Main Political Directorate

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Officials from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) monitored workers in key occupations to ensure their adherence to party doctrine and loyalty to the CPSU and the Soviet Union.

In the Soviet army and navy, the CPSU maintained a shadow system of command parallel with the military chain of command. In the early days of the USSR, Party commanders (politruks ) ensured the political reliability of regular officers and soldiers. As the Party became more secure in the political allegiance of the military, party commanders became "deputies for political work" (zampolit ). These officers were directly subordinated to the unit commander, but they had access to higher party officials through a separate chain of command. By and large, the zampolit dealt with matters such as morale, discipline, living conditions, training, and political indoctrination. Security issues such as political reliability were the primary concern of the Special Section. The Main Political Directorate also scrutinized the content of military publications, including the official newspaper Krasnaya zvezda and military publishing houses.

In the post-Soviet era, military discipline is handled by the Main Directorate for Indoctrination Work. Without the power of the Party behind this institution, problems such as discipline, desertion, crime, and others have become increasingly more serious.

See also: communist party of the soviet union; military, soviet and post-soviet


Herspring, Dale R. (1990). The Soviet High Command, 19671989: Personalities and Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Whiting, Kenneth R. (1978). The Development of the Soviet Armed Forces, 19171977. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press.

Ann E. Robertson