Коммунистическая Партия Советского Союза
For the modern day party of the same name, see Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1992-)
|Communist Party of the
|Slogan||Workers of the world, unite!|
|Founded||1 January 1912|
|Dissolved||29 August 1991|
|Preceded by||Russian Social Democratic Labour Party|
|International affiliation||Comintern (until 1943) Cominform (until 1956)|
Politics of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Russian: Коммунистическая партия Советского Союза, Kommunisticheskaya partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza; short: КПСС, KPSS) was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world. It lost its dominance in the wake of the failure of the 1991 August putsch.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union emerged from the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. After the February Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks pushed for socialist revolution and the overthrow of the Provisional Government. On 7 November, the Bolsheviks orchestrated the October Revolution which overthrew the Provisional Government, thus transferring all governing power to the workers' councils (Russian: soviets). Immediately thereafter, the Bolsheviks founded the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic - the world's first constitutionally socialist state. After a bloody civil war, at the end of 1922 the Bolsheviks emerged victorious and unified territories of the former Russian Empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
The Party established the Third International, known as "Comintern" ("Communist International"), an international network of communist parties loyal to the Russian Communist Party, with the aim of fighting "by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and for the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the State." Domestically, given the central role under the Constitution of the Soviet Union, the Party controlled all tiers of government and social institutions in the Soviet Union. Its organisation was subdivided into communist parties of the constituent Soviet republics as well as the mass youth organisation, the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League (Komsomol) and the Young Pioneer organisation for children.
After Lenin's death in 1924, an ideological struggle ensued within the Party between Leon Trotsky, who advocated permanent revolution and emphasis on international intervention, and Joseph Stalin, who advocated socialism in one country and emphasis on domestic industrialisation. Ultimately, by 1930, Trotsky was expelled from the Party and deported from the Soviet Union, leaving Stalin and his supporters in full control of the party and effectively of governing the country. During this time, Marxism-Leninism became the official ideology of the Party. Later into the 1930s, Stalin initiated the Great Purge, a period of widespread paranoia and repression culminating in a series of show trials and the purging of all original Party members. With the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, the Party actively sought to form "collective security" alliances with western powers. Unable to do so, the USSR established non-aggressive relations with Germany, which were ultimately broken in 1941 with Germany invading the Soviet Union, thus beginning the Great Patriotic War. After the Allied victory in the war, the Party held a doctrine of establishing pro-Stalin governments in the post-war occupied territories and of actively seeking to expand the domain of influence, through proxy wars and espionage.
After Stalin's death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev rose to power. In 1956, at the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev delivered the "Secret Speech", which denounced the cult of personality around Stalin and the political repression of his regime. Khrushchev initiated a policy of de-Stalinisation, which removed the image of Stalin from public life entirely, terminated the correctional labour camp system, and ended the most repressive aspects of the Stalinist system; this period was known as the "Khrushchev Thaw". The Party maintained Marxism-Leninism as its ideology while rejecting Stalinism, thus splitting the two as distinct ideologies. This would later lead to a disintegration of relations with the Communist Party of China during the 1960s, which under Mao's leadership upheld a favourable view of Stalin's legacy.
Into the late 1980s, under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev, policies of glasnost and perestroika were implemented, which sought to liberalise the political and economic systems of the Soviet Union. Once the Party lost its constitutional status as the sole governing force of country, the Union began to crumble. The party ceased to exist at the All-Union level after the coup d'état attempt in 1991 and was succeeded by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in Russia and the communist parties of the now-independent former Soviet republics.