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Communist Party of Ukraine
Ukrainian nameКомуністична Партія України
Russian nameКоммунистическая партия Украины
General SecretaryStanislav Hurenko (last)
FounderVladimir Lenin[1]
Founded17 July 1918 (1918-07-17)
Banned30 August 1991; 32 years ago (1991-08-30)
Preceded byRussian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) – Social-Democracy of Ukraine
Succeeded bySocialist Party of Ukraine
Communist Party of Ukraine (1993)
Party of Democratic Revival of Ukraine (all banned)
HeadquartersBuilding 11 Ordzhonikidze Street, Lypky, Kyiv
NewspaperPravda Ukrainy (in Russian)
Radyanska Ukrayina (in Ukrainian)
Youth wingKomsomol of Ukraine
Young Pioneers
National affiliationCommunist Party of the Soviet Union
International affiliationComintern (1919–1943)
Cominform (1947–1956)
Colours  Red
Slogan"Workers of the world, unite!"
AnthemThe Internationale
Party flag

The Communist Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Комуністична Партія України, romanizedKomunistychna Partiya Ukrayiny, КПУ, KPU; Russian: Коммунистическая партия Украины, romanizedKommunisticheskaya partiya Ukrainy) was the founding and ruling political party of the Ukrainian SSR operated as a republican branch (union republics) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).[2]

Founded as the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine (CP(b)U) in 1918 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, it was the sole governing party in Ukraine during its time in Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union. While the anti-Bolshevik Ukrainian People's Republic had its own political parties of socialist ideologies, the Communist Party of Ukraine was created out of the party of Russian Bolsheviks in Ukraine known as the RSDRP(b) – Social-Democracy of Ukraine. The party was denied the right to have a separate party statute and was governed by the statute of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) and Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1952, the party was renamed as the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Like all other CPSU republican branches, the CPU was committed, in accordance to the CPSU party statute,[2] to adherence to Marxist–Leninist ideology[2] based on the writings of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx, and formalized under Joseph Stalin. The party had pursued state socialism,[2] under which all industries were nationalized and a command economy was introduced. Prior to the adoption of central planning 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 after the disastrous experience of war communism. This lasted until 26 August 1991, when the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) suspended[3] and on 30 August 1991 prohibited the Communist Party of Ukraine based on the fact that "the leadership of the Communist Party of Ukraine in its actions supported the coup d'état" [in Moscow].[4][5] From the parliamentary faction of the Communist Party, following its 1991 prohibition, the Socialist Party of Ukraine was created. Due to efforts of some other communist cells across Ukraine that did not join the Socialist Party, the Communist Party of Ukraine was re-established in 1993 in Russian-speaking Donetsk as a communist political party of independent Ukraine, while joining the Union of Communist Parties – Communist Party of the Soviet Union from Moscow. Some members who joined the Socialist Party, joined the new political entity after its re-establishment, among whom the most notable was Adam Martyniuk. Following sanctions against the party in 1991, the party fell apart in a similar way to its parent organization (the Communist Party of the Soviet Union), having members of such main deviations like Democratic Platform and Interregional Deputy group reorganized into separate political entities. The ban lasted until 2001 and in May 2002, the older party was merged into the 1993 CPU.[6][7] Following the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, all communist parties on the territory of Ukraine were outlawed and banned, with the ideology criminalized.[8]


See also: Ukrainian People's Republic of Soviets and All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets

Russian Bolsheviks in Ukraine

The party traces its beginning to committees and party's cells of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) that existed at the end of the 19th century in all bigger cities and industrial centers on Ukrainian territory which was part of the Russian Empire.[9][2] Under influence from the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class in Saint Petersburg, in 1897 such organization was also formed in Kyiv and Yekaterinoslav which also were taking part in preparation and convocation of the 1st Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1898.[9] With release of newspaper Iskra in December 1900 in Germany, on territory of Ukraine spread out a network of the Lenin's Iskra group and organizations.[9] Among the most notable activists in Ukraine during that period were Ivan Babushkin, Rosalia Zemlyachka, Pyotr Krasikov, Isaak Lalayants, Friedrichs Lengniks, Maxim Litvinov, Grigory Petrovsky, Mykola Skrypnyk (Nikolay Skripnik), Dmitry Ulyanov, Vasiliy Shelgunov, Alexander Schlichter, Alexander Tsiurupa, and others.[9] Following the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (1903) in social-democratic organizations has developed a struggle between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.[9] On behalf of Vladimir Lenin, in 1904 Vatslav Vorovsky with Lalayants and Levitskiy created in Odessa the Southern Bureau of the RSDLP that led activities of Odessa, Yekaterinoslav, Nikolayev committees, brought together around itself Bolshevik organizations of the South, conducted great deal of work in preparation to the 3rd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1905.[9]

