Party Leadership under Stalin and Khrushchev: Party Officials and the Soviet State, 1948-1964

Party Leadership under Stalin and Khrushchev: Party Officials and the Soviet State, 1948-1964

by Jonathan Harris


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This study demonstrates that the full time party officials of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) used the term “party leadership” to both disguise and signal their efforts to lead the Communists who manned the Soviet state. In 1946, Stalin had made the newly formed Council of Ministers of the USSR, led by its Bureau (Presidium) directly responsible for planning and administering the Soviet economy. As a result, the full time officials clashed constantly and publicly over the relative importance of their direct intervention in production as opposed to ideological education and personnel management in their efforts to provide “party leadership” of the state from 1946 until 1964. Zhdanov and Malenkov clashed over the issue until Zhdanov’s death in 1948 and Malenkov clashed with Khrushchev over the same issue from 1949 until Stalin’s death in 1953. This conflict became more explicit once Malenkov was named Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Khrushchev first secretary of the CC/CPSU in 1953 and continued until Malenkov’s ouster in 1955. Khrushchev clashed with Chairman Bulganin over the same issue from 1955 until 1958. Khrushchev’s decision to replace Bulganin as Chairman of the Council of Ministers not only complicated the discussion of party officials’ role but led to a series of extremely contradictory reforms. Khrushchev simultaneously bolstered party officials’ capacity to intervene directly in industrial production and strengthened the Council of Ministers’ control over the same process. The ensuring administrative confusion, when coupled with Khrushchev’s overt disdain for the ideological education of Communists helped to undermine his authority and led to the decision of his colleagues to oust him in 1964.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781498528382
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 09/15/2018
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.24(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Harris is professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Origins of Conflict
Chapter 1: Khrushchev vs. Malenkov, 1948–1953
Chapter 2: Chairman Malenkov vs First Secretary Khrushchev
Chapter 3: The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU: Khrushchev Defines his Priorities, 1956–1957
Chapter 4: Khrushchev as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, 1958
Chapter 5: The Impact of the U-2 Crisis: The 22nd Congress of the CPSU
Chapter 6: Conflicts over Ideology and the Shrinkage and the Reform of the Apparat: The Return to Central State Control, 1961–1963
Chapter 7: The CC/CPSU Plenum on Ideological Work (June 1963) during Khrushchev's Last Year

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