Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin. Molotov served as Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from 1930 to 1941, as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956, he served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. Molotov was removed from all positions in 1961 after several years of obscurity. Molotov was the principal Soviet signatory of the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact of 1939, whose most important provisions were added in the form of a secret protocol that stipulated an invasion of Poland and partition of its territory between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, he was aware of the Katyn massacre committed by the Soviet authorities during this period. After World War II, Molotov was involved in negotiations with the Western allies, in which he became noted for his diplomatic skills.
He retained his place as a leading Soviet diplomat and politician until March 1949, when he fell out of Stalin's favour and lost the foreign affairs ministry leadership to Andrei Vyshinsky. Molotov's relationship with Stalin deteriorated further, with Stalin criticising Molotov in a speech to the 19th Party Congress. However, after Stalin's death in 1953, Molotov was staunchly opposed to Khrushchev's de-Stalinisation policy. Molotov defended Stalin's policies and legacy until his death in 1986, harshly criticised Stalin's successors Khrushchev. Molotov was born Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Skryabin in the village of Kukarka, Yaransk Uyezd, Vyatka Governorate, the son of a butter churner. Contrary to a repeated error, he was not related to the composer Alexander Scriabin. Throughout his teen years, he was described as "shy" and "quiet", always assisting his father with his business, he was educated at a secondary school in Kazan, joined the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1906, soon gravitating toward that organisation's radical Bolshevik faction, headed by V. I.
Lenin. Skryabin took the pseudonym "Molotov", derived from the Russian word молот molot, since he believed that the name has an "industrial" and "proletarian" ring to it, he was spent two years in exile in Vologda. In 1911, he enrolled at St Petersburg Polytechnic. Molotov joined the editorial staff of a new underground Bolshevik newspaper called Pravda, meeting Joseph Stalin for the first time in association with the project; this first association between the two future Soviet leaders proved to be brief and did not lead to an immediate close political association. Molotov worked as a so-called "professional revolutionary" for the next several years, writing for the party press and attempting to better organize the underground party, he moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow in 1914 at the time of the outbreak of World War I, it was in Moscow the following year that Molotov was again arrested for his party activity, this time being deported to Irkutsk in eastern Siberia. In 1916, he escaped from his Siberian exile and returned to the capital city, now called Petrograd by the Tsarist regime, which thought the name St. Petersburg sounded excessively German.
Molotov became a member of the Bolshevik Party's committee in Petrograd in 1916. When the February Revolution occurred in 1917, he was one of the few Bolsheviks of any standing in the capital. Under his direction Pravda took to the "left" to oppose the Provisional Government formed after the revolution; when Joseph Stalin returned to the capital, he reversed Molotov's line. Despite this, Molotov became a protégé of and close adherent to Stalin, an alliance to which he owed his prominence. Molotov became a member of the Military Revolutionary Committee which planned the October Revolution, which brought the Bolsheviks to power. In 1918, Molotov was sent to Ukraine to take part in the civil war breaking out. Since he was not a military man, he took no part in the fighting. In 1920, he became secretary to the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Bolshevik Party. Lenin recalled him to Moscow in 1921, elevating him to full membership of the Central Committee and Orgburo, putting him in charge of the party secretariat.
He was voted in as a non-voting member of the Politburo in 1921 and held the office of Responsible Secretary and married Soviet politician Polina Zhemchuzhina. His Responsible Secretaryship was criticised by Lenin and Leon Trotsky, with Lenin noting his "shameful bureaucratism" and stupid behaviour. On the advice of Molotov and Nikolai Bukharin, the Central Committee decided to reduce Lenin's work hours. In 1922, Stalin became general secretary of the Bolshevik Party with Molotov as the de facto Second Secretary; as a young follower, Molotov did not refrain from criticizing him. Under Stalin's patronage, Molotov became a member of the Politburo in 1926. During the power struggles which followed Lenin's death in 1924, Molotov remained a loyal supporter of Stalin against his various rivals: first Leon Trotsky Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, Nikolai Bukharin. Molotov became a leading figure in the "Stalinist centre" of the party, which included Kliment Voroshilov and Sergo Ordzhonikidze. Trotsky and his supporters underestimated Molotov.
