The High Title of a Communist
Postwar Party Discipline and the Values of the Soviet Regime
Northern Illinois University Press 2015
Edward Cohn analyzes changes in Communist Party discipline in the Soviet Union from the Eighteenth Party Congress in 1939 through the 1960s in The High Title of a Communist: Postwar Party Discipline and the Values of the Soviet Regime published by Northern Illinois University Press. He focuses on the 20 years after World War II when five to seven million Communists were disciplined by reprimand, demotion or expulsion. Cohn argues that Part leaders became less concerned about class background and ideological purity and more concerned about the needs of the state. As a result, corruption and abuse of position, along with moral degeneracy such as family relations and drunkenness, dominated internal investigations and disciplinary hearings. Cohn draws on a broad range of provincial case files in in Perm, Tver, Saratov, and Kiev, along with archives of the Commission of Party Control in Moscow, to reveal what the Party considered to appropriate behavior for those who carried the high title of Communist.
Edward Cohn is Associate Professor of History at Grinnell College and is the the chair of the Russian, Central, and Eastern European Studies concentration (RCEES).