Probationary Period

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Probationary Period


a period of time stipulated in the Rules of the CPSU for those joining the party. The period is required for the prospective members “to familiarize themselves more fully with the Program and the Rules of the CPSU and to prepare to join the party as a full member. Party organizations must assist the candidate to prepare to join the CPSU and must check the personal qualities of the candidate” (Ustav KPSS, 1971, sec. 14).

The probationary period was introduced by the party rules adopted at the Eighth All-Russian Conference of the RCP (Bolshevik) in 1919, when the sharp increase in the number of those wishing to join the party created the need to regulate the acceptance of new members. The minimum probationary period for workers and peasants was set at two months; for others, it was six months. The Twelfth All-Russian Conference of the RCP (B) in 1922 established three different minimum probationary periods: six months for workers and Red Army men of worker or peasant origin; one year for peasants (except for Red Army men) and handicraftsmen not exploiting the labor of others; and two years for other categories (office employees). Former members of other parties had to pass through a two-year probation, regardless of their social status (class). The Fourteenth Congress of the ACP (Bolshevik) in 1925 defined the probationary period for the second category as not less than one year and for the third category as not less than two years.

The Seventeenth Congress of the ACP(B), in 1934, established a probation of one year for industrial workers with an industrial work record (experience) of not less than five years and a two-year probation for all other categories except for former members of other parties, who irrespective of their social class had to pass through a three-year probation. The Eighteenth Congress of the ACP(B), in 1939, recognizing that the victory of socialism in the USSR had led to radical changes in the class composition of the country, abolished the division into categories and established a single probationary period of one year. The congress retained the previous rules for former members of other parties.

In the extraordinary conditions of the Great Patriotic War of 1941’45, the Central Committee of the ACP(B) in December 1941 permitted the political bodies of the Red Army to accept servicemen who had distinguished themselves in battle as members of the party after a three-month probation. The Nineteenth Congress of the CPSU, in 1952, preserving the single probationary period of one year, granted primary party organizations the right to extend the probationary period for a term of not more than one year for those candidates who had valid reasons for not having demonstrated their worth in the first probation year. In 1961 the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU did not include in the party rules the clauses on the possibility of extending probation or those on special probationary periods for former members of other political parties.

The procedure for admitting candidates for membership in the CPSU is the same as that for admitting members of the party. Candidates have the same obligations as do members of the CPSU, but they enjoy the right of a consultative vote, do not participate in voting, and are not elected to the party bodies. During their probation, candidates fulfill party assignments and become accustomed to participation in party affairs. V. I. Lenin demanded that the probation be “a serious test and not an empty formality’ (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 45, p. 18). On the expiration of the probationary period, the primary party organization considers and decides the question of admitting the candidate to membership in the CPSU.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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