Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine

Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine

The Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Комуністична Партія (більшовиків) України Komunistychna Partiya (bilshovykiv) Ukrayiny, КП(б)У, KP(b)U) was a sub-branch of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP)that in March 1918 renamed itself the Russian Communist Party (RCP). Central leaders in Moscow agreed in March 1918 to requests from Ukrainian party members to form a single "Ukrainian" branch encompassing the 8 Ukrainian provinces of the former Russian empire. This sub-branch was formally proclaimed at a conference in Moscow, in July.[1] This party was composed overwhelmingly of Russians in Ukraine who did not represent Ukrainians as "an oppressed peoples" and did not envisage an independent soviereign Ukrainian socialist national state. Their party was totally subordinated to and formally had a status of a oblast (provincial) committee within the RCP. A minority within the party's Ukrainian branch represented by men such as Mykola Skrypnyk did call for an independent Ukrainian party and a socialist Ukraine free of Russian domination but was overruled both by the RUssian majority and Lenin. Dissidents who refused to accept Russian domination called for the creation of an independent Ukrainian Communist Party that would lead a national-liberation struggle as a member of the Third International.



On October 13, 1952 the party officially was renamed into 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, another group re-created in 1993 the Communist Party of Ukraine in Donetsk under the leadership of Petro Symonenko when the ban was lifted, the rest members either changed their political "compass" or created their own parties of the left orientation such as the Vitrenko bloc, Social-Democratic (United) party, and others.

Central Committees

During World War II an interesting event took place on October 2, 1942 when 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).

Secretaries of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine

  • Mykola Skrypnyk (20 April - 26 May 1918) (Secretary of the Organizational Bureau)
  • Yurii Pyatakov (12 July - 9 September 1918)
  • Serafima Hopner (9 September - 23 October 1918)
  • Emanuel Kviring (23 October 1918 - 30 May 1919)
  • Stanislav Kosior (30 May - 10 December 1919) (1st time)
  • Vacant (10 December 1919 - January 1920)
  • Rafail Farbman (January - 23 March 1920) (acting)
  • Nikolay Nikolayev (23–25 March 1920)
  • Stanislav Kosior (25 March - 23 November 1920) (2nd time)

First Secretary of the Central Committee

Executive Secretary of the Central Committee

  • Feliks Kon (22 March - 15 December 1921) (acting)

First Secretaries of the Communist Party

  • Dmitry Manuilsky (15 December 1921 - 10 April 1923)
  • Emanuil Kviring (10 April 1923 - 20 March 1925)

General Secretaries of the Central Committee

  • Emanuil Kviring (20 March - 7 April 1925)
  • Lazar Kaganovich (7 April 1925 - 14 July 1928) (1st time)
  • Stanislav Kosior (14 July 1928 - 23 January 1934) (3rd time)

First Secretaries of the Central Committee

  • Stanislav Kosior (23 January 1934 - 27 January 1938)
  • Nikita Khrushchev (27 January 1938 - 3 March 1947) (1st time)
  • Lazar Kaganovich (3 March - 26 December 1947) (2nd time)
  • Nikita Khrushchev (26 December 1947 - 16 December 1949) (2nd time)
  • Leonid Melnikov (16 December 1949 - 4 June 1953)
  • Aleksey Kirichenko (4 June 1953 - 26 December 1957)
  • Nikolay Podgorny (26 December 1957 - 2 July 1963)
  • Pyotr Shelest (2 July 1963 -25 May 1972)
  • Vladimir Shcherbitsky (25 May 1972 - 28 September 1989)
  • Vladimir Ivashko (28 September 1989 - 22 June 1990)
  • Stanislav Gurenko (22 June 1990 - 1 September 1991)

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.[2] 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.

Second Congress, October 1918

This also took place in Moscow. Joseph Stalin was elected to the Central Committee.[3]

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."[4]

Fourth Congress, March 17–23, 1920

The Borotbists were forced to dissolve themselves and their erstwile members were permitted to join the CP(b)U.[5] 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.[6]

Later congresses

From 1919 to 1934 all meetings were conducted in Kharkov.[citation needed]

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.


J. Borys, The Sovietization of Ukraine 1917-1923 : the Communist doctrine and practice of national self-determination (1980)

A. Adams, Bolshviks in the Ukraine (1963)

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