The Leningrad party organisation during the first Five Year Plan

Kang, Yoonhee (2000) The Leningrad party organisation during the first Five Year Plan. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This is a study of the Leningrad regional party organisation during the first Five Year Plan period (1928-1932). Its membership, structure, organisation and changing role are examined in the context of economic and social change which took place during the first FYP. The main focus is on party organs below the oblast level, in particular the grass roots level of the party. This study relies heavily on an analysis of the material collected during my stay in Moscow in 1993-4 and 1996, in particular archival material collected from the Russian Centre for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History (RTsKhlDNI). Party journals, newspapers, and pamphlets collected from the Lenin Library and the History Library in Moscow were also used. For Leningrad region, as for the whole of the Soviet Union, the first FYP was a period of rapid transformation. The change of economic policy, that is, the acceleration of the expansion of industry and the forced collectivisation of agriculture, not only had a significant impact on the economic structure of the region, but also set in motion a profound change in social structure. The thesis shows that social and economic change was reflected in party life at lower levels. In particular, factory party cells experienced a considerable transformation: party membership expanded rapidly; party structure became more elaborated; party activists, rather than full-time officials, voluntarily earned out various party work; and party cells became more involved in production matters. It is argued that the effect of these changes was not always what the party leadership had hoped for. Although a considerable number of workers enrolled in the party, not all of them became politically conscious and active party members. The 'breaking up' of factory party cells, equally, had its negative aspects. Party cells were often created in a formalistic sense and did not operate properly. Moreover, the complicated party structure caused a serious problem in controlling lower party cells. The connection between different levels of party organisation within factories was weak, and factory party conmiittees were often unable to control or monitor activities of party cells below them. The promotion of industrial workers into more responsible jobs within the party and state apparatuses also caused a serious party personnel problem within factories. Facing difficulties to find suitable party personnel for the rapidly expanding party apparatuses within factories, the party mobilised less experienced activists for party work, which often resulted in party work being carried out poorly. More importantly, the party's growing involvement in production matters resulted in the party's losing its 'political' character. While factory party cells were occupied by economic tasks for which they were not well equipped, their real work in the realm of politics and ideology was no longer carried out properly. Overall, during these years of massive transformation, the centre's grip on affairs at the local level was not as close as often assumed, and central party organs were unable to firmly control the way party policy was implemented at the local level. The relationship between central party bodies and the local level, in turn, has implications for other spheres and for our understanding of 'Stalinism' during the period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: Stephen White
Keywords: Russian history, Political science
Date of Award: 2000
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2000-72765
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2019 11:06
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/72765

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