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Changes in Governance patterns

Governing the interior

Extraordinary forms of rule and the regional party apparatus in the Second World War
Gouverner l’intérieur. Formes extraordinaires d’administration et appareil régional du parti pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale
Yoram Gorlizki
p. 321-339

Résumés

Résumé
Depuis vingt ans, il est de bon ton d’étudier les périphéries occidentales de l’Union soviétique pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Ces études sont certes très précieuses, mais les dynamiques du pouvoir politique dans les périphéries occidentales étaient souvent bien différentes de celles en pratique dans le cœur du pays. Cet essai se concentre sur les activités des comités régionaux du parti de l’intérieur du pays pendant la guerre. Dans la première partie, il observe la relation entre ces comités et le « système extraordinaire d’administration » qui fut mis en place au cours des premiers mois du conflit. Il suggère qu’en dépit de leurs puissants mandats, les agents de l’extraordinaire administration ne pouvaient souvent pas concurrencer les premiers secrétaires régionaux, qui avaient de nombreux partisans locaux et de larges réseaux de soutien. Dans la seconde partie, l’essai suggère que, néanmoins, les comités régionaux du parti étaient souvent incapables de remplir le mandat, qui leur avait été confié en 1941 par le XVIIIe Congrès du parti, de diriger l’industrie. Manquant de compétences, de savoir-faire et d’autorité pour coordonner les entreprises au niveau régional, les obkom étaient en fait souvent « pris en otage » par les intérêts ministériels. Ce fut compte tenu de cela que les comités régionaux du parti furent réorientés vers une gouvernance « idéologique » alors que la guerre tirait à sa fin.

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Note de l'auteur

Research for this article was supported by a grant from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (RES —000230880; www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/sovietprovinces). I am very grateful to Oleg Khlevniuk for supplying additional materials and for his sound advice.

Texte intégral

  • 1 This phrase, used interchangeably with “special wartime system of administration and control,” is f (...)
  • 2 John Barber and Mark Harrison, The Soviet Home Front 1941-1945: A Social and Economic History of th (...)

1One of the salient features of the Soviet system created in the 1930s was the ease which it shifted to extraordinary forms of administration and control.1 Within weeks of the war, the regime switched to a “special wartime system” of decision-making which saw the launch of emergency ad-hoc agencies, the delegation of carte blanche authority to Stalin’s deputies, and the widespread use of plenipotentiaries mandated to achieve the centre’s latest priorities. Yet as the war progressed this emergency system began to throw up problems of its own. In the economy, the conversion of industry to munitions production was taken too far, so that by 1942 it was the dwindling stocks of coal, oil, iron and steel, rather than limited munitions capacity which became the key factor impeding the Soviet war effort.2 In the political sphere the sweeping delegation of powers to plenipotentiaries and emergency committees led to confusion and local skirmishes as temporary representatives of the centre ran into opposition from established regional interests. The presence in the regions of transient command structures also raised larger questions about the longer-term purpose of the regional party bureaucracy. This essay explores how these tensions were resolved, as regional party organizations began to reach out for a new role in the post-war order.

  • 3 Lieberman, “The Evacuation of Industry,” 90-91; and Lieberman, “Crisis Management in the USSR,” 66- (...)
  • 4 On how unplanned these structures were, see Rebecca Manley, To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and (...)
  • 5 In one of the best known examples a GKO resolution “O Zavode No.21” of 2 January 1942 warned that i (...)
  • 6 Mark Harrison, “The Dictator and Defense,” in Mark Harrison, ed., Guns and Rubles: The Defense Indu (...)

2The notion of an “extraordinary system of administration” has largely been applied to the very first phase of the war, to describe the improvised management of emergency policies, such as the evacuation of over 1,500 industrial plants from the front line to the Soviet rear from July to November 1941.3 The first six months of the conflict saw the introduction of a number of impromptu structures, such as the Evacuation Council, the State Defense Committee (GKO) and the local Urban Defense Committees (GorKOs).4 This period of the war was however quite unusual. Even by its own grim standards, the Soviet regime was highly coercive during these months, which saw the summary execution of a string of military leaders, the threatened arrest of plant managers who failed to meet their targets,5 and the infamous orders “Not a Step Back” and “On Capture” of 28 July and 16 August 1941 by which soldiers who ceded territory or who surrendered were to be shot. According to Mark Harrison, until the Red Army and war production stabilized at a higher level — roughly speaking, in the second half of 1942 — the Soviet army and political society were held together by a “wave of repressive measures.”6 In this article I examine what happened when these measures began to subside. Were the regime’s efforts to address the disproportions in the economy matched by a corresponding effort to rebalance the political system, and if so, with what results?

  • 7 See for example, N.Ia. Komarov, Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony postanovliaiet… Dokumenty. Vospomin (...)
  • 8 Resolutions of the GKO were famously regarded as “immutable laws” possessing the “highest authority (...)
  • 9 On this, see Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen, “The Political (Dis)Orders of Stalinism and National (...)
  • 10 For work on the regional administration of areas liberated from German control see, for example, Hi (...)

3Much of what has been written about the wartime system of governance has focused on its apex, the State Defense Committee, based in Moscow.7 In certain respects, the GKO may be regarded as an effective institution of wartime leadership. For the duration of the war, during which it issued an unbroken run of almost 10,000 resolutions, its supreme authority was never questioned.8 Certainly, in terms of continuity and institutional coherence the GKO had no equal in the German system of wartime leadership and administration.9 However, the GKO was only one part of a far wider emergency system that kicked in at the beginning of the war. Our interest lies in the system from a regional perspective. Whereas the GKO simply took over the powers and membership of the inner circle of the Politburo, the relationship between the emergency system of rule and the ordinary party organizations in the provinces was not so clear. While some attention has recently been paid to the Western peripheries of the Soviet Union during the war, this article explores the system of regional governance away from the heat of battle, in the Soviet heartland, an important zone whose political arrangements have been largely neglected.10

  • 11 The term “plenipotentiary system” was coined by Lieberman, “Crisis Management,” 65-66.
  • 12 Parallels between the GKO and the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense, and between the region (...)
  • 13 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 126-127, 391. In a supplementary argument, Danilov suggests that th (...)
  • 14 On the plenipotentiaries of other organizations, see Lieberman, “Wartime System,” 68; Manley, Tashk (...)

4The article begins with an assessment of what, following Lieberman, we refer to as the “plenipotentiary system.”11 The Second World War was by no means the first time that plenipotentiaries had been deployed by the Soviet regime in conditions of crisis. As with the GKO itself, ostensibly modelled on the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense of the Civil War, plenipotentiaries had been widely used in the grain requisition campaigns of the civil war and collectivization periods.12 There were, however, important differences between the extraordinary system of administration of the Second World War and those that had preceded it. First, as V.N. Danilov has argued, the progressive concentration of power in Stalin’s hands in 1930s and the intertwining of party and state authority over the same period meant that there were fewer formal barriers to the absolute centralization of power in the GKO once the war started.13 Secondly, while plenipotentiaries had been used before, it is hard to say that they had evolved into a “system.” The best-known plenipotentiaries in the Second World War were those of the State Defense Committee. Yet other institutions, such as the Evacuation Council, Gosplan, the All-Union Council of Trade Unions, a large number of commissariats, and the City Defense Councils, also spawned plenipotentiaries of their own.14 In no other period was the use of plenipotentiaries as extensive or as institutionalized as it was during the Second World War. Among the most significant plenipotentiaries of this period were those of the Commission of Party Control who, during the war, attained a degree of authority that would be unparalleled in that institution’s history. The first part of the paper examines the role of plenipotentiaries of the GKO and the KPK, and assesses their interaction over time with the regional party committees.

