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Authority-and-Party Top-Down Command Structure of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine during the Holodomor-Genocide of Ukrainians

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The authors of the publication:
Stasiuk Olesia
Bibliographic description:
Stasiuk, O. (2020) Authority-and-Party Top-Down Command Structure of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine during the Holodomor-Genocide of Ukrainians. Folk Art and Ethnology, 5/6 (387/388), 75–83.


Stasiuk Olesia

a Ph.D. in History, a general director of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide


Authority-and-Party Top-Down Command Structure of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine during the Holodomor-Genocide of Ukrainians



Totalitarianism of the Soviet authorities has manifested since the very beginning of its establishment. After the USSR had been created, the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which subdued the Communist parties of constituent republics, gathered all political power. In spite of formal democratism of Congresses of Soviets, which should have determined the party’s policy, real power belonged to the Central Committee. The latter delegated its representatives to the congresses for legitimating its resolutions.

Party leaders assumed control over the state apparatus, subordinated independent structures of civil society, such as courts, press, labour unions, cooperatives, etc. Power belonged to the Political Bureau of the Central Committee the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), which used military terms in its orders, leading to militarizing the social consciousness. For example, forced starvation of Ukrainians was called the battle for harvest, struggle for plan fulfilment, etc.

Functions of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) consisted in implementing decisions made by all-Union leaders. Joseph Stalin was mistrustful of the Ukrainian authorities; therefore, he surrounded the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine Stanislav Kosior with his protégés. Moreover, his subordinate position has been hightened by Vsevolod Balytskyi and Pavel Postyshev returning to Ukraine in early 1933. The latter held then the post of the Second Secretary, resulting to Kosior’s role being virtually nominal.

The party’s personnel policy was aimed at preventing the formation of horizontal relations, which could lead to a loss of control over certain regions. That is why the key criteria for candidates for party positions were a contender’s origin, devotion to the party and its ideology, the ability to follow directives from above, rather than professional or personal qualities.

The system of local bodies, headed by the first secretaries of the party’s regional committees, implemented the decisions made by the higher authorities. In addition, in order to strengthen the Communist Party’s influence in villages, political departments were set up at machine-tractor stations. They were not subordinated to the district authorities, but followed special instructions sent down from the centre.

Thus, the creation of an authority-and-party top-down command structure, the institution of authorized representatives and activists’ units was necessary in order to prevent the loss of control over the Ukrainian peasantry and to commit the Holodomor-Genocide.



Holodomor-Genocide of Ukrainians, Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks), Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine, authority-and-party top-down command structure, Stalinist dictatorship.



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