Communist International

Communist International (Comintern), known also as the Third International (see Socialist International). International association of Communist parties around the world, which was formed in Moscow in 1919. At first the Comintern regarded itself as the world Communist party, responsible for bringing about a world revolution. From 1921 the member parties were regarded as sections of the Comintern, and the Russian party became the dominant section. Moscow was always the seat of the Comintern. Under Joseph Stalin the Comintern with all its sections became an instrument of Soviet foreign policy and espionage. This led to prolonged crises and various oppositions within the Comintern, which Stalin crushed by using terror, even outside the Soviet Union. The Comintern was headed consecutively by Grigorii Zinovev, N. Bukharin, G. Dimitrov, and Dmytro Manuilsky. It held seven world congresses. To allay the fears of the Western Allies, Stalin disbanded the Comintern in 1943. The Cominform, or the Information Bureau of Communist Parties, functioned in 1947–55, but it consisted only of the European Communist parties and was never as important as the Comintern.

In spite of the fact that it belonged to the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) (RCP[B]), the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine (CP(B)U) always formed a separate section of the Comintern, having at first three votes and then only one. The first manifesto of the Comintern was signed on behalf of the CP(B)U by Mykola Skrypnyk in 1919. In 1921 Oleksander Shumsky sat on the executive committee of the Comintern. The CP(B)U was represented at congresses of the Comintern by S. Hopner, Felix Kon, Nikolai N. Popov, and others. In 1920 the Galician Communists (see Communist Party of Western Ukraine) formed a separate section in the Comintern. In 1919–20 the Borotbists demanded that they be admitted to the Comintern as an independent Ukrainian party, but the RCP(B) saw to it that the demand was rejected.

In 1919–21 Ukrainian political problems were often debated in the Comintern. The Fifth Congress in 1924 declared that the Ukrainian problem was of international significance and that its solution in the Ukrainian SSR would determine the attitude of the peoples of Eastern and Southern Europe to the Soviet Union. In 1925 the Comintern approved the dissolution of the Ukrainian Communist party (UKP) and justified this by saying that the Ukrainian SSR was an independent Soviet state and consequently there was no need to demand its independence as the UKP did. In 1927–9 the Comintern heatedly debated the ‘nationalist deviations’ of Shumskyism-Khvylovyism (see Oleksander Shumsky and Mykola Khvylovy) and Moscow's nationality policy in Ukraine. The Communist Party of Western Ukraine (KPZU) accused the CP(B)U before the Comintern of persecuting Ukrainian Communists, but under Russian pressure the Comintern condemned the KPZU. Mykola Skrypnyk's case and the Famine-Genocide of 1932–3 in Ukraine were raised at the Thirteenth Plenum in 1933 and at the Seventh Congress in 1935.

The CP(B)U did not belong independently to the Cominform. Only in 1956–8 were representatives of the CPU again included in official delegations of the CPSU to some international Communist conferences.

Kommunisticheskii Internatsional (Moscow 1919–43)
Fahne des Kommunismus (Berlin 1927–33)
ZK der KPZU. Die ukrainische nationale Frage. Materialen zur Frage der sogenannten ukrainischen nationalen Abweichungen (‘Schumskismus’) in der KPU und der KPWU (Lviv 1928)
Hopner, Serafym. Pid praporom svitovoï proletars’koï revoliutsiï (do 10-littia Kominternu) (Kharkiv 1929)
Lozovskii, A. Istoriia Kominterna v kongressakh (Kharkiv 1929)
Skrypnyk, Mykola. Natsional’ne pytannia v prohrami Kominternu (Kharkiv 1929)
Girchak, Evgenii. Na dva fronta v bor’be s natsionalizmom (Moscow 1930)
Kommunisticheskii Internatsional v dokumentakh1919–1932 (Moscow 1933)
Prohrama i statut Komunistychnoho Internatsionalu (Kharkiv 1933)
Majstrenko, Iwan. Borot'bism: A Chapter in the History of Ukrainian Communism (New York 1954)
Borkenau, Franz. The Communist International (Ann Arbor 1962)
Poberezhnyi, Ion. Tretii, Komunistychnyi. Do 50-richchia Kominternu (Kyiv 1968)

Vsevolod Holubnychy

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

List of related links from Encyclopedia of Ukraine pointing to Communist International entry:

A referral to this page is found in 10 entries.