General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was an office of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) that by the late 1920s had evolved into the most powerful of the Central Committee's various positions. Seldom in Soviet history would any other office trump the authority of General Secretary. From 1929 until the union's dissolution, the holder of the office was the de facto leader of the Soviet Union,[2] because the post controlled both the CPSU and the Soviet government.[3] The power of the office can be traced to Joseph Stalin when he elevated the office to overall command of the Communist Party and by extension the whole Soviet Union.[4] Once Stalin outmaneuvered Leon Trotsky and assassinated his major political rivals through purges, the General Secretary exercised total control of party and nation. Nikita Khrushchev renamed the post First Secretary in 1953 as part of de-stalinization. The change was reverted in 1966. The office grew out of less powerful secretarial positions within the party: Technical Secretary (1917–1918), Chairman of the Secretariat (1918–1919), and Responsible Secretary (1919–1922) (when Vladimir Lenin was leader of the Bolshevik Party).

General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Генеральный секретарь ЦК КПСС
Emblem of the Communist Party
Last officeholder
Mikhail Gorbachev

10 March 1985 – 24 August 1991
Central Committee of the Communist Party
StyleComrade General Secretary
StatusParty leader
Member ofPolitburo
Secretariat
ResidenceKremlin Senate[1]
SeatKremlin, Moscow
AppointerCentral Committee
Constituting instrumentParty statutes
Formation
  • Technical Secretary:
    April 1917
  • General Secretary:
    3 April 1922
First holderElena Stasova
as Technical Secretary
Yakov Sverdlov
as Chairman of the Secretariat
Nikolay Krestinsky
as Responsible Secretary
Joseph Stalin
as General Secretary
Final holderMikhail Gorbachev
as General Secretary
Vladimir Ivashko
as acting General Secretary
Abolished29 August 1991
Succession
DeputyDeputy General Secretary of the Communist Party
Salary2,079,809.20 RUB (28,000 USD) annually