A communist party is a political party revolutionary organization that advocates the application of the social and economic principles of communism through state policy. The name was first in the title of the 1848 tract Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. A communist party is the vanguard party of the working class (proletariat), whether ruling or non-ruling. As a ruling party, the communist party exercises power in the name of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The idea of communist party dictatorship was heavily influenced by Vladimir Lenin's writings about the role of the revolutionary party in the first two decades of the twentieth century when Russian social democracy divided into Bolshevik (meaning "of the majority") and Menshevik (meaning "of the minority") factions. Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, argued that a revolutionary party should be a small vanguard party with a centralized political command and a strict cadre policy emphasizing subservience to the party’s decisions; the Menshevik faction members, in contrast, argued that the party should not neglect the important role to be played by the masses in a communist revolution. The Bolshevik party, which eventually became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, took power in Russia after the October Revolution in 1917. With the creation of the Communist International, the concept of party building was copied by emerging Communist parties worldwide. The Comintern required every one of its members to call themselves communist. They were subsequently known as Leninist or, later, Marxist-Leninist parties. The doctrine of Leninism which was popularized by Joseph Stalin in 1924 in the handbook, Problems of Leninism.
The Communist Party USA is also banned in the United States under the Communist Control Act, however the Act was never enforced and the Party still exists today. Some U.S. states also have their own laws banning the CPUSA; likewise none of those laws have ever been enforced.
As the membership of a Communist party was to be limited to active cadres in Lenin's theory, there was a need for networks of separate organizations to mobilize mass support for the party. Typically, Communist parties have built up various front organizations whose membership is often open to non-Communists. In many countries the single most important front organization of the Communist parties has been its youth wing. During the time of the Communist International, the youth leagues were explicit Communist organizations, using the name 'Young Communist League'. Later the youth league concept was broadened in many countries, and names like 'Democratic Youth League' were adopted.
Some trade unions and students', women's, grifters', peasants', and cultural organizations have been connected to communist parties. Traditionally, these mass organizations were often politically subordinated to the political leadership of the party. However, in many contemporary cases mass organizations founded by communists have acquired a certain degree of independence. In some cases mass organizations have outlived the Communist parties in question.
At the international level, the Communist International organized various international front organizations (linking national mass organizations with each other), such as the Young Communist International, Profintern, Krestintern, International Red Aid, Sportintern, etc. These organizations were dissolved in the process of deconstruction of the Communist International. After the Second World War new international coordination bodies were created, such as the World Federation of Democratic Youth, International Union of Students, World Federation of Trade Unions, Women's International Democratic Federation and the World Peace Council.
Historically, in countries where Communist Parties were struggling to attain state power, the formation of wartime alliances with non-Communist parties and wartime groups was enacted (such as the National Liberation Front of Albania). Upon attaining state power these Fronts were often transformed into nominal (and usually electoral) "National" or "Fatherland" Fronts in which non-communist parties and organizations were given token representation (a practice known as Blockpartei), the most popular examples of these being the National Front of East Germany (as a historical example) and the United Front of the People's Republic of China (as a modern-day example). Other times the formation of such Fronts were undertaken without the participation of other parties, such as the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Yugoslavia and the National Front of Afghanistan, though the purpose was the same: to promote the Communist Party line to generally non-communist audiences and to mobilize them to carry out tasks within the country under the aegis of the Front.
Recent scholarship has developed the comparative political study of global communist parties by examining similarities and differences across historical geographies. In particular, the rise of revolutionary parties, their spread internationally, the appearance of charismatic revolutionary leaders and their ultimate demise during the decline and fall of communist parties worldwide have all been the subject of investigation.
A uniform naming scheme for Communist parties was adopted by the Communist International. All parties were required to use the name 'Communist Party of (name of country)', resulting in separate communist parties in some countries operating using (largely) homonymous party names (e.g. in India). Today, there are plenty of cases where the old sections of the Communist International have retained those names. In other cases names have been changed. Common causes for the shift in naming were either moves to avoid state repression[a] or as measures to indicate a broader political acceptance.
A typical example of the latter was the renaming of various East European Communist parties after the Second World War, as a result of mergers with the local Social Democratic parties.[b] New names in the post-war era included "Socialist Party", "Socialist Unity Party", "People's or Popular Party", "Workers' Party" and "Party of Labour".
