Communist Party of the Soviet Union CPSU
Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU)
the revolutionary party of the proletariat of Russia, founded by V. I. Lenin at the turn of the century. While remaining the party of the working class, the CPSU—as a result of the victory of socialism in the USSR and the consolidation of the social, ideological, and political unity of Soviet society—has become the party of the entire Soviet people. “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is the tried and tested militant vanguard of the Soviet people, which unites, on a voluntary basis, the more advanced, the politically more conscious section of the working class, collective-farm peasantry, and intelligentsia of the USSR. . . . The party exists for, and serves, the people. It is the highest form of sociopolitical organization, and it is the leading and guiding force of Soviet society. . . . The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is an integral part of the international communist and working-class movement” (Ustav KPSS, 1972, pp. 3, 4, 6).
At its First Congress in 1898, the party took the name the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP); in 1917 the name was changed to Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (Bolshevik). In March 1918, at the Seventh Congress, the party became the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)—RCP(B). As Lenin pointed out in his report to the congress, the change in the name was required because, “as we begin socialist reforms we must have a clear conception of the goal toward which these reforms are in the final analysis directed, that is, the creation of a communist society” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 36, p. 44). In connection with the formation of the USSR, the Fourteenth Congress in 1925 renamed the party the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)—ACP(B). In 1952 the Nineteenth Congress of the party adopted the name Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
The CPSU absorbed the revolutionary traditions of the entire preceding democratic liberation movement in Russia and was able to combine defense of the proletariat’s class interests with the aspirations of all working and exploited people; it fused the workers’ and peasants’ struggle against the social oppression of the capitalists and pomeshchiki (landlords) with the struggle of enslaved peoples and nationalities against national oppression and made the working class of Russia the vanguard of the international working-class movement. Led by the Bolshevik Party and rallying around itself all the toiling masses, the working class accomplished the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917. The CPSU was the first Marxist party in the world to lead the proletariat to supreme political power and to put into practice the idea of creating a socialist state. The CPSU is the heroic party of defense of the socialist fatherland—it organized the victory of the Soviet people over their worst enemies: the foreign interventionists and domestic counterrevolutionaries in the Civil War of 1918–20 and the Hitlerite fascists, Japanese militarists, and their allies in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. The result of the self-sacrificing struggle of the Soviet people, led by the CPSU, has been the construction of an advanced socialist society, the transformation of the Soviet Union into a mighty industrial-agricultural power, a land of progress in science and culture. The Leninist policies and practices of the CPSU have guaranteed the monolithic cohesion of the Soviet people around the party. In the years of socialist construction in the USSR, a new historical community of people has emerged—the Soviet people, who are strong because of their singleness of purpose and action in the struggle for the triumph of communism.
The CPSU is a party of scientific communism. Its theoretical basis is Marxism-Leninism, the scientific groundwork for the revolutionary transformation of society. Guided by Marxist-Leninist theory and creatively developing and enriching it, the CPSU in its programs has defined the immediate and long-range tasks of each historical stage. The ultimate goal of the party has remained constant and unalterable: the building of communism. The party’s first program, which dealt with the conquest of political power by the working class and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, was adopted in 1903 at the Second Congress of the RSDLP, which founded the Bolshevik Party. The program was realized with the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Republic. The Eighth Congress of the RCP(B) in 1919 adopted the party’s second program—building socialism. Its implementation was crowned by the triumph of the socialist system in the USSR.
The Twenty-second Congress in 1961 adopted the party’s third program—building a communist society in the USSR. The program formulated the threefold task of creating the material and technical base for communism, forming communist social relations, and molding a new type of man. The creation of the material and technical base for communism means complete electrification of the country and the perfection on this basis of the techniques, technologies, and organization of social production in all sectors of the national economy; comprehensive mechanization of production processes and an ever greater degree of their automation; and widespread use of chemistry in the national economy. The material and technical base of communism will require vigorous development of new, economically effective sectors of production, new types of power, and new materials; comprehensive and rational utilization of natural, material, and labor resources; and the organic fusion of science and production and the rapid development of science and technology. It will also require a high cultural and technical level for the working people and a substantial superiority in labor productivity over the more developed capitalist countries, which constitutes a most important prerequisite for the victory of the communist system.
“As a result,” the Program of the CPSU points out, “the USSR will possess productive forces of unparalleled might; it will surpass the technical level of the most developed countries and occupy first place in the world in per capita production. This will serve as a basis for the gradual transformation of socialist social relations into communist social relations and for a development of industry and agriculture that will make it possible to meet in abundance the requirements of society and all its members” (1972, pp. 66–67). “The CPSU sets the historically important task of achieving in the Soviet Union a living standard higher than that of any of the capitalist countries” (ibid., pp. 90–91). The CPSU Program proceeds on the assumption that as the society makes its transition to communism, the opportunities will grow for molding a new man, who will harmoniously combine spiritual wealth, moral purity, and physical perfection.
Lenin laid down the basic lines of the party’s political, ideological, and organizational activity and its strategy and tactics at various stages of the class struggle and revolutionary battles. He saw the party as the decisive factor in building socialism and communism. Basing himself on Marx’ and Engels’ ideas concerning the proletarian party and critically generalizing from the experiences of the Russian and international revolutionary movement, Lenin produced a coherent doctrine of the party as the highest form of revolutionary organization for the working class. In 1904 he wrote: “In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization. . . . The proletariat can, and inevitably will, become an invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of Marxism being reinforced by the material unity of organization, which welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the senile rule of the Russian autocracy nor the senescent rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 8, pp. 403–04).
Lenin created a proletarian party of a new type, which for the first time fused scientific socialism with the mass working-class movement. In contrast to the Social Democratic parties of the West, which were parties of social reform and parliamentary methods and which in the Second International fully manifested their organizational impotence, Lenin created a militant and centralized political party. This was a party armed with revolutionary theory and prepared for revolutionary action, intransigent toward the bourgeoisie, closely linked with the masses, ideologically and organizationally solid, and capable of preparing the proletariat for the conquest of power. “The role of vanguard fighter,” Lenin pointed out, ”can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory” (ibid., vol. 6, p. 25). In its ideology, structure, and activities, the CPSU has always been a consistently internationalist party.
Lenin brought the party safely through harsh trials and savage persecution. “We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand,” he wrote. “We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy” (ibid., p. 9). In this fight the party grew mighty and has become an irresistible force.
After the victory of the October Revolution the Communist Party became the only political party in the country. The petit bourgeois parties, such as the Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR’s), exposed their true antiproletarian, antipopular nature. The politics of compromise led them to betray the interests of the working class and all working people; they finally ended up in the camp of counterrevolution. The CPSU became the ruling party. As Lenin pointed out in 1918: “We, the Bolshevik Party, have convinced Russia. We have won Russia from the rich for the poor, from the exploiters for the working people. Now we must administer Russia” (ibid., vol. 36, p. 172). Lenin taught that “to govern you need an army of steeled revolutionary Communists. We have it, and it is called the party” (ibid., vol. 42, p. 254).
The CPSU guides all the creative work of the Soviet people, works out the scientifically based domestic and foreign policies of the Soviet state, and coordinates and directs the work of government bodies and public organizations, such as the soviets of working people’s deputies, the trade unions, the Komsomol, the cooperative associations, the unions of creative workers (including artists and writers), cultural groups, scientific and technical societies, and sports and defense organizations. “No important political or organizational question is decided by any state institution in our republic without the guidance of the party’s Central Committee,” wrote Lenin (ibid., vol. 41, pp. 30–31). The Constitution of the USSR (1936) gave legal force to the leading position of the CPSU in the Soviet state. Article 126 states: “The most active and politically conscious citizens in the ranks of the working class, working peasants, and working intelligentsia voluntarily unite in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which is the vanguard of the working people in their struggle to build a communist society and is the leading core of all organizations of the working people, both government and non-government” (Konstitutsiia [Osnovnoi Zakon] SSSR, 1971, p. 28).
Guided by the decisions of party congresses, the CPSU maps out the country’s pattern of economic development, the orientation of current and long-range economic plans (subject to approval by the USSR Supreme Soviet), and policies of capital investment, labor, and wages; it seeks to maintain high growth rates of industry, agriculture, construction, and transport and the continued advances in science, culture, public health, trade, and all types of public services. The party consistently follows the course of significantly raising the people’s material and cultural standards of living.
To achieve these aims, the party calls for increased efficiency in socialist production and for an organic fusion of the gains of the scientific and technological revolution with the advantages of the socialist economic system. The party devotes much effort to reinforcing government bodies and public organizations with politically trained cadres. The party provides the leadership of the soviets, economic agencies, trade unions, the Komsomol, and other public organizations through the Communists who work in those organizations, not allowing them to confuse the functions of the party with those of other bodies, to substitute the former for the latter, or to depersonalize the functions of either. The party not only gives guiding instructions and directives but also oversees their implementation.
The CPSU is a militant alliance of like-minded Communists. It develops Marxist-Leninist doctrine creatively, enriching it by drawing on the experience of building socialism and communism in the USSR and the other socialist countries and on the experience of the world communist and workers’ movement. At the same time it remains irreconcilable toward any manifestations of revisionism or dogmatism, which are profoundly alien to revolutionary theory. The CPSU developed, grew, and became strong in its uncompromising struggle against the Mensheviks, SR’s, anarchists, bourgeois nationalists, and the various anti-Leninist tendencies and deviations within the party—the Trotskyists, right opportunists, and national deviationists. The CPSU holds high the banner of Marxism-Leninism in the battle against revisionism and petit bourgeois revolutionism in the world communist movement. While consistently advocating the policy of peaceful coexistenee between states with differing social systems, the CPSU is irreconcilable in its struggle against bourgeois ideology. It resolutely exposes anticommunism, the chief ideological and political weapon of imperialism.
The CPSU is the ideological educator of the people. Guided by Marxist-Leninist theory, the party educates the masses of working people in the spirit of communist consciousness, carries out day-to-day political education work, and guides the mass media (the press, television, radio). The party works to get every Communist to observe in all his deeds the moral principles of communism (as presented in the CPSU Program and Rules) and to instill those principles in the hearts of all working people.
The CPSU was established as a single party for the proletariat of the whole of multinational Russia. The party unites in its ranks members of all the nations and nationalities in the USSR. The leader of the CPSU, Lenin, was the founder of the Communist International (Comintern). Internationalism is the basis of the party’s Leninist national program, which has been embodied in the booming economic growth and the cultural flowering of all the Soviet republics and in the formation and development of the single, multinational socialist state, the USSR, which is the bulwark of friendship and brotherhood among the Soviet peoples. Internationalism is one of the underlying principles of the Leninist foreign policy of the CPSU and Soviet state—a policy of actively defending peace and strengthening international security, ensuring favorable external conditions for building communism in the USSR, and defending socialism and the freedom of the peoples. The CPSU follows a consistent policy of consolidating and developing the world socialist system, strengthening friendship among the fraternal socialist countries, and building unity and international solidarity with the workers’ movement in the capitalist countries; it supports the peoples fighting for national liberation, social emancipation, genuine political and economic independence, and it comes out against imperialism and neocolonialism.
The organizational foundation of the CPSU is embodied in the Rules of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. These set down the norms of party life, the forms and methods of party construction, and the ways in which the party guides all spheres of governmental, economic, ideological, and social activity. According to the Rules, the guiding principle of the party’s organizational structure is democratic centralism. Democratic centralism signifies the following: election of all leading party bodies, from the lowest to the highest; periodical reports of party bodies to their party organizations and to higher bodies; strict party discipline and the subordination of the minority to the majority; and the obligatory nature of decisions of higher bodies for lower bodies. On the basis of inner-party democracy, criticism and self-criticism are developed, and party discipline is strengthened. Any manifestation of factionalism is incompatible with the Marxist-Leninist partiinost’ (party spirit). The supreme principle of party leadership is collective leadership, which is an absolute prerequisite for the normal functioning of party organizations, the proper education of cadres, and the promotion of the activity and initiative of Communists.
Membership in the CPSU is open to any citizen of the Soviet Union who accepts the Program and the Rules of the party, takes an active part in communist construction, works in one of the party organizations, carries out all party decisions, and pays membership dues. It is the duty of a party member to exemplify the communist attitude toward labor and the fulfillment of one’s public obligations, to put party decisions firmly and steadfastly into effect, to explain the party’s policies to the masses, to take an active part in the political life of the country, in the administration of state affairs, and in economic and cultural work, to master Marxist-Leninist theory, and to resolutely combat all manifestations of bourgeois ideology, remnants of a private-property psychology, religious prejudices, and other vestiges of the past. The party member must observe the principles of communist morality, be considerate and attentive to people, be an active proponent of the ideas of socialist internationalism and Soviet patriotism among the masses of the working people, strengthen to the utmost the unity of the party, and be truthful and honest with the party and the people. He is expected to develop criticism and self-criticism, to observe party and state discipline, which is equally binding on all party members, to display vigilance, and to assist in every way possible in strengthening the defensive might of the USSR.
A party member has the right to elect and be elected to party bodies; to discuss freely questions of the party’s policies and practical activities at party meetings and at conferences and congresses, at the meetings of party committees, and in the party press; to table motions; openly to express and defend his opinions as long as the party organization concerned has not adopted a decision; and to criticize any Communist, irrespective of the position he holds, at party meetings, conferences and congresses, and at the plenary meetings of party committees.
Applicants are admitted to party membership only individually. Membership in the party is open to politically conscious and active workers, peasants, and representatives of the intelligentsia, devoted to the communist cause. All persons joining the party must pass through a one-year probationary period as candidate members. Persons may join the party on attaining the age of 18. Young people up to the age of 23 may join the party only through Komsomol.
A party member or candidate member who fails to fulfill his duties as laid down in the rules, or commits other offenses, shall be called to account and may be subjected to penalties. The highest party penalty is expulsion from the party.
The party is built on the territorial-and-production principle: primary organizations are established wherever Communists are employed and are associated territorially in raion organizations, city organizations, and the like. The highest leading body of a party organization is the general meeting (for primary organizations), the conference (for city, raion, okrug, oblast, and krai organizations), or the congress (for the Communist parties of Union republics or the CPSU). The general meeting, conference, or congress elects a bureau or committee, which acts as its executive body and directs all the current work of the party organization. The election of party bodies is by secret ballot. (The structures of various levels of the party are shown in Figures 1–5.)
The supreme organ of the CPSU is the Congress of the party. The Congress elects the Central Committee and the Central Auditing Commission. Congresses are convened at least once every five years. Between congresses the Central Committee of the CPSU directs all the activities of the party.
The Central Committee of the CPSU elects the Politburo to direct the work of the party between plenums of the Central Committee and the Secretariat to direct day-to-day work, chiefly the selection of personnel and verification of the fulfillment of party decisions. The Central Committee elects its general secretary and organizes the Party Control Committee under its own direction.
The local party organizations are integral parts of a single party, the CPSU; they cover the entire territory of the USSR. Within their territorial boundaries, the organizations carry out the party’s policies, arranging for and seeing to the implementation of the directives of higher party bodies.