5The second part of the essay looks more broadly at the role of the regional party committees (obkoms) of the interior. What did these organizations do? The paper centres on what, following XVIII Party Conference of 1941, was supposed to have been the primary function of many of the obkoms, the coordination of industry. The article suggests that most regional party committees lacked the expertise, resources or authority to carry out this function adequately. The result was that in some areas where regional party organizations were expected to direct regional-level industry they were more often than not “captured” by large-scale enterprises and their ministerial overseers. It was in recognition of this that towards the end of the war the central committee began to redirect the obkoms away from economic tutelage and towards what was perceived as “ideological leadership.” The article goes on to examine the quasi-military modes of leadership of many regional first secretaries, most of whom were young vydvizhentsy who had come to office and been socialized into their new roles on the eve of the war or, in some cases, during the war itself. It then explores how conflicts between these often overbearing and sometimes near-tyrannical regional first secretaries and the local aktivs burst out into the open as the Second World War neared its end.

The plenipotentiary system

  • 15 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 82.

6At the heart of the extraordinary system of rule that took hold at the beginning of the war was the “plenipotentiary system” in which selected individuals were given mandates by the country’s top leadership in Moscow to implement high-priority local assignments. Plenipotentiaries were attached to a number of institutions, but the most high-ranking were the plenipotentiaries of the State Defense Committee, the first of whom was appointed on 2 July 1941. While no official figures have ever been released, the most detailed trawl of the GKO archives identified 73 GKO plenipotentiaries appointed in the first six months of the war.15 The plenipotentiaries included commissars, enterprise directors, scientists, military leaders, security officials and regional party secretaries. In principle, it was expected that the near-total mandates of authority to a plenipotentiary was sufficient to override the objections of a local leader, even where the latter occupied a position that was more senior in the party-state hierarchy. A celebrated example was that of N. Voronov who in the autumn of 1941 was sent to Leningrad to supervise, as a GKO plenipotentiary, munitions production in the city. Voronov’s conflict with Zhdanov in Leningrad is well described by Lieberman:

  • 16 Lieberman, “Crisis Management,” 73, fn.34.

Voronov quickly ran up against Zhdanov, the all-powerful party boss of Leningrad. Zhdanov wished that more munitions be brought into Leningrad from the outside, while Voronov, holding his own ground, asserted that the city’s industrial concerns could handle this task by themselves. Voronov won the argument — and one must surmise that at least in this instance, his having a specific mandate from the GKO outweighed Zhdanov’s formal power and personal influence.16

7Yet while GKO plenipotentiaries were well equipped to achieve short-term or one-off assignments, it was not always easy to convert their mandate into a more routine type of authority. Without their own staff in the region, GKO plenipotentiaries normally had to rely on the ordinary party and state bureaucracies to carry out their orders. In dealing with obkom officials on a day-to-day basis the plenipotentiary, especially if he was a local official, was liable to revert to his normal non-GKO status and to be treated as such by local staff.

  • 17 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 130, 141.

8A good example of this comes from the Krasnoe Sormovo tank factory in Gor´kii. In the early stage of the war, Krasnoe Sormovo, which produced the strategically important T-34 tank, was the subject of the very first GKO resolution, issued on 1 July 1941, which called for a sharp increase in tank production at the plant from September. On 20 October Stalin, impatient with the slow progress at the plant, sent a telegram to the Gor´kii obkom First Secretary, Rodionov, and to all the directors of the tank factories in the region, insisting that production should not fall below three tanks a day and that it should rise to 4-5 tanks per day by the end of the month.17 At the local level implementation of this command was given over to the GKO plenipotentiary in the region and obkom second secretary, Kireev. A Central Committee report on Krasnoe Sormovo recounted:

  • 18 RGASPI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial´no-politicheskoi istorii), f. 17, op. 127, d. 153 (...)

The plan for tank production here has not been fulfilled. However, Kireev is rarely seen at the plant and does little to provide it with any help. Rodionov [the obkom First Secretary] says that Kireev was fully engaged with the plant when it was first converted to the production of T-34s, however the period of conversion has long ended, and we now need decisive everyday measures for the fulfilment of the programme. Kireev is not taking these measures, while Rodionov is not specifically involved in the plant, nor is he in any way pressing Kireev to take this on.18

  • 19 A.S. Yakovlev, Tsel´ Zhizni (M., 1970), 312, cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 83.

9While some GKO plenipotentiaries were lionized, their appointments were not always a success. When the airplane designer and deputy commissar for aviation industry, A.S. Yakovlev, was sent out to a failing aviation plant, he came across a former army general who, in his capacity as GKO plenipotentiary, had taken to bypassing the factory director and chief engineer and issuing his own commands directly to the factory’s personnel. When Yakovlev questioned his tactics, the plenipotentiary countered by fishing out from a safe the GKO resolution authorizing his appointment and demonstratively pointing to Stalin’s signature on it.19

10As much as they may have derived their initial power and status from their position as GKO appointees, in the longer-term the authority of GKO plenipotentiaries depended on their own personal expertise and leadership qualities. Broadly speaking, the effectiveness of GKO plenipotentiaries and of the plenipotentiaries of the special emergency committees, such as the Evacuation Council, appears to have been at its greatest in the very first phase of the war, when they were charged with quite specific short-term tasks. As the war progressed, however, plenipotentiaries, especially where they were local officials, tended to revert to their ordinary roles and to assume their pre-GKO statuses.

  • 20 RGASPI, f. 17 op.121, d. 462, l. 41, 43. Whereas originally all KPK plenipotentiaries were meant to (...)
  • 21 Ibid., l. 38-39.

11The tension between the extraordinary and regular systems of administration was also evident with a second category of plenipotentiary that came into its own during the war, that of the Commission of Party Control (KPK). As the war unfolded, the number of KPK representatives in the regions multiplied and their activities escalated. With 11 plenipotentiaries at the time of the KPK’s foundation in 1939, their numbers swelled to 59 by the spring of 1946, with each — unlike the plenipotentiaries of the GKO — having his own local staff, of anywhere between 5 and 10 officials. In order to secure their independence from the obkom, no plenipotentiary was allowed to serve longer than eighteen months in any one region and their operations were funded entirely from the Central Committee budget in Moscow (rather than from the regional budget).20 Although a Central Committee resolution of May 1940 had instructed the KPK to focus its activities on local party organizations — rather than on state and economic agencies — as the war developed, the KPK was gradually sucked into overseeing the work of ministries and enterprises, especially over their implementation of GKO directives.21

  • 22 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 55-56.
  • 23 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 91, l. 18-19.
  • 24 Ibid., l.184-186.