During the 1905 Russian Revolution, Bolsheviks in Ukraine played only a minor role.[9] In more than 50 cities and settlements were created Soviets of working deputies.[9] In December 1905, Bolsheviks led number of armed uprisings in Ukraine, among which were in Horlivka, Alexandrovsk (Zaporizhia), Kharkiv.[9] Kyiv, Mykolaiv and many other cities were covered with strike action.[9] In course of the revolution the RSDLP organizations in Ukraine grew significantly and in 1907 they were accounted for over 20,000 men.[9][a] Organizers and leaders of party's activities during this time were Comrade Artyom (Fyodor Sergeev), Vladimir Bonch-Bruyevich, Miron Vladimirov, Kliment Voroshilov, Serafima Gopner, Sergey Gusev, Lidia Knipovich, Gleb Krzhizhanovsky, Grigory Petrovsky, Nikolay Skripnik, Alexander Schlichter, Yemelyan Yaroslavsky, and others.[9] During the following year of government reaction in 1907–10, Bolshevik organizations in Ukraine have suffered significant losses, yet continued their revolutionary activities.[9] Guided by decisions of the 1912 Prague Conference, those Bolsheviks carried out work to expand and strengthen ties with the masses, their international upbringing, preparing workers to new revolutionary battles, were exposing supporters of what was labeled as "liquidationism", "otzovizm" (recalling representatives from the State Duma), and bourgeois nationalism.[9] During the years of World War I (1914–18), the Bolsheviks of Ukraine propagated the Lenin's slogan of transforming the imperialist war[10][11][12][13] into a civil war and fought against "social chauvinism and revolutionary defeatism."[9]

During the 1917 February Revolution, known as the February bourgeois democratic revolution in communist jargon, the Bolshevik organizations guided by the Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party claimed that they led the struggle of the working people against monarchy, and after Nicholas II's abdication led a struggle for the masses against whom communists named as conciliators and bourgeois nationalists.[9] The process of differentiation of the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in the joint organizations of the RSDLP intensified and as well as the process of creation of independent Bolshevik organizations that in July 1917 accounted for around 33,000 men.[9][a]

According to Yevgenia Bosch, the Kyiv party organization after the February Revolution accounted for only near 200 members[b] and it mainly was concentrated on elections to the Soviet of Workers' Deputies.[b] The performance of the party organization was far from stellar and huge advantage in the soviet (council) was secured by what Bosch called "petty bourgeois parties".[b] The majority in the soviet was formed by Mensheviks.[b] The soviet's executive committee (ispolkom) was also dominated by Mensheviks and Bundists, while Bolsheviks managed to have own representative Maks Savelyev.[b] The Kyiv party organization chose not to participate in elections to the Soviet of Soldiers' Deputies due to lack of relations with local military.[b] Also the Kyiv Bolsheviks chose to ignore the All-Ukrainian National Congress that was convened on proposition of the Central Council of Ukraine on 18 – 20 April [O.S. 5 – 7 April] 1917.[c] The most important role for the organization was participation in the 1 May street demonstration to the point that the Bolsheviks decided to conducted own one in spite that the event was already organized by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies.[c]

Unlike any other Bolshevik organizations in Ukraine that adopted the Lenin's April Theses without discussions, on 23 April 1917 the Kyiv party cell approved resolution in which it called the April Theses "yet insufficiently substantiated and developed".[14] On 28 April 1917, at the city's assembly Bolsheviks stated that those theses require further discussion and promised to publish them in their newspaper.[14] They never did.[14] At the 7th All-Russian conference of Bolsheviks where the theses were adopted practically unanimously, the Kyiv Bolsheviks, led by Yurii Pyatakov and who had other thought, did not dare to oppose Vladimir Lenin.[14]

Struggle for establishment of the Soviet power in Ukraine

Following the "July Days" and the semi-legal 6th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, Bolsheviks of Ukraine began to prepare the workers for an armed uprising "for Soviet power" (Ukrainian: за владу Рад, Russian: за власть Советов).[9] Big help was provided to them by the Central Committee of the Petrograd-based RSDLP(b) that maintained connection with more than 50 of its party organizations in Ukraine.[9] Active role in the preparation process of the masses to the "Socialist Revolution" (October Revolution) was conducted by Vasiliy Averin, Yevgenia Bosch, Kliment Voroshilov, Yan Gamarnik, Serafima Gopner, Vladimir Zatonsky, Andrei Ivanov, Emanuel Kviring, Yuriy Kotsiubynsky, Dmitriy Lebed, Grigory Petrovsky, Vitaly Primakov, Fyodor Sergeyev, Ivan Smirnov [ru; uk], and others.[9] During the summer of 1917 on territory of modern Ukraine were formed two regional (oblast) branches of the RSDLP(b) of Southwestern Krai and Donets-Krivoi Rog Basin and later in the fall the bureau of the RSDLP(b) military organizations of the Southwestern Front[9] (due to ongoing World War I). According to Yevgenia Bosch, the regional branch of the RSDLP(b) was supposed to consist of 7 guberniyas (Governorates): Kyiv, Chernihiv, Podolia, Volhynia, Poltava, Kherson, and Yekaterinoslav.[d] Also membership of the party in Ukraine grew significantly in 1917 from 7,000 in April to 50,000 in October.[2] Following the October Revolution in Petrograd, at the 2nd All-Russian Congress of Soviets among its delegates, there were 65 Bolsheviks from Ukraine.[9]