The primary organizations are the basis of the party. They are established at the workplaces of party members: plants and factories, sovkhozes and other enterprises, kolkhozes, units of the Soviet army, offices, educational institutions, and so on, wherever there are at least three party members. Primary party organizations may also be established on the residential principle—in rural areas or at house administrations. The primary party organization admits new members to the CPSU, educates Communists in a spirit of loyalty to the party’s cause, ideological staunchness, and communist ethics; organizes the study of Marxist-Leninist theory by Communists; and conducts the work of political education among the masses. The primary party organization works to increase the vanguard role of Communists in the sphere of labor and in social, political, and economic activities, organizes the working people to accomplish the current tasks of communist construction, heads up the socialist competition movement, and concerns itself with strengthening labor discipline, promoting a steady rise in labor productivity, and improving the quality of production. The primary party
organization uses extensive criticism and self-criticism to combat cases of bureaucracy, parochialism, violations of state discipline, and other shortcomings. Primary party organizations in industry, transport, communications, construction, material and technical supply, trade, public eating services, community and domestic services, kolkhozes and sovkhozes, other agricultural enterprises, design organizations, research institutes, and educational, cultural, and medical institutions enjoy the right to control the work of their administrations.
Party organizations at ministries, state committees, and other central and local government or economic agencies and departments exercise control over the work of the apparatus insofar as the implementation of party and government directives and observance of Soviet laws are concerned. They must help to promote improvement of the work of the apparatus, cultivate a high sense of responsibility among the personnel for the work entrusted to them, strengthen state discipline and improve services to the population, firmly combat bureaucracy and red tape, and inform the appropriate party bodies in good time of shortcomings in the work of the respective offices and individuals, regardless of what posts the latter may occupy. Party work in the armed forces is guided by the Central Committee of the CPSU through the Chief Political Administration of the Soviet Army and Navy, which functions as a department of the CPSU Central Committee.
The All-Union Leninist Communist Youth League (VLKSM) conducts its activities under the guidance of the CPSU and is an active helper and reserve of the party.
As of Jan. 1,1973, the CPSU consisted of 14,821,031 Communists, including 14,330,525 full members and 490,506 candidates for membership (see Table 1). They belonged to 14 Communist parties of the Union republics and to six krai, 142 oblast, ten okrug, 774 city, 480 urban raion, 2,832 rural raion, and 378,740 primary party organizations. The CPSU had in its ranks 6,037,771 industrial workers, or 40.7 percent of the total party membership, and 2,169,764 peasants (collective farmers), or 14.7 percent of the membership. Specialists with higher or specialized secondary education numbered 6,561,000, or 44.3 percent of all Communists, including 16,592 with doctoral degrees and 132,-708 with candidate of sciences degrees. Women members of the CPSU numbered 3,412,000.
In the 1972–73 school year, some 17 million persons were involved in the system of party education. Leading cadres of the party and state study at the Academy of Social Sciences under the CPSU Central Committee, the Higher Party School under the CPSU Central Committee, and the Higher Party Correspondence School under the CPSU Central Committee. In 1973, there were also 13 higher party schools in operation on the Union-republic and interoblast levels and 20 soviet-and-party schools.
The Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the CPSU Central Committee is the party’s center of scholarship and research and has branches in the Union republics.
The CPSU engages in extensive publishing activities. The organ of the CPSU Central Committee is the newspaper Pravda. The Central Committee also publishes other daily papers, such as Sovetskaia Rossiia, Sotsialisticheskaia industriia, Sel’skaia zhizn’, and Sovetskaia kul’tura and a weekly paper, Ekonomicheskaia gazeta. The theoretical and political magazine of the CPSU Central Committee is Kommunist (The Communist). Other magazines of the CPSU Central Committee are Agitator (the Agitator), Partiinaia zhizn ’ (Party Life), and Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie (Political Self-education). The Pravda Publishing House and the Political Literature Publishing House (called Politizdat for short) are both run by the CPSU Central Committee. The central committees of the Communist parties of the Union republics operate their own publishing enterprises.
The formation of the Bolshevik party. The Marxist party in Russia was heir to very rich revolutionary traditions. The forerunners of Russian socialist democracy, according to Lenin, were the revolutionary democrats and the Russian Utopian socialists,
including V. G. Belinskii, A. I. Herzen, N. G. Chernyshevskii, and N. A. Dobroliubov, and the revolutionary Narodniks (Populists) of the 1870’s. The Narodniks advocated the overthrow of the autocracy through a peasant revolution and postulated that Russia could make a transition to socialism without passing through the stage of capitalism.
With the development of capitalism in Russia in the second half of the 19th century, the increasingly rapid formation of new social classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, led to the deepening of the contradictions between them and to the intensification of the class struggle. In the mid-1870’s, the advanced members of the nascent workers’ movement began to seek their own road, one distinct from that of the Narodniks. They studied the struggles of the Western European proletariat, the activities of the First International, the example of the Paris Commune of 1871, and the teachings of Marx and Engels. In the 1870’s several workers came to the fore as leaders, including S. N. Khalturin, V. P. Obnorskii, P. A. Alekseev, and P. A. Moiseenko.
In the 1870’s the first socialist societies of workers arose, operating illegally. The Union of Workers of South Russia, led by E. O. Zaslavskii, was formed in Odessa in 1875, and the Northern Union of Russian Workers, led by Khalturin and Obnorskii, in St. Petersburg in 1878. Both unions expressed solidarity with the First International, stressed that the emancipation of the workers was the task of the workers themselves, and proposed the forcible overthrow of the existing order and the conquest of political liberty. However, their programs still bore the traces of Narodnik ideas.
The development of the workers’ movement intensified in the 1880’s, during which as many as 325,000 walked off their jobs. The biggest strike took place at the Morozov Mills at Orekhovo-Zuevo in 1885. “It was in that period,” Lenin wrote, “that Russian revolutionary thought worked hardest, and laid the groundwork for the Social Democratic world outlook” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, p. 331). The organizer of the first Russian Marxist group was G. V. Plekhanov, who founded the Emancipation of Labor group in exile in Geneva in 1883. The group declared war on the Narodniks’ Utopian views concerning the nature of the socioeconomic system in Russia and the road that revolutionary struggle should take. In Socialism and the
Political Struggle (1883) and Our Differences (1885), Plekhanov dealt an ideological blow to Narodnik theories, proved that Russia had taken the capitalist road of development, and emphasized that revolutionists fighting against capitalism and the autocracy should rely on the proletariat as the most advanced social force. Plekhanov raised the question of founding a party of the Russian working class. The Emancipation of Labor group drew up two draft programs for such a party. Despite certain pro-Narodnik weaknesses, these programs indicated to Russian Marxists the tasks and the line of struggle that were fundamentally correct for that time. “The Emancipation of Labor group only laid the theoretical foundations for the Social Democratic movement and took the first step toward the working-class movement” (ibid., vol. 25, p. 132).
Besides the Emancipation of Labor group, and later under its influence, Social Democratic organizations inside Russia began to appear. In St. Petersburg in December 1883, the Party of Russian Social Democrats (the Blagoev Group) was established; in 1885 the Association of St. Petersburg Workmen was set up by P. V. Tochisskii. In 1888–89, N. E. Fedoseev was active as an organizer of Marxist circles in the Volga Region, and similar circles and Social Democratic groups appeared in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Poland, and Lithuania. In 1889, M. I. Brusnev formed a Social Democratic organization involving both students and workers in St. Petersburg. In the 1890’s, illegal Social Democratic groups and circles were set up in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Kiev, Odessa, Kharkov, Rostov-on-Don, Riga, Samara, and elsewhere. The decade from 1883 to 1894 was the formative period for the Social Democratic movement in Russia and for the rise and consolidation of the theory and program of Social Democracy. In the early 1890’s, the Emancipation of Labor group continued its propagation of Marxism. Plekhanov’s book On the Question of the Development of the Monist View of History was legally published in St. Petersburg in 1895. In it he systematically presented the major propositions of Marx’ and Engels’ doctrine on the laws of social development and the motive forces of history. This book, as Lenin noted, served to rear a whole generation of Russian Marxists.
For a long time Russian Social Democracy existed in the form of isolated circles and associations. This stage was unavoidable under the conditions of the tsarist autocracy. In the 1880’s and early 1890’s, “Social Democracy existed without a working-class movement, and as a political party it was at the embryonic stage of development” (ibid., vol. 6, p. 25). This period represented an important stage in the formation of Russian Social Democracy and in its familiarization with the Marxist world outlook.
The strengthening of the Marxist tendency and the development of Marxist doctrine in Russia are linked with the name of Lenin, who began his revolutionary activities in the late 1880’s. Particularly influential were his writings of the 1890’s attacking the Narodniks and “legal Marxists,” especially What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social Democrats and The Development of Capitalism in Russia. In his writings Lenin began to develop the revolutionary theory of Marxism, taking into account the new historical experience and new needs of the revolutionary movement. As he later wrote, “Russia achieved Marxism—the only correct revolutionary theory—through the agony she experienced over the course of half a century of unparalleled torment and sacrifice, of unparalleled revolutionary heroism, incredible energy, devoted searching, study, practical trial, disappointment, verification, and comparison with European experience” (ibid., vol. 41, p. 8).
The industrial boom in the 1890’s lifted Russia to an intermediate level of capitalist development. The proletariat doubled in a decade. More than 1.5 million workers were employed in industry and transport, and the overall number of wage workers was about 10 million.
In the mid-1890’s the proletarian stage of the Russian liberation movement began. The working class began to form its own party. In 1895, Lenin, together with a group of Marxists (including G. M. Krzhizhanovskii, V. V. Starkov, N. K. Krupskaia, and L. Martov and the workers I. V. Babushkin, M. I. Kalinin, and V. A. Shelgunov), organized the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, which introduced scientific socialism into the working-class movement. It was the rudiment of a revolutionary proletarian party, finding its strength in the mass workers’ movement. Leagues of struggle were also established in Ekaterinoslav and Kiev and workers’ unions in Moscow and Ivanovo-Voznesensk. Social Democratic organizations arose throughout the country. By 1898 there were illegal Marxist organizations and groups in more than 50 cities.
|Table 1. CPSU membership (as of January 1)|
|Full members||Candidate members||Total|
|1October 2In terms of social status, 40.7 percent of CPSU membership were production workers, 14.7 percent were peasants (collective farmers), and 44.6 percent were clerical workers and others. Thus, production workers and collective farmers made up the majority of the party membership. Among the clerical workers in the party, a significant number are members of the intelligentsia, that is, those who do “brain” work, specialists in various f ields of knowledge.|
On the initiative of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle the First Congress of the RSDLP was convened in Minsk on Mar. 1–3 (13–15), 1898. Lenin did not attend, since he had been arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1897. The congress announced the founding of a Marxist workers’ party and voted to call it the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP), the party of the proletariat of all the nationalities in Russia. After the congress the local Social Democratic organizations and unions began to call themselves committees of the RSDLP. However, no real unity existed among the committees, nor was the party as yet a single centralized organization. The Social Democratic organizations remained without a guiding center, since the Central Committee elected at the congress had been arrested soon after the congress. Some Social Democrats and Social Democratic groups sought to justify this organizational fragmentation and ideological disarray. An opportunist tendency, economism, made its appearance in the RSDLP. The economists opposed the organization of an independent political party of the working class, rejected the political struggle, and called for struggle exclusively for economic demands.
While in exile, Lenin worked out a plan to create a single centralized Marxist party by means of an all-Russian political newspaper. When he returned from exile in 1900, Lenin energetically set about organizing such a party. A crucial role in this was played by the all-Russian underground political paper Iskra, which Lenin founded abroad, together with Plekhanov and his group.
The objective preconditions for the rise of a Marxist party in Russia were created by the development of capitalism and the growth of the working-class movement in the country. At the turn of the century, Russia was one of the states that entered the highest stage of capitalist development, imperialism. In the early 20th century it was the focal point of the contradictions in world imperialism. The country was beset by all the socioeconomic conflicts of capitalist society, which were exacerbated by the political, cultural, and national oppression of the tsarist autocracy. A revolutionary changeover from capitalism to socialism became an urgent necessity of social development. The proletariat came forward as the social force called upon to lead and capable of leading the struggle for a fundamental social transformation, but the working class could accomplish this great mission only if it had a militant Marxist party at its head.
By the beginning of the 20th century the economic and social preconditions for a people’s revolution had matured. The center of the revolutionary movement shifted from Western Europe to Russia, which became the homeland of Leninism, the world center of revolutionary thought and action. Lenin, in his book What Is to Be Done? (1902), developed Marx’ and Engels’ ideas on the proletarian party and worked out the foundations of the teaching of a revolutionary Marxist party of a new type, one capable of leading the masses to the socialist revolution. He made clear the tremendous importance of Marxist theory, showing that it was essential to the revolutionary movement.
With Lenin playing a guiding role, the Iskra editorial board drafted a Marxist program and rules of the party, won an ideological victory over economism, rallied the local party committees around Marxist principles, and prepared the ground for the convocation of the Second Congress of the RSDLP. Among the proletarian revolutionists who joined forces on the ideological basis of Iskra’s principles were I. V. Babushkin, N. E. Bauman, M. I. Kalinin, V. Z. Ketskhoveli, L. B. Krasin, P. A. Krasikov, N. K. Krupskaia, G. M. Krzhizhanovskii, F. V. Lengnik, P. N. Lepeshinskii, V. P. Nogin, G. I. Petrovskii, O. A. Piatnitskii, S. G. Shaumian, S. S. Spandarian, J. V. Stalin, E. D. Stasova, la. M. Sverdlov, and R. S. Zemliachka. They subsequently became part of the leadership core of the party.
The Second Congress of the RSDLP was held on July 17 (30)-Aug. 10 (23), 1903, in Brussels and London. It adopted the party program consisting of a minimum program (a bourgeois democratic revolution to overthrow the autocracy and establish a democratic republic) and a maximum program (a socialist revolution and the overthrow of capitalism). For the first time in the history of the international socialist movement, the program of a working-class party included the demand for establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. The need for such a dictatorship, as a precondition for the building of a socialist society, had been demonstrated theoretically by Marx and En-gels and was thoroughly substantiated by Lenin.
At the congress a heated struggle broke out during the discussion of the party program and rules. Lenin’s wording for the first paragraph of the rules said: “A member of the party is one who accepts its program and who supports the party both financially and by personal participation in one of the party organizations.” Martov’s wording for the paragraph did not require personal participation by a party member in the work of a party organization and thus flung open the door of the party to unstable petit bourgeois elements, but it was adopted by a slight majority. However, at the end of the congress Lenin’s supporters gained a majority. They consolidated their victory in the elections to the central bodies: the Central Committee and the central organ [Iskra]. Beginning with the Second Congress of the RSDLP, the supporters of Lenin were called the Bolsheviks (Majority), and the supporters of Martov, the Mensheviks (Minority). The basic result of the congress was that a Marxist Bolshevik party was created, a proletariat party of a new type. Lenin wrote, “As a current of political thought and as a political party, Bolshevism has existed since 1903” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 6). The rise of the Bolshevik party showed that political maturity of the progressive workers of Russia. The Second Congress of the RSDLP was the turning point for the world working-class labor movement as well. For the first time an organization was created capable in the new conditions of leading the struggle of the working class for its social liberation. The Second Congress was also marked by the formation of the petit bourgeois Menshevik tendency within the Social Democratic movement.