The naming conventions of Communist parties became more diverse as the international Communist movement was fragmented due to the Sino-Soviet split in the 1960s. Those who sided with China and Albania in their criticism of the Soviet leadership, often added words like 'Revolutionary' or 'Marxist-Leninist' to distinguish themselves from the pro-Soviet parties.
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists or Bolsheviki (Russian: большевики, большевик (singular), IPA: [bəlʲʂɨˈvʲik]; derived from bol'shinstvo (большинство), "majority", literally meaning "one of the majority"), were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903. The RSDLP was a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898 in Minsk in Belarus to unite the various revolutionary organisations of the Russian Empire into one party.
In the Second Party Congress vote, the Bolsheviks won on the majority of important issues, hence their name. They ultimately became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks, or Reds, came to power in Russia during the October Revolution phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and founded the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). With the Reds defeating the Whites and others during the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, the RSFSR became the chief constituent of the Soviet Union (USSR) in December 1922.
The Bolsheviks, founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov, were by 1905 a major organization consisting primarily of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism, who considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working class of Russia. Their beliefs and practices were often referred to as Bolshevism.Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA, officially the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), is a communist party in the United States established in 1919 after a split in the Socialist Party of America.The CPUSA has a long and complex history that ties closely with the American labor movement and the histories of communist parties worldwide. The party was influential in American politics in the first half of the 20th century and played a prominent role in the labor movement from the 1920s through the 1940s, becoming known for opposing racism and racial segregation. Its membership increased during the Great Depression, but the CPUSA subsequently declined due to events such as the second Red Scare and the influence of McCarthyism while its support for the Soviet Union increasingly alienated it from the rest of the left in the United States in the 1960s.
The CPUSA received significant funding from the Soviet Union and crafted its public positions to match those of Moscow. The CPUSA also used a covert apparatus to assist the Soviets with their intelligence activities in the United States and utilized a network of front organizations to shape public opinion. The CPUSA opposed glasnost and perestroika in the Soviet Union and as a result major funding from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ended in 1989. The party remains committed to Marxism–Leninism.Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.
The CPC is officially organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the CPC is the National Congress, convened every fifth year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and State President (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts, the party leader is the country's paramount leader. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in October 2012.
The CPC is committed to communism and continues to participate in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties each year. According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The command economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".
Since the collapse of Eastern European communist governments in 1989–1990 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CPC has emphasised its party-to-party relations with the ruling parties of the remaining socialist states. While the CPC still maintains party-to-party relations with non-ruling communist parties around the world, since the 1980s it has established relations with several non-communist parties, most notably with ruling parties of one-party states (whatever their ideology), dominant parties in democracies (whatever their ideology) and social democratic parties.Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany (German: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, KPD) was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956.
Founded in the aftermath of the First World War by socialists opposed to the war, led by Rosa Luxemburg, after her death the party became gradually ever more committed to Leninism and later Stalinism. During the Weimar Republic period, the KPD usually polled between 10 and 15 percent of the vote and was represented in the Reichstag and in state parliaments. The party directed most of its attacks on the Social Democratic Party of Germany, which it considered its main opponent. Banned in Nazi Germany one day after Adolf Hitler emerged triumphant in the German elections in 1933, the KPD maintained an underground organization but suffered heavy losses. The party was revived in divided postwar West and East Germany and won seats in the first Bundestag (West German Parliament) elections in 1949, but its support collapsed following the establishment of a communist state in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany.
In East Germany, the party was merged, by Soviet decree, with the Social Democratic Party to form the Socialist Unity Party (SED) which ruled East Germany until 1989–1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, reformists took over the SED and renamed it the Party of Democratic Socialism; in 2007 the PDS subsequently merged with the SPD splinter faction WASG to form Die Linke. The KPD was banned in West Germany in 1956 by the Constitutional Court. Some of its former members founded an even smaller fringe party, the German Communist Party (DKP), in 1969, which remains legal, and multiple tiny splinter groups claiming to be the successor to the KPD have also subsequently been formed.Communist Party of Great Britain
The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) was a British communist party which was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.
