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The organizational bureau (or Orgburo) was one of the most important organs in the CPSU after the Politburo. The Orgburo was created in 1919 and had the power to make key decisions about the organizational work of the Party. The key role of the Orgburo was to make all the important decisions of an administrative and personnel nature by supervising the work of local Party committees and organizations and overseeing personnel appointments. For instance, the Orgburo had the power to select and allocate Party cadres. The Orgburo was elected at plenary meetings of the Central Committee. There was a great degree of overlap between the Politburo and the Orgburo with many key Party figures being members of both organs. In its early days Josef V. Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Lazar Kaganovich were all Orgburo members. The Politburo often confirmed Orgburo decisions, but it also had the power to veto or rescind them. Nevertheless, the Orgburo was extremely powerful in the 1920s and retained significant scope for autonomous action until its functions, responsibilities, and powers were transferred to the Secretariat in 1952.

Since the declassification of Soviet archives, scholars can now access the protocols of the Communist Party's Orgburo, the transcripts of many of its meetings, and all of the preparatory documentation. The latter are crucial insofar as they give scholars insight into Party life from the New Economic Policy period until the end of the Stalin era.

See also: communist party of the soviet union; politburo


Gill, Graham. (1990). The Origins of the Stalinist Political System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Howlett, Jana; Khlevniuk, Oleg; Kosheleva, Ludmila; and Rogavia, Larisa. (1996). "The CPSU's Top Bodies under Stalin: Their Operational Records and Structures of Command." Stalin-Era Research and Archives Project, Working paper No.1. Toronto: Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Toronto.

Christopher Williams