After the Second Congress the Mensheviks began the practice of disorganizing all party work. In the pamphlet “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (The Crisis in Our Party),” written in 1904, Lenin unmasked the antiparty activity of the Mensheviks and made a major contribution to the elaboration of the organizational principles of building up the party. A meeting of 22 Bolsheviks in Switzerland in August 1904 adopted the appeal “To the Party,” which had been written by Lenin. In the second half of 1904 there were three oblast party conferences: Southern (September), Caucasus (November), and Northern (December). These together formed the Bureau of Committees of the Majority, headed by Lenin, which took the initiative in calling the Third Congress of the RSDLP. At the end of 1904, the Bolshevik newspaper Vpered began to appear. Iskra, with Plekhanov’s defection to Menshevism, had become a Menshevik organ after no. 52.
The Bolshevik party’s struggle to overthrow tsarism. In 1905 the first bourgeois-democratic revolution began in Russia, as the proletarian party had foreseen and toward which it had led the working class and laboring peasantry. The RSDLP worked out its tactics during the revolution. The all-Bolshevik Third Congress of the RSDLP, which met in London on Apr. 12–27 (Apr. 25-May 10), 1905, defined the character, motive forces, and tasks of the revolution and set the tactical line of the party. The congress condemned the splitting activity of the Mensheviks, voted for Lenin’s wording of the first paragraph of the rules, elected new members to the Central Committee, and made the newspaper Proletarii the party’s central organ. Lenin provided the theoretical basis for Bolshevik tactics and a critique of the Menshevik tactics in his Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (1905), in which he showed that, although the incipient revolution which had begun was bourgeois in character, its prime and preponderant driving force was not the bourgeoisie, as the Mensheviks asserted, but the proletariat. Lenin developed the idea of the revolutionary alliance of the working class and the peasantry as the chief instrument in the struggle to overthrow tsarism and capitalism, and he demonstrated the necessity for armed insurrection and the establishment of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry. Throwing out traditional Social Democratic dogma, which said that the bourgeois revolution must be followed by a prolonged period of capitalist rule, he propounded the theory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution growing into the socialist revolution.
In the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, the proletariat, with the Bolshevik Party at its head, marched in the vanguard of the general democratic movement. More than 50 Bolshevik organizations were functioning, the largest (at the end of 1905) being the St. Petersburg organization, with some 3,000 members, and the Moscow organization, with 2,500. “In the spring of 1905 our party was a league of underground circles,” wrote Lenin. “In the autumn it became the party of the millions of the proletariat” (ibid., vol. 17, p. 145).
In the autumn, the country was shaken by the All-Russian October political strike of 1905. During the strike and in the period that followed, the workers in many of the industrial centers followed the example of Ivanovo-Voznesensk and established soviets (councils) of workers’ deputies. In these Lenin saw the embryo of the new revolutionary power of the people. The December 1905 armed uprisings, carried through in Moscow and other cities under Bolshevik leadership, marked the high point of the revolutionary upsurge. The tsarist regime managed to suppress them, but the revolution continued. In 1906 the tsar was forced to convene the State Duma.
The circumstances required that all proletarian forces close ranks for the sake of the victory of the revolution; however, the RSDLP was split, with parallel Bolshevik and Menshevik committees in operation. Among the other groups functioning in the workers’ movement were the Bund, the Social Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania, and the Lettish Social Democratic Labor Party. At the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the RSDLP, held in Stockholm on Apr. 10–25 (Apr. 23-May 8), 1906, all these Social Democratic organizations merged with the RSDLP, and the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks united into the single RSDLP. But this was unification only in form. In reality, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks retained their own platforms and preserved organizational independence.
At the Fifth (London) Congress of the RSDLP, held on Apr. 30-May 19 (May 13-June 1), 1907, the Bolsheviks had a majority. This congress concluded an important stage in the Bolshevik struggle to rally the party around Leninist principles. The decisions of the congress reflected the growing strength of the leading Bolshevik core “that had worked hardest of all to build up the party and make it what it is” (ibid., vol. 16, p. 103).
In the 1905–07 revolution the Marxist party of the Russian working class emerged as an independent political force with its own distinct program, strategy, and tactics. The party acquired an enormous amount of experience in leading the mass revolutionary struggle. “Without the ’dress rehearsal’ of 1905, the victory of the October Revolution in 1917 would have been impossible” (ibid., vol. 41, pp. 9–10).
After the defeat of the revolution the Bolsheviks remained firm and retreated in good order under the most difficult conditions of the tsarist reaction. The Mensheviks, having no faith in the possibility of a new revolutionary upsurge, abandoned the revolutionary program and the revolutionary slogans that went with it and called for the liquidation of the illegal party organization. Many of their leaders became liquidators. Among the Bolsheviks, the so-called otzovists (from the Russian otozvat’, to recall) and ultimatumists made their appearance. The proponents of these tendencies ignored the changed political circumstances and deemed it necessary to have the Social Democratic deputies recalled from the Duma; they refused to use legal forms of struggle.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked out a flexible tactic aimed at preserving the existing forces and gathering more for a fresh revolutionary offensive. They conducted persistent political activities among the working people, using both legal and illegal methods. Despite the most savage repression, illegal party committees were active in all the major industrial centers, and there were party cells in many enterprises. The Bolsheviks established illegal groups in the trade unions, workers’ clubs, and educational associations and took part in 1908–09 in such legal congresses as those of the people’s universities and of factory doctors.
The Bolsheviks gave battle to the reactionaries on the ideological front as well. In May 1909, Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism was published. In this work he repulsed the attack of bourgeois ideologists and revisionists on philosophical materialism, and he developed and enriched the theoretical fundamentals of Marxism—dialectical and historical materialism. The Bolsheviks also defended revolutionary Marxism within the world working-class movement. Lenin took part in the Stuttgart (1907) and Copenhagen (1910) congresses of the Second International, where he sought to rally left-wing Social Democrats against the growing influence of the opportunists.
The Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP was held in January 1912 in Prague. The liquidator Mensheviks were expelled and the Bolshevik Central Committee headed by Lenin was elected. A Russian bureau of the RSDLP Central Committee was created to direct party work inside Russia. The Bolshevik party stood at the head of the new revolutionary upsurge of the masses that began in 1910. The Bolshevik press played a major role in educating the workers politically—the illegal Rabochaia gazeta (1910–12) and the legal newspapers Zvezda and, in particular, Pravda (founded in 1912). An important nationwide legal organization of the party was the Bolshevik group in the Fourth Duma (including A. E. Badaev, M. K. Muranov, G. I. Petrovskii, F. N. Samoilov, and N. R. Shagov). The group represented more than a million workers. The Duma rostrum was used to expose the reactionary tsarist policies and rally the working people around the party.
The revolutionary upsurge was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Most Western European Social Democratic parties supported the imperialist governments of their own countries. The leaders of the Second International betrayed socialism and the principle of proletarian internationalism, their socialchauvinist stands testifying to the collapse of the Second International. At this time, clarification of the Marxist view of the national question became extremely important. Basing himself on the teaching of Marx and Engels, Lenin had begun to work out the Bolshevik program on the national question at the very beginning of the 20th century, but from 1913 to 1916 he devoted special attention to it. Through the efforts of Lenin and his cohorts, a coherent Marxist theory on the national question had been worked out by then. Its central proposition was that nations had the right to self-determination even if it meant seceding and forming a separate state. The Bolshevik party at that time was the only proletarian party that stood firmly on the principle of proletarian internationalism and had a clear-cut, revolutionary Marxist platform on the questions of war and peace.
The Bolshevik policies and tactics were substantiated in the manifesto “The War and Russian Social Democracy,” written by Lenin and approved by the Central Committee. Here the central slogans were put forward: turn the imperialist war into a civil war, into a revolution against the ruling classes; work for the defeat of one’s own government in the imperialist war; and break with the Second International and build the new Third International.
Despite tsarist persecution, the Bolsheviks carried on revolutionary work in 200 cities and extended these efforts into the army and navy. The party’s central organ, the newspaper Sotsialdemokrat, was published abroad. From late July 1914 to February 1917, some 2 million individual copies of more than 600 different antiwar and other leaflets were printed. The Bolsheviks took part in the international socialist conferences in Zimmerwald in 1915 and Kienthal in 1916. The left-wing Social Democratic internationalists rallied around Lenin.
During the war Lenin produced the scientific theory of imperialism in his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916). “Imperialism,” he wrote, “is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat” (ibid., vol. 27, p. 308). Lenin developed the doctrine of a single and overall revolutionary process involving the entire world in the imperialist epoch, with the revolutionary proletariat standing at the center of this process. Having analyzed the operation of the law of uneven economic and political development in the imperialist stage of capitalism, he came to the conclusion, in his articles “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” (August 1915) and “The Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution” (September 1916), that different countries would not come to socialism simultaneously, that the socialist revolution would be victorious at first in a few capitalist countries, or even in any single one, and that the front of imperialism may be broken not necessarily in a highly developed country. This was a new theoretical concept in the science of Marxism. A clear perspective opened up before the Russian and international proletariat.
During the war, the revolution in Russia was ripening at a much faster pace; a revolutionary crisis was growing. In 1916 a revolutionary situation developed, culminating in the February Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1917, which overthrew the autocracy. Dual power was established in the country, with the bourgeois Provisional Government on one side and the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on the other. Russia became a republic. The February revolution was an important stage on the road to socialist revolution. However, only a proletarian revolution could solve the pressing problems of social progress—take the country out of the war, eliminate a social structure dominated by capitalists and pomeshchiki, abolish all forms of social and national oppression, and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Bolshevik party as organizer of victory in the Great October Socialist Revolution. In the course of the February revolution the Bolshevik party emerged from underground and took the leadership of the revolutionary movement of the working class and the masses of working people. Returning from exile abroad, Lenin in his “April Theses” provided theoretical grounds for a policy of the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution, and he defined the driving forces of such a revolution: the alliance of the proletariat with the peasant poor against the bourgeoisie in city and village and the neutralization of the wavering middle peasantry. He proposed a new form of organizing society politically, a republic of soviets, the state form of the dictatorship of the working class; and he put forward the slogan “All power to the soviets!” Under the circumstances then prevailing, this slogan signified an orientation toward the peaceful development of the socialist revolution.
The Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP(B) in 1917 approved Lenin’s theses and geared the party to the struggle to carry the revolution over to its second, socialist, phase. The party reorganized its internal life on the principles of democratic centralism and rapidly began to develop into a mass working-class party (from 24,000 members in early March, it grew to over 100,000 in late April and 240,000 in July). The Bolsheviks carried on extensive political activity among the workers, peasants, soldiers, and sailors; in the soviets, in which the SR’s and Mensheviks were then in the majority; and in the soldiers’ committees, trade unions, cultural and educational societies, and factory committees. They waged a resolute political struggle against the Mensheviks, SR’s, anarchists, and Constitutional Democrats (Cadets) to win over the masses, thus building up a revolutionary army for the all-out assault on capitalism. By exposing the policies of the petit bourgeois and bourgeois parties, the Bolsheviks broke the influence of these parties over ever wider strata of working people in both town and country and among the soldiers and sailors.
Between February and October 1917 the Leninist party provided a great example of historic initiative and of proper assessment of the balance of class forces and the specific features of the moment. The party applied flexible and varied tactics at different stages of the revolution, utilizing peaceful, nonpeaceful, legal, ’and illegal methods of struggle, and it demonstrated its ability to combine these methods and to pass from one to another. Herein lies one of the principal characteristics of Leninist strategy and tactics as distinct from both Social Democratic reformism and petit bourgeois adventurism.
Important developments in the period of preparations for the socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 included the April crisis, the June crisis, the July Days, and the defeat of the Kornilov Revolt. These political crises dramatized profound internal social, economic, and political contradictions and testified to the imminence of a nationwide crisis.
After the July events, power passed completely into the hands of the counterrevolutionary Provisional Government, which turned to a policy of repression. The soviets under SR and Menshevik control became mere appendages of the bourgeois government. The peaceful phase of the revolution had ended. Lenin proposed the temporary withdrawal of the slogan “All power to the soviets!” The Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B) was held under semilegal conditions on July 26 (Aug. 8)-Aug. 3 (16), 1917, in Petrograd; following the directions of Lenin, who was then in hiding, it worked out new tactics for the party and adopted the policy of preparing for an armed insurrection to conquer power.
In late August the revolutionary workers, soldiers, and sailors of Petrograd, led by the Bolsheviks, defeated the counterrevolutionary insurrection of General Kornilov. The elimination of the Kornilov threat changed the political situation. There began a massive Bolshevization of the soviets, and the slogan “All power to the soviets!” was again placed on the order of the day. But the transfer of power to the soviets controlled by the Bolsheviks was only possible through an armed insurrection.
The nationwide crisis that had matured took several forms: the mighty revolutionary movement of the working class, whose struggle had brought it to the point of seizing power; the wide sweep of the peasant struggle for land; the shift of the overwhelming majority of soldiers and sailors to the side of revolution; the intensification of the national-liberation movement of the peoples of the borderlands; the struggle of all the people for a just peace; the terrible economic dislocation of the country; the chronic crises of the Provisional Government; and the disintegration of the petit bourgeois parties. The Bolshevik party in October 1917 was 350,000-strong (see Figure 6) and had succeeded in winning the majority of the working class, poor peasantry, and soldiers to its side. All the objective conditions were ripe for a victorious socialist revolution.
In preparing for the armed insurrection, the party treated it as an art. The Red Guard, with more than 200,000 members throughout the country, had been created, and much of the armed forces had been won over politically to the Bolshevik side, including the Petrograd garrison, which had as many as 150,000 soldiers, the Baltic Fleet, with 80,000 sailors and hundreds of combat ships, and major sections of the army in the field and rear-echelon garrisons. Lenin worked out a plan for the insurrection and set the most favorable time for it to begin. The Central Committee appointed the Military Revolutionary Center to lead the insurrection (A. S. Bubnov, F. E. Dzerzhinsky, la. M. Sverdlov, J. V. Stalin, and M. S. Uritskii); the center was included in the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd soviet and was its guiding nucleus. The Military Revolutionary Committee was the legally organized general staff in charge of preparations for the insurrection. It included V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko, G. I. Chudnovskii, P. E. Dybenko, N. V. Krylenko, P. E. Lazimir, N. I. Podvoiskii, and A. D. Sadovskii. All the work of preparing and carrying through the insurrection was directed by Lenin. The insurrection was victorious on Oct. 25 (Nov. 7), 1917, in Petrograd, and on November 2 (15) in Moscow.
On the evening of October 25 (November 7) the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies opened, with the Bolshevik party in the majority (the second largest delegation was that of the Left SR’s, who also stood for the transfer of power to the soviets). The congress adopted the historic decree on the transfer of all power to the soviets, in both the center of the country and in the localities. After reports by Lenin, the congress adopted the decree on peace and the decree on land, which helped to consolidate the masses of working people around the Bolshevik party and Soviet power. On October 26 (November 8) the highest body of the Soviet state was elected at the Second Congress of Soviets—the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, which was composed of Bolsheviks, Left SR’s, and others. The first Soviet government was formed—the Council of People’s Commissars, headed by Lenin. It consisted solely of Bolsheviks, since the Left SR’s refused to enter the government, joining it only in December.