12As part of a broader “extraordinary” system of administration, KPK plenipotentiaries were expected to be authoritative, self-standing agents who could press and goad regional first secretaries into enacting the centre’s priorities. KPK plenipotentiaries were indeed often not shy in taking on regional first secretaries. In Krasnoiarsk in February 1945 it was the KPK plenipotentiary, Smirnov, who drew attention — much to the visible irritation of the First Secretary Aristov — to the shortcomings of the obkom buro. Aristov was indeed so incensed that he refused to let Smirnov speak again at the obkom plenum and fumed so visibly that, in the words of an official from the cadres administration at the Central Committee, he came close to “undermining the authority of his own position as First Secretary of the kraikom.”22 In Primorskii krai in April 1945 it was the KPK plenipotentiary Kosarev, who lambasted the “exceptional placidity and complacency of the [First Secretary] Pegov” and it was Kosarev who served as the channel for other leading figures in the region, such as the second secretary, the propaganda secretary, the head of the organizational department, and others, to convey their dissatisfaction with Pegov to the centre.23 In Chkalovsk it was the KPK plenipotentiary, Maliutin, who, having attended several meetings of the obkom buro, reported to the centre that the First Secretary, Denisov, “often allows a half-hearted [neser’eznoe] approach to the resolutions of the Central Committee.” According to Maliutin, Denisov, “placed in doubt the implementation of resolutions of the Central Committee,” questioned the wisdom of certain plans, and claimed that “someone in the Central Committee apparatus is misinforming the [country’s] leadership.”24

  • 25 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 121, d. 462, l. 40-41.
  • 26 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 89, l. 8.

13Despite their mandate to act as a decisive check on regional authorities, in the long-run KPK plenipotentiaries did not have the clout to seriously challenge the position of a regional boss. At its summit the KPK had an organ, the KPK buro, and a leader, A.A. Andreev, whose authority was on the wane. Indeed, it was much to Andreev’s displeasure that an Orgburo ruling of 21 April 1944 ordered that KPK plenipotentiaries send their materials to the Secretariat as well as to the KPK buro thereby, in the eyes of the KPK’s deputy chair, Shkiriatov, fostering duplication and parallelism and seriously undermining the position and reputation of the KPK itself.25 A second reason for the limited ability of KPK plenipotentiaries to act as countervailing forces to the regional first secretary was that they themselves were often low profile outsiders with a limited following in the region. When, for example, both the First Secretary of the Chuvash obkom, Charykov, and the Chair of the Republican Council of People’s Commissars, Matveev, were summoned to Moscow in December 1944 “all responsibility for running the republic” wrote the KPK plenipotentiary, Logvin, “was supposed to rest with me, but given that Charykov has expressed his political distrust in me, carrying out my duties has proved to be difficult.”26

  • 27 In his first request for Inspectors, dated 11 May 1946, the TsK Secretary in charge of this operati (...)
  • 28 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953 (M.: Rosspen, 2004), 16.
  • 29 “Postanovlenie Politburo ob uprazdenii instituta upolnomochennykh KPK pri VKP (b)”, in TsK VKP(b) i (...)

14After the war, the Central Committee tried to address this problem by creating a new position, that of Inspector that was to be filled by former regional first secretaries.27 According to the Politburo resolution which established the position, “Inspectors of the Central Committee should possess sufficient experience of leading party work and be able to check up on and verify the work of obkoms, kraikoms and republican party committees and to issue, when in the localities, all necessary directives so that [these committees] improve their work.” To ensure their independence, Inspectors were not to be stationed in or attached to any particular region, but to be based in Moscow and to go out on Central Committee assignments as and when required. The first appointed Inspectors, N.I. Gusarov, V.G. Zhavoronkov, and S.B. Zadionchenko were all seasoned former obkom first secretaries, as were their line managers at the new Administration for Checking Party Agencies, set up in August 1946 to take charge of their operations, V.M. Andrianov, and S.D. Ignat´ev.28 The new Administration may be regarded as a half-way house between the extensive wartime system of KPK plenipotentiaries and the ordinary Central Committee apparatus; indeed the extent to which the new Inspectors usurped the roles of the KPK plenipotentiaries is reflected in the decision, on 21 April 1947, to eliminate the position of the KPK plenipotentiary altogether.29 However, even the newly beefed-up Administration soon ran into problems; in July 1948 the Administration was dissolved and its activities merged into the ordinary cadres administration of the Central Committee.

  • 30 The term “chrezvychaishina” is used by Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 114. For a useful discussion (...)

15The use of plenipotentiaries in the Soviet system was by no means unique to the Second World War. Plenipotentiaries had been widely used in the campaigns of the 1930s and they would continue to be deployed under Khrushchev. Such systematic and extensive use of plenipotentiaries as occurred during the war was, however, rare and, arguably, unique. Faced with the most dire of emergencies, the country’s leadership sought to cut through the ordinary regional bureaucracy and to appoint plenipotentiaries as direct agents of the centre. Plenipotentiaries were expected to goad regional leaders into exhibiting “greater tension” in their work and into meeting “higher expectations.” In the longer term, however, the plenipotentiary system was to prove unstable, leading to incessant clashes at the regional level and to a gnawing anxiety among regional officials over how to weigh up the competing claims of their nominal regional bosses, the first secretaries, against those of their KPK shadows. As with other agencies of the extraordinary system, such as the political departments of the Machine Tractor Stations and sovkhozy, which had been re-established on 17 November 1941, but which were discontinued in 1943 on account of their overlapping functions and conflicts with the raikomy, the plenipotentiary system drifted into a “chrezvychaishina,” literally an “excess of extraordinary measures,” which now called for corrective action.30

The regional party apparatus: finding a new role

  • 31 This is one of the key themes of Amir Weiner’s Making Sense of War.
  • 32 By 18 March 1941 333 or 84% of these positions had been filled. The “branch secretaries” covered ge (...)
  • 33 54% of the branch secretaries had a higher education, as opposed to 33% of the first, second and th (...)

16The scale of devastation wrought by the Second World War re-opened questions about the organization and identity of the whole political order.31 One of the most pressing issues concerned the regional party organization. What was its primary purpose? What role was it supposed to fulfil? On the eve of the war, at the XVIII party conference in February 1941, the regional apparat had been given an unambiguous steer to get more involved in the economy and, in particular, in the Soviet industrial economy. The conference ruled that all obkoms and kraikoms would have, in addition to the requisite first, second and third secretaries, a number of branch secretaries specializing in particular fields of industry. In total, 393 “branch secretaries” covering 53 industrial specialisms were assigned to the regional party apparatuses.32 These secretaries were overwhelmingly young (90% were under the age of 40) and considerably better educated than the regional first, second and third secretaries.33 The assignment of so many senior specialists-cum-political leaders at the regional level provided a sure signal that the regime was taking the new role of the obkom in industrial management seriously.

  • 34 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 56, l. 43, 70. The drop in agriculture was even more marked, from 623,00 (...)
  • 35 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 67-68; Kucher, Magnitka, 15, 68, 73-74.

