Constructing the Soviet Elite: Recruitments, Exclusions, and Repressions Within the Soviet Communist Party, 1917-1941


Moullec, Gaël-Georges


Gaël-Georges Moullec is a specialist in Russian History and the history of the international communist movement. Having served as a staff officer at NATO Headquarters, he is currently lecturer at the University of Paris XIII and the Polytechnic University of Valenciennes, and Associate Researcher and Chair of Geopolitics at Rennes School of Business. He is the author of eight books including Moscou – 1917: Les rapports d’Albert Remes, consul du Royaume de Belgique and Trois instants de printemps, le renseignement diplomatique soviétique dans la France gaulliste.

The Soviet Communist Party faced a large-scale problem of regulating membership after the Russian Revolution of 1917. While recruitments were conducted mainly according to the internal Party rules, exclusion campaigns were periodically adopted to ensure ideological purity. In the decades before World War II, these reviews took various forms – from mere administrative re-registration to violent purges that involved millions of arrests. The so-called “Great Purge” of 1937-1939 implicitly recognized the failure of the party’s original policy of recruitment and promotion, and of the inability of the Party’s political leadership to influence membership.
Although the “Great Purge” proved tragic, its implementation revealed great preparation and almost daily membership management. As surprising as it may seem, the statistics on membership movements (accessions, expulsions, etc.) were never as well kept as they were from 1937 to 1939. After the Great Purge, a new and more intellectual membership rose to power. This generation presided over the destiny of the Soviet Union until Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985. The innovative character of Gaël-Georges Moullec’s study lies in the use of unpublished archival sources.

History, Political Science, Social Science, Russia, Russian History, Soviet Union, Communism, Russian Revolution, International Communism
Release Date: 
August 15, 2022
9781680536942 Hardcover
Trim Size: 

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