Having united into a single revolutionary torrent the nationwide currents—the movement for peace and the struggle of the peasants for land, of the oppressed peoples for national liberation, and of the working class for the dictatorship of the proletariat and for socialism—the Bolsheviks were able to achieve victory for Soviet power throughout almost the entire country in the short time from October 1917 to February 1918. The October Socialist Revolution ushered in a new era in the history of mankind—the era of the triumph of socialism and communism.
The party’s struggle to build socialism in the USSR. Through the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 the power of the capitalists and pomeshchiki was overthrown, social and national oppression was eliminated, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the form of Soviet power, was established in Russia. The proletariat of Russia was transformed from an oppressed and exploited class into the ruling class, and its party—the Communist Party—became the ruling party. The proletariat, with the Leninist party at its head, carried through the socialist revolution, which marked a crucial turning point in world history and opened up the highroad to socialism for the peoples of every land. The October Revolution was a model of how a party should put into practice the Marxist-Leninist theory of socialist revolution.
After the October Revolution the party concentrated its attention primarily on creating the apparatus of the new socialist state, drawing the masses of working people into running state and economic affairs. The old bourgeois and pomeshchik apparatus was destroyed and in its place a new, soviet state apparatus was organized. Members of the party became the heads of central and local bodies of Soviet power, people’s commissariats, and government institutions. In December 1917 the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (All-Russian Cheka) was formed to combat sabotage and counterrevolution. In January 1918 the party and Soviet power undertook the creation of the Soviet armed forces: the Red Army and the Red Navy. The introduction of fundamental democratic changes helped to consolidate Soviet power—the implementation of the decree on land, the establishment of workers’ control over the manufacture and distribution of products, the introduction of the eight-hour workday, the abolition of the division of society into estates, the establishment of equal rights for women, the proclamation of freedom of conscience, and the separation of the church from the state and of schools from the church.
Of enormous importance was the Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia, signed by Lenin and promulgated on Nov. 2(15), 1917. It guaranteed the free development and full equality of all the nationalities of Russia. The Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets in January 1918 adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Working and Exploited People, drafted by Lenin. The congress proclaimed the formation of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The Fifth All-Russian Congress of Soviets in July 1918 adopted the first constitution of the RSFSR. It gave legal confirmation to the gains of the October Revolution and to the establishment of the proletarian dictatorship in the form of Soviet power.
Overcoming the furious resistance of the “left Communists,” Trotskyists, and Left SR’s, as well as of the Mensheviks and Right SR’s, the party succeeded in taking the country out of the war. The Seventh Congress of the RCP(B), held in Petrograd Mar. 6–8, 1918, approved the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, which had been signed by the Soviet government. At the congress the party’s name was changed to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)—RCP(B).
Implementation of socialist measures began in the very first days after the revolution. Government-owned enterprises and the Gosbank (State Bank) were taken over by the Soviet state immediately, and a number of large plants and private banks were nationalized. The socialist economic structure made its appearance. The Supreme Council on the National Economy was established in December 1917 to manage the economy. Lenin worked out a plan for constructing the foundations of a socialist economy and reorganizing the multiform economic structure of Russia along socialist lines, and he formulated the most important principles of economic policy for the socialist state. In his essay “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government” (April 1918) he argued that the economic priorities were to organize accounting of and control over the manufacture and distribution of products; develop a new, conscious discipline on the part of the industrial workers and all working people; raise the productivity of labor and develop the productive forces of the country on the basis of developing heavy industry, carrying out electrification, and raising the general cultural level of the population. Lenin considered it a central principle of socialist construction that the creative, political, and labor activity and initiative of the masses, as well as a system of socialist emulation, should be developed in every way.
The party began to carry out the cultural revolution from the very start, in 1917. The entire system of public and higher education was reorganized, and the drive to wipe out illiteracy and semiliteracy began. The party was able to involve the working intelligentsia in the construction of the new society. The groundwork was laid for creating a new, Soviet science and a multinational Soviet culture, both of which were to grow and become strong through a sharp ideological struggle against the old and the obsolescent.
In carrying out the Leninist nationalities policy, the Communist Party did an enormous amout of work to organize the national systems of government for the numerous peoples in the country, forming autonomous republics, national regions, and national districts. A special governmental body was formed within the RSFSR administration—the People’s Commissariat for the Affairs of Nationalities (Narkomnats), and special party bodies were created to consider particular problems, for example, the Central Bureau of Muslim Organizations of the RCP(B) and the special delegations sent to local areas by the Central Committee (such as the Turkestan Bureau of the Central Committee). The party declared war on two deviations on the national question—great-power chauvinism and local nationalism.
The ousted exploiting classes, in an alliance with world imperialism, attempted to restore the old order of capitalist-pomeshchik rule and liquidate the Soviet state. They unleashed the Civil War and foreign intervention of 1918–20. The counterrevolutionary forces, led by such former tsarist generals as Kolchak, Denikin, Wrangel, and Iudenich and relying on the political, financial, and military aid of the Entente powers, succeeded in building up large White Guard armies. The enemy was able to seize three-fourths of the country in the summer of 1918. The Soviet republic found itself in a ring of fire, surrounded on all fronts, and transformed into a besieged fortress.
The Communist Party, led by Lenin, summoned the workers and toiling peasants to the defense of the socialist republic, to a patriotic war against the interventionists and White Guards. The economic life of the republic was reorganized along military lines. Lenin advanced the slogan “Everything for the front.” On June 28, 1918, the Council of People’s Commissars adopted a decree nationalizing all large-scale industry. The construction of a regular standing army on a massive scale, the Red Army, was begun. The Eastern Front was established in June (the republic’s main battlefront at that time) and the Southern and Northern fronts in September. The Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic was instituted, as were similar councils for all the fronts and armies and the post of commander in chief. Party organizations and political departments were set up within the army, and the army commissars were introduced into it. Military experts of the old army were called up for service in the Red Army. On Nov. 30, 1918, the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense, headed by Lenin, was established to mobilize all forces and resources to defend the country. In order to provide the urban population and the army with food, dictatorial control of food distribution was introduced. Tens of thousands of workers were organized into food requisition detachments and sent into the countryside to suppress the counterrevolutionary kulaks who were refusing to sell grain to the state at fixed prices. Committees of the poor were organized and became points of support in the villages for the proletarian dictatorship. The requisition of surplus grain was introduced. A number of other emergency political and economic measures, known as War Communism, were implemented.
About half the entire membership of the Communist Party and the Komsomol (which was founded at the First All-Russian Congress of Workers’ and Peasants’ Youth Leagues, held on Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 1918) served at the front lines. The Communists, Komsomol members, and military commissars were tremendously important in the political education and military strengthening of the Red Army. In enemy-occupied areas a guerrilla war grew and spread under Communist leadership. In the second half of 1918 the Red Army won its first major victories and liberated substantial areas.
Of major importance in organizing victory over the enemy and furthering socialist construction were the decisions of the Eighth Congress of the RCP(B), held in Moscow in March 1919. It adopted the party’s second program, the Program for the Building of Socialism, which was drawn up under Lenin’s direction. The program was intended to apply to the entire period of transition from capitalism to socialism. The congress proclaimed the policy of a stable alliance between the working class and the middle peasantry, while relying on the peasant poor, for the purpose of combating the kulaks and all domestic and foreign enemies of Soviet power, and of achieving the successful construction of socialism. The congress rejected the arguments of the so-called military opposition, which opposed, in effect, establishment of a regular standing army; this decision was of great importance for the further development and strengthening of the Red Army and the Red Navy. The congress created three bodies in the party’s Central Committee: the Political Bureau (Politburo), the Organizational Bureau (Orgburo), and the Secretariat. A resolution was adopted on the place of the Communist organizations of independent Soviet republics within the party. The federation principle of party structure was rejected, and the existence of a single, centralized Communist Party with a single central committee was recognized as necessary.
Through the leadership and work of the party and the Soviet government and the heroism of the Red Army, the year 1919 became the time of the decisive victories by the Soviet troops over the united forces of the Entente powers and the domestic counterrevolution. The party and government once again mobilized their forces to ward off the enemy on the Eastern Front. The “Theses of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) on the Situation on the Eastern Front,” written by Lenin, were published on Apr. 12, 1919. At that time success on the Eastern Front was crucial for the fate of the revolution. The Central Committee approved and implemented a resolution calling for mass mobilization of Communist Party, Komsomol, and trade union members for this front. A crushing blow was dealt to Kolchak’s armies. The enemy was driven back from the Volga, the Urals were liberated, and by January 1920 all of Siberia was freed. In the same way the party organized the repulse of General Iudenich’s troops, which attempted to take Petrograd in May and in October of 1919.
In the summer and fall of 1919, when the Soviet republic experienced one of its most critical moments—the offensive of General Denikin—Lenin responded with the letter “All Out for the Fight Against Denikin!”; this letter was addressed to the party organizations in the name of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) and was published on July 9, 1919. In September the decision was made to reinforce the Southern Front. During the party week declared at that time, more than 200,000 workers joined the party. Some 30,000 Communists, 10,000 Komsomol members, and 36,000 union members went off to the front lines in response to the Central Committee’s appeal. By the spring of 1920, Denikin’s army had been smashed. During the subsequent interlude of peace the party, by decision of the Ninth Congress (March-April 1920), assigned part of its forces to rehabilitate transport and the fuel industry.
However, in April 1920 the capitalist-landlord regime in Poland, backed by the Entente, launched an attack on Soviet Russia. Wrangel’s forces in the Crimea intensified their operations. On May 23, 1920, the Central Committee published the theses entitled “The Polish Front and Our Tasks,” which were of major importance in mobilizing the masses to repulse the enemy. The Soviet-Polish War of 1920 was ended by the signing of a peace treaty. Wrangel’s forces were eliminated, as were the last strongholds of foreign intervention and domestic counterrevolution in Transcaucasia and Middle Asia. As a result of the extensive political and organizational work of the Bolsheviks, the Azerbaijan, Georgian, and Armenian soviet republics were formed in Transcaucasia; in Middle Asia, in addition to the Turkestan ASSR, established in 1918, people’s soviet republics appeared in Khorezm and Bukhara. In the Baltic republics, the bourgeoisie, with Entente support, succeeded in restoring the bourgeois order. The great military, material, and spiritual exertions of the working class and working peasantry, led by the Communist Party under Lenin, had finally brought about the total defeat and expulsion of the interventionist troops and the domestic counterrevolutionary forces.
Outstanding commanders and heroes were advanced and trained by the party during the Civil War, including V. K. Bliukher, S. M. Budennyi, V. I. Chapaev, M. V. Frunze, I. E. Iakir, G. I. Kotovskii, A. la. Parkhomenko, N. A. Shchors, M. N. Tukhachevskii, I. P. Uborevich, and K. E. Voroshilov. Among the prominent party members who played a leading role in political work in the army were V. A. Antonov-Ovseenko, A. S. Bubnov, S. I. Gusev, S. M. Kirov, S. V. Kosior, V. V. Kuibyshev, A. F. Miasnikov, A. I. Mikoyan, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, G. I. Petrovskii, J. V. Stalin and R. S. Zemliachka. By the end of the Civil War party membership had risen to 732,500 (as of Jan. 1, 1921). Some 300,000 members were in the Red Army, and more than 50,000 had died on the front lines alone. “It was only because of the party’s vigilance and its strict discipline, because the authority of the party united all government departments and institutions, because the slogans issued by the Central Committee were adopted by tens, hundreds, thousands, and finally millions of people as one man, because incredible sacrifices were made—it was only because of all this that the miracle which occurred was made possible. It was only because of all this that we were able to win in spite of the campaigns of the imperialists of the Entente and of the whole world having been repeated twice, thrice, and even four times” (Lenin, Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 40, p. 240).
The RCP(B) stood in the vanguard of the international communist and workers’ movement. It initiated the effort to form the Communist International, whose first congress was held in Moscow on Mar. 2–6, 1919. The party and the Soviet government supported the developing liberation movement of the peoples of other countries in every possible way. In turn, the workers of the capitalist countries supported the Soviet republic and opposed the anti-Soviet military intervention. The RCP(B), led by Lenin, invariably stood for the purity of Marxist-Leninist theory and for the unity of the international communist and workers’ movement. It fought against both right opportunism and “left” deviations, against dogmatism and sectarianism. Just before the opening of the Second Congress of the Comintern in 1920, Lenin wrote the book ”Left-wing” Communism—An Infantile Disorder, in which he summarized the battle-tested strategy and tactics of the Bolshevik party and showed the enormous international significance of the Bolshevik experience. In this book and at the Comintern congress, Lenin sharply criticized the errors of the “left Communists” in the fraternal parties. He armed the international communist and workers’ movement with the only correct strategy and tactics and clarified the immediate tasks faced by communists in every country.
The victories gained from 1917 through 1920 were of worldwide historic importance. The Communist Party led the working class and all working people through incredible difficulties. Individual errors and blunders were made by the party along this arduous route. “But one error it did not commit—it did not surrender power to the bourgeoisie,” the Central Committee later was to note (see Pravda, Mar. 14, 1923).
With the end of the Civil War, the country found itself in extremely difficult circumstances. Hundreds of major industrial enterprises were in ruins, and thousands were closed down because of lack of fuel and raw materials. Transport was in a state of disarray, and the monetary system was completely disorganized. Famine and ruin had produced discontent in a segment of the working class. The working class had been significantly reduced in numbers; many workers had left the cities for the countryside and become declassed. Agriculture had been disrupted: the cultivated area, the yield, and the number of livestock had been reduced. The surplus-requisitioning system, which played an important role during the war, now provoked extreme dissatisfaction among the peasantry under peacetime conditions. In different parts of the country the counterrevolution organized anti-Soviet outbreaks, such as the Antonov revolt, the Kronstadt mutiny (1921), the Makhno movement, and the Basmachi revolt.
Having brought the war to a victorious end, the party concentrated all the efforts of the working people on the rehabilitation of the economy. The Eighth Congress of Soviets in December 1920 devoted special attention to the problems of reviving industry, transport, and agriculture. It approved the plan for GOELRO (State Commission for the Electrification of Russia), the first long-range plan of the Soviet government, a plan that Lenin called the party’s second program.
While mobilizing the working masses for economic revival, the party also paid a great deal of attention to reorganizing its own work and the work of governmental, soviet, and trade union bodies to accord with peacetime conditions. The party rebuffed Trotsky for starting up the trade union controversy in late 1920. Trotsky had proposed a plan to governmentalize the unions and introduce into them the state methods of issuing orders and of dictation. Other opposition groups arose at that time, including the Bukharin “buffer” group, which in fact blended in with the Trotskyists; the “workers’ opposition,” which advocated that the unions take over the economic-organizational functions of the state and the management of the economy; and the “democratic centralism” group, which opposed one-man management and centralism in administering the economy, favoring unlimited collective management instead. The discussion was quite heated and went far beyond the question of the unions: the real dispute was over the leading role of the party within the proletarian dictatorship, relations toward the masses, and the methods of building socialism.
The discussion was dangerous in that it undermined the unity of the party and its leading role in the system of dictatorship by the proletariat and that it could lead to a split in the party. Lenin and his supporters, who were the majority in the Central Committee, put forward a platform directed against the opposition groups. Lenin argued that the leading force in the proletarian state could only be the Communist Party and that all administrative powers dealing with economic development must be in the hands of the Soviet state. The trade union, in Lenin’s view, “is an organization designed to draw in and to train; it is, in fact, a school: a school of administration, a school of economic management, a school of communism” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 42, p. 203). Lenin’s line prevailed.