17With the advent of the war, this new emphasis on the party’s micro-management of industry appeared increasingly at odds with the major organizational and resource challenges that the party faced. First, with mass conscription there was a major movement of party members from the territorial party organizations to the army, so that by 1 July 1943 only 1,856,000 of the 3,213,000 who had been members at the beginning of the war remained attached to the territorial organizations, while the number of primary party organizations in the rear fell from 189,514 to 120,220. Further, within the territorial organizations the number of members working in industry had fallen from 900,000 on 1 January 1941 to 453,000 on 1 January 1943, while the number of workers at the bench dropped from 420,000 before the war to 240,00 in September 1943.34 Given that there were fewer communists working in industry, it was not clear why territorial party organizations should have retained such a strong contingent of industrial specialists. Secondly, the beginning of the war witnessed a major decentralization of power within the industrial system to the commissariats. On 1 July 1941 the commissariats were given new powers to control investments and to allocate surplus resources among their own factories. At the same time commissars and deputy commissars were often expected to get more involved in the minutiae of production in large strategic plants. In the defense industry they were expected to provide daily reports on production levels to the GKO and, in some cases, especially at the beginning of the war, they were sent on local assignments to take personal charge of production campaigns at these plants. In the commissariats of aviation, tank production and non-ferrous metals, some factory directors were made deputy commissars.35 Ranged against such powerful high-status figures, freshly appointed obkom branch secretaries, many of whom were young and only recently out of institutions of higher learning, often had their work cut out trying to get their voices heard.

  • 36 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 153, l. 1-4, 6, 8.
  • 37 Ibid., l. 28-30, 37.
  • 38 Thus, for example, a Central Committee resolution condemning the poor leadership of industry in Iva (...)

18Thirdly, there were also tensions within the regional party organizations themselves. Some obkom first secretaries felt out of their depth when it came to organizing a major operation around improving industrial performance. The appointment of branch industrial secretaries only highlighted the relative ignorance and lack of expertise of many obkom first secretaries in industrial matters. On 1 April 1942 the industry secretary in Altai, Solodko, wrote to the Central Committee complaining that despite the goals of the XVIII Party Conference, the First Secretary in the Altai, Lobkov, had shown nothing but “indifference” towards industry and preferred to spend his time on agriculture. Worse still, Lobkov, presumably feeling threatened by Solodko, had, during the sowing season, posted Solodko for two months to positions in the countryside, and then repeatedly cut Solodko off from key meetings and decisions on industry.36 A report in May 1942 complained that the first secretary in Gor´kii, Rodionov, was insufficiently engaged in industrial production and that this was reflected in the shortages of raw materials and spare parts, as well as in the lack of order, at the Krasnoe Sormovo and Molotov tank factories, both of which had succumbed to conflicts and internal disagreements. In an explanation, Rodionov complained that despite the fact that Gor´kii was an important industrial centre “agricultural issues continue to absorb much of his time and attention.”37 Criticisms of this kind continued to be levelled at regional party organizations for the duration of the war.38

  • 39 Mark Harrison and Andrei Markevich, “Hierarchies and Markets: The Defense Industry Under Stalin,” i (...)
  • 40 Cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 68.
  • 41 These increases where proportionately greater than in agricultural districts and in the newly liber (...)

19Perhaps the biggest problem for the regime was that in the context of massive, almost unconstrained, wartime investment in the defense industry the commissariats and regional party organizations in effect colluded in what Mark Harrison and Andrei Markevich have referred to as a giant “job creation programme.”39 In the defense industry this process had been observed even before the war with the formation and fragmentation of new commissariats, each of which had a multiplier effect on the number of senior and middle level positions. According to the Commissar of Finances, A.G. Zverev, within the first two years of the war, the appointment of factory heads as deputy commissars had led to a two-three fold increase in the total number of deputy commissars in the USSR, with each appointment bringing in its wake further institutional subdivisions and a growth in support staff to populate them.40 Over the war a similar process took hold of the regional party organizations, many of which seized on the instructions of XVIII Party Conference to focus on the management of industry by creating large middle-level departments in this area. Notwithstanding the marked decline in territorial party membership and the fall in the number of primary party organizations, regional party bureaucracies, especially in the interior, began to swell up. From 1940 and 1946 the number of executive officials (otvetstvennye rabotniki) employed at the obkoms, kraikoms and republican apparatuses rose by over 70%, from 12,120 to 20,789. Although the reasons varied, and included the marked subdivision of some territorial units during the war, a prime factor appears to have been the growth of the party apparatus in the large industrial regions, especially those with large defense plants. Thus, for example, over this period the number of executive party officials in the Sverdlovsk apparatus grew from 133 to 224, in Cheliabinsk from 132 to 231, in Gor´kii from 128 to 211 and in Molotov from 125 to 224.41

  • 42 Thus, for example, whereas a director of an enterprise of the ministry of transport industry could (...)
  • 43 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 145-151.
  • 44 In some of the best known cases that would later come to light the secretary of the Udmurtia obkom (...)

20Funding these officials presented the regime with particular problems, ones which would pose more general questions about the role of the party apparatus as a whole. Once they had been appointed as regional party secretary, branch secretaries may have expected that their salaries would be commensurate with those of plant directors and other regional level economic officials. However, under pay scales introduced in 1939 the salaries of obkom secretaries were considerably lower than their economic equivalents at the regional level such as plant directors and the regional heads of ministerial administrations.42 Obkom pay packets were augmented by a variety of official emoluments, including a meal supplement of 105 rubles a month, additional food supplies (measured by weight: 6 kg of meat, 1 kg of fat, 2.4 kg of sugar and sweets etc. per month), welfare services of up to 2,000 rubles per month, manufactured goods of up to 1,000 rubles every half a year, as well as access to their own sanatoria, reading materials and radios.43 Despite these supplements, party officials, and especially those lower down the pecking order, were aggrieved at the disparities in basic pay between themselves and their factory and ministerial equivalents. In order to make up for this shortfall, factories paid out top-ups and bonuses and awarded prizes and handed out gifts to obkom party officials, while these officials, in turn, grew lenient in their treatment of their sponsors.44

  • 45 Often the job specifications for these positions did not correspond to the actual qualifications of (...)
  • 46 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 95-96.

