USSR: Communist Party: transitional period: 1917-1919 - Archontology
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USSR: Communist Party: 1917-1919

Before the permanent bodies of the Communist party were set up in 1919, the Central Committee and the Congress exercised the supreme authority within the party. During this period the Central Committee was a relatively small organ of some 25 party members able to provide leadership for the rest of the Bolsheviks. But even within this body there was always a group of highest party leaders, who directed all activities of the party organizations and ministries. The Central Committee elected by the 6th party congress (26 Jul [8 Aug] - 3 [16] Aug 1917) at its first plenum on 4 [17] Aug 1917 considered the proposal for nominating a presidium of the Central Committee. On 5 [18] Aug 1917, the plenum elected Stalin, Sokol'nikov, Dzerinskij, Milyutin, Uritsky, Ioffe, Sverdlov, Muranov, Bubnov, Stasova and Shaumyan to presidium of the Central Committee (uzky sostav).

In October 1917, when the Bolsheviks were preparing the coup, a new party organ, Politburo, was set up "to provide political leadership" during the revolution, but it did not outlast the event. The Central Committee remained the only political body, which worked on permanent basis. Usually, less than a half of its members attended the meetings, but it was held regularly and decided all key questions.

The 7th party congress (6 Mar 1918 - 8 Mar 1918) stressed the new course of the Bolshevik party by assigning Lenin to head a commission on drafting a new party program, but it left the structure of party organs untouched. Only the next party congress in March 1919 laid foundations for the existence of the Politburo, Orgburo and Secretariat, which became the main bodies within the Communist party for the next 72 years.

Central Committee (Aug 1917 - 5 Mar 1918: between the 6th and 7th congresses): members: Artyom (Sergeyev), Berzin, Bubnov, Buharin, Dzerinskij, Zinov'ev, Kamenev, Kollontay, Krestinskij, Lenin, Milyutin, Muranov, Smilga, Sokol'nikov, Stalin, Trockij, Uritsky and Shaumyan; candidate members: Dzhaparidze, Ioffe, Kiselyov, Lomov (Oppokov), Preobrazhensky, Skrypnik, Stasova, Yakovleva.

Central Committee (8 Mar 1918 - 17 Mar 1919: between the 7th and 8th congresses): members: Artyom, Buharin, Vladimirsky, Dzerinskij, Zinov'ev, Krestinskij, Lashevich, Lenin, Sverdlov, Smilga, Sokol'nikov, Stalin, Stasova, Trockij, Shmidt; candidate members: Berzin, Ioffe, Kiselyov, Lomov (Oppokov), Petrovskij, Stuchka, Uritsky, Shlyapnikov.