Communist Party of Ukraine (Soviet Union)

Communist Party of Ukraine

Комуністична Партія України
Коммунистическая партия Украины
General SecretaryStanislav Hurenko (last)
FounderMykola Skrypnyk
FoundedJuly 17, 1918 (1918-07-17)
BannedAugust 26, 1991; 27 years ago (1991-08-26)
Preceded byRussian Social Democratic Labour Party
Succeeded bySocialist Party of Ukraine
Communist Party of Ukraine (1993)
HeadquartersKiev, Ukraine
NewspaperPravda Ukrainy (in Russian)
Radyanska Ukrayina (in Ukrainian)
Youth wingKomsomol of Ukraine
Young Pioneers
National communism
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
International affiliationComintern (1919–43)
Cominform (1947–56)
Colours     Red
SloganWorkers of the world, unite!
AnthemThe Internationale
Emblem of the Ukrainian SSR.svg
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The Communist Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Комуністична Партія України Komunistychna Partiya Ukrayiny, КПУ, KPU; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Украины), was the founding and ruling political party of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic operated as the Ukrainian branch of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). The CPU was the sole governing party was founded in 1918 as the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine until 1952, when it became the Communist Party of Ukraine. The party was abolished in 26 August 1991 after the failed Soviet coup.

The CPU was organized on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Vladimir Lenin that entails democratic and open discussion of policy issues within the party followed by the requirement of total unity in upholding the agreed policies. The CPU's highest body was the Party Congress, convened every held every five years. When the Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body, but because the Central Committee met twice a year, most duties and responsibilities were vested in the Politburo. The party leader held the office of First Secretary who served as the head of government.

Like all other CPSU republican branches, The CPU was committed, in accordance to the party statute, adhered to Marxism–Leninism ideology based on the writings of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx, and formalized under Joseph Stalin. The party had pursued state socialism, under which all industries were nationalized and a planned economy was introduced. Prior to the introduction of central planning was adopted in 1929, Lenin had introduced a mixed economy, commonly referred to as the New Economic Policy, in the 1920s, which allowed to introduce certain capitalist elements in the Soviet economy.


The Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine was created in July 1918 in Moscow.

Most of its constituent members were former members of the Russian Bolsheviks who in 1917 pronounced themselves "RSDRP(b) – Social-Democracy of Ukraine"[1] and with the help of the Antonov-Ovseyenko expionary forces of Petrograd and Moscow Red Guards instigated a civil war in Ukraine by routing local Red Guards. Number of Ukrainian politicians from left faction of the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party (also known as Left Ukrainian Social Democrats or unofficially as "Ukrainian Bolsheviks") joined the Bolsheviks in January 1918.[2]

After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the Bolshevik faction Social-Democracy of Ukraine was forced to dissolve as all Bolsheviks were forced out of Ukraine.

On October 13, 1952 the party officially was renamed as the Communist Party of Ukraine. On August 26, 1991 the Communist Party was outlawed in Ukraine. Different sectors reconstituted themselves in different parties. One group led by moderate members under Oleksandr Moroz formed the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) out of most of the former members, a group of agrarians led by Serhiy Dovhan and Oleksandr Tkachenko formed the Peasant Party of Ukraine (SelPU), and another group, the Communist Party of Ukraine, was re-created in 1993 in Donetsk under the leadership of Petro Symonenko when the ban was lifted. The remaining members either changed political direction or created their own left-wing parties such as the Vitrenko bloc, Social-Democratic (United) party, and others.

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Central Committees[]

Initial composition of the committee was elected at the 1st party Congress on July 12, 1918 and consisted of the following people: Ivan Amosov, Andrei Bubnov, Afanasiy Butsenko, Shulim Gruzman, Vladimir Zatonsky, Lavrentiy Kartvelishvili, Emmanuil Kviring, Stanislav Kosior, Isaak Kreisberg, Yuriy Lutovinov, Yuriy Pyatakov, Rafail Farbman, Pinkhus Rovner, Leonid Tarsky (Sokolovsky), Isaak Shvarts. Beside full members there also were candidate to the committee. The initial composition included Yan Hamarnik (Yakov Pudikovich), Dmitriy Lebed, Mikhail Mayorov (Meyer Biberman), Mykola Skrypnyk, Petro Slynko, Yakov Yakovlev (Epshtein). On September 9, 1918 Mayorov and Slynko replaced Kertvelishvili and Farbman as full members, while the last two lost their membership. During World War II on October 2, 1942 there was created the Illegal Central Committee of the Party consisting of 17 members. The committee was dissolved on June 29, 1943. Among the members of the committee were such personalities as Sydir Kovpak, Leonid Korniets, Oleksiy Fedorov, and others.


