Rules of the Komsomol
Rules of the Komsomol
the fundamental statutes of the Komsomol (All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League, or VLKSM). The Rules of the Komsomol establish the Komsomol’s name, purpose, place in the political system of society, and relations with the CPSU. They also set forth the duties and rights of Komsomol members, the structure of the Komsomol, the standards governing Komsomol life, and the methods to be used in Komsomol work. Binding on all Komsomol members and organizations, the rules rally Komsomol members around the CPSU and mobilize them to carry out the party’s Program, decisions and directives. The rules are adopted by the congress of the Komsomol.
The current rules, which were adopted by the Fourteenth Congress of the Komsomol (1962) and include amendments introduced at the Fifteenth (1966) and Seventeenth (1974) Congresses, define the Komsomol as an “independent public organization uniting the broad masses of forward-looking Soviet youth” (Rules of the Komsomol, 1976, p. 3). The rules state that the Komsomol is an active assistant and reserve of the party; under the guidance of the CPSU, it helps the party to bring up young people in the spirit of communism and works toward the building of a communist society in the USSR. The main tasks of the Komsomol, as set forth in the rules, are to bring up the young men and women on the great principles of Marxism-Leninism, on the heroic traditions of revolutionary struggle, and on the examples of selfless work by workers, members of collective farms, and intelligentsia; to educate the youth in the spirit of a class approach to all phenomena of public life; to instill devotion to the principles of proletarian internationalism; and to produce young builders of communism who consider it an honor to become members of the CPSU and who observe, in all aspects of their lives, the principles of the moral code of the builder of communism as stated in the Program of the CPSU.
Section 1 of the rules declares that any young person in the Soviet country who accepts the rules, actively helps to build communism, agrees to work in any Komsomol organization, to carry out the decisions of the Komsomol, and to pay membership dues may be considered a Komsomol member. The rules demand that a Komsomol member be an active fighter for the fulfillment of the program of communist construction; set an example in work and study; protect and augment public socialist property; and strive to master Marxist-Leninist theory and culture as well as the achievements of modern science and technology. The Komsomol member must carry on a resolute struggle against all manifestations of bourgeois ideology; be a selfless patriot; strengthen the might of the armed forces of the USSR; promote friendship among the peoples of the USSR and the fraternal ties of the Soviet youth with the youth of the countries of the socialist camp and with the proletarian and working youth of the world; strengthen the ranks of the Komsomol; develop criticism and self-criticism; and maintain a sound body. Members of the Komsomol have the right to elect and be elected to Komsomol bodies; to discuss questions and submit proposals concerning the work of the Komsomol; to criticize any Komsomol member or body; and to address questions, applications, or proposals to any Komsomol committee, right up to and including the Central Committee of the Komsomol.
Forward-looking young men and women devoted to their socialist motherland may be individually accepted as members of the Komsomol if they are between the ages of 14 and 28.
The rules state that democratic centralism is the guiding principle of the Komsomol’s organizational structure; therefore, all decision-making bodies are elected and Komsomol bodies are accountable to their organizations and to higher bodies. Democratic centralism implies strict Komsomol discipline and majority rule; it also means that decisions of higher Komsomol bodies are unconditionally binding on lower ones.
The basic unit of the Komsomol is the primary organization; its highest body is the general meeting. For raion, city, okrug, oblast, and krai Komsomol organizations the highest body is the conference; for the Union republic and All-Union Komsomol the highest body is the congress. The general meeting, conference, and congress elect a bureau or committee that serves as an executive body and directs all the current work of the corresponding Komsomol organization. Committees of the primary Komsomol organization are elected by open voting, and raion and other committees are elected by secret ballot. The principle of systematic renewal of members and succession of leadership governs the elections of all Komsomol bodies.
The highest Komsomol body is the congress of the Komsomol, which is convened by the Central Committee of the Komsomol at least once every four years. The congress elects the Central Committee of the All-Union Komsomol and the Central Auditing Commission. In the intervals between congresses, the Komsomol’s work is directed by the Central Committee. The chief principle governing the work of the Komsomol leadership is collectivity. The Rules of the Komsomol provide for the broad development of social principles in the Komsomol and the creation of public commissions on various questions of Komsomol work.
Komsomol organizations are created on the territorial and production principle: primary Komsomol organizations are established at place of work or study where there are at least three Komsomol members.
The Rules of the Komsomol state that the Komsomol, on instructions from the CPSU, shall take part in the regular work of the Lenin All-Union Young Pioneer Organization, and they outline the obligations of Komsomol members in guiding that organization.
In 1918 the First Congress of the Komsomol adopted the basic principles of a program and rules, according to which the Komsomol would operate under the guidance of the party, propagate the ideas of communism, and enlist young workers and peasants in the construction of a Soviet Russia. The Komsomol was declared to be an independent organization called the Russian Communist League of Youth. It became the Russian Lenin Communist League of Youth in 1924 and the All-Union Lenin Communist Youth League in 1926. The congress appointed a commission, which drafted a unified text of the program and rules and published it on Dec. 3, 1918. The rules established Leninist ideological and organizational bases for the Komsomol’s structure and work. Later Komsomol congresses adopted new sets of rules or adopted amendments to existing ones. These changes were made in response to the country’s changing historical situation and to the new tasks facing the Komsomol at various periods in the construction of socialism. Each new set of rules reflected stages in the Komsomol’s development and helped strengthen its ideological and organizational unity and improve its organizational structure; the rules promoted the consistent development of intra-Komsomol democracy and increased the responsibility of Komsomol members and Komsomol organizations in the struggle to build a new society.
The various sets of rules did not alter the fundamental principles for building the Komsomol nor those governing its internal organization—that is, the principles of democratic centralism, collective leadership, and the development of criticism and self-criticism. Komsomol discipline remained in force, and the main conditions for membership were left unchanged.
After the Twenty-second Congress of the CPSU (1961), which adopted a new party program outlining the principles of the construction of communism, the Fourteenth Congress of the Komsomol (1962) adopted a set of rules consonant with the new period of Soviet society. The amendments added to the rules by the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Congresses of the Komsomol were directed at broadening the rights and strengthening the role of primary organizations, at increasing the participation of Komsomol members in the national struggle for communism, and at ensuring that Komsomol members carry out V. I. Lenin’s dictum “Learn communism.”
REFERENCESLenin, V. I. “Zadachi soiuzov molodezhi.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 41.
Lenin, V. I. Ob Ustavepartii: Sb. Moscow, 1973.
Ustav VLKSM. Moscow, 1975.
Tovarishch komsomol: Dokumenty s”ezdov, konferentsii i TsK VLKSM, 1918–1968, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1969.
Postanovlenie 17-go s”ezda VLKSM o chastichnykh izmenenniakh v Ustave VLKSM. In Documenty XVII s”ezda VLKSM. Moscow, 1974.
Slavnyi put’ Leninskogo komsomola, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1974.
Papkov, G., and A. Sazonov. Zakon komsomol’skoi zhizni. In Shkola komsomol’skogo vozhaka. [Moscow] 1970.
V. K. KRIVORUCHENKO