Trotsky called him "mediocrity personified", whilst Molotov himself pedantically corrected comrades referring to him as'Stone Arse' by saying that Lenin had dubbed him'Iron Arse'. Ho
Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and the wife of Vladimir Lenin from 1898 until his death in 1924. She served as the Soviet Union's Deputy Minister of Education from 1929 until her death in 1939. Nadezhda Krupskaya was born to an impoverished family, her father, Konstantin Ignat'evich Krupski, was a Russian military officer and a nobleman of the Russian Empire, orphaned in 1847 at the age of nine. He was given a commission as an infantry officer in the Russian Army. Just before leaving for his assignment in Poland, he married Krupskaya's mother. After six years of service, Krupski lost favour with his supervisors and was charged with "un-Russian activities." He may have been suspected of being involved with revolutionaries. Following this time he wherever he could find work. Just before his death, he was recommissioned as an officer. Krupskaya's mother, Elizaveta Vasilyevna Tistrova, was the daughter of landless Russian nobles. Elizaveta's parents died when she was young and she was enrolled in the Bestuzhev Courses, the highest formal education available to women in Russia at the time.
After earning her degree, Elizaveta worked as a governess for noble families until she married Krupski. Having parents who were well educated and of aristocratic descent, combined with first-hand experience of lower-class working conditions led to the formation of many of Krupskaya's ideological beliefs. "From her childhood Krupskaya was inspired with the spirit of protest against the ugly life around her."One of Krupskaya's friends from gymnasium, Ariadne Tyrkova, described her as "a tall, quiet girl, who did not flirt with the boys and thought with deliberation, had formed strong convictions... She was one of those who are forever committed, once they have been possessed by their thoughts and feelings..." She attended two different secondary schools before finding the perfect fit with Prince A. A. Obolensky's Female Gymnasium, "a distinguished private girls' secondary school in Petersburg." This education was more liberal than most other gymnasiums since it was noted that some of the staff were former revolutionaries.
After her father's death and her mother gave lessons as a source of income. Krupskaya had expressed an interest in entering the education field from a young age, she was drawn to Leo Tolstoy's theories on education, which were fluid instead of structured. They focused on the personal development of each individual student and centred on the importance of the teacher–student relationship; this led Krupskaya to study many including his theories of reformation. These were peaceful, law-abiding ideas, which focused on people abstaining from unneeded luxuries and being self-dependent instead of hiring someone else to tend their house, etc. Tolstoy made a lasting impression on Krupskaya, she was always modest in dress, as were her furnishings in her office. As a devoted, lifelong student, Krupskaya began to participate in several discussion circles; these groups were formed to study and discuss particular topics for the benefit of everyone involved. It was in one of these circles, that Krupskaya was first introduced to the theories of Marx.
This piqued her interest as a potential way of making life better for her people and she began an in-depth study of Marxist philosophy. This was difficult since books on the subject had been banned by the Russian government, meaning that revolutionaries collected them and kept them in underground libraries. Krupskaya first met Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in 1894 at a similar discussion group, she was impressed by his speeches but not his personality, at least not at first. It is hard to know much of the courtship between Lenin and Krupskaya as neither party spoke of personal matters. In October 1896, several months after Lenin was arrested, Krupskaya was arrested. After some time, Lenin was sentenced to exile in Siberia, they had little communication while in prison but before leaving for Siberia, Lenin wrote a "secret note" to Krupskaya, delivered by her mother. It suggested that she could be permitted to join him in Siberia if she told people she was his fiancée. At that time, Krupskaya was still awaiting sentencing in Siberia.
In 1898, Krupskaya was permitted to accompany Lenin but only if they were married as soon as she arrived. In her memoirs, Krupskaya notes "with him such a job as translation was a labour of love", her relationship with Lenin was more professional than marital, but she remained loyal, never once considering divorce. It is believed Krupskaya suffered from Graves' disease, an illness affecting the thyroid gland in the neck which causes the eyes to bulge and the neck to tighten, it can disrupt the menstrual cycle, which may explain why Lenin and Krupskaya never had children. Upon his release, Lenin settled in Munich. Upon her release Krupskaya joined him. After she had arrived the couple moved to London. Krupskaya's political life was active: she was anything but a mere functionary of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party from 1903. Leon Trotsky, working with Lenin and Krupskaya from 1902–1903, writes in his autobiography of the central importance of Krupskaya in the day-to-day work of the RSDLP and its newspaper, Iskra.
"The secretary of the editorial board was wife She was at the ver
The Russian Revolution was a pair of revolutions in Russia in 1917 which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. Alongside it arose grassroots community assemblies which contended for authority. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was toppled and all power was given to the Soviets; the February Revolution was a revolution focused around Petrograd, the capital of Russia at that time. In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government, dominated by the interests of large capitalists and the noble aristocracy; the army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in Tsar Nicholas's abdication. The Soviets, which were dominated by soldiers and the urban industrial working class permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias.
