Scholar
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    A. Surgakov, Tebe doveren post (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo ‘Sovetskaia Rossia’, 1968) p. 36, and Iu. Kuz’min, ‘Promyshlenno-transportnyi otdel gorkoma partii’, Partiinaia zhizn’, no. 12 (1975) p. 33. Further examples complementing the ones just given include the following: Protozanov, ‘Sovershenstvovat’ rabotu s rukovodiashchimi kadrami’, p. 52 (a chief engineer of a lead-producing kombinat);Google Scholar
  44. L. Krasnoshchekova and M. Kaidanovskii, ‘Vneshtatnyi otdel shkol gorkoma partii’, Partiinaia zhizn’, no. 9 (1977) p. 61 (the members of a volunteer department of schools of the gorkom);Google Scholar
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    For example, in 1950, in Latvia and Lithuania, authority to appoint collective farm chairmen was shifted downward to raikom level: A. Z. Levtov, Deiatel’nost’ Kommunisticheskoi partii Latvii po razvitiiu sel’skogo khoziaistva respubliki (1951–1968 gg.) (Riga: Izdatel’stvo ‘Zvaigzne’, 1971) p. 83, and L. Loiko, ‘Organizatorskaia i politicheskaia rabota KP Litvy v derevne v 1951–1955 gg.’, in LKP istorijos Klausimai, I. Mokslo darbai Vilniaus valstybinis universitetas, XXIX (Vilnius, 1959) p. 200.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Bohdan Harasymiw 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bohdan Harasymiw
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCanada

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