21Equally worrying was the tendency of factories to create additional full-time party positions (osvobozhdennye sekretari) and then to pay the salaries for these posts out of their own budgets. A report on Gor´kii region in June 1945 showed that at the large Krasnoe Sormovo plant, in addition to its 11 official osvobozhdennye sekretari, who were attached to party cells in workshops, and whose salaries were paid for out of the party budget, there were an extra nine who served party cells that were too small to warrant the establishment of such positions and whose salary was paid for by the factory. In the Dvigatel´ revoliutsiia and Krasnaia Etna plants all the party cells fell into this category, but nonetheless the factory administration still sanctioned the creation of ten full-time party posts. In order to pull this off the factories artificially inflated their staff numbers and created fictive well-paid senior positions from which the osvobozhennye sekretari drew their salaries.45 In addition, the factories often paid out large unearned bonuses to their party secretaries for jobs that they did not in fact do. At Krasnoe Sormovo the secretary of the party organization, Artashin, in addition to his monthly “salary” of 1,450 rubles for a job that he did not do, received 4,256 rubles over the first four months of 1945 for supposedly “fulfilling the plan.” The secretary of the party organization of workshop number 23 of the Stalin factory, Mironov, in addition to his basic salary of 1,000 rubles for his non-existent job as a senior foreman, received an additional 3,400 rubles as a “bonus” for this imaginary position. Sometimes this bonus system defied all logic, even that dictated by the creation of fictional jobs. The secretary of workshop no.1 at Factory no.466, Naloev, received 3,143 rubles from February to May 1945 for ostensibly leading a shift that overfulfilled its plan, even though the workshop that he was supposed to have led — but did not — in fact under-fulfilled its plan by around 30%.46

  • 47 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 157.
  • 48 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 121, d. 448, l. 5, 8-11.
  • 49 “Postanovlenie Politburo o faktakh premirovaniia ministerstvami SSSR i khoziaistvennymi organizatsi (...)

22By the war’s end the regime had become concerned that, in the words of a Central Committee resolution on this subject, the “practice of awarding prizes and bonuses, and the receipt of tips and rewards is leading to an unhealthy relationship between party and economic agencies that bears the hallmark of corruption (nosit kharakter podkupa).” “By making party functionaries dependent on economic leaders and enmeshing them in relations of mututal protection (semeistvennosti) these practices prevent party functionaries from taking the economic agencies to task, so that they lose their very identity and become a plaything in the hands of economic interests.”47 This issue was regarded as such a priority that very shortly after becoming Central Committee Secretary on 29 May 1946 Patolichev wrote to the Central Committee Inspector and former obkom leader Andrianov instructing him to phone “all the obkom first secretaries and agree to put an immediate end to the awarding of bonuses and prizes to party functionaries.” The following week Andrianov responded with a list of 113 representatives (mainly obkom first secretaries) from whom he had received assurances on the matter.48 This was then followed up in August 1946 by a hard-hitting politburo resolution that lambasted these practices.49

  • 50 These recommendations which were for the first group of largest regions called for the number of st (...)

23The rise of bloated regional party bureaucracies and the cultivation of party officials by the ministries fed into a broader sense during the latter part of the war that regional party organizations had lost their way. In light of the recent admission of millions of impressionable new members, many from the army, the regional party apparatus had to return to its core task and to instil in these new cadres a sense of the party’s historical mission. This required a shift in emphasis from economic management towards agitation and propaganda. Such was the thrust of a major reorganization of the obkoms launched in December 1946 which saw an increase in the overall staffs of the propaganda departments at the obkoms and kraikoms of 29% and swingeing cuts to the industrial branch departments of 47%.50 The wartime experiment of getting regional party bureaucracies to concentrate on industrial production would prove to be the historical high point of the party’s managerialist creed, to which it would only return, in a somewhat diluted form, under Khrushchev.

Extraordinary rule and party leadership in the regions

  • 51 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 163, d. 1372, l. 173-175.
  • 52 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 68.
  • 53 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 126.

24The second half of 1943 marked a new phase of the war for the regional party organizations of the interior. On 6 August 1943 a key Central Committee resolution designed to regularize relations between Moscow and the regional party committees was passed. The resolution enjoined the Secretariat, under Malenkov, to check the work of regional party committees, summon their first secretaries to Moscow, and ensure their fulfilment of central party directives.51 Formally speaking, for much of the war the Central Committee apparatus played second fiddle to the GKO, issuing only 200 resolutions, mainly on narrow party matters such as cadre issues, agriculture and ideology, by comparison with the almost 10,000 passed by the defense committee.52 In fact, many of the resolutions of the GKO were processed by the Central Committee apparatus (along with that of Sovnarkom). However, some of the day-to-day work of checking up on the regular activities of the regional party organizations had lapsed, and the August degree was intended to breathe some life into this process. Hand in hand with this development, in the summer and autumn of 1943 the majority of urban defense committees (GorKOs) which, alongside the GKO plenipotentiaries, had been the main institutional arm of the extraordinary system of administration in the provinces, were wound down.53 The evolution of these urban defense committees merits attention, for it provides insights into the inner workings of the ordinary party apparatus and into the changing leadership styles of some local first secretaries at the height of the extraordinary system in the first half of the war.

  • 54 The very first urban defense committees were set up in El´ni (Smolensk), Kiev, Odessa, Talinn and L (...)

25Although the first urban defense committees had emerged spontaneously in the summer of 1941, the main impetus for the formation of a network of defense committees was the GKO resolution no. 830s which sanctioned the formation of 46 such committees on 22 October 1941.54

  • 55 Urban defense committees in the operational rear included those in Gor´kii, Ivanovo, Penza, Saratov (...)
  • 56 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 108, 110.
  • 57 Of the 79 urban defense committees, 62 had this composition of four ex-officio members, while the d (...)
  • 58 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 390, 394.
  • 59 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 393-394.
  • 60 An earlier version of this argument — which made no mention of the GorKOs — but which suggested tha (...)

26Although some of the urban committees were formed on the front line, a large number were also created in major centres of armaments production and transport nodes in the “operational rear” and in other towns in the “strategic rear.”55 In all, by the time they began to be dismantled in mid-1943, 79 urban defense committees had been established. Three features of these defense committees are worth noting. First, and perhaps unsurprisingly, those local defense committees that were located further away from the front were the least powerful and long-lasting.56 Secondly, without exception, all the city defense committees, including those on the front line, were under the control of the local territorial party first secretary. Thus, while the vast majority of local defense committees consisted of four members — the party first secretary, the head of the ispolkom, the head of the NKVD, and the local military committee — in all cases it was the party leader who chaired the GorKO and took operational command of it.57 Indeed, according to Danilov, in their role as chair of the urban defense committee territorial first secretaries tended to strengthen their power, as they were endowed with de jure authority over the ispolkom, the NKVD and the local military commander, authority that in peacetime they did not normally possess.58 Further, although the GorKOs were expressly not subordinate to higher party committees, or even to higher-ranking GorKOs, but only to the GKO, Danilov suggests that the fact that first secretary who headed the GorKO combined this function with his role in the ordinary party apparatus meant that, over time, the GorKOs were informally absorbed into the normal party hierarchy.59 Thirdly, their experience on the GorKOs, and in particular their everyday interaction with local military and NKVD leaders in a wartime environment, exacerbated the propensity of some local party leaders to govern through quasi-military forms of leadership.60 It was this tendency in particular that would lead to acute tensions between local party leaders and regional aktivs during the last phase of the war.

  • 61 Cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 124.
  • 62 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 733, l. 3, 9.
  • 63 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 61-62, 66-69; op. 127, d. 733, l. 21-22, 31-32.