After hearing a report by Lenin, the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B), held in Moscow on Mar. 8–16, 1921, passed a crucial resolution substituting a tax in kind for the surplus-requisitioning system. The country made a sharp turn from the policy of War Communism to the New Economic Policy (NEP), devised by Lenin and geared toward the entire transition period, toward the building of socialist society under conditions of capitalist encirclement. The NEP was an economic policy aimed at overcoming capitalist elements and building a socialist economy through the use of economic levers—the market, trade, money circulation, profit-and-loss accounting, profits, and economic efficiency. The NEP did lead at first to a revival of capitalist elements, but, with the existence of the dictatorship of the proletariat and with the Soviet state retaining and strengthening the commanding heights of the economy, it actually assured the victory of socialism. The NEP provided the material incentives for an upturn in agriculture and created the conditions needed for a rapid revival of the entire economy. In the new stage of economic development the party’s chief task was to master the entire mechanism of economic, trade, credit, and cooperative-society functioning, while relying on the proletarian dictatorship and the socialist control of the commanding heights of the economy. The party assigned its best workers to the economic front.
The Tenth Congress, in its resolution on the national question, advocated a voluntary state union of Soviet republics and addressed itself to the task of overcoming the economic and cultural backwardness of the formerly oppressed peoples. The trade union controversy was reviewed, and the resolution On the Role and Tasks of the Trade Unions was adopted. The resolution On Party Unity ordered the immediate dissolution of all opposition groups and instructed the party organizations to put an end to any outbreaks of factionalism and to punish all violators of the resolution with measures up to and including expulsion from the party. The congress resolution on party unity became an inviolable principle in the life and work of the Communist Party.
In assessing the way the NEP had been implemented, Lenin stated at the Eleventh Congress of the RCP(B), held in Moscow on Mar. 27-Apr. 2, 1922, that the policy signified a bitter struggle between socialism and capitalism, in which the question “Who will beat whom?” would be answered. He stressed that the country had everything needed to overcome the economic backwardness of Russia and make it an advanced socialist state. The Central Committee plenum held after the congress elected J. V. Stalin as general secretary of the Central Committee of the RCP(B).
The tasks of socialist construction required the strengthening and further development of the alliance of Soviet peoples. The voluntary unification of sovereign Soviet republics into a single, multinational socialist state was dictated by the entire course of their economic, political, and cultural development. The question of what form the unification of the republics should take was discussed and worked out in the Central Committee. Guided by the decisions of the Tenth Congress on the national question, the party organizations in the national republics explained to the working people the vital necessity for unification into a single, multinational Soviet state. The substantiation of the idea of the new state association of national Soviet republics on principles of voluntary entry and equal rights was the work of Lenin. He criticized the idea of “autonomization,” that is, that all the independent Soviet republics would join the RSFSR with rights of autonomy. The October 1922 plenum of the party’s Central Committee approved a new draft resolution on the unification of the Soviet republics, which had been introduced in accordance with Lenin’s instructions. From October through December 1922, plenums of the central committees of the Communist parties of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia expressed themselves in favor of the formation of a union of Soviet socialist republics.
On Dec. 30, 1922, the First Congress of Soviets of the USSR was held. It reviewed and approved the Declaration on the Formation of the USSR and also the Treaty on the Formation of the USSR. The first constitution of the USSR was drafted, being approved by the Second Congress of Soviets of the USSR on Jan. 31, 1924. The formation of the USSR was a triumph of the party’s Leninist nationalities policy and opened up unheard-of opportunities for the social, economic, and cultural progress of the peoples of the Soviet land.
At the Fourth Congress of the Comintern in 1922, Lenin gave a report entitled “Five Years of the Russian Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revolution,” in which he stressed the international importance of the consolidation of socialism in the USSR. On Nov. 20, 1922, he gave a speech to deputies of the Moscow Soviet in which he expressed his firm conviction that “NEP Russia will become socialist Russia” (ibid., vol. 45, p. 309). This was his last public speech. In November 1922 he was taken seriously ill but continued to direct the party’s Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars. From December 1922 to March 1923 he dictated his last articles, “Pages From a Diary,” “On Cooperation,” “Our Revolution,” “Better Fewer, But Better,” and “How We Should Reorganize the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection,” and his last letters, including “Letter to the Congress” and “The Question of Nationalities or ’Autonomization’.” Lenin completed a plan for building socialism in the USSR; the plan envisaged the industrialization of the country, the socialist transformation of agriculture by merging individual peasant farms into cooperatives, and the completion of a cultural revolution. In his view, the decisive condition for putting the plan into effect was unity in the party ranks and the strengthening of the socialist state and its armed forces. The plan was the basis of all subsequent policies of the party and the Soviet government.
The Twelfth Congress of the Party, held in Moscow on Apr. 17–25, 1923, discussed the development of industry, agriculture, and trade; improvement of the party and state apparatus; and the national question. Following Lenin’s suggestions, the congress merged the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection with the Central Control Commission and charged the new body with the task of strengthening party unity and improving the party and state apparatus.
In 1923 the Trotskyists resumed their struggle within the party. In October 1923 the party Central Committee received the declaration of the 46, signed by Trotskyists, democratic centralists, and remnants of the “left Communist” and workers’ opposition groups. The declaration contained attacks on the party apparatus and demanded freedom to form factions and groupings. The joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of Oct. 25–27, 1923, condemned the “platform of the 46.” The Thirteenth Conference of the RCP(B), the Thirteenth Congress of the party (held in Moscow on May 23–31, 1924), and the Fifth Congress of the Comintern (1924) all characterized Trotskyism as a departure from Leninism and an open expression of petit bourgeois deviation.
On Jan. 21, 1924, Vladimir Il’ich Lenin died. An extraordinary plenum of the party’s Central Committee adopted an appeal “To the Party, to All Working People.” The Central Committee announced the “Lenin enrollment,” to recruit workers to the party. More than 240,000 front-rank workers joined the party’s ranks in 1924. (See Figure 7.) The party took a solemn vow to fulfill the behests of Lenin.
To create favorable external conditions for the rehabilitation of the economy, the party consistently carried out Lenin’s peace-oriented foreign policy and put into practice the principle of peaceful coexistence of states with differing social systems. The Soviet government persistently tried to establish and develop foreign diplomatic and trade relations. As a result, over the span from 1920 to 1925 the majority of capitalist countries granted recognition to the USSR. A number of mutually advantageous political and trade agreements were signed with various states.
The NEP had succeeded in reviving the economy as early as 1925. In 1926 the economy regained the prewar level and by 1927, that is, within the first decade of Soviet power, major transformations in all spheres of political, economic, and cultural life had taken place. The country was entering a new stage of historical development. In this regard, the question of the prospects of further development and of the possibility of building socialism in the USSR became especially topical. Trotsky and his confederates tried to argue that under conditions of capitalist encirclement, without victorious socialist revolutions in the major European capitalist countries and without state support from the proletariat of those countries, it would be impossible to build socialism in the USSR. The party condemned Trotsky’s capitulationism. The Fourteenth Congress of the RCP(B), held in Moscow on Dec. 18–31, 1925, basing itself on Lenin’s plan for building socialism in the USSR, set its course toward the socialist industrialization of the country. It condemned the “new opposition” of Kamenev and Zinoviev, which followed Trotsky in opposing the Leninist course directed toward the victory of socialism in one country. At the Fourteenth Congress the party took the new name All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)—ACP(B).
Toward the summer of 1926 the members of the “new opposition” and other opposition groups defeated by the party united with the Trotskyists to form the Trotskyist-Zinovievist antiparty bloc, which denied the possibility of building socialism in the USSR. Its leaders took the road of creating their own separate party. During the discussion (autumn 1927) preceding the Fifteenth Congress the oppositionists suffered total defeat: 724,000 party members voted for the policies of the Central Committee of the ACP(B), and only some 4,000 (less than 1 percent) voted for the platform of the opposition. Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the party.
The Fifteenth Congress of the ACP(B), held in Moscow on Dec. 2–19, 1927, marked out the course that socialist construction would take in the country and adopted the directives for the preparation of the first five-year plan of economic development. Basing itself on Lenin’s cooperative plan, the congress charted a course toward extensive collectivization of agriculture in the USSR. The congress noted that the Trotskyist-Zinovievist anti-party opposition had broken ideologically with Leninism and had become an instrument of class enemies in their struggle against the party and Soviet power. Belonging to the Trotskyist opposition or propagating its views was declared incompatible with membership in the party. The congress expelled from the party many members of the Trotskyist-Zinovievist bloc and of other antiparty groups.
Socialist construction in town and country proceeded under conditions of intensified class struggle. After the ideological and organizational defeat of Trotskyism and other opposition groupings, differences appeared in the party in 1928 on questions of policy in the countryside and on the rate of industrialization. The right opportunist group of Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky took shape, demanding a slower rate of industrialization, opposing the campaign to collectivize agriculture, and favoring a halt in the extreme measures used against the kulaks. The Central Committee plenum of Nov. 16–24, 1928, the joint plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of Apr. 16–23, 1929, and the Sixteenth Conference of the ACP(B) of Apr. 23–29, 1929, condemned the stand of the right opportunist group. The November 1929 plenum of the Central Committee declared propagation of the views of the right-wing opportunists incompatible with continued membership in the party.
The Sixteenth Conference of the party adopted the first five-year plan (1929–32) of economic development in the USSR. The purpose of the plan was to lay the foundations of the socialist economy and to continue to squeeze out capitalist elements, with a view to their complete elimination. The plan envisaged the industrialization of the country and the collectivization of peasant farming. The drafting of the first five-year plan was an extremely complex task: neither the party nor the government had any experience in such long-range planning. It is to the CPSU’s credit that it began to implement Lenin’s idea of socialist industrialization in good time, worked out new techniques of industrialization, found new sources of investment capital (internal accumulation, strict economizing), and aroused tremendous enthusiasm within the working class, which put forward the slogan “The five-year plan in four years!” Industrialization provided the material and technical base for socialism, served as the key to the modernization of all sectors of the economy, and increased the economic independence and defense capacity of the state. Capitalist encirclement and the threat of intervention dictated rapid rates of industrial development. The country was industrialized on a scale unprecedented in history.
In the latter half of 1929 a mass kolkhoz movement began in the countryside, resulting in all-out collectivization in the grain-growing regions. The entire preceding work of the party in the countryside had paved the way for this. On Jan. 5, 1930, the Central Committee adopted the resolution on the Rate of Collectivization and State Measures to Assist Kolkhoz Development which established the policy of completing collectivization in the main by the end of the five-year plan and which set up deadlines for completion in various regions. Construction of tractor and agricultural-machinery plants was accelerated, machine-tractor stations were established, the surveying and demarcation of kolkhoz lands were carried out, kolkhoz cadres were trained at state expense, and credit was provided to the kolkhozes. The resolution embodied the policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class on the basis of solid collectivization.
Collectivization was a new and untried course. To win over the petty proprietors, it was necessary to overcome their age-old habits, change their psychology, and convince them of the advantages of the new way of life. The attention of all party, government, trade union, and Komsomol organizations in 1930 was fixed on collectivization. Many members of the ACP(B) Central Committee and a substantial number of party and government activists were assigned to the countryside. The Dvadtsatipiatitsiachniki (Twenty-five Thousanders), 25,000 front-rank workers, both party and nonparty, were sent from the cities on permanent assignment to the kolkhozes.
A January resolution of the Central Committee demanded strict observance of the voluntary principle in organizing kolkhozes and warned against any attempt to “decree” this process from above. But this Leninist requirement was not observed in many cases. Collectivization was artificially accelerated and the principle of voluntary entry into kolkhozes was violated, especially with regard to the middle peasant. The enemies of Soviet power, particularly the kulaks, were not slow in taking advantage of the situation. The Central Committee took decisive measures to correct these errors and excesses as rapidly as possible. On Mar. 2, 1930, Stalin’s article “Dizzy With Success” was published by a decision of the Central Committee Politburo, and on Mar. 14, 1930, the Central Committee adopted a special resolution, On Measures to Combat the Distortions of the Party Line in the Kolkhoz Movement. As a result of the measures taken to correct errors and excesses in organizing kolkhozes, 21.4 percent of peasant households had joined kolkhozes by August 1930 and 52.7 percent by June 1931. The kolkhoz system was establishing itself in the countryside. Large-scale agriculture was being created, mechanization had begun, and the kolkhozes were being strengthened economically and organizationally.
The Sixteenth Congress of the ACP(B), held in Moscow on June 26-July 13, 1930, was the congress that signaled the full-scale offensive of socialism along the whole front. It noted that the Soviet Union had entered the period of socialism and that the socialist sector had already predominated in the economy. The successful completion of the first five-year plan, at a time when a world economic crisis of unprecedented proportions was raging in the capitalist countries, was striking proof of the superiority of the socialist economic system over capitalism.
The Seventeenth Congress of the ACP(B), held in Moscow on Jan. 26-Feb. 10, 1934, assessed the results of the first five-year plan, which was completed ahead of schedule, and approved the second five-year plan for the development of the national economy of the USSR from 1933 to 1937. The second plan was carried out under conditions of sharply increased tensions on the international arena and the rising danger of a new world war: fascism came to power in Germany (January 1933) and Japan invaded China. The party and the Soviet government consistently pursued a foreign policy of peace, supported the victims of imperialist aggression, and provided substantial aid, including arms, to the Chinese people and later to the Spanish and other peoples waging just wars against imperialist aggressors. The ACP(B), together with the fraternal Communist parties, stood in the vanguard of the fight against fascism and the danger of war. In July and August 1935 the Seventh Congress of the Comintern was held in Moscow, with representation from the Communist parties of 65 countries. It called for a struggle against fascism on the basis of a popular antifascist front and for the creation of an anti-imperialist united front.
During the second five-year plan, as in the first, economic and political successes were achieved through the energetic activity of party organizations, the tremendous enthusiasm of the workers and kolkhoz farmers, and the massive socialist competition drive expressed in the “innovators” movement (including the Stakhanovite movement) for higher labor productivity.
As the gigantic process of economic and cultural construction unfolded, the CPSU raised the level of its political and organizational activity. The party organizations worked to strengthen the role of the soviet bodies and the efficiency of leadership at all levels of the state and economic apparatus.
Having analyzed the results of the two completed five-year plans, the party reached the conclusion that the chief tasks of the transition period from capitalism to socialism had been accomplished and that the Soviet Union had become an industrially and agriculturally advanced socialist world power. In industrial capacity the USSR had achieved first place in Europe and second in the world, after the United States. ”The industrialization of the USSR was a great exploit performed by the working class and the people as a whole, for they spared no effort or means and consciously made sacrifices to lift the country out of its backward state” (Programma KPSS, 1972, p. 13). The working peasantry, which had built the kolkhoz system with the help of the working class and under Communist leadership, had accomplished a great revolution in economic relations and in the whole way of life in the countryside.
A new, socialist economy had been built in the USSR, with socialist production relations established in both town and country. State property (the property of all the people) and cooperative-kolkhoz property accounted for 98.7 percent of all productive capacity in the country by the end of the second five-year plan.
