Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union


the supreme organ of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).

According to the Rules of the CPSU, which were confirmed by the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU in 1961 and amended by the Twenty-third Congress in 1966 and the Twenty-fourth Congress in 1971, congresses are convened by the Central Committee of the CPSU at least once every five years. The convocation and agenda are announced at least six weeks before the congress. The norms of representation are determined by the Central Committee of the CPSU. Extraordinary congresses are convened by the Central Committee of the party on its own initiative or on the demand of not less than one-third of the total party membership represented at the preceding party congress. Extraordinary congresses are convened within two months; they are considered properly constituted if not less than one-half of the total party membership is represented (Rules of the CPSU, sec. 30). Should the Central Committee of the party fail to convene an extraordinary congress within the period of time specified in the Rules, the organizations that demanded it have the right to form an organizing committee that shall enjoy the powers of the Central Committee of the party with respect to the convocation of the extraordinary congress (sec. 31).

The congress hears and approves the reports of the Central Committee, the Central Auditing Commission, and other central organizations of the CPSU. It reviews, amends, and endorses the Program and Rules of the party. It determines the line of the party in manners of domestic and foreign policy, examines and decides the most important questions of communist construction, and elects the Central Committee and Central Auditing Commission (sec. 32).

Party congresses are conducted on a broad, democratic basis; the election of delegates is by secret ballot. Every Communist has the right of direct recourse to the party congress. (The dates of the congresses and conferences of the CPSU are given in COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION.)

The decisions of congresses are binding on all party organizations, members, and candidate members. They can be repealed or amended only by a subsequent party congress. Throughout its history (since 1898), the CPSU has held 25 congresses, the Twenty-fifth in 1976. Six congresses were held before the Great October Socialist Revolution. Each congress is an important stage in party life.


Ustav KPSS. Moscow, 1975.
Partiinoe stroitel’stvo, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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At the 28th CPSU Congress in 1990 he was elected to the Central Committee of the Party.
It was the logical extension of the politics of the Soviet Union's own 20th CPSU congress 12 years earlier which exposed Stalinism, thus opening the doors for debate on pluralism in a socialist society, of a multiplicity of paths and models based on local and national conditions and historic experiences.