27An early example of the tensions instilled by these quasi-military forms of party rule took place in Kuibyshev. At the obkom plenum on 14 March 1943, which approved the removal of the obkom First Secretary, V.D. Nikitin, it was observed that Nikitin, who had earlier led the local GorKO, had resorted to “military-bureaucratic” forms of governance. According to the head of the organizational-instruction department of the Central Committee, Shamberg, “this is reflected in too much rule by administrative command (administrirovanie), and in leadership of the party aktiv through orders and decrees.”61 As the war came to a close, other such examples came to light. One came from Novosibirsk whose First Secretary, Kulagin, had, according to one report, “resorted to administrative rule, frequent threats, expulsion from the party, and criminal prosecutions as his main system for the leadership of cadres.” Kulagin’s approach rubbed off on some of his raikom secretaries. “Cursing and slandering people is the common practice here, and its finest exponents include the raikom secretaries Gustov from the Iskitimskii district, Koziavkin from the Kupinskii district, and others. But the most shocking approach is that of Goriachev from the Barabinskii committee who, on any pretext addresses people as “Hitler” or “fascist” and threatens them with execution on the spot; things got so bad that certain communists have even come to refer to the raikom as the ‘police district.’”62 In Kurgansk the First Secretary Tetiushchev regularly accused officials of being “degenerates” and “scoundrels,” resorted to swearing and often threatened to throw people in prison for failing to comply with his wishes. Over the course of 1944, Tetiushchev had 244 kolkhoz chairmen sacked and 102 prosecuted. He would refer to them as “louts” (kham), “rascals” (podlets) and “saboteurs” and frequently warned that “we will throw you into the concentration camps.” This approach filtered through to other leading cadres in the province such as the head of the regional ispolkom, Molikov, of whom the secretary of the Lebiazhevskii raikom complained: “Why is it that a person who is supposed bring up and educate our cadres carries out such acts of hooliganism, uses foul language and displays all-round a crude lack of culture?” A report on the regional party conference in Kurgansk in February 1945 commented that “delegates at the conference dragged up many other examples of Molikov’s rudeness and tactlessness.”63

  • 64 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 61, 65.
  • 65 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 18, 31, 56-57.
  • 66 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 59-60.
  • 67 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 118.

28Such behaviour did not go unpunished. At the February 1945 party conference Tetiushchev was sacked as regional First secretary and there were strong protest votes against other members of his team. Of the 232 delegates, 28 voted against the head of the agricultural department, 57 against the propaganda secretary while 82 voted against Molikov.64 Sizeable votes against regional first secretaries were indeed quite common at the regional party conferences held at the tail end of the war in February and March 1945. In Krasnoiarsk, 15 voted against the First Secretary Aristov, in Smolensk 19 voted against the First Secretary Popov and in Chkalovsk 29 voted against the First Secretary Denisov.65 While these leaders retained their positions, the First Secretary in Astrakhan, Golyshev, who had 75 votes against him (out of 315 delegates), was not so lucky.66 There were also some very high votes against first secretaries beyond the borders of the Russian Federation. Thus, for example, in Central Asia in the North Kazakhstan obkom 81 delegates voted against the first secretary while 119 voted against his equivalent in the Alma-Ata oblast.67

  • 68 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 118-119.
  • 69 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 18.

29The Central Committee appears to have been discomfited by these protest votes. A report to Malenkov “On the incorrect practices of certain party organizations in the conduct of their elections” of November 1945 noted that although first secretaries in around a half a dozen regions got through the elections, this was only because the number of candidates did not exceed the number of positions on the ballot. The report pointed to cases in Baku and Krasnodar where the membership of the regional party committee was raised to match the number of candidates. “This is a violation of the rules on party elections” wrote the deputy head of the organization and instruction department, Slepov: “It dilutes our inner party democracy and reduces the significance of the secret ballot.”68 Equally, a report on the election in Chkalovsk noted of the vote against the First Secretary, Denisov: “Had there been only one more candidate over and above the 75 on the secret ballot [i.e. the number of members on the obkom] Denisov would not have got through.”69

  • 70 For an examination of this in the case of Vynnitsa, see Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War, chapter t (...)
  • 71 Oleg Khlevniuk, “Konsolidatsiia stalinskoi nomenklatury, 1945-1953,” 50-61 (paper presented at the (...)

30The regional party conferences at the beginning of 1945 were often volatile affairs that yielded striking votes of no confidence in the incumbent first secretaries. Often the reason for this was the highly oppressive leadership style of the first secretary, a leadership style that was only sharpened by the common habits and behavioural patterns of war and, in many cases, by the experience of interacting with military and NKVD leaders on a daily basis.70 In this regard, as in many other respects, the dynamics of regional politics in the immediate post-war period stood in sharp relief to what was happening in Moscow. Whereas the years 1945-1948 would see Stalin progressively curtailing the autonomy of his subordinates, the political standoffs and disagreements in many of the regions only deepened, leading to the sharp clashes and heavy protest votes across many provinces at the party conferences of 1948.71

Conclusion

  • 72 Although technically it went beyond the borders of the Soviet regime, one of the first works in thi (...)
  • 73 On this see Edwin Bacon, The Gulag at War (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994). On the role of forced and (...)
  • 74 Cf. for example, Amir Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the S (...)
  • 75 Khlevniuk, “Konsolidatsiia stalinskoi nomenklatury” 32-37.

31There has been a vogue over the last twenty years to study the Western peripheries of the Soviet Union, and especially those areas that experienced both German and Soviet occupation, in 1940s.72 One merit of such an approach is that it allows us to compare the effects of the two regimes and their “illiberal subjectivities” side by side. While these studies are valuable, the dynamics of political rule in the Western peripheries were often quite different from those in the Soviet heartland. For this reason there are difficulties in projecting the experience of the Western borderlands onto the Soviet system as a whole. Coercion certainly continued to play a very important role in the Soviet interior for the duration of Stalin’s rule (and beyond). To take one example, during the war many large defense plants remained heavily dependent on slave labour.73 At the same time the preoccupation with “cleansing,” “purging,” and with the rooting out of “enemies” — a common feature of political discourse in the borderlands — did not loom as large in the interior.74 There, by and large, for most of the post-war period the local security police appear to have settled into quite cozy relationships with the regional party committees.75 With the exception of the Leningrad Affair and its regional offshoots in the Crimea and Gor´kii, regional purges in the Soviet heartland during the war and the early post-war periods were surprisingly modest in scope.

32The relationship between the extraordinary, wartime system of governance and the ordinary mechanisms of rule during the war provides certain insights into the political life of the interior. The evidence examined in this paper suggests that once levels of economic production had begun to stabilize at a higher level from around mid-1942 some of the extraordinary forms of administration and control (GKO and KPK plenipotentiaries) began to collide with established party forms of authority and to be absorbed by them. In other cases, even at the height of the conflict in 1941-1942, special wartime forms of government, such as the GorKOs, were in effect subordinated to regional party leaders and integrated into the civilian system of administration. Rather than dislodging the ordinary system of party rule, some of the emergency instruments of government injected new life into it, by giving regional party leaders yet more formal power and widening their jurisdiction over other institutions. However, day-to-day dealings with military and police commanders came at a cost, for they accentuated a propensity among some regional first secretaries to govern through exhortation and force. As a result, many of the regional party conferences that took place in the mid-1940s were turbulent affairs, as sharp conflicts among officials burst out into the open, resulting in heavy protest votes against incumbent first secretaries, votes that in many cases would lead to their downfall.

