AskDefine | Define politburo

Dictionary Definition

politburo n : the chief executive and political committee of the Communist Party

User Contributed Dictionary



(US) SAMPA:/pQl'ItbU@r@U/.


  1. The governing council of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and other Leninist political systems.
  2. A senior policymaking body in a political organisation, generally consisting of members who either are appointed by the party in control of the organisation or who attain membership through their personal political affiliations.

Usage notes

Non-specific sense is often used to cast doubt on the legitimacy or stated goals of the subject.


the governing Communist council
  • Finnish: politbyroo
policymaking body

See also

Extensive Definition

Politburo is short for Political Bureau. The term originates from the Russian Politicheskoye Buro, which contracts to Politburo. A Politburo is the executive organization for a number of political parties, most notably for Communist Parties.

Marxist-Leninist states

In Marxist-Leninist states, the party is seen as "the vanguard of the people" and therefore usually has the power to control the state, and the non-state party officials in the politburo generally hold extreme power.
In the Soviet Union for example, the General Secretary of the Communist Party did not necessarily hold a state office like president or prime minister to effectively control the system of government. Instead, party members answerable to or controlled by the party held these posts, often as honorific posts as a reward for their long years of service to the party. On other occasions, having governed as General Secretary, the party leader might assume a state office in addition. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev initially did not hold the presidency of the Soviet Union, that office being given as an honour to former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for well over a decade before assuming the governmental position of Premier of the Soviet Union during World War II.
Officially, the Party Congress elects a Central Committee which, in turn, elects a General Secretary. Under Stalin however, this model was essentially reversed and it was the General Secretary who determined the composition of the Politburo and Central Committee. At other times the manner in which the membership of Politburos was determined in both the Soviet Union and abroad was influenced by various factors such as the strength of various formal or informal factions within the party, the waxing and waning authority of the General Secretary and the degree to which power was consolidated in that position, the strength or weakness of other leaders in the party, alliances among leading figures and the strength of their support among party members or various poles of power within the party or, in the case of ruling parties, the country.
Another factor for members of the Comintern aside from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the degree to which leading members of the party were in or out of favour with Moscow. The wishes of the Soviet leadership to promote or remove certain leaders, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s and again after Stalin's death, were particularly important. The general line promoted by Moscow often changed, sometimes quite abruptly - a phenomenon which tested the ability of local Communist leaders to conform with the new orthodoxy or, conversely, the ability of dissenting communist parties to maintain their independence.

Trotskyist parties

In Trotskyist parties, the Politburo is a bureau of the Central Committee tasked with taking day-to-day political decisions, which must later be ratified by the Central Committee. It is appointed by the Central Committee from among its members. The post of General Secretary carries far less weight than in the Stalinist model. See, for example, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party.
politburo in Catalan: Politburó
politburo in Danish: Politbureau
politburo in German: Politbüro
politburo in Spanish: Politburó
politburo in French: Bureau politique
politburo in Galician: Politburo
politburo in Indonesian: Politbiro
politburo in Italian: Politburo
politburo in Hebrew: פוליטביורו
politburo in Japanese: 政治局
politburo in Lithuanian: Politinis biuras
politburo in Dutch: Politbureau
politburo in Norwegian: Politbyrå
politburo in Polish: Biuro Polityczne
politburo in Portuguese: Politburo
politburo in Romanian: Politburo
politburo in Russian: Политбюро
politburo in Finnish: Politbyroo
politburo in Swedish: Politbyrå
politburo in Thai: โปลิตบูโร
politburo in Turkish: Politbüro
politburo in Urdu: پولٹ بیورو
politburo in Chinese: 政治局
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1