The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War, which left much of the Russian Army in a state of mutiny. A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower classes and the left-leaning urban middle class. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies and many strikes. Many socialist political organizations were engaged in daily struggle and vied for influence within the Duma and the Soviets, central among which were the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin who campaigned for an immediate end to the war, land to the peasants, bread to the workers; when the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions were able to exploit universal disdain towards the war effort as justification to advance the revolution further. The Bolsheviks turned workers' militias under their control into the Red Guards over which they exerted substantial control.
In the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks led an armed insurrection by workers and soldiers in Petrograd that overthrew the Provisional Government, transferring all its authority to the Soviets with the capital being relocated to Moscow shortly thereafter. The Bolsheviks had secured a strong base of support within the Soviets and, as the now supreme governing party, established a federal government dedicated to reorganizing the former empire into the world's first socialist republic, practicing Soviet democracy on a national and international scale; the promise to end Russia's participation in the First World War was honored promptly with the Bolshevik leaders signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918. To further secure the new state, the Cheka was established which functioned as a revolutionary security service that sought to weed out and punish those considered to be "enemies of the people" in campaigns consciously modeled on similar events during the French Revolution.
Soon after, civil war erupted among the "Reds", the "Whites", the independence movements and the non-Bolshevik socialists. It continued for several years, during which the Bolsheviks defeated both the Whites and all rival socialists and thereafter reconstituted themselves as the Communist Party. In this way, the Revolution paved the way for the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922. While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and Petrograd, there was a visible movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land; the Russian Revolution of 1905 was said to be a major factor contributing to the cause of the Revolutions of 1917. The events of Bloody Sunday triggered nationwide protests and soldier mutinies. A council of workers called. While the 1905 Revolution was crushed, the leaders of the St. Petersburg Soviet were arrested, this laid the groundwork for the Petrograd Soviet and other revolutionary movements during the lead up to 1917.
The 1905 Revolution led to the creation of a Duma, that would form the Provisional Government following February 1917. The outbreak of World War I prompted general outcry directed at Tsar Nicholas II and the Romanov family. While the nation was engaged in a wave of nationalism, increasing numbers of defeats and poor conditions soon flipped the nation's opinion; the Tsar attempted to remedy the situation by taking personal control of the army in 1915. This proved to be disadvantageous for the Tsar, as he was now held responsible for Russia's continuing defeats and losses. In addition, Tsarina Alexandra, left to rule in while the Tsar commanded at the front, was German born, leading to suspicion of collusion, only to be exacerbated by rumors relating to her relationship with the controversial mystic Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin's influence led to disastrous ministerial appointments and corruption, resulting in a worsening of conditions within Russia; this led to general dissatisfaction with the Romanov family, was a major factor contributing to the retaliation of the Russian Communists against th
Social democracy is a political and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties and their influence on socioeconomic policy development in the Nordic countries, in policy circles social democracy has become associated with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century. Social democracy originated as a political ideology that advocated an evolutionary and peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism using established political processes in contrast to the revolutionary approach to transition associated with orthodox Marxism.
In the early post-war era in Western Europe, social democratic parties rejected the Stalinist political and economic model current in the Soviet Union, committing themselves either to an alternative path to socialism or to a compromise between capitalism and socialism. In this period, social democrats embraced a mixed economy based on the predominance of private property, with only a minority of essential utilities and public services under public ownership; as a result, social democracy became associated with Keynesian economics, state interventionism and the welfare state while abandoning the prior goal of replacing the capitalist system with a qualitatively different socialist economic system. With the rise of popularity for neoliberalism and the New Right by the 1980s, most social democratic parties have incorporated Third Way ideology, which aims to fuse liberal economics with social democratic welfare policies. Modern social democracy is characterized by a commitment to policies aimed at curbing inequality, oppression of underprivileged groups and poverty, including support for universally accessible public services like care for the elderly, child care, health care and workers' compensation.
