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Nomenklatura

NOMENKLATURA

The term nomenklatura was often used in the USSR throughout the Stalin and post-Stalin periods to designate members of Soviet officialdom. The term was not generally known in the West until the 1960s. Members of the nomenklatura included Communist Party officials (particularly Party secretaries at any level of the Party organization), government officials, and senior officers in the Soviet armed forces who were Party members. Almost all members were, in fact, Communist Party members. At a minimum, the Party controlled access to nomenklatura jobs. Most often the term was used to describe full-time professional Party officials, also known as apparatchiki, since mere rank-and-file Party members did not hold important executive posts.

No definite tally of the number of the nomenklatura was ever published officially. But Russian and Western scholars generally agree that their numbers exceeded 500,000. Yet the entire membership of the Communist Party amounted on average to only about 7 percent of the Soviet population.

Wherever they served throughout the multinational Soviet Union, most of the nomenklatura were Russians, Ukrainians, or Belorussians. Almost always, native nomenklatura members posted in any of the non-Slavic Republics among the fifteen constituent republics of the USSR were supervised ultimately by ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, or Belorussians.

See also: communist party of the soviet union

bibliography

Weeks, Albert L., ed. (1991). Soviet Nomenklatura: A Comprehensive Roster of Soviet Civilian and Military Officials, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Washington Institute Press.

Voslensky, Michael. (1984). Nomenklatura: The Soviet Ruling Class, tr. Eric Mosbacher. New York: Doubleday.

Albert L. Weeks

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