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Soviet Union

Military Representation in the Party

As of 1989, only two career military ministers of defense had become full Politburo members. Since 1984 the minister of defense has been only a candidate member. The top leaders in the Ministry of Defense, however, have been regularly elected as members or candidate members of the Central Committee. Central Committee membership apparently has come with certain important posts and major field commands. The military presence in the Central Committee has varied little over time, normally constituting between 7 and 12 percent of this influential body.

Military officers with full membership on the Central Committee have generally included the minister of defense, the first deputy ministers of defense, the deputy ministers of defense, the chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy, the chief and one or two members of the Main Inspectorate, the commander of the Moscow Military District, and the commander in chief of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. At the TwentySeventh Party Congress in February-March 1986, full Central Committee membership was granted to the commanders of the Western and Far Eastern TVDs.

Candidate members of the Central Committee from the armed forces have included the commanders of all military districts and fleets, the first deputy chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and Navy, the chiefs of the political directorates of the armed services, and the chairman of the Voluntary Society for Cooperation with the Army, Air Force, and Navy (Dobrovol'noe obshchestvo sodeistviia armii, aviatsii i flotu-- DOSAAF; see Glossary). All military representatives on the Central Committee were also deputies of the Supreme Soviet. Other military officials were elected to the party's Central Auditing Commission (see Central Auditing Commission , ch. 7).

Party-military interaction also occurred at lower levels, and it enabled the armed forces to coordinate their activities with local party officials and draw on them for assistance. The commanders of military districts and fleets were usually members of the party bureau and deputies of the supreme soviet of the republic in which the district or fleet was located (see Intermediate-Level Party Organizations , ch. 7). Other senior military officers sat on oblast, raion, or city party committees.

Data as of May 1989