a system of Marxist-Leninist education of Communists; the most important component of the ideological work of the CPSU. Mastering Marxist-Leninist theory is the statutory duty of a party member and the most important condition for increasing the vanguard role of Communists. The purpose of party education is to develop in Communists the ability to use Marxism-Leninism as the basis for the correct assessment of phenomena in public life and to consciously carry out party policies and explain them to the masses.
In organizing party education, party bodies are guided by the Central Committee’s decisions on questions of ideological work, in which the tasks, forms, and methods of political studies are defined. At every stage of its development, the party has used the forms and methods of party education that fit the concrete conditions under which party organizations are operating. In the prerevolutionary period, party members studied theory chiefly through independent reading of Marxist literature and in underground political circles. After the establishment of Soviet power a system of party education gradually developed, including various forms of theoretical studies and institutions ranging from primary schools of political knowledge to Communist universities and universities of Marxism-Leninism. The existing system of political education consists of three levels, which differ in the degree of complexity of the material studied and in the methodology of conducting classes. The primary level (primary political school) is designed for those who do not possess the skills for independent work on political literature. The program includes the study of V. I. Lenin’s biography and the fundamentals of political and economic knowledge. In addition, current documents of the CPSU are studied, and a popular course on party history is offered. The method of conducting classes at this level is the lecture, usually given by a propagandist and followed by discussion with the students. The secondary level of party education is a school in the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism. The history of the CPSU, political economy, philosophy, and scientific communism are studied. Other subjects include the fundamentals of economics and production management, as well as questions of party building. Students learn to work independently on the Marxist-Leninist classics, party documents, and sociopolitical literature, and they are taught how to work among the masses. The methodology of teaching at this level includes lectures, discussions, and assignments associated with the analysis and systematization of local materials on questions of party, soviet, economic, and ideological work.
The highest level of party education provides profound, systematized knowledge in Marxist-Leninist theory and CPSU policy, as well as in the Leninist principles of party leadership, the theory and practice of communist construction, and education of the working people, international relations, and the world revolutionary process. At the highest level a differentiated system has evolved, and continues to develop, for the political and economic education of leadership cadres and of various categories of the intelligentsia and national economy specialists. The system takes into consideration the interests of the various groups it trains, as well as the character of their labor and public activities. It includes continuous seminars sponsored by the Central Committees of Union-republic Communist parties and by krai and oblast party committees. In addition, the highest level of the system of party education includes universities of Marxism-Leninism and schools and seminars sponsored by city and raion party committees for active party members. At enterprises and institutions, there is a broad network of theoretical and methodological seminars under the supervision of party committees and party bureaus of the primary party organizations. The methodology of studies includes lectures, discussions of theoretical problems, and discussion of papers prepared by students.
In addition to organized forms of study, there are individual plans under which Communists can study. To assist those studying independently, party committees organize lectures and lecture series, consultations, and theoretical conferences. The chief method of political study is independent work on a book. In addition to the basic levels, the system of party education includes lecture propaganda: thematic lectures and series of lectures on problems of Marxist-Leninist theory, contemporary economics, culture, and international life. These lectures raise the level of ideological and theoretical comprehension among Communists and arouse interest in reading political literature. The CPSU sets high standards for the ideological content and theoretical level of studies in the system of party education. The theoretical level and ideological content of studies are entirely determined by the makeup of propaganda cadres, whose members are trained at universities of Marxism-Leninism and in schools and courses for propagandists. Ongoing study for propagandists is offered in continuous seminars at houses for political education (doma politicheskogo prosveshcheniia) and at political education rooms (kabinety politicheskogo prosveshcheniia).
Academic programs, curricula, and instructional aids are issued for the system of party education. Study materials are published in 35 central journals, especially in journals of the Central Committee of the CPSU (Kommunist, Politicheskoe samoobrazovanie [Political Self-education], Partiinaia zhizn’ [Party Life], and Agitator), as well as in many newspapers, including Pravda and Ekonomicheskaia gazeta. Central Television and All-Union Radio carry special broadcasts, “The Leninist University of Millions.” In party education the academic year begins on October 1 and ends in early June.