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Notes

1 This phrase, used interchangeably with “special wartime system of administration and control,” is from Sanford R. Lieberman, “The Evacuation of Industry in the Soviet Union During World War II,” Soviet Studies, 35, 1 (1983): 90-91; and Lieberman, “Crisis Management in the USSR: Wartime System of Administration and Control,” in Susan Linz, ed. The Impact of World War II on the Soviet Union (Totowa: Rowman and Allanhead, 1985), 59.

2 John Barber and Mark Harrison, The Soviet Home Front 1941-1945: A Social and Economic History of the USSR in World War II (London: Longman, 1991), 132, 136.

3 Lieberman, “The Evacuation of Industry,” 90-91; and Lieberman, “Crisis Management in the USSR,” 66-71.

4 On how unplanned these structures were, see Rebecca Manley, To the Tashkent Station: Evacuation and Survival in the Soviet Union at War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009), 21, 24-27; V.N. Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo v velikoi otechestvennoi voine: fenomenon chrezvichainykh organov vlasti 1941-1945 gg (Saratov: Izdatel´stvo saratovskogo universiteta, 2002), 35, 38-39, 45-47, 49.

5 In one of the best known examples a GKO resolution “O Zavode No.21” of 2 January 1942 warned that in the event of production failures, the director of an aviation plant would be arrested and the obkom secretary responsible for aviation industry expelled from the party. On Stalin’s insistence this resolution was distributed to all commissariats and regional party committees and used as a model by GKO plenipotentiaries. Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 145; and see 79-81. In another well-known example, the director of the Magnitogorsk steel plant, G.I. Nosov was warned by the GKO on 22 November 1941 that should the unloading of cargo trucks be delayed, he would be tried at a military tribunal. Valerii Kucher, Magnitka v 1941-1945 godakh: Podrobnosti, fakty, dokumenty. (M.: RAGS, 2010), 28.

6 Mark Harrison, “The Dictator and Defense,” in Mark Harrison, ed., Guns and Rubles: The Defense Industry in the Stalinist State (New Haven: Yale, 2008), 23. In line with Harrison’s hypothesis, the number of executions carried out by the security services fell from 23,278 in 1942 to 3,579 the following year (ibid., 14). For a more detailed discussion of the role of coercion in the first part of the war, see Mark Harrison, “The USSR and Total War: Why Didn’t the Soviet Economy Collapse in 1942?” in Chickering et al, A World at Total War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 153-155.

7 See for example, N.Ia. Komarov, Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony postanovliaiet… Dokumenty. Vospominaniia. Kommentarii. (M.: Voenizdat, 1990); A.A. Pechenkin, “Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony v 1941 godu,” Otechestvennaia istoriia, 4 (1994): 126-142; P.N. Knyshevskii, “Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony: metody mobilizatsii trudovykh resursov,” Voprosy Istori i 2, (1994); M.O. Demichev, “Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony: organizatsiia, polozhenie i rol´,” Velikaia otechestvennaia voina v otsenke molodykh (M., 1997); Iu.A. Gor´kov, Gosudarstvennyi Komitet Oborony postanovliaiet (1941-45) (M.: OLMA-Press, 2002).

8 Resolutions of the GKO were famously regarded as “immutable laws” possessing the “highest authority,” and implementing them was viewed as a binding and even “sacrosanct” duty on those below. See Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 78; Kucher, Magnitka, 26.

9 On this, see Yoram Gorlizki and Hans Mommsen, “The Political (Dis)Orders of Stalinism and National Socialism,” in Michael Geyer and Sheila Fitzpatrick, eds., Beyond Totalitarianism: Nazism and Stalinism Compared (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 77-80.

10 For work on the regional administration of areas liberated from German control see, for example, Hiroaki Kuromiya, Freedom and terror in the Donbas: a Ukrainian-Russian borderland, 1870s-1990s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), chap. 7; Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001); Geoffrey Swain, Between Stalin and Hitler: Class War and Race War on the Dvina, 1940-46 (London: Routledge, 2004); and Elena Zubkova, Pribaltika i Kreml´ (M.: Rosspen, 2008).

11 The term “plenipotentiary system” was coined by Lieberman, “Crisis Management,” 65-66.

12 Parallels between the GKO and the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense, and between the regional branches of the two, were often drawn in propaganda materials distributed at the beginning of the Second World War. See Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 20-22, 46-47. There were also numerous parallels with the “executive” plenipotentiaries of the collectivization and procurement campaigns of the early 1930s. Examples of the latter included the plenipotentiaries of the Procurements Committee (Komzag) and the heads of the political departments of the Machine Tractor Stations, who, in being directly subordinate to the Central Committee, were plenipotentiaries in all but name. Set up in January 1933, the latter positions were dissolved in November 1934 after reputedly having been captured by local interests. See R.W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-19 33 Rev. ed. (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), 257-258, 358-363, 364; Alec Nove, An Economic History of the USSR, 2nd ed (London: Penguin, 1989), 172-174.

13 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 126-127, 391. In a supplementary argument, Danilov suggests that the GKO did not have to contend with parallel forums or decision-making bodies such as the Central Executive Committee (TsIK), Party Congresses and Central Committee plenums, of the kind that had existed alongside the Council of Workers’ and Peasants’ Defense in 1919 (ibid., 65).

14 On the plenipotentiaries of other organizations, see Lieberman, “Wartime System,” 68; Manley, Tashkent Station, 29-30; Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 112-113.

15 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 82.

16 Lieberman, “Crisis Management,” 73, fn.34.

17 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 130, 141.

18 RGASPI (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsial´no-politicheskoi istorii), f. 17, op. 127, d. 153, l. 34.

19 A.S. Yakovlev, Tsel´ Zhizni (M., 1970), 312, cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 83.

20 RGASPI, f. 17 op.121, d. 462, l. 41, 43. Whereas originally all KPK plenipotentiaries were meant to have been members of the KPK Commission (whose size shrank from 31 members to 13 during the war), over time this condition was relaxed. Ibid., l. 37

21 Ibid., l. 38-39.

22 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 55-56.

23 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 91, l. 18-19.

24 Ibid., l.184-186.

25 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 121, d. 462, l. 40-41.

26 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 89, l. 8.

27 In his first request for Inspectors, dated 11 May 1946, the TsK Secretary in charge of this operation, Patolichev, called for very senior figures to be appointed, including the First Secretary of the Armenian Central Committee, G.A. Arutinov, the First Secretary of the Karelian Republic, G.N. Kuprianov, and four current regional first secretaries. RGASPI, f. 17, op. 121, d. 448, l. 4.

28 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953 (M.: Rosspen, 2004), 16.

29 “Postanovlenie Politburo ob uprazdenii instituta upolnomochennykh KPK pri VKP (b)”, in TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 25.

30 The term “chrezvychaishina” is used by Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 114. For a useful discussion of the MTS wartime political departments and of how they differed from their 1933-1934 predecessors, see ibid., 61-63.

