It is said that the Komsomol is an independent organisation, but that it operates under the Party’s guidance. Isn’t there a contradiction here?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

No contradiction at all, since the independence refers to organisational matters and the guidance is on an ideological level.

The Komsomol has its own Rules and own offi­cials, its own funds, press, printing houses, etc.-in other words everything needed for independent activ­ity. It is a legal entity in its own right, in its rela­tions with state and public organisations. The Kom­somol has its representatives in all bodies of power, so it can make its influence felt on all decisions affecting youth. Under the USSR Constitution the Komsomol has the right to initiate legislation.

It at the same time the Rules of the Komsomol spe­cify that it is to work under the guidance of the Party. It can hardly be otherwise since the Komso­mol came into being as a communist organisation that shares the ideology, aims and principles of the Party.

There is no such thing as the Party giving orders to the Komsomol or overseeing all that it does. The Party's role is to help the Komsomol in resolving major issues.

Local party organisations rely on the Komsomol in the upbringing of the younger generation. In turn, the Komsomol will turn to its elder com- rades-members of the Party for advice. Leading com­munists are often invited to attend Komsomol meet­ings at all levels. They take part in the discussions of the affairs of the young, help to draft decisions and check on their implementation. Ten years ago, there were 267,000 young party members working actively in Komsomol Committees, youth clubs, lec­ture agencies and sports clubs. Today, there are more than one million.

The Komsomol constitutes the reserve of CPSU membership. In 1977, 72.9 per cent of those who became candidates for party membership came from the Komsomol, as against 68.8 per cent in 1974. An absolute majority of the Party members today had been members of the Komsomol.