The party had its own Politburo created on March 6, 1919. On September 25, 1952 the committee was renamed into the Bureau of the Central Committee (CC) of CP(b)U, and in October the same year as the Bureau of the CC CPU. On October 10, 1952 it became the Presidium of the CC CPU. On June 26, 1966 again the bureau was finally left with its original name as the Politburo of the CC CPU. At first it consisted of five members and later another one was added. The first Politburo included Andriy Bubnov, Emanuel Kviring, Volodymyr Mescheriakov, Heorhiy Pyatakov, Christian Rakovsky, and later Stanislav Kosior, all centrists. From March 23 until April 15, 1920 there was elected a Provisional Bureau which the next day was ratified by the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks).


Along with Politburo the party like its Russian counterpart had its own Orgburo that was created the same day as Politburo.

Party leader[]

The party was headed by its secretary. The position was highly influential and often was considered to be more important than the head of state (see Ukrainian SSR).

Years Name Remarks
1918 - 1920 Secretary of Central Committee
1920 - 1925 1st Secretary of Central Committee
1925 - 1934 General Secretary of Central Committee
1934 - 1991 1st Secretary of Central Committee

The following list is composed of the secretary of the Central Committee of the party who were the leaders of the Party. The position also was changing names between being called the First Secretary or the General Secretary, depending on a political atmosphere in the Soviet Union. The position was not officially of the head of state, but certainly was very influential, especially within the republic. The longest serving secretary was Vladimir Shcherbitsky with some 17 years as the head of the Communist Party, the second best is split between Stanislav Kosior and Nikita Khrushchev, both of which have 11 years.

# Secretary Took office Left office Deputy Congress
1 Yury Pyatakov.jpg Yurii Leonidovych Pyatakov 12 July 1918 9 September 1918 None 1
2 Serafima Gopner.jpg Serafima Ilyinichna Gopner 9 September 1918 22 October 1918 None
3 1988 CPA 5986 cropped.jpg Emanuil Ionovich Kviring 23 October 1918 6 March 1919 None 2
4 Yury Pyatakov.jpg Yurii Leonidovych Pyatakov 6 March 1919 30 May 1919 None 3
5 Stanislaw Kosior2.jpg Stanislav Vikentevich Kosior 30 May 1919 10 December 1919 None
- Rafail Borisovich Farbman
10 December 1919 23 March 1920 None
6 Nikolai Ilyich Beschetvertnoi 23 March 1920 25 March 1920 None 4
- Stanislaw Kosior2.jpg Stanislav Vikentevich Kosior
25 March 1920 17 October 1922 None
7 Molotov.bra.jpg Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov 23 November 1920 22 March 1921 Dmitriy Lebed 5
- Feliks Kon 1920.png Feliks Yakovlevich Kon
22 March 1921 13 December 1921
8 Dmitry Manuilsky.PNG Dmitry Zakharovich Manuilsky 14 December 1921 10 April 1923 6
9 1988 CPA 5986 cropped.jpg Emanuil Ionovich Kviring 10 April 1923 16 May 1924 7
17 May 1924 7 April 1925 Aleksei Medvedev 8
Ivan Klimenko
10 Каганович.jpg Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich 7 April 1925 12 December 1925
12 December 1925 29 November 1927 9
Aleksei Medvedev
29 November 1927 14 July 1928 10
11 Stanislaw Kosior2.jpg Stanislav Vikentevich Kosior 14 July 1928 15 June 1930
Lavrentiy Kartvelishvili
15 June 1930 23 January 1934 11
Vasiliy Stroganov
Mendel Khatayevich
Pavel Postyshev
23 January 1934 3 June 1937 12
Mendel Khatayevich
3 June 1937 27 January 1938 13
Sergei Kudryavtsev
12 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpg Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev
(acting until 18 June 1938)
27 January 1938 17 May 1940 Mikhail Burmistenko
(acting until 18 June 1938)
17 May 1940 3 March 1947 15
Demian Korotchenko
13 Каганович.jpg Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich 3 March 1947 26 December 1947
14 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-B0628-0015-035, Nikita S. Chruschtschow.jpg Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev 26 December 1947 28 January 1949 Leonid Melnikov
28 January 1949 16 December 1949 16
15 Leonid Georgyevich Melnikov 16 December 1949 27 September 1952 Aleksei Kirichenko
27 September 1952 4 June 1953 17
16 Aleksej Kirichenko.jpg Aleksey Illarionovich Kirichenko 4 June 1953 26 March 1954 Nikolai Podgorny
26 March 1954 21 January 1956 18
21 January 1956 26 December 1957 19
17 Nicolai Podgorny.jpg Nikolay Viktorovich Podgorny 26 December 1957 19 February 1960 Leontiy Naidek
19 February 1960 30 September 1961 Ivan Kazaenets 20
30 September 1961 2 July 1963 21
18 Шелест П.JPG Pyotr Yefimovich Shelest 2 July 1963 18 March 1966 Nikolai Sobol
18 March 1966 20 March 1971 Aleksandr Lyashko 22
Ivan Lutak
20 March 1971 25 May 1972 23
19 Vladimir Vasilyevich Shcherbitsky 25 May 1972 13 February 1976
13 February 1976 12 February 1981 Ivan Sokolov 24
12 February 1981 8 February 1986 25
Aleksei Titarenko
8 February 1986 28 September 1989 26
Vladimir Ivashko
20 Vladimir Antonovich Ivashko 28 September 1989 23 June 1990 Stanislav Gurenko 27
21 Stanislav Ivanovich Gurenko 23 June 1990 1 September 1991 Leonid Kravchuk 28
Grigoriy Kharchenko