The exploiting classes were eliminated, and the causative factors that give rise to exploitation of man by man were completely eradicated. New classes were formed—the Soviet working class and kolkhoz peasantry, which had been freed from exploitation, and the new, people’s intelligentsia, which had arisen from among the workers and peasants. The social, political, and ideological unity of Soviet society had been achieved.
Thus, by following the path indicated by Lenin, the Communist Party led the Soviet people to the victory of socialism.
During the building of socialist society a cultural revolution was successfully carried out. It consisted essentially in the creation of a multinational socialist culture, the progress of public education, and the dissemination of communist ideology, all of which served as the basis for the organization of the entire cultural life of the people. It also involved the overcoming of petit bourgeois views and customs and the training of cadres from among the workers and peasants who would be capable of accomplishing the complex party, government, and economic tasks of socialist construction. The party exerted tremendous efforts to achieve these aims. Over 20 years of Soviet power, illiteracy was completely eliminated. The cultural and technical level of the workers and peasants rose to a great height. Millions of engineers and specialists in all branches of science and technology were trained in a short time.
Soviet science made a great leap forward in its development. Scientists and intellectuals from among the Soviet people successfully mastered Marxist-Leninist theory. In the 1920’s and especially in the 1930’s a new, multinational Soviet literature and art arose and developed. Socialist realism became the central method of Soviet literature and art, which were characterized by narodnost’, ideinost’, and partiinost’ (close ties with the people, a high ideological level, and party spirit). Soviet literature and art became important as a means of the communist education to the masses. The party’s work in developing public education, science, literature, and art assured the blossoming of a culture that was national in form and socialist in content. The greatest achievement of the cultural revolution was that millions of working people acquired a socialist world outlook. Religious belief within the population declined sharply, and many superstitions and survivals of the past died away.
In the process of building socialism the party successfully carried out the Leninist program on the national question. All of the country’s nationalities, great and small, developed their own national system of statehood. The economic and cultural backwardness of many peoples was overcome. Previously backward outlying areas of the Russian Empire were transformed into industrially developed republics. Substantial material aid was provided to them, including large investment capital to speed up the development of their industry, agriculture, and culture. Some peoples who, before the revolution, were in the stage of feudalism or even of patriarchal tribalism were able to bypass capitalism and achieve socialism. Dozens of formerly backward nationalities acquired a written language of their own for the first time during the Soviet period and trained their native working-class cadres and native intelligentsia.
Important milestones in the further resolution of national problems were the unification of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Moldavian peoples into single republics in 1939–40 and the reestablishment of Soviet power in the Baltic republics and their entry into the USSR. Under Soviet power, new, socialist nations were formed and fraternal cooperation among all the country’s peoples became solid and lasting. During socialist construction, socialist democracy underwent further development, which was embodied in the USSR’s second constitution, adopted on Dec. 5, 1936. This constitution of victorious socialism gave legal expression to the fundamental political, social, and economic changes in the country.
Among those who played a significant role in winning the victory of socialism—in industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, the cultural revolution, and the strengthening of the international influence and military might of the USSR—were the following leading figures in party, government, military, and public life: A. A. Andreev, V. la. Chubar’, F. E. Dzerzhinsky,
M. Gorky, M. I. Kalinin, S. M. Kirov, S. V. Kosior, V. V. Kuibyshev, M. M. Litvinov, A. V. Lunacharsky, D. Z. Manuil’skii, A. I. Mikoyan, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, G. I. Petrovskii, P. P. Postyshev, la. E. Rudzutak, N. M. Shvernik, J. V. Stalin, K. E. Voroshilov, and A. A. Zhdanov. The party and the Soviet people, who were the first to blaze humanity’s trail to socialism, had to overcome enormous difficulties. The clearing away of an age-old economic, technical, and cultural backwardness and the building of a new life had to be done under conditions of bitter opposition by the class enemies. The Soviet state, like a besieged fortress, was encircled by capitalist states and faced the constant threat of imperialist aggression.
The victory of socialism in the USSR was a great exploit of the party and people, a triumph of Leninism. “As a result of the devoted labor of the Soviet people and the theoretical and practical activities of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, there exists in the world a socialist society that is a reality and a science of socialist construction that has been tested in practice” (ibid., p. 19).
The party’s struggle to consolidate the victory of socialism and build a developed socialist society. In the late 1930’s the USSR entered a new stage of development: the consolidation of victorious socialism and the gradual transition to communism. The Eighteenth Congress of the ACP(B), held in Moscow on Mar. 10–21, 1939, approved the third five-year plan for development of the national economy (1938–42). The party’s efforts were devoted to extending and strengthening the material and technical base of socialism, improving socialist production relations, raising the living and cultural standards of the working people, and expanding and intensifying political and educational work among the masses. The congress made certain amendments in the party Rules. With the changed class structure of Soviet society, the classification of applicants for party membership according to their social status was abandoned and a common probationary period was established for all seeking admission to the party. Mass purges of the party were abolished. Party organizations in industrial enterprises, kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and machine-tractor stations were granted the right to check and verify the work of the management.
The third five-year plan was being carried out when World War II began. Taking the developing situation into account, the party implemented crucial measures to strengthen the country’s defense capacity: the rate of development in the defense industry was speeded up, special people’s commissariats were established in the aviation, armaments, ammunition, and shipbuilding industries in early 1939, and the Soviet armed forces were now made up wholly of regular troops and their numerical strength was increased.
The Eighteenth All-Union Conference of the ACP(B), held in Moscow on Feb. 15–20, 1941, was of major importance in accelerating the development of socialist industry, especially those sectors on which the defense capacity of the state depended. The Soviet government repeatedly attempted to create a system of collective security in Europe in order to bar the road to war. Although it proved impossible to prevent the war, the foreignpolicy measures of the Soviet government did lay the groundwork for the rise of an anti-Hitler coalition of states, which became one of the main conditions of victory over the fascist aggressors.
On the eve of the Great Patriotic War the USSR was a mighty industrial-agricultural power: under the five-year plans 9,000 major industrial enterprises had been built. Gross industrial output in 1940 was 7.7 times greater than in 1913, with production of the means of production being 15.5 times greater. Gross output in the machine-building and metalworking industries (especially important for increasing defense capacity) exceeded that of prerevolutionary Russia by 35 times. The Soviet people had closely rallied around their Communist Party.
Through the heroic efforts of the party and the Soviet people a vast military and economic potential had been created, and the material and spiritual forces were made available to repulse aggression.
The war unleashed upon the Soviet Union by fascist Germany on June 22, 1941, was the greatest military conflict in world history. The aim of the German fascists was to destroy the world’s first socialist state. In the early stage of the war the enemy’s numerically superior forces, armed with the most modern military equipment, drove a deep wedge into Soviet territory and forced the Soviet Army to retreat. The Communist Party summoned the peoples of the USSR to wage a patriotic war against the invaders.
On June 29, 1941, a special directive from the Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars was sent to all party and soviet organizations. It contained a program for the mobilization of all the forces of the party and Soviet people and all the resources of the country to combat the enemy. This program was subsequently presented by the head of the Soviet government, Stalin, in his radio speech of July 3. It included an analysis of the international and military situation, revealed the piratical and predatory aims of German imperialism, and defined the tasks of the people and the party in the Patriotic War. The party issued a call to the Soviet people: “All for the front! All for victory!” On June 30, 1941, the State Defense Committee, headed by Stalin, was created. All power in the Soviet Union was vested in the committee, which directed all military, economic, and political activity.
The party concentrated on expanding and strengthening the armed forces. By the end of 1941 there were 1,300,000 Communists in the army, more than 40 percent of the total party membership. Many Central Committee members were assigned to military work, as were many secretaries of the All-Union Central Committee, of the Union republic central committees, and of krai, oblast, raion, and city party committees. They became members of the military councils of various fronts or armies, as in the case of L. I. Brezhnev, A. P. Kirilenko, A. A. Kuznetsov, P. K. Ponomarenko, and M. A. Suslov, or joined the political sections of military units.
On the initiative of local party organizations dozens of divisions and hundreds of people’s militia regiments and assault battalions were formed. The party organized and led the partisan war in the enemy’s rear. The party Central Committee on July 18, 1941, adopted the resolution On the Organization of the Struggle in the Rear of the German Forces.
Under the exceptionally difficult conditions of the first months of the war, the CPSU led and carried out the rapid reorganization of the country and the economy along military lines. A vast effort was made by the party and government to relocate industry and the population from the front-line regions to the Soviet East. From July through November 1941 some 1,360 large plants and 10 million people were relocated.
The CPSU mobilized all governmental, economic, and public organizations to create a well-coordinated military economy, capable of providing the front with everything needed for victory. The production of the latest military equipment, weapons, and ammunition was sharply increased. The party organizations of the Urals, the Volga Region, Western Siberia, Uzbekistan, and other eastern regions were particularly resolute in achieving higher production levels; they devoted much attention to increasing the scope of capital construction, with 2,250 major industrial plants being constructed in these regions from 1942 to 1944. The working class and collective farmers did exemplary work in raising labor productivity, showing a high level of labor discipline and socialist consciousness. Despite the enormous material losses, the entire Soviet people placed full confidence in its leadership, the Leninist party, and heroically fought and labored for the good of their country. The CPSU paid much attention to political and educational work among the troops and among the workers on the home front, teaching them to be firm and steadfast, ever ready to perform feats of heroism for the sake of victory and to maintain iron discipline and a burning hatred for the foe.
Among the prominent party figures providing leadership in the most important state, party, and military sectors were A. A. Andreev, Em. Iaroslavskii, M. I. Kalinin, A. N. Kosygin, O. V. Kuusinen, D. Z. Manuil’skii, A. I. Mikoyan, A. S. Shcherbakov, N. M. Shvernik, N. A. Voznesenskii, and A. A. Zhdanov.
Among the people’s commissars who dealt with the problems of production, including military equipment and ammunition, metals, and fuel, and the organization of war industry and the supply system for the front were A. I. Efremov, A. N. Goremykin, V. A. Malyshev, M. G. Pervukhin, A. I. Shakhurin, I. F. Tevosian, D. F. Ustinov, V. V. Vakhrushev, B. L. Vannikov, and A. G. Zverev.
Even in the first stage of the war, battles unfolded all along the Soviet-German front on an unprecedented scale: the battle of Smolensk; the heroic defenses of Kiev, Odessa, and Sevastopol’; and the battles of Leningrad and Moscow. The Soviet troops, who were on the defensive, fought for every inch of Soviet soil and managed through their heroic resistance to exhaust the enemy’s strength and to prepare the way for an eventual counter-offensive. The rout of the German fascist forces near Moscow was the decisive military and political event of the first year of the Great Patriotic War and the first major defeat of the German Army in World War II. The Hitler blitzkrieg plan was frustrated and the myth of the “invincibility” of the German army dispelled.
Nevertheless, the military situation continued to be extremely serious, especially in mid-1942. The enemy seized vast territories and broke through toward the Volga and to the foothills of the Caucasus. The party, the army, and the people exerted all their strength to stop and smash the fascist troops. The partisan war led by the party was extended and strengthened. The Central Partisan Staff was established by the State Defense Committee on May 30, 1942, with local partisan staffs in the Union republics and RSFSR oblasts occupied by the enemy. Underground central committees were set up in the Ukraine and Byelorussia for the CP(B) of the Ukraine and the CP(B) of Byelorussia; dozens of underground party committees were organized in the oblasts and hundreds of them in raions and cities. Functioning under their leadership were many underground party and Komsomol organizations, such as the Young Guard in the Donbas, the Liudinovo underground Komsomol group in Kaluga Oblast, the People’s Guard in the Ukraine, and the Partisan Spark in Nikolaev Oblast.
In 1942 the historic battle on the Volga and the battle for the Caucasus unfolded. The victory in the gigantic battle of Stalingrad in 1942–43 marked a crucial turning point in the Great Patriotic War and in World War II as a whole. It had enormous international significance.
During the war the anti-Hitler coalition headed by the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain took shape and grew strong. The struggle of the Soviet people merged with the liberation struggles of the peoples of Europe.
After the battle of Kursk in 1943 and the battle for the Dnieper the strategic initiative was wrested from the enemy once and for all, and a massive drive began to expel the invaders from Soviet territory. The Soviet Army had the military support of the partisan movement, which was led by the Communist Party and which in 1943 had as many as a million armed partisans. In 1944 the Great Patriotic War entered its culminating stage as Soviet territory was cleared of the enemy. In mid-1944 the great liberation campaign of the Soviet Army to the West began. The party and Soviet government set themselves the following aims: to free the peoples of Europe from the fascist invaders and to help reestablish independent national states; to guarantee the liberated peoples full freedom in deciding how to organize their own political and social life; to punish those chiefly responsible for the war; to preclude any possibility of new aggression on the part of Germany; and to establish lasting cooperation among the peoples of Europe after the war.
The Soviet Army assisted the European peoples in driving the Hitlerites from their lands. In pursuit of the German fascist troops, the Soviet Army entered German territory from the east while the Allied troops developed a strong offensive from the west.
On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally, and on Sept. 2, 1945, the Soviet and Allied troops forced Japan to surrender unconditionally.
The Soviet Union and its armed forces played the decisive role in defeating fascist Germany and imperialist Japan. The Soviet people, led by the Communist Party, defended their homeland, delivered the European peoples from fascist enslavement, aided the Chinese and other Asian peoples in their battle against the Japanese imperialists, and freed all the peoples of the world from the threat of subjugation by fascism. The Soviet victory over fascism was not only military but economic, political, and ideological as well. It was a victory of the socialist system, the most progressive in the world, over the reactionary forces of fascism.
The inspirer and organizer of the Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War was the Communist Party. During the war years, 5,319,297 persons became candidates for membership, and 3,615,451 became party members. More than 5 million soldiers joined the Komsomol during the war. By the end of the war the number of Communists in the army had risen to 3,325,000. Thus, 60 percent of all party members fought at the front (see Figure 8). The CPSU was truly a combat party. Some 3 million Communists died in the front lines.
Among the commanders of the army and fleet, 80 percent were Communists or Komsomol members. They were a model of courage and heroism at the war front and at the home front. Among the troops awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union in the war years, 65 percent were Communists, and of those awarded orders and medals, about 50 percent were Communists or Komsomol members.
The party trained and promoted a brilliant constellation of military commanders, including I. D. Cherniakhovskii, V. I. Chuikov, I. S. Konev, R. la. Malinovskii, K. A. Meretskov, K. K. Rokossovskii, V. D. Sokolovskii, S. K. Timoshenko, F. I. Tolbukhin, A. M. Vasilevskii, N. F. Vatutin, N. N. Voronov, and G. K. Zhukov.
The Soviet victory affected the entire course of world development. During and especially after World War II, movements for democracy and national liberation became a mighty force and the world colonial system of imperialism began to collapse. In Europe and Asia, 11 states broke away from the capitalist system. The CPSU made a great contribution to the creation and consolidation of the socialist camp and to the formation of the world socialist system.
However, the imperialists sought to bar the victorious march of socialism and democracy and to weaken the revolutionary impact of the USSR upon the development of world history. The ruling circles in the United States and Great Britain began a policy of operating “from positions of strength” and unleashed the Cold War. The United States threatened the world with nuclear war, formed an aggressive military bloc in 1949 (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and surrounded the USSR with military bases. The Communist Party and Soviet government took measures to further strenghten the nation’s defenses. The USSR developed its own thermonuclear weapons, and the US monopoly on such weapons was broken.
