Politburo and Sovnarkom

  • E. A. Rees
  • D. H. Watson
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History and Society book series (SREEHS)


As a preliminary to the examination of the case-studies of decision-making in the individual commissariats we shall briefly review the role of the Politburo and Sovnarkom in the overall process. The availability of the protocols of both these bodies has greatly increased our understanding of the decision-making process. The case-studies will themselves cast further light on the role of Sovnarkom and the Politburo, but first we need to examine how far these bodies were organised to intervene in and regulate the process of decision-making and policy implementation, how the spheres of responsibilities of the Politburo and Sovnarkom were demarcated, and how the role of these bodies changed over time. This will provide a basis for examining the access which commissariats had to the decision-making centres, and the scope which they had to influence the policy process.


Central Committee Economic Matter Operative Official Central Party Formal Meeting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    F. Chuev, Sto sorok besed s Molotovym iz dnevnika F. Chueva (Moscow, 1991) p. 354.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    L. Trotsky, The Challenge of the Left Opposition 1926–1927 (New York, 1975) pp. 75, 87.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    A. Avtorkhanov, Stalin and the Communist Party (Munich, 1959) pp. 114–15.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    O.V. Khlevnyuk et al. (eds), Stalinskoe Politbyuro v 30-e gody: Sbornik dokumentov (Moscow, 1995) pp. 94–112.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    I.V. Stalin, Sochineniya (Moscow, 1955) vol. 11, pp. 71–9.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    On the meetings of the Politburo see E.A. Rees, ‘Stalin, the Politburo and Rail Transport Policy’, in Julian Cooper, Maureen Perrie, E.A. Rees (eds), Soviet History 1917–1953: Essays in Honour of R.W. Davies (Basingstoke/London; New York, 1995) p. 106,Google Scholar
  7. Table 5.1. The figures in this table need to be corrected in accordance with the more complete data given in O.V. Khlevnyuk et al., Stalinskoe Politbyuro v 30-e gody (Moscow, 1995). See D.H. Watson, Molotov and Soviet Government, p. 55, Table 3.1.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    N.S. Khrushchev, The Secret Speech (ed. Zh. Medvedev and R. Medvedev) (Nottingham, 1976) pp. 76–7.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    See the comments of Kaganovich: XVIIS” ezd VKP(b), stenogrficheskii otchet (Moscow, 1934) p. 564.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    N.E. Rosenfelt, Knowledge and Power: The Role of Stalin’s Secret Chancellery in the Soviet System of Government (Copenhagen, 1978). This is still a valuable book and has yet to be superseded by work based on the archives of these institutions.Google Scholar
  11. 23.
    For Soviet government institutions, see G.P. Van den Berg, Organisation und Arbeitsweise der Sowjeischen Regierung (Baden-Baden: Nomos 1984) and for Sovnarkom, during the 1930s, Watson, Molotov and Soviet Government: Sovnarkom.Google Scholar
  12. 34.
    T.N. Kol’yak, Vlas Yakoblevich Chubar’: zhizn’ i deyatel’nost’ (Kiev, 1981) pp. 242–3, 256;Google Scholar
  13. V. Drobizhev and N. Dumova, V.Ya. Chubar’ (biograficheskii ocherk) (Moscow, 1963) pp. 63–71; SZ, 1935, Part II, 9–60, 61.Google Scholar
  14. 37.
    Ibid., pp. 46–7, 96–100; E.A. Rees, State Control in Soviet Russia (London, 1987) pp. 219–24.Google Scholar
  15. 40.
    Paul Gregory, Restructuring the Soviet Economic Bureaucracy (Cambridge, 1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 44.
    See, E. Huskey, ‘Vyshinskii, Krylenko and the Shaping of the Soviet Legal Order’, Slavic Review, vol. 46, 1987, pp. 414–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 49.
    J.F. Hough and M. Fainsod, How the Soviet Union is Governed (Cambridge, Mass., 1979) pp. 412–7.Google Scholar
  18. 50.
    A preliminary discussion of these themes is found in E.A. Rees, State Control in Soviet Russia. See also A. Hegedus, Socialism and Bureaucracy (London, 1976);Google Scholar
  19. L. Torok, The Socialist System of State Control (Budapest, 1974).Google Scholar
  20. 51.
    See for example the discussion in Darrell P. Hammer, The Politics of Oligarchy (Hinsdale, 1974) pp. 278–80.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. Rees
  • D. H. Watson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations