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Central Committee of the Communist Party

The Central Committee was the highest body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). According to Party rules the Central Committee directed all Party and government activities between each Party Congress[?] with the Politburo elected by and reported to the Central Committee. Members of the committee were elected at the Party Congress every five years

For most of its existence the power of the Central Committee was limited by its infrequent meetings and large membership, and true power lay with the Politburo. The Committee functioned as a rubber-stamp to legitimise and give an aura of consensus to Politburo decisions. The Committee would meet only twice a year, with sessions lasting one or two days. Special plenary sessions would be held before a major event, such as a new long-term plan or the selection of a new General Secretary. The elections were facades too, with the membership being selected in advance by the leaders.

From 1917 to 1934, the Central Committee did act as a parliament. But their occasional opposition to Stalin led to a purge of the body between the 17th and 18th Party Congresses (1934-39). Until Stalin's death, its role was therefore almost non-existent. After Stalin's death there was a period of collective leadership, which briefly revitalised the Committee before it was returned to its compliant role.

Following the failed coup in 1991 the Central Committee was dissolved.



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