The very next day after the October Revolution, on 8–13 November (26–31 October by old style), 1917 Bolsheviks in Kyiv, who have been headquartered at the Mariinskyi Palace, attempted to secure power in Kyiv with less success and, after the Bolshevik's victory over the Kyiv Military District garrison, the authority in Kyiv was secured by the liberal democratic Regional Committee in Protection of Revolution in Ukraine where important role played the Central Council of Ukraine. In a week the Central Council adopted its "Third Universal" where it condemned the Bolshevik coup-d'état and declared Ukraine in federative union with the social democratic Russian Republic (instead of the communist Soviet Russia). In response to that on 26 November 1917, the Bolshevik Sovnarkom published its manifesto to the all population "About struggle with counter-revolutionary insurgency of Kaledin, Kornilov, Dutov, and supported by the Central Rada (О борьбе с контрреволюционным восстанием Каледина, Корнилова, Дутова, поддерживаемым Центральной Радой)".

On December 16—18 (3—5 by old style), 1917, the regional congress of the RSDLP(b) of the South-West region was held in Kyiv, and on December 18—19 (5—6), the regional conference of the RSDLP(b) of the Donets-Kryvyi Rih basin was held in Kharkiv. They called on the workers to fight against the Ukrainian Central Council.

Communist Party of Ukraine

See also: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

The Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine was created on 5–12 July 1918 in Moscow during the 1st Party Congress. Decisive factor of establishing autonomous branch were conditions of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk according to which Ukraine was leaving the Russian Republic. During the congress there was established a central committee of 15 members and 6 candidates to membership:[15] Ivan Amosov, Andrei Bubnov, Afanasi Butsenko, Shulim Gruzman, Vladimir Zatonski, Lavreti Kartvelishvili, Emmanuel Kviring, Stanisław Kosior, Isaak Kreisberg, Iuri Lutovinov, Georgi Piatakov, Rafail Farbman, Pinkhus Rovner, Leonid Tarski, Isaak Shvarts; Ian Gamarnik, Dmitri Lebed, Mikhail Maiorov, Nikolai Skrypnik, Petr Slynko, Iakov, Iakovlev. Upon creation of the party there were two points of view on the party's structure and relationship with the Russian Communist Party: one idea proposed by the Kiev faction leader Nikolay Skripnik included relationship with the Russian Communist Party through Comintern, while the other one proposed by the Yekaterinoslav and Donbas leader Emmanuel Kviring included relationship with the Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party.

Most of its constituent members were former members of the Russian Bolsheviks who in 1917 pronounced themselves "RSDRP(b) – Social-Democracy of Ukraine"[16] and with the help of the Antonov-Ovseyenko expeditionary forces of Petrograd and Moscow Red Guards instigated a civil war in Ukraine by routing local Red Guards. Some 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.[17]

After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the Bolshevik faction of Ukraine was forced to dissolve as all Bolsheviks were forced out of Ukraine. However, the Bolsheviks returned several months later in what is known both as the second Soviet-Ukrainian War and the Ukrainian War of Independence, in which the Ukrainian People's Republic would ultimately lose to the Russians, with the territory of Ukraine included in the Soviet Russia and then Soviet Union.

During the First Five-Year Plan, the Party took direct responsibility for collectivization of agricultural land and eventually in forced requisitions of grain that led to the deadly Holodomor.[18]

On 13 October 1952, the party officially was renamed as the Communist Party of Ukraine.[19] On October 24, 1990, article 6 on the monopoly of the Communist Party of Ukraine on power was excluded from the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR.[20]

On 30 August 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.

