Politburo of the CPSU, Nov 1937

Copyright © 1998 by Hugo S. Cunningham
Individual, non-commercial reproduction is authorized, provided this notice is retained.

21 Aug 98

The design below follows the pattern of a poster reproduced on p. 1 of "Pravda," 3 Nov 1937, except that the original poster's red background was artfully created by banners. The poster was a centerpiece of publicity for (uncontested, of course!) elections to the Supreme Soviet on 12 Dec 1937.

The Russian text is obvious, except for the abbreviation "CK VKP(b)":
"Central'nyj Komitet Vsesoyuznoj Kommunisticheskoj Partii (bol'shevikov)" ["Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks)"].
In October 1952, "VKP(b)" would be renamed "KPSS" ("Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza" -- "Communist Party of the Soviet Union" [CPSU]), as part of a general reorganization.

Above "CK VKP(b)" are Stalin and the eight other full members of the Politburo, in unofficial order of rank: Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Andreyev, Mikoyan, Chubar', and Kosior. (The unofficial ranking could be changed at any time, according to Stalin's whim.) Below "CK VKP(b)" are two candidate-members, Zhdanov and Yezhov.

While protocol here required recently-promoted candidate-member Yezhov to be shown below all 8 full members, other indications showed he was in higher favor at this time, tied with Kalinin as #5 behind the Great Leader and Teacher, Molotov, Kaganovich, and Voroshilov; one example was the prominent display of his nominating petitions in "Pravda," 2 Nov 1937, p. 4.

Three other candidate-members, Robert I. Eikhe, Pavel P. Postyshev, and Gregori I. Petrovsky are not shown. They were already marked for repression. [Robert Conquest, "The Great Terror," pp. 244-245] (Curiously, though Petrovsky was accused of the usual fascist conspiracies and dismissed from his posts, the Great Leader and Teacher allowed him to survive in an obscure post. The most plausible explanation is that he was one of the 12 Bolshevik deputies in the Tsarist duma (parliament); the only class of political notables to survive the Purge untouched. ["Terror", p. 437]

For better pictures of the ten subordinate Politburo members, click on their highlighted images.

Iosif Vissarionovich

Vyacheslav Mixajlovich

Lazar' Moiseevich

Kliment Efremovich
Mixail Ivanovich

Andrej Andreevich

Anastas Ivanovich

Vlas Yakovlevich

Stanislav Vikent'evich

Andrej Aleksandrovich

Nikolaj Ivanovich

N.I. Yezhov has a question for aspiring Chekists among you. Eight of the ten subordinate Politburo members shown here (including him) are heroic builders and defenders of Socialism. Two, however, would be unmasked as enemies of the people next year in 1938. Can you figure out who by looking at them? (In the future, we plan to offer you a file with further clues, as well as the answers.)

Incidentally, we also have a listing of earlier Politburo members (1919 - 1940), indicating what happened to them.

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