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Ponomarev, Boris Kharitonovich


(19051995), party official and historian.

Boris Ponomarev was a leading Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) ideologue who for three decades (19541986) headed the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee, the body responsible for relations with foreign communist parties. Ponomarev joined the Bolsheviks in 1919. A civil war veteran (serving from 1918 to 1920), he graduated from Moscow State University in 1926. From 1933 to 1936, at a time when historiography was coming under party control, he was deputy director of the CPSU's Institute of Red Professors. He was on the executive committee of the Comintern, the Soviet-dominated organization of international communist parties, in its last years (19361943), and later head of the Comintern's successor, the Cominform (19461949). In 1954 he became head of the International Department. He was elected to the Central Committee in 1956. A party historian, he was elected a candidate member of the Academy of Sciences in 1959, becoming a full Academician in 1962. After Nikita Khrushchev's denunciation of Josef Stalin at the Twentieth CPSU Congress in 1956, Ponomarev led the team of historians who wrote the new, official History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1959), which replaced Stalin's notorious Short Course history (1938). But Stalin's portrait continued to hang on Ponomarev's office wall. Appointed a secretary of the Central Committee in 1961, he eventually rose to the rank of candidate member of the Politburo in 1972. Never comfortable with reform, Ponomarev, in 1986, was removed as head of the International Department by Mikhail Gorbachev, who retired him from the Central Committee in April 1989.

See also: central committee; communist party of the soviet union


Brown, Archie, ed. (1989). Political Leadership in the Soviet Union. Houndmills, Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan with St Antony's College, Oxford.

Nekrich, Aleksandr. (1991). Forsake Fear: Memoirs of an Historian, tr. Donald Lineburgh. Boston: Unwin Hyman.

Roger D. Markwick

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