Following the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, all communist parties on the territory of Ukraine were outlawed and banned, with the ideology criminalized.[21]

Organizational structure

Central Committees

Main article: Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (Soviet Union)

Initial composition of the committee was elected at the 1st party Congress on 12 July 1918 and consisted of the following people:[22] 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 9 September 1918 Mayorov and Slynko replaced Kertvelishvili and Farbman as full members, while the last two lost their membership. During World War II on 2 October 1942 there was created the Illegal Central Committee of the Party consisting of 17 members. The committee was dissolved on 29 June 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 6 March 1919. On 25 September 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 10 October 1952 it became the Presidium of the CC CPU. On 26 June 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, Vladimir Mescheryakov, Georgiy Pyatakov, Christian Rakovsky, and later Stanislav Kosior, all centrists. From 23 March until 15 April 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

Main article: First Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine

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[23] Remarks
1918 - 1920 Secretary of Central Committee
1920 - 1925 First Secretary of Central Committee
1925 - 1934 General Secretary of Central Committee
1934 - 1991 First 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.[citation needed]

Party Congresses and Conferences

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.

List of the party congresses and conferences (on equal rights as congresses)

List of the party conferences

Party newspapers

Central newspapers

Regional newspapers

See also


  1. ^ a b Due to russification of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia does not differentiate between two homonymic words in both languages (Russian and Ukrainian) that have different semantics. The Russian word for people "chelovek" (Russian: человек) (person, human) looks as it was adopted in Ukrainian here as [male] "cholovik" (Ukrainian: чоловік) (man, guy). Given estimation for men, possibly includes estimation for people in whole if Russian was used.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bosch, Ye., page 11
  3. ^ a b Bosch, Ye., page 12
  4. ^ Bosch, Ye., page 22


  1. ^ Melnychenko, V. The First Congress of the CP(b) of Ukraine (ПЕРШИЙ З'ЇЗД КП(Б) УКРАЇНИ). Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia (
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pyrih, R. Communist Party of Ukraine, the Soviet period (КОМУНІСТИЧНА ПАРТІЯ УКРАЇНИ РАДЯНСЬКОЇ ДОБИ). Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine. 2007
  3. ^ УКАЗ ПРЕЗИДІЇ ВЕРХОВНОЇ РАДИ УКРАЇНИ «Про тимчасове припинення діяльності Компартії України»
  4. ^ Ukrainian Parliament Presidium Ukase. About banning of activities of the Communist Party of Ukraine (Про заборону діяльності Компартії України). Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. 30 August 1991
  5. ^ Pyrih, R. Communist Party of Ukraine of Soviet period (Комуністична партія України Радянської доби). Encyclopedia of Modern Ukraine.
  6. ^ Леонида Кучму исключили из партии
  7. ^ Президент Украины Леонид Кучма, бывший президент Леонид Кравчук и экс-спикер парламента Иван Плющ исключены из рядов Компартии Украины
  8. ^ The Communist Party of Ukraine statute (Статут Комуністичної партії України) Archived 14 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine. Communist Party of Ukraine (
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Yurchuk, V., Kuras, I. Communist Party of Ukraine (КОМУНІСТИЧНА ПАРТІЯ УКРАЇНИ). Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia.
  10. ^ Brian Becker. From inter-imperialist war to global class war: Understanding distinct stages of imperialism. Liberation School. 20 July 2018
  11. ^ First Imperialist War. Living Marxism.
  12. ^ The First Imperialist. The critical review of the official version (Первая империалистическая. Критика официальной версии). 2 August 2018
  13. ^ Aleksandr Gorianin. About actual characteristics of the World War I: imperialist or what other? (О действительном характере Первой Мировой войны: империалистическая или какая-то иная?). Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 19 February 1997
  14. ^ a b c d Kulchytskyi, S. The Lenin's April Theses (КВІТНЕВІ ТЕЗИ В.ЛЕНІНА). Encyclopedia of History of Ukraine. 2007
  15. ^ Центральный Комитет, избранный I-м съездом КП(б) Украины 12.7.1918, члены.
  16. ^ Yefimenko, H. Creation of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Ukraine (Створення Комуністичної партії (більшовиків) України) Archived 28 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine. V tsei den istorii. 5 July 2018
  17. ^ Yefimenko, H. To the Soviet Russia. How the Ukrainian Communists "incorrect direction" were electing (До совітської Росії. Як комуністи України "неправильний напрям" обрали) Archived 23 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine. DS News. 22 October 2018
  18. ^ Snyder, Timothy (2010). Bloodlands : Europe between Hitler and Stalin. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02290-8. OCLC 688506397.
  19. ^ Коммунистическая партия Украины
  20. ^ Про зміни і доповнення Конституції (Основного Закону) Української РСР
  21. ^ The Communist Party of Ukraine statute (Статут Комуністичної партії України) Archived 14 February 2022 at the Wayback Machine. Communist Party of Ukraine (
  22. ^ The Central Committee elected at the 1st Congress of the CP(b)U 12.07. 1918, members (Центральный Комитет, избранный I-м съездом КП(б) Украины 12.7.1918, члены). Handbook on history of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union 1898–1991.
  23. ^ Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CP(b) – CP of Ukraine (Секретариат ЦК КП(б) - КП Украины). Handbook on history of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union 1898–1991.

Further reading