Primary Party Organization

Primary Party Organization


(until 1934, party cell), the basic unit of the CPSU. The primary party organization is formed at workplaces of party members—plants, factories, sovkhozes, kolkhozes, Soviet Army units, offices, and educational institutions—where there are at least three party members. A section on party cells first appeared in the Rules of the RCP(B) adopted at the Eighth All-Russian Party Conference in December 1919 (see KPSS ν rezoliutsiiakh, 8th ed., vol. 2, 1970, pp. 132–33).

At enterprises, kolkhozes, and institutions that have more than 50 members and candidate members of the CPSU, party organizations can be created within the overall primary party organization for production shops and sections, livestock sections, brigades, and departments. Within shop, section, and other such party organizations, party groups can be created. In certain cases, primary party organizations can be created within the framework of several enterprises that are joined in a production association and located, as a rule, in one or several districts of the same city. The highest organ of the primary party organization is the party meeting, which elects a party bureau for a one-year term to carry on current work. In primary party organizations with fewer than 15 party members, a party organization secretary and deputy secretary are elected instead. At large enterprises and at institutions that have more than 300 party members and candidate members, party committees can be organized and the rights of primary party organizations can be granted to the shop party organizations of these enterprises and institutions. Where necessary because of special characteristics of an enterprise or because its units are territorially widespread, party committees and primary organizations may also be organized in this manner in institutions with more than 100 Communists. (In kolkhozes and sovkhozes the required number is more than 50.)

The Rules of the CPSU define the most important tasks of primary party organizations. These tasks include admitting new members to the party and educating Communists in a spirit of party loyalty, ideological conviction, and communist morality. The primary organizations organize Communists to study Marxist-Leninist theory. They seek to increase the vanguard role of Communists in labor and in the social, political, and economic life of enterprises and institutions. Organizing the working people to carry out the building of communism, the primary organizations lead socialist emulation and seek the strengthening of labor discipline, a steady rise in labor productivity, and improvement of the quality of output. They conduct mass agitation and propaganda work and educate the masses in the spirit of communism. On the basis of the widespread application of criticism and self-criticism, they wage a struggle against manifestations of bureaucracy, sectionalism, and breaches of state discipline. They also assist the district, city, and raion committees in all activities and report on their work to these committees (see Rules of the CPSU, art. 59). The primary party organizations of enterprises in industry, transportation, communications, construction, and material and technical supply have the right to oversee the activities of their respective administrations. This right is also enjoyed by primary organizations in trade institutions, in the food service industry, and in public-utilities organizations, as well as by those in kolkhozes, sovkhozes, and other agricultural enterprises, in design and development organizations, and research institutes, and in educational, cultural, and medical institutions. The primary party organizations of ministries, state committees, and other central and local soviet and economic institutions and departments oversee the work of the apparatus in fulfilling party and state directives. They also ensure that these institutions act in compliance with Soviet law. Primary organizations must act to improve the work of the apparatus and must promptly report to the appropriate party organs on shortcomings in the work of the institution or of individual employees, regardless of the positions held by the latter (Rules of the CPSU, art. 60).

In January 1975 the CPSU had more than 386,000 primary party organizations. In 1946 primary party organizations consisting of up to 15 Communists each made up 63 percent of the total number of such organizations; those with up to 49 party members, 29.7 percent; those with up to 100 members, 5.4 percent; and those with more than 100 members, 1.9 percent. In 1973 the respective percentages were 40.5, 41.8, 11.5, and 6.2 (see the journal Partiinaia zhizn’, 1973, no. 14, p. 22). The growth in the size of primary party organizations creates better conditions for raising the level of party work, strengthening party influence in all areas of the country’s economic and cultural life, and mobilizing the masses to fulfill the tasks of communist construction.


Ustav KPSS. Moscow, 1973.
Partiinoe stroitel’stvo, 4th ed. Moscow, 1976.
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