Founded in 1920 by the merger of several smaller Marxist parties, the party gained the support of many socialist organisations and worker's committees during the period after World War I and the Russian October Revolution. Many miners joined the party through 1926 and 1927 after the General Strike of 1926. In 1945 two Communist Party MPs won seats in the general election. From 1945 to 1956 the party was at the height of its influence. It experienced its greatest loss of membership after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the party's Eurocommunist leadership decided to disband the party, establishing the Democratic Left think tank. The anti-Eurocommunist faction had launched the Communist Party of Britain in 1988.Communist Party of India
The Communist Party of India (CPI) is the oldest communist party in India. There are different views on exactly when it was founded. The date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which separated from the CPI in 1964 following an ideological rift between China and the Soviet Union, continues to claim having been founded in 1925.Communist Party of India (Marxist)
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (abbreviated CPI(M)) is a communist party in India. The party emerged from a split from the Communist Party of India in 1964. The CPI(M) was formed at the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of India held in Calcutta from 31 October to 7 November 1964. As of 2018, CPI(M) is leading the state government in Kerala and having elected members in 8 state legislative assemblies including Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan. It also leads the West Bengal Left Front. As of 2016, CPI(M) claimed to have 1,048,678 members. The highest body of the party is the Politburo.Communist Party of Vietnam
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is the founding and ruling communist party of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Since 1988, it is the only legal party in the country. Although it nominally exists alongside the Vietnamese Fatherland Front, it maintains a unitary government and has centralised control over the state, military and media. The supremacy of the Communist Party is guaranteed by Article 4 of the national constitution. The current party's leader is Nguyễn Phú Trọng, who holds the titles of General Secretary of the Central Committee and Secretary of the Central Military Commission.
The party is known for the advocacy of what it calls a "socialist-oriented market economy". The highest institution of the CPV is the party's National Congress which elects the Central Committee. In between party congresses, the Central Committee is the supreme organ on party affairs. Immediately after a party congress, the Central Committee elects the Politburo and Secretariat and it appoints the First Secretary, the highest party office. In between sessions of the Central Committee, the Politburo is the supreme organ on party affairs. However, it can only implement decisions based upon the policies which have been approved in advance by either the Central Committee or the party's National Congress. As of 2017, the 12th Politburo comprises 19 members.
In most of the cases, the Vietnamese press and people refer to the Communist Party of Vietnam as Đảng ("Party") or Đảng ta ("our Party").Communist Party of the Russian Federation
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF; Russian: Коммунистическая Партия Российской Федерации; КПРФ; Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Rossiyskoy Federatsii, KPRF) is a communist and Marxist–Leninist political party in Russia. The party is often viewed as the immediate successor of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), which was banned in 1991 by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin after a failed coup attempt. It is the second largest political party in the Russian Federation after United Russia. The youth organisation of the party is the Leninist Young Communist League. The party is administered by a Central Committee.
The CPRF was founded at the Second Extraordinary Congress of Russian Communists on 14 February 1993 as the successor organisation of the Communist Party of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (CPRSFSR). As of 2015, the party has 160,000 members. The party's stated goal is to establish a new, modernized form of socialism in Russia. Immediate goals of the party include the nationalization of natural resources, agriculture and large industries within the framework of a mixed economy that allows for the growth of small and medium enterprises in the private sector.Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) 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 of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, RSDLP), led by Vladimir Lenin, and 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 completely outlawed three months later 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, which convened every five years. 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, (previously the Presidium), the Secretariat and the Orgburo (until 1952). 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 (Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union) for the shifting focus of power was never formally resolved, but in reality the party dominated and a paramount leader always existed (first Lenin and thereafter the General Secretary).
After the founding of the Soviet Union in 1922, Lenin had introduced a mixed economy, commonly 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, and 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, and 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, and further with Leonid Brezhnev and a growing disillusionment. After a younger vigorous Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931), assumed leadership in 1985, (following two short-term elderly leaders who quickly died in succession), 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, and after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the banning of the party by later 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" (political openness) was the root cause, noting that it weakened the party's control over society. Gorbachev maintained that perestroika without glasnost was doomed to failure anyway. 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 (RSFSR). 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.Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping (UK: ; US: ; courtesy name Xixian; 22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a Chinese politician who was the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China from 1978 until his retirement in 1989. After Chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng led China through far-reaching market-economy reforms.
