General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

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Image:Iosif Stalin.jpg
Joseph Stalin, first General Secretary

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (First Secretary in 1953-1966) was the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924. The full name of the office was General (or First) Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

The position was originally an administrative one when it was created in 1922 with Stalin being the first to hold the title. However, the access to and authority over the party bureaucracy which accrued to the position allowed Joseph Stalin to increase his power during Lenin's illness and particularly after his death. Once Stalin came to dominate the Politburo, the position of General Secretary became synonymous with that of party leader and de facto ruler of the USSR. From 1934 on, Stalin increasingly preferred to sign documents as just "Secretary of the Central Committee" and there are no official references to the post between the XIXth Party Congress in October 1952 and Stalin's death on March 5, 1953, but there was never any doubt that he remained in charge.

When the leadership of the Central Committee was restructured at the time of Stalin's death, the office of the General Secretary briefly remained unoccupied, but two senior Politburo members, Georgy Malenkov (the new prime minister) and Nikita Khrushchev, were included in the Secretariat. On March 14, 1953, Malenkov was removed from the Secretariat, which left Khruschev in effective control of the body. His position was confirmed at the September Plenary meeting of the Central Committee, which made him First Secretary of the Central Committee.

Following the August 1991 Coup, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary. He was replaced by his deputy, Vladimir Ivashko, who only held the post for five days before the Supreme Soviet suspended all activities of the Communist Party on August 29, 1991.

[edit] General secretaries of the Communist Party

[edit] See also

et:NLKP KK peasekretär nl:Secretaris-generaal van de Communistische Partij van de Sovjet-Unie ro:Secretar General al Partidului Comunist al Uniunii Sovietice ru:Генеральный секретарь ЦК КПСС

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

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