The Soviet Regional Leadership: The Brezhnev Generation
Slavic Review: Interdisciplinary Quarterly of Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies
The secretaries of republic and regional party committees are the most important category of officials in the USSR after the supreme leadership. They formed 36 percent of the full members of the Central Committee chosen in 1976, while the next largest group, comprising members of the Council of Ministers, made up 24 percent. They are also the most important reserve from which members of the supreme leadership are co-opted. A study of the careers of Politburo members in 1971 showed that
... howed that two-thirds of them had spent at least five years as regional or republic party first secretaries before being promoted to senior jobs at the center. The same applies to nine of the twelve present members of the Central Committee Secretariat. This article focuses on the first secretaries of regional (oblast') and territorial (krai) party committees—the obkom and kraikom secretaries—of the Russian Republic (RSFSR). They make up almost two-thirds of all republic and regional party officials elected as full members of the present Central Committee, but their importance lies not only in their numerical weight within the political elite.