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An informal term used to describe a part or the whole of a bureaucratic structure, such as the Communist Party.

The literal translation of apparat is apparatus. The Bolsheviks began as an underground movement, and, to survive, the party machine demanded solidarity and discipline. Members were known as apparatchiki, that is, men of the apparat, or as komitechiki, members of the underground committees. As time passed, the term came to refer to any part, or the whole, of the Soviet bureaucratic system. It was frequently used in later years as a term of denigration and contempt, as was the term apparatchik.

See also: communist party of the soviet union


Fainsod, Merle.(1961). How Russia is Ruled. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

James R. Millar

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