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Commissar

COMMISSAR

Soviet government official.

"Commissar" was the title given to the bureaucratic leaders of the Soviet Union, used from 1917 to 1946. The title and rank of commissar was also given to the military-political officers serving with the Red Army during World War II. Also known as People's Commissars, they were the heads of the various people's commissariats (of health, justice, education, internal affairs, and so forth), the central bureaucratic organizations that governed the Russian Republic and the Soviet Union. The commissars were also the members of the Soviet of People's Commissars (Sovet narodnykh komissarovSovnarkom, or SNK), the central organ of state power that coordinated government decisions in the Soviet republics and among the commissariats when the USSR Supreme Soviet was not in session. In 1946, when the commissariats were renamed ministries, the commissars became ministers, and the SNK became the Council of Ministers.

See also: council of ministers, soviet; supreme soviet

bibliography

Fainsod, Merle, and Hough, Jerry F. (1979). How the Soviet Union Is Governed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Sharon A. Kowalsky

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commissar

commissar head of a government department in the U.S.S.R. XX. — Russ. komissár — F. commissaire — medL. commissārius COMMISSARY.

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commissar

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