The Soviet Government and the Communist Party

Courtesy Reuters

NO student of the internal structure of the Soviet power can overlook the way in which every part of the Soviet Government machine is paralleled in the machine of the Communist Party. The supreme organ of the Soviet Union is the General Congress of Soviets, which elects the Central Executive Committee, which in turn elects from among its members the Praesidium, de facto the highest executive organ of the Union. The Communist Party pyramid is similarly constructed. The General Congress of the Party corresponds to the General Congress of Soviets; the Central Committee of the Party corresponds to the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets; and the Politbureau, which leads and dictates to the Party, corresponds to the Praesidium. Every grade of the Soviet structure has a similar parallelism in the Party structure. Is this mere coincidence? Let us examine the matter a little more closely.

Outside of Russia, the Council of People's Commissars has been long considered as the real government of the Soviet state. Actually it occupies a very subordinate position. "The meetings of the Council of People's Commissars," declared Ossinsky at the eleventh Congress of the Party, "are attended not by the Commissars themselves, but by their deputies, irresponsible people who are not supposed to know much about politics. What is the result? The Politbureau of the Party is the decisive factor. The Council of People's Commissars has always been disregarded, even in dealing with matters of secondary importance. If orders have been given that a question should be decided in such and such a way, the Commissars have nothing to say."

In numerous cases the decisions of separate Commissars and of the whole Council of People's Commissars have been repealed. It is true that usually the Central Executive Committee or its Praesidium, theoretically the highest assemblies of the State, have gone through the form of vetoing them. But it is an open secret that in these cases they have been used as mere instruments for conveying the

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