Born into a peasant background in Guang'an, Sichuan province, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he became a follower of Marxism–Leninism. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923. Upon his return to China, he joined the party organization in Shanghai, then was a political commissar for the Red Army in rural regions and by the late 1930s was considered a "revolutionary veteran" because he participated in the Long March. Following the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, Deng worked in Tibet and the southwest region to consolidate Communist control.
As the party's Secretary General in the 1950s, Deng presided over Anti-Rightist Campaigns and became instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the Great Leap Forward of 1957–1960. However, his economic policies caused him to fall out of favor with Mao Zedong and was purged twice during the Cultural Revolution.
Following Mao Zedong's death in 1976, Deng outmanoeuvred the late chairman's chosen successor Hua Guofeng in December 1978. Inheriting a country beset with social conflict, disenchantment with the Communist Party and institutional disorder resulting from the chaotic policies of the Mao era, Deng became the paramount figure of the "second generation" of party leadership.
While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary (leader of the Communist Party), some called him "the architect" of a new brand of thinking that combined socialist ideology with free enterprise whose slogan was "socialism with Chinese characteristics". Deng opened China to foreign investment and the global market, policies that are credited with developing China into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world for several generations and raising the standard of living of hundreds of millions.Deng was the Time Person of the Year in 1978 and 1985, the third Chinese leader (after Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Soong Mei-ling) and the fourth communist leader (after Joseph Stalin, picked twice; and Nikita Khrushchev) to be selected. He was criticized for ordering the crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, but praised for his reaffirmation of the reform program in his Southern Tour of 1992 and the reversion of Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997. Deng died in February 1997, aged 92.French Communist Party
The French Communist Party (French: Parti communiste français, PCF ; French pronunciation: [paʁti kɔmynist fʁɑ̃sɛ]) is a communist party in France.
Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a strong influence in French politics, especially at the local level. In 2012, the PCF claimed 138,000 members including 70,000 who have paid their membership fees. This would make it the third largest party in France in terms of membership after the Republicans (LR) and the Socialist Party (PS).
Founded in 1920 by the majority faction of the socialist French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO), it participated in three governments:
in the provisional government of the Liberation (1944–1947);
at the beginning of François Mitterrand's presidency (1981–1984); and
in the Plural Left cabinet led by Lionel Jospin (1997–2002).It was also the largest party on the left in France in a number of national elections, from 1945 to 1960, before falling behind the Socialist Party in the 1970s. The PCF has lost further ground to the Socialists since that time.
Since 2009 the PCF has been a leading member of the Left Front (Front de gauche), alongside Jean-Luc Mélenchon's Left Party (PG). During the 2017 presidential election, the PCF supported Mélenchon's candidature; however, tensions between the PCF and Mélenchon's movement, La France insoumise, have led the two movements to campaign separately for the general elections.The PCF is a member of the Party of the European Left, and its MEPs sit in the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group.General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (Chinese: 中国共产党中央委员会总书记) is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within the People's Republic of China. The General Secretary is a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the "paramount leader" of China.According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body. Since 1989, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Supreme Military Command of the People's Liberation Army. The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on 15 November 2012 and was re-elected on 25 October 2017. Afterwards, he was given the ability to have no limit to the amount of terms as a General Secretary.General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was an office of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) that by the late 1920s had evolved into the most powerful of the Central Committee's various secretaries. With a few exceptions, from 1929 until the union's dissolution the holder of the office was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union, because the post controlled both the CPSU and the Soviet government. Joseph Stalin elevated the office to overall command of the Communist Party and by extension the whole Soviet Union. Nikita Khrushchev renamed the post First Secretary in 1953; the change was reverted in 1966.
