Cadres Policy

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The term cadres policy refers to the selection and training of key CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) personnel. Its importance is indicated by the famous phrase used by Stalin in 1935, "Cadres decide everything." Generally speaking, cadres were selected in theory according to their degree of loyalty to the CPSU and their efficiency in performing the tasks assigned to them. The appointment of cadres at a senior level in the CPSU hierarchy was made or confirmed by the cadres department of the appropriate Party committee. Scholars have raised questions about the degree to which the cadres selected at any given time by the Soviet leadership were "representative" of the population as a whole or of the constituency that they represented. Other issues raised include the extent to which cadres were adequately trained or had the appropriate expertise. By the time Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the mid-1980s, accusations were being made that many key Party members, who constituted the leadership at all levels within the CPSU structure, had become corrupt during Leonid Brezhnev's era of stagnation. Hence a new cadres policy was necessary in order to weed out the careerists and replace them with others worthy of acting as a genuine cadre to ensure that the interests of the Party, society, and the people coincided. This led to widespread anti-corruption campaigns against the Party from 1986 onward throughout the former USSR. Famous examples include the arrest of seven Uzbek regional first secretaries in March 1988 and the trial of Brezhnev's son-in-law, Yuri Mikhailovich Churbanov, the former Interior Minister, in 1989.

See also: communist party of the soviet union


Hill, Ronald J. (1980). Soviet Politics, Political Science, and Reform. Oxford: Martin Robertson/M. E. Sharpe.

Hill, Ronald J., and Frank, Peter. (1981). The Soviet Communist Party. London: Allen & Unwin.

White, Stephen. (1991). Gorbachev in Power. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Christopher Williams