Fourteenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party Bolshevik
Fourteenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik)
a congress held from Dec. 18 to Dec. 31,1925, in Moscow. The congress was attended by 665 voting delegates and 641 with observer status. The delegates represented 643,000 party members and 445,000 candidates for membership.
The agenda of the congress included the political report of the Central Committee, delivered by J. V. Stalin; the organizational report of the Central Committee, read by V. M. Molotov; the report of the Auditing Commission given by D. I. Kurskii; the report of the Central Control Commission presented by V. V. Kuibyshev; and the report of the RCP(B) delegation in the Executive Committee of the Comintern, read by G. E. Zinoviev. In addition, M. P. Tomskii gave an account of the work of the trade unions, N. I. Bukharin reported on the work of the Komsomol, and A. A. Andreev spoke on alteration of the party Rules. Elections were held, and at one of the sessions the congress heard G. V. Chicherin’s report on the international situation and Soviet foreign policy.
During the preparation for the congress and during the congress itself, an intense struggle was waged against the New Opposition, a faction that had taken issue with the party’s course in implementing Lenin’s plan for building socialism in the USSR and was attempting to revise the political line of the Central Committee from a Trotskyist position. The leaders of the faction—Zinoviev and L. B. Kamenev—had decided to make the Leningrad party organization a strongpoint in the struggle against the Central Committee. Through deception and flagrant violation of internal party democracy, they had arranged to have the delegation to the congress from the Leningrad organization consist solely of their confederates. Since the overwhelming majority of Leningrad Communists were faithful to the Central Committee of the RCP(B), the leaders of the New Opposition camouflaged their adoption of Trotskyist positions.
In its political report the Central Committee set forth its line on the fundamental questions of socialist construction. The committee stressed that a balance of power had been established in relations between the Soviet Union and the capitalist states as a result of the inherent weakness of world capitalism and the growth of the revolutionary movement around the world.
Of primary importance to the country’s international standing was the economic and political consolidation of the USSR and the achievement of an environment that would enable peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries. The congress pointed to the need to continue a policy of peace while strengthening the defense capability of the USSR. In a resolution on the report of the Central Committee, the congress expressed complete solidarity with the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world and declared that the party would strengthen the alliance between them and the toiling masses of the USSR and would give them support.
The Central Committee’s report also noted that in building socialism the party strictly adhered to the Leninist general line, which regarded heavy industry as the foundation of the socialist transformation of the economy. The Central Committee’s position in favor of preferential development of heavy industry was approved, and a directive was issued “to continue the industrialization of the country and the development of the production of the means of production” (KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh, 8th ed., vol. 3, 1970, p. 247).
Outlining a program designed specifically to draw the middle peasantry into socialist construction by means of cooperation, the congress stressed that if the poor, and especially the farmhands, were the foundation of the rural working class, then the middle peasant should be a staunch ally of that class.
The New Opposition challenged the measures devised by the party to implement Lenin’s plan for building socialism. On the second day of the congress, the faction demanded the floor in order that Zinoviev might deliver a supplementary statement on the report of the Central Committee. The New Opposition thereby announced its disagreement with the political line of the Central Committee.
Exaggerating the difficulties of socialist construction, Zinoviev tried to persuade the delegates that building socialism in an economically backward country was doomed to failure. Rationalizing its own divisive and factional behavior, his group accused the Central Committee of a myriad of errors. Like Trotsky in 1923 and 1924, it was seeking to seize control of the party leadership. It wanted to alter the composition of the Politburo and to remove from his position as general secretary of the Central Committee J. V. Stalin, who, with the support of the majority of the members of the party, was leading the struggle against the opposition. The New Opposition was prepared to bring about a split in the party, a danger against which Lenin had warned.
Adopting a position of silent support of the New Opposition, Trotsky did not take the floor at the congress and concealed his plan to unite with the faction (seeTROTSKYIST-ZINOVIEVIST BLOC). The delegates to the congress rebuffed the New Opposition and exposed the Trotskyist-Menshevik nature of its platform. The congress approved the political and organizational line of the Central Committee, censured the attempts of the anti-Leninist elements to pervert the fundamental principles of party politics and theory, and authorized the Central Committee “to wage a determined struggle against all attempts to undermine the unity of the party, no matter where they originate” (ibid., p. 252). Of the 653 delegates who participated in a roll-call vote on the resolution on the report of the Central Committee, only 65 voted against it. The opposition’s isolation in the congress was apparent.
In the resolution On the Report of the Central Control Commission, the congress approved the position taken by the commission on the defense of party unity and on the support of the Leninist line of the Central Committee. The congress urged the new members of the commission “to fight even more resolutely against ideological vacillation and attempts to violate the common will and discipline of the party” (ibid., p. 253).
The tasks associated with the reconstruction of the country required improved functioning of government bodies. The congress approved the work of the organs of state and party control and made an appeal in the resolution On the Work of the Central Control Commission and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspectorate for an intensification of the struggle against bureaucracy and for an improvement of the manner and methods of operation of state institutions.
After taking a stand against strengthening party control of trade unions and after propagandizing for the “independence” of the Komsomol from the party, the New Opposition was again rebuffed. It was pointed out in several resolutions that the trade unions could accomplish their tasks only under the leadership of the party. The congress called for recognition of the full and unconditional authority of the party and its Central Committee in the guidance of the Komsomol. The opposition’s demand for the unlimited expansion of party ranks was rejected, since such expansion could lead to the end of the party’s role as a politically aware organized forward detachment of the working class. It was proposed that internal party democracy be improved and that the level of activity of the broad masses of Communists be raised. It was also proposed that the guiding role of the party be increased in all areas of socialist construction, especially in the economic sphere, and the proletarian nucleus of the party be augmented.
The congress adopted a new set of party Rules, and, as a result of the formation of the Soviet Union, the RCP(B) was renamed the ACP(B), or All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik). Kamenev’s report, “On the Immediate Problems of Economic Construction,” was removed from the agenda at the suggestion of a number of delegations, since he had demonstrated by his vote against the resolution on the Central Committee’s report that his point of view did not correspond to the party line.
The congress approved the “Address to All Members of the Leningrad Organization,” in which it gave a political appraisal of the behavior of the organization’s delegation to the congress and issued an appeal to Leningrad Communists to put an end to all attempts to subvert party unity. Before it adjourned, the congress sent a group of Communists to Leningrad to explain the party line and to expose the opposition’s activities. The Communists of Leningrad condemned the opposition, expressed their support of the congress, and declared that the Leningrad delegation did not express the will of the organization.
The congress elected the membership of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) (63 members and 43 candidate members) and the Central Control Commission (163 members). It scientifically substantiated and enunciated the party’s course toward the industrialization of the country. It condemned the attempts of the anti-Leninist elements in the party to revise the general party line, which was oriented toward the victory of socialism. The Fourteenth Congress of the party entered history as the congress of the industrialization of the country.
REFERENCESXIV s”ezd VKP(b): Stenografich. otchet. Moscow-Leningrad, 1926.
KPSS v rezoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK, 8th ed., vol. 3. Moscow, 1970.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 4, book 1. Moscow, 1970.
S. S. SHAUMIAN