The social democratic movement has strong connections with the labour movement and trade unions which are supportive of collective bargaining rights for workers as well as measures to extend decision-making beyond politics into the economic sphere in the form of co-determination for employees and other economic stakeholders. During late 19th and early 20th centuries, social democracy was a movement that aimed to replace private ownership with social ownership of the means of production, taking influences from both Marxism and the supporters of Ferdinand Lassalle. By 1868–1869, Marxism had become the official theoretical basis of the first social democratic party established in Europe, the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany. In the early 20th century, the German social democratic politician Eduard Bernstein rejected the ideas in classical and orthodox Marxism that proposed a specific historical progression and revolution as a means to achieve social equality, advanced the position that socialism should be grounded in ethical and moral arguments for social justice and egalitarianism, was to be achieved through gradual legislative reform.
Influenced by Bernstein, following the split between reformists and revolutionary socialists in the Second International social democratic parties rejected revolutionary politics in favor of parliamentary reform while remaining committed to socialization. In this period, social democracy became associated with reformist socialism. Under the influence of politicians like Carlo Rosselli in Italy, social democrats began disassociating themselves from Marxism altogether and embraced liberal socialism, appealing to morality instead of any consistent systematic, scientific or materialist worldview. Social democracy made appeals to communitarian and sometimes nationalist sentiments while rejecting the economic and technological determinism characteristic of both Marxism and economic liberalism. By the post-World War II period, most social democrats in Europe had abandoned their ideological connection to Marxism and shifted their emphasis toward social policy reform in place of transition from capitalism to socialism.
The origins of social democracy have been traced to the 1860s, with the rise of the first major working-class party in Europe, the General German Workers' Association founded by Ferdinand Lassalle. 1864 saw the founding of the International Workingmen's Association known as the First International. It brought together socialists of various stances and occasioned a conflict between Karl Marx and the anarchists led by Mikhail Bakunin over the role of the state in socialism, with Bakunin rejecting any role for the state. Another issue in the First International was the role of reformism. Although Lassalle was not a Marxist, he was influenced by the theories of Marx and Friedrich Engels and he accepted the existence and importance of class struggle. However, unlike Marx's and Engels's The Communist Manifesto, Lassalle promoted class struggle in a more moderate form. While Marx viewed the state negatively as an instrument of class rule that should only exist temporarily upon the rise to power of the proletariat and dismantled, Lassalle accepted the state.
Lassalle viewed the state as a means through which workers could enhance their interests and transform the society to create an economy based on worker-run cooperatives. Lassalle's strategy was electoral and reformist, with Lassalleans contending that the working c
The Gulag was the government agency in charge of the Soviet forced-labor camp-system, set up under Vladimir Lenin and reached its peak during Joseph Stalin's rule from the 1930s to the early 1950s. English-language speakers use the word gulag to refer to any forced-labor camp in the Soviet Union, including camps which existed in post-Stalin times; the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners. Large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as by NKVD troikas or by other instruments of extrajudicial punishment; the Gulag is recognized by many as a major instrument of political repression in the Soviet Union. The agency was first administered by the GPU by the NKVD and in the final years by the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the Solovki prison camp, the first corrective labor camp constructed after the revolution, was established in 1918 and legalized by a decree "On the creation of the forced-labor camps" on April 15, 1919. The internment system grew reaching a population of 100,000 in the 1920s.
According to Nicolas Werth, author of The Black Book of Communism, the yearly mortality rate in the Soviet concentration camps varied, reaching 5% and 20% while dropping in the post-war years. The emergent consensus among scholars who utilize official archival data is that of the 18 million who were sent to the Gulag from 1930 to 1953 1.5 to 1.7 million perished there or as a result of their detention. However, some historians who question the reliability of such data and instead rely on literary sources come to higher estimations. Archival researchers have found "no plan of destruction" of the gulag population and no statement of official intent to kill them, prisoner releases vastly exceeded the number of deaths in the Gulag. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, who survived eight years of Gulag incarceration, gave the term its international repute with the publication of The Gulag Archipelago in 1973; the author likened the scattered camps to "a chain of islands", as an eyewitness he described the Gulag as a system where people were worked to death.
In March 1940, there were 53 Gulag camp directorates and 423 labor colonies in the Soviet Union. Many mining and industrial towns and cities in northern and eastern Russia and in Kazakhstan such as Karaganda, Norilsk and Magadan, were blocks of camps built by prisoners and subsequently run by ex-prisoners; some suggest that 14 million people were imprisoned in the Gulag labor camps from 1929 to 1953. Other calculations by the historian Orlando Figes, refer to 25 million prisoners of the Gulag in 1928–1953. A further 6–7 million were deported and exiled to remote areas of the USSR, 4–5 million passed through labor colonies, plus 3.5 million who were in, or, sent to, labor settlements. According to some estimates, the total population of the camps varied from 510,307 in 1934 to 1,727,970 in 1953. According to other estimates, at the beginning of 1953 the total number of prisoners in prison camps was more than 2.4 million of which more than 465,000 were political prisoners. The institutional analysis of the Soviet concentration system is complicated by the formal distinction between GULAG and GUPVI.
