Definitions

politburo

politburo

[pol-it-byoor-oh, poh-lit-, puh-lit-]
politburo, the former central policy-making and governing body of the Communist party of the Soviet Union and, with minor variations, of other Communist parties. It was first created on the eve of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917, but it did not become fully functional until the Eighth Party Congress in Mar., 1919. Nominally elected by the central committee to direct the party between the committee's plenary sessions, the politburo, in reality, governed the country. The size of the politburo in the Soviet Union varied; from 1952 until 1966 it was called the presidium.
Politburo, short for Political Bureau, Russian Politicheskoye Buro, is the executive organization for a number of political parties, most notably those of communists.

Marxist-Leninist states

In Marxist-Leninist states, the party is seen as "the vanguard of the people" and therefore usually has the power to control the state, and the non-state party officials in the politburo generally hold extreme power.

In the Soviet Union for example, the General Secretary of the Communist Party did not necessarily hold a state office like president or prime minister to effectively control the system of government. Instead, party members answerable to or controlled by the party held these posts, often as honorific posts as a reward for their long years of service to the party. On other occasions, having governed as General Secretary, the party leader might assume a state office in addition. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev initially did not hold the presidency of the Soviet Union, that office being given as an honour to former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for well over a decade before assuming the governmental position of Premier of the Soviet Union during World War II.

Officially, the Party Congress elects a Central Committee which, in turn, elects a General Secretary. Under Stalin however, this model was essentially reversed and it was the General Secretary who determined the composition of the Politburo and Central Committee.

Trotskyist parties

In Trotskyist parties, the Politburo is a bureau of the Central Committee tasked with taking day-to-day political decisions, which must later be ratified by the Central Committee. It is appointed by the Central Committee from among its members. The post of General Secretary carries far less weight than in the Stalinist model. See, for example, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.

See also

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