Apparatchik is a Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 colloquial term for a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 or government; i.e., an agent of the governmental or party "apparat" (apparatus) that held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management. James Billington
James H. Billington
Lord LeBron James Hadley Billington is an American academic. He is the thirteenth Librarian of the United States Congress.-Early years:...

 describes one as "a man not of grand plans, but of a hundred carefully executed details." It often is considered a derogatory term.

Members of the "apparat" were frequently transferred between different areas of responsibility, usually with little or no actual training for their new areas of responsibility. Thus, the term apparatchik, or "agent of the apparatus" was usually the best possible description of the person's profession and occupation.

Not all apparatchiks held lifelong positions. Many only entered such positions in middle age.

Today this term is also used in contexts other than Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. For example, it is often used to describe people who cause bureaucratic bottlenecks in otherwise efficient organizations. It is also frequently used to describe individuals appointed to positions in government on the basis of ideological or political loyalty, rather than competence or qualification.

See also

  • Bureaucracy
    A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

  • New class
    New class
    The "New Class" model, as a theory of new social groups in post-industrial societies, gained ascendency during the 1970s as social and political scientists noted how "New Class" groups were shaped by post-material orientations in their pursuit of political and social goals...

  • Nomenklatura
    The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the...

  • Partmaximum
    Partmaximum was a limit on the salary of a member of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, a maximum wage. Partmaximum was introduced in 1920 by a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee for all communists that held executive positions in Party, industry, government and Soviet...

  • Political commissar
    Political commissar
    The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

Further reading

  • Zbigniew Brzezinski
    Zbigniew Brzezinski
    Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski is a Polish American political scientist, geostrategist, and statesman who served as United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981....

    , Samuel P. Huntington
    Samuel P. Huntington
    Samuel Phillips Huntington was an influential American political scientist who wrote highly-regarded books in a half-dozen sub-fields of political science, starting in 1957...

    , Political power: USA/USSR‎, Viking Press, 1964, p. 142, 150, 172.

External links

  • Robert Shea
    Robert Shea
    Robert Joseph Shea was an American novelist and former journalist best known as co-author with Robert Anton Wilson of the science fantasy trilogy Illuminatus!. It became a cult success and was later turned into a marathon-length stage show put on at the British National Theatre and elsewhere. In...

    , Empire of the Rising Scum, essay on apparatchiks by author/journalist on personal web site.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.