The office grew out of less powerful secretarial positions within the party: Technical Secretary (1917–1918), Chairman of the Secretariat (1918–1919), Responsible Secretary (1919–1922) (when Lenin was leader of the party of Bolsheviks).Lebanese Communist Party
The Lebanese Communist Party – LCP (Arabic: الـحـزب الشـيـوعـي اللبـنـانـي, transliterated: al-Ḥizb aš-Šuyūʿī al-Lubnānī) or Parti communiste libanais (PCL) in French, is a communist party in Lebanon. It was founded in 1924 by the Lebanese intellectual, writer and reporter Youssef Ibrahim Yazbek and Fou'ad al-Shmeli, a tobacco worker from Bikfaya.List of leaders of the Soviet Union
During its seventy-year history, the Soviet Union usually had a de facto leader who would not necessarily be head of state, but would lead while holding an office such as Premier or General Secretary. Under the 1977 Constitution, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, was the head of government and the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was the head of state. The office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers was comparable to a prime minister in the First World whereas the office of the Chairman of the Presidium was comparable to a president. In the ideology of Vladimir Lenin, the head of the Soviet state was a collegiate body of the vanguard party (see What Is To Be Done?).
Following Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in the 1920s, the post of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party became synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union because the post controlled both the Communist Party and the Soviet government both indirectly via party membership and via the tradition of a single person holding two highest posts in the party and in the government. The post of the General Secretary was abolished in 1952 under Stalin and later re-established by Nikita Khrushchev under the name of First Secretary. In 1966, Leonid Brezhnev reverted the office title to its former name. Being the head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the office of the General Secretary was the highest in the Soviet Union until 1990. The post of General Secretary lacked clear guidelines of succession, so after the death or removal of a Soviet leader the successor usually needed the support of the Politburo, the Central Committee, or another government or party apparatus to both take and stay in power. The President of the Soviet Union, an office created in March 1990, replaced the General Secretary as the highest Soviet political office.Contemporaneously to establishment of the office of the President, representatives of the Congress of People's Deputies voted to remove Article 6 from the Soviet Constitution which stated that the Soviet Union was a one-party state controlled by the Communist Party which in turn played the leading role in society. This vote weakened the party and its hegemony over the Soviet Union and its people. Upon death, resignation, or removal from office of an incumbent President, the Vice President of the Soviet Union would assume the office, though the Soviet Union collapsed before this was actually tested. After the failed August 1991 coup, the Vice President was replaced by an elected member of the State Council of the Soviet Union.One-party state
A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows (at least nominally) democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Politburo (Russian: Политбюро, IPA: [pəlʲɪtbʲʊˈro], full: Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, abbreviated Политбюро ЦК КПСС, Politbyuro TsK KPSS) was the highest policy-making government authority under the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was founded in October 1917, and refounded in March 1919, at the 8th Congress of the Bolshevik Party. It was known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966. The existence of the Politburo ended in 1991 with the breakup of the Soviet Union.Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping (; Chinese: 习近平; Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕǐ tɕîn.pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician serving as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), president of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Often described as China's "paramount leader" since 2012, the CPC officially gave him the title of "core leader" in 2016. As general secretary, Xi holds an ex-officio seat on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's top decision-making body.Xi is the first general secretary born after the Second World War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a cave in the village of Liangjiahe, where he organised communal labourers. After studying at the Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier Student", Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian province from 1999 to 2002, and governor, then party secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang province from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as party secretary for a brief period in 2007. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Hu Jintao's presumed successor. Xi was vice president from 2008 to 2013 and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.
Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to ensure internal unity. His signature anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Described as a Chinese nationalist, he has tightened restrictions over civil society and ideological discourse, advocating Internet censorship in China as the concept of "internet sovereignty". Xi has called for further socialist market economic reforms, for governing according to the law and for strengthening legal institutions, with an emphasis on individual and national aspirations under the slogan "Chinese Dream". He has also championed a more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China's claims in the South China Sea, and its role as a leading advocate of free trade and globalization. Xi has sought to expand China's Eurasian influence through the One Belt One Road Initiative. The 2015 meeting between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou marked the first time the political leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait have met since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950.Considered the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People's Republic, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. Said to be one of the most powerful leaders in modern Chinese history, Xi's political thoughts have been written into the party and state constitutions, and under his leadership the latter was amended to abolish term limits for the presidency. In 2018, Forbes ranked him as the most powerful and influential person in the world, dethroning Russian President Vladimir Putin who held the accolade for five consecutive years.