Written by Al Jazeera

Joseph Stalin, a revolutionary Russian leader, died in his home on Thursday night due to a stroke, leaving the Soviet Union in a state of disarray. He was 74 years old.

Stalin was a man who started his career as a mere secretary of the Communist Party. Within the 29 years of his rule of Russia, he rendered the Central Committee useless, placing them in a unique position today where they have the choice of stepping up to their once-held political glory, or remain in the shadows of other political organs.

For years under his rule, the Central Committee was used heavily to further Stalin’s personal goals. In fact, in the 1930s, the majority of the Central Committee members were executed during the Great Purge, managing to symbolically liquidate the committee and their powers. In recent years many of the decisions said to passed under the committee are actually being decided upon by other organs such as the Politburo and the Secretariat.

About the Central Committee

The Central Committee of the Soviet Union has been a long-standing institution of Soviet Union politics. Originally founded by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik faction, the party in its’ early years debated several contentious issues, including whether or not to sign a peace treaty with the Germans during World War I. However, as time went on, other political organs began to take a more pressing role, and the Central Committee’s power was greatly diminished.

Current Situation

Stalin’s death has several implications for the nation, as his system of authoritarian government became a deeply embedded institution within the Soviet Union. Currently, the nation is facing a myriad of problems, from the censorship of arts & propaganda to the pressing famine and housing crisis, and now with no established leader in place to handle them. Without someone there to take immediate action and control, the Soviet might as well fall into complete disarray.

Because of these issues, the Central Committee is put in an incredibly unique position where they have the possibility to act within their formerly established jurisdiction to solve these problems. Regardless of how they choose to act when they convene this upcoming weekend, their actions could potentially change the course of the Soviet Union forever.