At the same time the party promoted a program of struggle for peace, and the Soviet government utilized the United Nations for the same purpose.
In the midst of this complex international situation, the CPSU mobilized the Soviet people to rebuild the economy, a task accomplished on a vast scale. The war had done the country almost incalculable damage. Some 20 million Soviet citizens were killed. The material losses came to approximately 2.6 trillion rubles (in prewar prices). In 1946 the fourth five-year plan (1946–50) was adopted, a plan for rebuilding and expanding the economy. Its goals were to rebuild the areas devastated by the war and to restore and then far surpass the prewar level in industry and agriculture. In a short time, through their own efforts and resources and without outside assistance, the Soviet people rebuilt the war-ravaged economy and provided for its further development. Hundreds of towns, tens of thousands of villages, and thousands of factories, kolkhozes, and sovkhozes arose from the ruins. This was a great labor exploit of the Soviet people, led by the CPSU. As early as the end of 1948 the prewar level of industrial output had been attained, but agriculture revived quite slowly; conditions in the country, especially the food and housing situations, were still very difficult.
The Nineteenth Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Oct. 5–14, 1952, reviewed more than 13 years of party work and the country’s political, economic, and cultural development (the Eighteenth Congress having been held in March 1939). This was a period crowded with events of worldwide historic importance. The congress surveyed the alignment of class forces in the world arena—the two main sociopolitical camps in the world, socialist and capitalist. It approved the directives for the fifth five-year plan (1951–55) for economic development, and it resolved that the ACP (B) should henceforth be named the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The Central Committee and the Soviet government began to carry out extremely important political, economic, and ideological measures to strengthen the Soviet state and social system, promote economic growth, and raise the people’s standard of living.
In directing the implementation of the fifth five-year plan, the party paid special attention to agriculture, which had developed slowly in the postwar period. Party and government resolutions, such as that of the Central Committee plenum (September 1953) entitled Measures for the Further Development of Agriculture in the USSR and that of the February-March 1954 plenum entitled On Further Increasing Grain Production in the Country and Developing Virgin and Disused Lands, presented important measures for developing agriculture, above all in grain production and livestock raising.
The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Feb. 14–25, 1956, surveyed the results of the fifth five-year plan. The USSR had greatly surpassed the prerevolutionary level of economic development and exceeded the 1940 level by 3.2 times. Directives for the sixth five-year plan (1956–60) for development of the USSR national economy were approved. The congress was a major event in the life of the party. It shed light on many fundamental problems of domestic and international development. Its resolutions presented an analysis of the contemporary international situation and the prospects of world development and defined the tasks of the CPSU in the sphere of international relations and Soviet foreign policy.
The congress gave concrete expression to a number of important conclusions and propositions on implementing the Leninist principle of peaceful coexistence between states with different social systems at the present stage, on the possibility of preventing world wars, and on the diversity of forms in the transition of different countries from capitalism to socialism.
At the Twentieth Congress a comprehensive analysis was made of the lessons of Stalin’s personality cult. The cult of Stalin (he died on Mar. 5, 1953) had become very widespread, especially in the latter part of his life. The congress proposed that the Central Committee take consistent measures to overcome completely the cult of personality, so alien to Marxism-Leninism. The Central Committee resolution of June 30, 1956, On Overcoming the Personality Cult and Its Consequences, explained the causes that had given rise to the personality cult, its manifestations and consequences.
The causes lay in the difficult external and domestic conditions under which socialist construction was being carried out and in subjective factors connected with J. V. Stalin’s personal qualities. As the Central Committee resolution stressed, the personality cult could not and did not change the socialist nature of the Soviet social system.
The party Central Committee and local organizations accomplished important work to restore and promote Lenin’s standards of party and government life and the principles of collective leadership, of inner-party life, and of Soviet democracy. Decisive steps were taken to put an end to violations of socialist legality. After thoroughgoing examination, all honest workers who had earlier been unjustly condemned were rehabilitated. Participation of the working people in running state affairs broadened, and the role of the soviets and trade unions in economic and cultural development increased.
The CPSU exerted much effort to strengthen the world socialist system and vigorously promoted the development of the worldwide communist and workers’ movement. In Moscow in November 1957 a declaration on the most important problems of development in the world revolutionary process was adopted at a conference of delegates of Communist and workers’ parties from the socialist countries. In that same month the Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties’, with representatives from 64 countries, approved the declaration and adopted the Peace Manifesto. The conference demonstrated the ideological and political unity of the Marxist-Leninist parties and of the international communist movement.
In November 1960 the next Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties was held in Moscow, with delegations from 81 countries participating, out of a total of 87 countries with Communist parties (having a total membership of 36 million). The conference adopted a declaration defining the present epoch, the main content of which is the transition from capitalism to socialism ushered in by the Great October Socialist Revolution. It is the epoch of struggle between two world systems—socialism and capitalism; the epoch of socialist and national-liberation revolutions, of the collapse of imperialism, and of the elimination of the colonial system; the epoch in which ever more new countries are taking the road of socialism. At the center of this epoch stands the working class and the product of its efforts—the world socialist system. The conference formulated the principles of cooperation among the Marxist-Leninist parties and called for a struggle against revisionism and left sectarianism and for the strengthening of the world communist movement on the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
By the end of the 1950’s the material and technical base of socialism had been extended and strengthened, major successes had been achieved in developing and perfecting socialist production relations, and the process of building up the social, political, and ideological unity of Soviet society was under way. The alliance of the working class and kolkhoz peasantry was likewise being consolidated, as was the friendship of the peoples of the USSR, who were drawing together economically and culturally.
Important successes were achieved in developing Soviet science and technology and applying scientific and technical advances in the economy. In 1958, the USSR had some 3,200 scientific institutions and more than 280,000 scientific personnel, including more than 100,000 holders of doctoral or candidates’ degrees in science. The party focused the attention of scientists on solving the most important scientific and technical problems, strengthening the ties between science and production, and enhancing the role of science in solving problems of socialist construction. Soviet scientists made major discoveries in physics, mathematics, biology, and many other branches of knowledge. They developed jet aircraft and intercontinental missiles. The most striking indicator of scientific and technical progress in the Soviet Union was the launching of the world’s first artificial earth satellite on Oct. 4, 1957. The sciences of automation and remote control, electronics, and the peaceful uses of atomic energy were developed apace and found wide application. Success in economic development and the outstanding advances in science strengthened the defense capacity of the Soviet land and made it possible to equip the Soviet armed forces with the most modern types of arms. No outside force was any longer able to smash socialism or to restore the capitalist system in the Soviet homeland.
The Extraordinary Twenty-first Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Jan. 27-Feb. 5, 1959, drew an important conclusion, based on the profound analysis of the country’s historical development—that socialism had won out completely and finally in the USSR. This was the main result of the magnificent achievements of the Soviet people and its party over a 40-year period.
During the whole period when the Soviet Union was the only socialist country, encircled by capitalism, and during the first decade of the world socialist system’s existence, when socialist production relations had not yet been consolidated in the people’s democracies, the primary concern of the CPSU was to maintain and fortify the positions of world socialism against incursions by the aggressive forces of imperialism. Fulfilling its international duty, the CPSU at that time focused the efforts of the Soviet people on the main task, which was strengthening the economic and defensive might of the Soviet land and of the entire world socialist system. The Soviet people were forced to deny themselves many things in order to accomplish this task. For the three decades beginning in the mid-1920’s, when the Soviet people, led by the party, began the struggle to industrialize the country, the better part of the national income was devoted to speeding up the rate of development of heavy industry. The Soviet state was unable to apportion sufficient resources not only for light industry and housing but even for agriculture. In the mid-1950’s the Soviet state was able to allocate more funds to their development. Much work was done to cultivate virgin and disused lands.
Through such party policies the material and technical base of socialism in the USSR had been so strengthened by the end of the 1950’s that the Soviet Union had become a mighty and invincible force, a reliable bulwark for the security of world socialism as a whole. The Soviet Union’s economic might and defensive power provided a sure guarantee against any attempts by world imperialism to restore capitalism. This guarantee is the essence of the final and complete victory of socialism in the USSR, as affirmed by the Twenty-first Congress of the CPSU, and of the final victory of socialism in terms of a world socialist system, as was stated by the Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties of 1960.
The Soviet Union’s prospects for a further advance toward communism and the primary trends along this line were the questions that confronted the CPSU in their entirety. The Twenty-first Congress posed the practical task of building the material and technological basis for communist society. The seventh national economic development plan (1959–65) was projected as a major step toward this end.
The CPSU—directing force in the advanced socialist society of the USSR. For three decades after the building of socialism in the 1930’s, Soviet society developed upon that foundation and achieved major successes in all spheres of life.
The party projected the route to be followed in building communist society in the Soviet Union in its third program, adopted by the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Oct. 17–31, 1961. The CPSU program is the product of the collective thought of the party and of its Central Committee, the result of profound theoretical analysis and summarization of the world-historic experience of building socialism in the USSR and in the other countries of the socialist community and of observing the most important political, economic, and ideological processes under way in the contemporary world. It marks a new stage in the development of Marxist-Leninist theory. The program adopted by the congress defines the three main interconnected trends of development in building communism in the USSR: creating the material and technological basis for communism, transforming socialist social relations into communist relations, and molding a new type of man—the active builder and industrious member of communist society.
Thus began the struggle of the Soviet people to put the third party program into practice.
With the general advance of the economy, it became clear that the methods of planning and the economic incentives then in use no longer corresponded to the new, higher level of development of productive forces but had begun to retard their development. The administration of the various sectors of industry was fragmented by dispersal among numerous economic regions (by the sovnarkhozy [councils of the economy], formed in 1957); unity of policy on technical matters had broken down, and technological progress was hampered. The October 1964 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU exposed and condemned subjectivism and voluntarism in solving economic problems. The plenum released N. S. Khrushchev from the posts he held (first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee since 1953 and chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers since 1958). L. I. Brezhnev was elected first secretary of the Central Committee (since 1966, general secretary), and A. N. Kosygin was appointed chairman of the Council of Ministers by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.
The party concentrated on the fundamental problems of improving economic relations in Soviet society, especially the system for managing the national economy and for planning and stimulating production. Much attention was paid to perfecting the socialist principle of distribution and improving the organization of wage payments. At the Central Committee plenum of March 1965 and again at the July 1970 plenum, urgent measures for further developing agriculture were worked out and approved: increasing capital investment, establishing a fixed procurement plan and raising procurement prices for farm produce, and introducing guaranteed monthly monetary payments for kolkhoz workers (by a May 1966 decision of the party Central Committee and the Council of Ministers). The measures aided greatly in boosting agricultural production.
The Central Committee plenum of September 1965 adopted the resolution On Improving Industrial Management, Improving Planning, and Increasing Economic Incentives in Industrial Production. Centralized sector management of industry was further developed. The Central Committee indicated the main lines to be followed in perfecting the techniques of planned direction of the economy and management methods on the enterprise level. These included raising the scientific level of state planning of the economy, extending the economic initiative and independence of enterprises, strengthening the cost accounting system, and increasing the economic incentives for production through such means as prices, profits, premiums, and credit. Thus a new economic reform began, making production collectives more responsible for and materially more interested in the results of their work.
The Twenty-third Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Mar. 29-Apr. 8, 1966, approved the Central Committee’s shift toward a more scientifically based management of social development and adopted the directives for the USSR’S eighth economic development plan (1966–70). The chief economic task of the eighth five-year plan was to secure a further considerable growth of industry and high stable rates of agricultural development through the utmost utilization of scientific and technological achievement, the enhancement of the efficiency of social production, and greater labor productivity, and thereby to achieve a substantial rise in the Soviet people’s living standards.
The congress paid a great deal of attention to the ideological and political work of the party and to the communist education of the working people. It called special attention to the fact that ideological work was done in the context of an intense class struggle between the two opposing socioeconomic systems in the world arena.
The fulfillment of the five-year plan targets took place while the national economy was being switched over to. a new system of planning and economic incentives. Carrying out the economic reform was a major task of the party. The CPSU Central Committee set an example of a scientific approach and a business-like attitude in solving the practical problems of communist construction, and it demanded the same of all party organizations. The party implemented the crucial economic measures that would assure an upturn in agriculture. In 1970 the introduction of the new system of planning and economic incentives in industry was virtually completed.
Two significant events in the life of the party, the Soviet people, and all progressive humanity were the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution, in 1967, and the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, in 1970. The Central Committee published two theses, “50 Years of the Great October Socialist Revolution” and “On the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Vladimir Il’ich Lenin,” both of which have great scientific, political, ideological, and educational importance. In half a century the Soviet land, under the leadership of the CPSU, had been transformed into a highly developed socialist state with a strong industry and a large-scale mechanized agriculture. Industrial production in 1967 was 73 times greater than in 1913; agricultural output was three times greater. The USSR, which has only 7 percent of the world’s population, accounted for 20 percent of world production in 1967 (10 percent in 1940). In 1970 alone, industrial production was about twice that of all the prewar five-year plans (1929–40) put together. All sectors of Soviet science and culture had attained far-reaching successes. The first manned space flights in history were made in 1961 by CPSU members, first by Iu. A. Gagarin and later by G. S. Titov. The country’s magnificent achievements were the result of the implementation of the CPSU’s Leninist policy line.
In the mid-1960’s the foreign policy of the CPSU and of the Soviet government became more active than ever. Problems of international politics were reviewed at the December 1966, June 1967, April and October 1968, June 1969, and other plenums of the Central Committee. The CPSU and the Soviet government, together with the Communist parties and governments of the other socialist countries, directed their efforts toward guaranteeing favorable international conditions for building socialism and communism, supported the national-liberation movement, effected many-sided cooperation with developing countries that had recently gained their freedom, consistently upheld the principle of peaceful coexistence of states with differing social systems, and decisively repulsed the aggressive forces of imperialism. At the same time, the party and government continued to strengthen the defensive might of the USSR.
The CPSU and the Soviet government promoted in every possible way the development of the world socialist community, the expansion of the community’s industrial power and mutually advantageous economic cooperation, and helped to build up the military organization of the Warsaw Pact countries. In 1968, together with the fraternal countries, the CPSU and the Soviet government gave international assistance to the Czechoslovak people in defense of their socialist gains against internal counterrevolution and imperialist reaction.
Consistently pursuing the policy of proletarian internationalism, the CPSU extended and strengthened its contacts with all Communist and workers’ parties. The Central Committee repeatedly attempted to adjust the serious differences that had arisen between the Communist Party of China on the one hand and the CPSU and the world communist movement on the other.
The Central Committee actively helped prepare the international Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Moscow in June 1969, with delegations from 75 parties attending. By that time the ranks of the 88 Communist parties on all continents united about 50 million fighters. The conference adopted a number of resolutions, including the document “Tasks at the Present Stage of the Struggle Against Imperialism and United Action of the Communist and Workers’ Parties.” The platform presented in the document shows the way to a more purposeful struggle to rally together the three main revolutionary and anti-imperialist forces of the contemporary world—the world socialist system, the international working class, and the national-liberation movement. The conference declared it necessary to uphold Marxist-Leninist principles consistently and to struggle against right and left opportunist distortions of theory and politics and against revisionism, dogmatism, left-sectarian adventurism, and nationalism.
