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apparatchik


Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Extract

Russian term (plural apparatchiki) denoting in the soviet union any functionary of the Communist Party-state apparatus. The bolshevik takeover (see also russian revolutions of 1917) heralded massive bureaucratization, together with the fusion of party and state. Thus apparatchiki were to be found in all walks of life – for example, as factory managers, inspectors, accountants, and legal officials. Better paid and rewarded than other workers, they have sometimes been called technocrats, though they were often put in charge of jobs with little prior training, and frequently their tasks were mind-numbingly dull. Inevitably they became associated with the inflexible mindset of the Communist party, and the term apparatchik became an abusive one. At the time of the great purges and of world war ii , however, such unthinking servants of the state were greatly feared. The word has since come to be applied even beyond the Russian context, to describe any unimaginative administrator faithfully performing routine chores within some political system. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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