GUPVI was the Main Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees, a department of NKVD in charge of handling of foreign civilian internees and POWs in the Soviet Union during and in the aftermath of World War II. In many ways the GUPVI system was similar to GULAG, its major function was the organization of foreign forced labor in the Soviet Union. The top management of GUPVI came from the GULAG system; the major noted distinction from GULAG was the absence of convicted criminals in the GUPVI camps. Otherwise the conditions in both camp systems were similar: hard labor, poor nutrition and living conditions, high mortality rate. For the Soviet political prisoners, like Solzhenitsyn, all foreign civilian detainees and foreign POWs were imprisoned in the GULAG. According with the estimates, in total, during the whole period of the existence of GUPVI there were over 500 POW camps, which imprisoned over 4,000,000 POW. Most Gulag inmates were not political prisoners, although significant numbers of political prisoners could be found in the camps at any one time.
Petty crimes and jokes about the Soviet government and officials were punishable by imprisonment. About half of political prisoners in the Gulag camps were imprisoned without trial; the GULAG was reduced in size following Stalin's death in 1953, in a period known as the Khrushchev Thaw. In 1960 the Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del ceased to function as the Soviet-wide administration of the camps in favor of individual republic MVD branches; the centralized detention facilities temporarily ceased functioning. Although the term Gulag referred to a government agency, in English and many other languages the acronym acquired the qualities of a common noun, denoting the Soviet system of prison-based, unfree labor. More broadly, "Gulag" has come to mean the Soviet repressive system itself, the set of procedu
Mikhail Pavlovich Tomsky was a factory worker, trade unionist and Bolshevik leader. He was the Soviet leader of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions. Tomsky attempted to form a trade union at his factory in St. Petersburg resulting in his dismissal, his labour activities radicalized him politically and led him to become a socialist and join the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1904 and join the Bolshevik faction of the party. Born in Kolpino, Saint Petersburg Governorate in a lower-middle-class family of Russian ethnicity, Tomsky moved to Estonia and was involved in the 1905 Revolution, he helped form the Revel Union of Metal Workers. Tomsky deported to Siberia, he escaped and returned to St. Petersburg where he became president of the Union of Engravers and Chromolithographers. Tomsky was arrested in 1908 and exiled to France, but returned to Russia in 1909 where he was again arrested for his political activities and sentenced to five years of hard labour, he was freed by the Provisional Government after the February Revolution in 1917 and moved to Moscow where he participated in the October Revolution.
In 1918 he attended the Fourth All Russian Conference of Trade Unions, where he moved a resolution concerning the Relations between the Trade Unions and the Commissariat for Labour which stated that the October Revolution had changed "the meaning and character of state organs and significance of proletarian organs as well". It was elaborated that the old ministry of Labour had acted as arbitrator between Labour and Capital, whereas the new Commissariat was the champion of the economic policy of the working class, he was elected to the Central Committee in March 1919, to its Orgburo in 1921 and to the Politburo in April 1922. Tomsky was an ally of Nikolai Bukharin and Alexey Rykov, who led the moderate wing of the Communist Party in the 1920s. Together, they were allied with Joseph Stalin's faction and helped him purge the United Opposition - led by Leon Trotsky, Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoviev - from the Party during the struggle that followed Lenin's death in 1924. In 1928 Stalin moved against his former allies, defeating Bukharin and Tomsky at the April 1929 Plenary Meeting of the Central Committee and forcing Tomsky to resign from his position as leader of the trade union movement in May 1929.
Tomsky was put in charge of the Soviet chemical industry, a position which he occupied until 1930. He was not re-elected to the Politburo after the 16th Communist Party Congress in July 1930, but remained a full member of the Central Committee until the next Congress in January 1934, when he was demoted to candidate member. Tomsky headed the State Publishing House from May 1932 until August 1936, when he was accused of terrorist connections during the First Moscow Trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev. Rather than face arrest by the NKVD, Tomsky committed suicide by gunshot in his dacha in Bolshevo, near Moscow, he was posthumously accused of high treason and other crimes during the third show trial of Bukharin and others. The Soviet government cleared Tomsky of all charges during perestroika in 1988. Kaplan, Frederick. Bolshevik Ideology and the Ethics of Soviet labor. Philosophical library, New York. Politicheckie deyateli Rossii 1917: Biograficheskij slovar'. Moscow, 1993. Excerpts available online. Robert C.