Party Congresses[]

There were 28 Congresses with the last one consisting out of two stages. There also were three consolidated conferences of the party from 1926 to 1932. At the second stage of the last Congress there were 273 members in the Central Committee.

First Congress, July 1918[]

This took place in Moscow and decided to call for preparations for an armed uprising against the occupying Central Powers forces and Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi’s dictatorship.[3] There were only 15 members in the Central Committee and six candidates.It reversed the decision adopted that April by a preliminary council in Tahanroh to established an independent Ukrainian bolshevik party with a membership in the envisaged Third International apart from the Russian party.

Central Committee[]

Ivan Amosov, Andrei Bubnov, Afanasiy Butsenko, Shulim Gruzman, Vladimir Zatonsky, Lavrentiy Kartvelishvili (excl.), Emmanuil Kviring, Stanislaw Kosior, Isaak Kreisberg, Yuriy Lutovinov, Georgiy Pyatakov, Rafail Farbman (excl.), Pinkhus Rovner, Leonid Tarskiy (Sokolovsky), Isaak Shvarts. Promoted to members: Mikhail Mayorov (Meyer Biberman) and Pyotr Slinko

Second Congress, October 1918[]

This also took place in Moscow. Joseph Stalin was elected to the Central Committee.[4]

Central Committee[]

Artyom (Fyodor Sergeyev), Nikolai Beschetvertnoi, Shulim Gruzman

Third Congress, March 1919[]

This congress took place in Kharkov. A new central committee with a majority of Left Communists was elected. This prompted the Eight Congress of the Russian Communist Party to pass the following motion: ""It is necessary to have a unified communist party with a unified central committee ... All decisions of the RCP and its leading organs are absolutely binding for all parts of the party, independent of their national composition. The central committees of the Ukrainian, Lettish and Lithuanian communists are conferred the rights of regional committees of the party; they are to be unreservedly subordinate to the central committee of the RCP."[5]

Fourth Congress, March 17–23, 1920[]

The Borotbists were forced to dissolve themselves and their erstwhile members were permitted to join the CP(b)U.[6] Vasyl Ellan-Blakytny and Shumsky drawn from the Borotbist leadership were elected to the Committee and the Borotbist Central Committee passed a resolution dissolving the Borotbist party and its central committee. All members were instructed to apply for CP(B)U membership. Nearly 4,000 out of approximately 5,000 Borotbists were admitted to the CP(B)U.[7]

Later congresses[]

From 1919 to 1934 all meetings were conducted in Kharkiv, capital of the Ukrainian SSR. There were three major Committees and several Bureaus. Each committee had members and candidates to members each with certain degree of obligations. The members and candidates to the committees were elected at the Party Congress. The number of members varied from one gathering to the next usually in ascending sequence. During the Great Purge the numbers remarkably declined as well as one of the committees, Central Control Committee, was disbanded. The first members were elected in 1918, 15 members of the Central Committee, six candidates as well as three members and two candidates of the Revision Committee. In 1920 the Central Control Committee was formed and by 1934 the Party accounted for some 191 members and 45 candidates in all committees. In 1937 there were only 71 members and 40 candidates in two committees. By 1990 the number of members grew just over 300 members.

Party headquarters[]

Years Photo Building Remarks
1922 – 1934 Dvorjanskoe sobranie main.jpg Building of Noble Assembly, Kharkiv
1934 – 1938 Будинок Губернської Земської управи.JPG Security Service of Ukraine building, Kiev
1938 – 1941 MFA, Kiev-2.jpg Building of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kiev
1943 – 1991 Pres-adm-ukraine-2008.jpg Presidential Administration Building (Kiev)

Party newspapers[]

Central newspapers[]

Regional newspapers[]

See also[]


Further reading[]

External links[]