A Marxist-Leninist analysis of the development of the world revolutionary process and of the international situation and the internal condition of the USSR was presented by the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU, held in Moscow on Mar. 30-Apr. 9, 1971. (See Table 2 for a complete list of CPSU congresses and conferences.) The congress clarified the regularities and prospects of development for Soviet society and generalized and developed the fundamental questions of theory and practice in building communism. It emphasized that a developed socialist society had been built in the USSR and assessed the results of the eighth five-year plan (1966–70), the completion of which marked another step forward by the Soviet people in creating the material and technological basis for communism. These were years of dynamic economic growth, during which the volume of industrial and agricultural production rose substantially: industrial production in 1970 was 91 times greater than in 1913. New heights were scaled in scientific and technological progress, the Soviet people’s standard of living rose, and scholarship and culture advanced.
The congress approved the directives for the ninth five-year plan (1971–75), the main task of which was “to ensure a considerable rise of the people’s material and cultural level on the basis of a high rate of development of socialist production, enhancement of production efficiency, scientific and technological progress, and acceleration of the growth of labor productivity” (Materialy XXIV s”ezda KPSS, 1971, pp. 239–40). The directives emphasized the need to organically fuse the achievements of the scientific and technological revolution with the advantages of the socialist economic system, improve the use of production assets and labor resources, reduce labor expenditure, raise the quality of production, and strengthen the system of economizing. The congress demanded quicker returns on capital investment, a more rapid construction and introduction of productive capacity, and maximum increases in production through the renovation and technical modernization of existing enterprises. It set the task of further refining the planned management of the economy as necessary for the realization of the advantages and possibilities of a developed socialist society and called for the consistent implementation of a uniform state technical policy.
In the realm of social policy, the congress instructed the party to continue the consolidation of the social, ideological, and political unity of Soviet society, to draw closer together the classes and social groups and all socialist peoples and nationalities, to develop socialist democracy unswervingly, and to raise the communist consciousness of the Soviet people. Considerable attention was devoted to further developing and strengthening the political and economic relations within the socialist cornmunity
|Table 2. Congresses and Conferences of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
|First Congress, RSDLP ...............||Minsk||Mar. 1–3 (13–15), 1898|
|Second Congress, RSDLP ...............||Brussels-London||July 17 (30)-Aug. 10 (23), 1903|
|Third Congress, RSDLP ...............||London||Apr. 12–27 (Apr. 25-May 10), 1905|
|First Conference, RSDLP ...............||Tammerfors||Dec. 12–17 (25–30), 1905|
|Fourth (Unity) Congress.RSDLP ...............||Stockholm||Apr. 10–25 (Apr. 23-May 8), 1906|
|Second Conference, RSDLP (1st All-Russian) ...............||Tammerfors||Nov. 3–7 (16–20), 1906|
|Fifth (London) Congress, RSDLP ...............||London||Apr. 30-May 19 (May 13-June 1), 1907|
|Third Conference, RSDLP (2nd All-Russian) ...............||Kotka||July 21–23 (Aug. 3–5), 1907|
|Fourth Conference, RSDLP (3rd All-Russian) ...............||Helsinki||Nov. 5–12 (18–25), 1907|
|Fifth (All-Russian) Conference, RSDLP ...............||Paris||Dec. 21–27, 1908 (Jan. 3–9, 1909)|
|Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference, RSDLP ...............||Prague||Jan. 5–17 (18–30), 1912|
|Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference, RSDLP(B) ...............||Petrograd||Apr. 24–29 (May 7–12), 1917|
|Sixth Congress, RSDLP(B) ...............||Petrograd||July 26-Aug. 3 (Aug. 8–16), 1917|
|Seventh Extraordinary Congress, RCP(B). ...............||Petrograd||Mar. 6–8, 1918|
|Eighth Congress, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Mar. 18–23, 1919|
|Eighth All-Russian Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Dec. 2–4, 1919|
|Ninth Congress, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Mar. 29-Apr. 5, 1920|
|Ninth All-Russian Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Sept. 22–25, 1920|
|Tenth Congress, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Mar. 8–16, 1921|
|Tenth All-Russian Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||May 26–28, 1921|
|Eleventh All-Russian Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Dec. 19–22, 1921|
|Eleventh Congress, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Mar. 27-Apr. 2, 1922|
|Twelfth All-Russian Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Aug. 4–7, 1922|
|Twelfth Congress, RCP(B). ...............||Moscow||Apr. 17–25, 1923|
|Thirteenth Conference, RCP(B). ...............||Moscow||Jan. 16–18, 1924|
|Thirteenth Congress, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||May 23–31, 1924|
|Fourteenth Conference, RCP(B) ...............||Moscow||Apr. 27–29, 1925|
|Fourteenth Congress, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Dec. 18–31, 1925|
|Fifteenth Conference, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Oct. 26-Nov. 3, 1926|
|Fifteenth Congress, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Dec. 2–19, 1927|
|Sixteenth Conference, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Apr. 23–29, 1929|
|Sixteenth Congress, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||June 26-July 13, 1930|
|Seventeenth Conference, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Jan. 30-Feb.4, 1932|
|Seventeenth Congress, ACP(B). ...............||Moscow||Jan. 26-Feb. 10, 1934|
|Eighteenth Congress, ACP(B) ...............||Moscow||Mar. 10–21, 1939|
|Eighteenth Conference, ACP(B). ...............||Moscow||Feb. 15–20, 1941|
|Nineteenth Congress, CPSU ...............||Moscow||Oct. 5–14, 1952|
|Twentieth Congress, CPSU ...............||Moscow||Feb. 14–25, 1956|
|Twenty-first (Extraordinary) Congress, CPSU ...............||Moscow||Jan 27-Feb. 5, 1959|
|Twenty-second Congress, CPSU ...............||Moscow||Oct. 17–31, 1961|
|Twenty-third Congress, CPSU ...............||Moscow||Mar. 29-Apr. 8, 1966|
|Twenty-fourth Congress, CPSU. ...............||Moscow||Mar. 30-Apr. 9, 1971|
and to taking advantage of the international division of labor.
The congress charted and defined the lines of foreign policy to be followed by the CPSU and the Soviet government in regard to the present stage of world development, and it worked out a program of struggle for peace and security among the peoples and for prevention of a world thermonuclear war. This peace program was soon being put into practice successfully.
The Twenty-fourth Congress paid a great deal of attention to questions of party building—to continued improvements in the quality of the party’s membership and to development of intra-party democracy.
In December 1972 the party, the Soviet people, and all progressive humanity celebrated the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR.
The Leninist party—its collective mind and unbending will and its organizing and directing role—was the force that laid the basis for the rise of the USSR, guided its development for half a century, and has continued confidently to lead it forward. The CPSU unites the advanced members of all the peoples and nationalities in the country—the Soviet people, a new historical community that has arisen in the USSR during the years of socialist construction.
The basic content and main trends of CPSU policy at the present stage of communist construction are set forth in the party’s program and in the resolutions of its congresses and Central Committee plenums. The main focus of the party’s activity remains as ever to work out the general perspective of development of the society, establish a correct political line, and organize the working people to institute the line.
In its domestic policy the CPSU concentrates on developing and implementing an all-embracing program for the economic and social progress of the Soviet land. One of the most important means for realizing the projected program is the party’s economic policy. The Twenty-fourth Congress substantiated the need for a sharp turn in economic policy, for a change in its orientation, and for greater attention to intensive methods in running the economy. The center of gravity has shifted to the qualitative factors in economic growth, to improvement of the efficiency of the entire national economic system.
The party laid down the main lines to be followed in raising the efficiency of social production, namely, perfecting the planning process and the entire system of economic management and creating economic conditions that would induce the adoption of maximum plans and the full mobilization of reserves. The party has set the task of an optimum correlation between centralized management of the economy and the operational economic independence of enterprises and their associations.
At the present stage of communist construction, when the correct, scientifically based resolution of current problems requires an accurate estimate of future possibilities, the party places a high priority on long-range perspective planning. The long-term plan now being worked out for the development of the Soviet economy for the years 1976–90 will be of primary importance.
The aim of the party in its agrarian policy is to raise agriculture to a level consistent with the potential of modern technology and the requirements of communist construction. The party’s policy with regard to agricultural practices consists of three main components: comprehensive mechanization, large-scale use of chemicals, and extensive soil improvement. On the socioeconomic level, the agrarian policy currently in effect is aimed at establishing stable economic conditions that will stimulate increased agricultural production.
The supreme aim of the party’s economic policy is to raise the people’s living standards. Included in the ninth five-year plan (1971–75) is a special allowance for higher growth rates of Group B industrial production (consumer goods) as compared to Group A production (producer goods). This shift in the relative positions of the basic industrial subdivisions reflects the general orientation of the country’s economic development over the long term. At the same time it does not signify any lessening of attention to the development of heavy industry. Increased prosperity for the working people is one of the means by which the chief social problems in the epoch of communist construction can be solved: all classes and social groups will be drawn closer together, any substantial distinction between town and country and between physical and intellectual labor will gradually be overcome, and living and working conditions and cultural levels for various strata of the population will be equalized.
The relations between nationalities, while continuing to develop, bring new problems and tasks to the fore; discovering the best paths of development for the individual peoples and nationalities and finding the most correct way of harmonizing the interests of each of them with the common interests of the Soviet people as a whole are becoming increasingly important. The party’s strategic line on the nationality question is to continue to draw the peoples and nationalities in the country closer together. In the party’s view, this objectively based process may neither be forced artificially nor held back. The party will continue to educate all working people in the spirit of socialist internationalism: a profound respect for all peoples and nationalities and an implacable opposition to all manifestations of nationalism or chauvinism and to national narrow-mindedness or arrogance in any form whatsoever.
The present stage of communist construction requires a considerable increase in the social activity of the individual, a creative attitude toward labor, and a personal interest in governmental and public affairs. The party sees one of the tasks of its social policy to be the development of these qualities and the creation of a political, social, moral, and psychological atmosphere in which they can be expressed to the maximum. In perfecting the entire political organization of socialist society, the party stresses that the main line of such improvement is the further development of socialist democracy. The party is concerned that every Soviet citizen should feel his or her citizenship in the full sense of the word, that each has a stake in the common cause and bears a share of the responsibility for it. Molding a new human personality is one of the chief aims of the CPSU in communist construction. This task includes the development of a communist world outlook among the vast numbers of working people, instilling in them Soviet patriotism, a communist attitude toward labor, and a new humanistic morality and creating the conditions for the all-around development of the personality.
The solutions to the fundamental domestic problems of Soviet social development are closely connected with world politics. The CPSU’s international policy is a continuation and extension of its domestic policy and is aimed at assuring favorable foreign-policy conditions for the building of communism. Two basic principles determine the pattern of CPSU activity in the world arena: the principle of proletarian, socialist internationalism and the principle of peaceful coexistence of states with differing social systems. The party and the Soviet government consider their most important task to be strengthening and developing the world socialist system and the unity, solidarity, and cooperation of the socialist states; this task must be carried out in order to complete socialist and communist construction more rapidly and efficiently, and to join forces to safeguard peace, to further the relaxation of international tensions, and to repulse any aggressive forays of imperialism, any attempts to infringe on the interests of socialism.
Of special importance is the improvement of economic cooperation with the countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, which requires the maximum utilization of the potential in socialist economic integration, thereby promoting the further strengthening of the economic and defensive might of the socialist countries.
The CPSU supports all those struggling against imperialism, against any form of exploitation or oppression, and for freedom, democracy, and socialism. The CPSU and Marxist-Leninists in other countries hold that in the present epoch not only the material preconditions but also the social and political ones are becoming increasingly ripe for the revolutionary replacement of capitalism with a new social order and for socialist revolutions. However, these objective preconditions do not arise spontaneously or automatically. Intense activity by the Communist and workers’ parties is necessary. As an inseparable part of the international communist movement, the CPSU assists in every possible way in raising the authority and influence of the Communist parties and in strengthening the unity and solidarity of the international communist movement. This effort requires the ability to be patient and tactful, to reach mutual understanding, and to cooperate even when differences exist; the CPSU strives to realize all of these conditions. The CPSU singles out three ways of overcoming differences: joint actions against imperialism; expansion of relations and contacts among the fraternal parties and joint theoretical work; and collective generalization of the experience of revolutionary struggle and social transformations. The CPSU approach received the backing of the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties of June 5–17, 1969.
The interests of international solidarity make it imperative that the struggle against revisionism and opportunism, both right and “left,” and against nationalist tendencies be intensified.
The CPSU supports the national-liberation movements and assigns great importance to contacts and relations with revolutionary-democratic parties and organizations in the developing countries and the newly free countries, especially those having a socialist orientation. Cooperation between the new progressive states and the socialist countries is one of the most important conditions for their development along noncapitalist lines. The CPSU tries in every way to assist all peoples in the exercise of their inalienable rights, above all, the right to self-determined, independent development. The CPSU’s active foreign policy, always displaying initiative, and its all-around aid to the heroic Vietnamese people, factors that played a decisive role in halting imperialist aggression in Vietnam, and its support of the just struggle of the Arab peoples are striking examples of the CPSU’s internationalist policies in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
In carrying out the peace program of the Twenty-fourth Congress, the Soviet government seeks to achieve a fundamental turn toward détente and peace on the European continent, to settle the problems still remaining in this area as a consequence of World War II, to work out an all-European program of economic and cultural development, and gradually to replace the system of opposing military and political blocs with a system of collective security. The aims of Soviet foreign policy in Asia are analogous. The Soviet Union continues to advocate general and complete disarmament, while simultaneously working for partial and temporary measures that will slow down the arms race and avert the danger of war.
The intensification of the peace-loving foreign policy of the USSR, in coordination with the other socialist countries, and the appearance of elements of realism in the policies of the leaders of many capitalist states have made it possible to promote substantially the cause of peace. In the early 1970’s the USSR and United States signed a number of political and economic agreements. The Soviet-American agreements on antimissile systems and strategic offensive weapons for the first time in history have placed limits on the latest and most destructive types of weapons. The treaties between the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) concluded in 1970 and between Poland and the FRG, which recognized the existing borders in Europe as inviolable, the series of agreements on West Berlin, the treaty on the basic principles of relations between the German Democratic Republic and the FRG, and the 1973 agreements between the USSR and the FRG have all been major steps on the road to peace and security in Europe. The CPSU will continue in the future to hold high the banner of peace and security for all peoples.
In carrying out its domestic and foreign policies, the CPSU takes a creative approach, carefully taking into account the trends and developments in the world revolutionary process and the changes in the international arena. The party firmly and unswervingly relies on the support of the entire Soviet people and on the actions and decisions collectively agreed upon by the countries of the socialist community and by all the progressive forces in the world.
The CPSU—the party of Leninist internationalism—is the embodiment of the militant comradeship and friendship of the working peoples of the USSR and the indestructible unity of the entire Soviet people. The party of Lenin is the intelligence, honor, and conscience of our times.
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vols. 1–55. Moscow, 1958–65.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vols. 1–10. Moscow, 1970–72.
Istoriia KPSS, vols. 1–5. Moscow, 1964–70.
Istoriia KPSS, 4th ed. Moscow, 1972.