Tucker, Memoir of a Stalin Biographer Works by or about Mikhail Tomsky at Internet Archive Tomsky Archive Marxists Internet Archive The trade unions, the party and the state a pamphlet by Tomsky
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 1990, when the Congress of People's Deputies modified Article 6 of the most recent 1977 Soviet constitution, which had granted the CPSU a monopoly over the political system; the party was founded in 1912 by the Bolsheviks, a majority faction detached from the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, who seized power in the October Revolution of 1917. After 74 years, it was dissolved on 29 August 1991 on Soviet territory, soon after a failed coup d'état by hard-line CPSU leaders against Soviet president and party general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and was outlawed three months on 6 November 1991 in Russian territory; the CPSU was a Communist party, organized on the basis of democratic centralism. This principle, conceived by Lenin, entails democratic and open discussion of policy issues within the party followed by the requirement of total unity in upholding the agreed policies.
The highest body within the CPSU was the Party Congress. When the Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body; because the Central Committee met twice a year, most day-to-day duties and responsibilities were vested in the Politburo, the Secretariat and the Orgburo. The party leader was the head of government and held the office of either General Secretary, Premier or head of state, or some of the three offices concurrently—but never all three at the same time; the party leader was the de facto chairman of the CPSU Politburo and chief executive of the Soviet Union. The tension between the party and the state for the shifting focus of power was never formally resolved, but in reality the party dominated and a paramount leader always existed. After the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, Lenin had introduced a mixed economy referred to as the New Economic Policy, which allowed for capitalist practices to resume under the Communist Party dictation in order to develop the necessary conditions for socialism to become a practical pursuit in the economically undeveloped country.
In 1929, as Joseph Stalin became the leader of the party, Marxism–Leninism, a fusion of the original ideas of German philosopher and economic theorist Karl Marx, Lenin, became formalized as the party's guiding ideology and would remain so throughout the rest of its existence. The party pursued state socialism, under which all industries were nationalized and a planned economy was implemented. After recovering from the Second World War, reforms were implemented which decentralized economic planning and liberalized Soviet society in general under Nikita Khrushchev. By 1980, various factors, including the continuing Cold War, ongoing nuclear arms race with the United States and other Western European powers and unaddressed inefficiencies in the economy, led to stagnant economic growth under Alexei Kosygin, further with Leonid Brezhnev and a growing disillusionment. After a younger vigorous Mikhail Gorbachev, assumed leadership in 1985, rapid steps were taken to transform the tottering Soviet economic system in the direction of a market economy once again.
Gorbachev and his allies envisioned the introduction of an economy similar to Lenin's earlier New Economic Policy through a program of "perestroika", or restructuring, but their reforms along with the institution of free multiparty elections led to a decline in the party's power, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the banning of the party by last RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin and subsequent first President of an evolving democratic and free market economy of the successor Russian Federation. A number of causes contributed to CPSU's loss of control and the dissolution of the Soviet Union during the early 1990s; some historians have written that Gorbachev's policy of "glasnost" was the root cause, noting that it weakened the party's control over society. Gorbachev maintained. Others have blamed the economic stagnation and subsequent loss of faith by the general populace in communist ideology. In the final years of the CPSU's existence, the Communist Parties of the federal subjects of Russia were united into the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
After the CPSU's demise, the Communist Parties of the Union Republics became independent and underwent various separate paths of reform. In Russia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation emerged and has been regarded as the inheritor of the CPSU's old Bolshevik legacy into the present day. 1912–18:Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party 1918–25:Russian Communist Party 1925–52:All-Union Communist Party 1952–91:Communist Party of the Soviet Union The origin of the CPSU was in the Bolshevik majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, left the party in January 1912 to form a new one at the Prague Party Conference, called the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party – or RSDLP. Prior to the February Revolution, the first phase of the Russian Revolutions of 1917, the party worked underground as organized anti-Tsarist groups. By the time of the revolution, many of the party's central leaders, including Lenin, were in exile. With Emperor Nicholas II, deposed in February 1917, a republic was established and administered by a provisional gove