31 This is one of the key themes of Amir Weiner’s Making Sense of War.

32 By 18 March 1941 333 or 84% of these positions had been filled. The “branch secretaries” covered general jurisdictions such as “industry,” “transport” and “transport and industry” but also much more specialized ones such as, for example, “defense industry” “timber industry” “food industry” “coal industry” “metallurgical industry” and so forth. RGASPI f.17 op.127 d.66 ll.13-14. Given that there were 139 obkoms and kraikoms on 1 July 1941, this meant that on average every region had around two-three specialist industrial secretaries.

33 54% of the branch secretaries had a higher education, as opposed to 33% of the first, second and third secretaries. Ibid., l. 15-16.

34 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 56, l. 43, 70. The drop in agriculture was even more marked, from 623,000 to 276,000

35 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 67-68; Kucher, Magnitka, 15, 68, 73-74.

36 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 153, l. 1-4, 6, 8.

37 Ibid., l. 28-30, 37.

38 Thus, for example, a Central Committee resolution condemning the poor leadership of industry in Ivanovo of 11 October 1943 “O rabote Ivanovskogo obkoma VKP(b)” was followed, in the summer of 1945, by a Central Committee report that continued to be highly critical of the obkom’s management of the textile industry, blaming the obkom for its inability to secure adequate supplies of raw materials and fuel for the region’s factories and for failing to provide enough workers for the second shift. RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 88, l. 185-186.

39 Mark Harrison and Andrei Markevich, “Hierarchies and Markets: The Defense Industry Under Stalin,” in Harrison, ed., Guns and Rubles, 64.

40 Cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 68.

41 These increases where proportionately greater than in agricultural districts and in the newly liberated areas. RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 1004, l. 19, 30.

42 Thus, for example, whereas a director of an enterprise of the ministry of transport industry could expect a salary of 2,500-3,000 rubles and a director of an enterprise of the ministry of defense 2,500-3,500, the glavk head from any of a range of industrial ministries could receive 2,500-3,000, and a glavk head of the ministry of internal affairs would get 3,000-3,200 rubles, obkom first secretaries would receive no more than 1,400-2,000 rubles and gorkom first secretaries 1,00-1,700 rubles “that is in many cases lower than the salaries of directors of factories and other functionaries of economic organizations.” TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 144.

43 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 145-151.

44 In some of the best known cases that would later come to light the secretary of the Udmurtia obkom Chernykov was given a gold watch, the secretary of the Kalinin obkom, Veselov, was awarded a hunting rifle, and the deputy secretary for timber and paper of the Molotov obkom was given a monthly salary top-up and valuable gifts. See ibid., 156.

45 Often the job specifications for these positions did not correspond to the actual qualifications of their ostensible holders. RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 93-95.

46 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 95-96.

47 TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 157.

48 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 121, d. 448, l. 5, 8-11.

49 “Postanovlenie Politburo o faktakh premirovaniia ministerstvami SSSR i khoziaistvennymi organizatsiiami rukovodiashchikh rabotnikov regionov,” TsK VKP(b) i Regional´nye partiinye komitety 1945-1953, 156-157.

50 These recommendations which were for the first group of largest regions called for the number of staff in the industrial branch departments to be cut from 1,126 to 597. RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 1004, l. 20-21.

51 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 163, d. 1372, l. 173-175.

52 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 68.

53 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 126.

54 The very first urban defense committees were set up in El´ni (Smolensk), Kiev, Odessa, Talinn and Leningrad in June and July 1941. Danilov suggests that Stalin was opposed to concentrating so much power in the hands of regional agencies that were not clearly part of a system of vertical centralism, and that he only relented in October, when the military situation became critical. Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 45-46, 48-49.

55 Urban defense committees in the operational rear included those in Gor´kii, Ivanovo, Penza, Saratov, Vologda, Yaroslavl´, Tambov, Arkhangel´sk and Dagestan; those in the strategic rear included Kirov, Kuibyshev and Tatarstan. See Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 125.

56 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 108, 110.

57 Of the 79 urban defense committees, 62 had this composition of four ex-officio members, while the differences in the other 17 cases were quite marginal. The one GorKO that was not led by the territorial first secretary, Rostov, was itself significant, as although by rights it should have been headed by the second most important person in the region, the head of the ispolkom, it was in fact chaired by the obkom’s second secretary. Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 95-96.

58 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 390, 394.

59 Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 393-394.

60 An earlier version of this argument — which made no mention of the GorKOs — but which suggested that in the absence of an older generation of leaders at the regional level who had been eliminated during the purges and who might have constrained their actions, the new generation of young, wilful first secretaries were able to establish their own patterns of informal behaviour which, in conditions of war and military conflict, would prove to be extremely coercive, was made by Cynthia S. Kaplan, “The Impact of World War II on the Party,” in Linz, Impact, 168.

61 Cited in Danilov, Sovetskoe gosudarstvo, 124.

62 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 127, d. 733, l. 3, 9.

63 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 61-62, 66-69; op. 127, d. 733, l. 21-22, 31-32.

64 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 61, 65.

65 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 18, 31, 56-57.

66 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 59-60.

67 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 118.

68 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 118-119.

69 RGASPI, f. 17, op. 122, d. 87, l. 18.

70 For an examination of this in the case of Vynnitsa, see Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War, chapter two.

71 Oleg Khlevniuk, “Konsolidatsiia stalinskoi nomenklatury, 1945-1953,” 50-61 (paper presented at the University of Manchester, September 2008) (cited with permission).

72 Although technically it went beyond the borders of the Soviet regime, one of the first works in this vein was Jan Gross’s two-volume opus, Polish society under German occupation: the General gouvernement, 1939-1944 (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1979); and Revolution from abroad: the Soviet conquest of Poland’s western Ukraine and western Belorussia (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989).

73 On this see Edwin Bacon, The Gulag at War (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1994). On the role of forced and militarized labour in Magnitogorsk, Cheliabinsk, Novo-Tagil´sk and other defense factories, see Kucher, Magnitka, 80; Danilov, Sovetskoe godusardstvo, 156, 158-159, 166-167, 179.

74 Cf. for example, Amir Weiner, “Nature, Nurture, and Memory in a Socialist Utopia: Delineating the Soviet Socio-Ethnic Body in the Age of Socialism,” The American Historical Review, 104, 4 (Oct., 1999): 1114-1155; Juliette Denis, “Identifier les ‘élements ennemis’ en Lettonie: Une priorité dans le processus de resoviétisation (1942-1945), Cahiers du Monde Russe 49, 2-3 (April-September 2008): 297-318; Olaf Mertelsmann and Aigi Rahi-Tamm, “Cleansing and Compromise: The Estonian SSR in 1944-1945,” Cahiers du Monde Russe 49, 2-3 (April-September 2008): 319-340

75 Khlevniuk, “Konsolidatsiia stalinskoi nomenklatury” 32-37.

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Yoram Gorlizki, « Governing the interior », Cahiers du monde russe [En ligne], 52/2-3 | 2011, mis en ligne le 12 septembre 2014, Consulté le 25 avril 2017. URL : http://monderusse.revues.org/9337

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Yoram Gorlizki

Politics, School of Social SciencesUniversity of Manchester, UK

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