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Collective leadership is considered an ideal form of ruling a communist party, both within and outside a socialist state. Its main task is to distribute powers and functions from the individual to a single group. For instance, in China powers have been distributed from the office of General Secretary and shared with the Politburo Standing Committee while still retaining one ruler, on the other hand, in Vietnam there is not one leader, and power is shared by the President, the Prime Minister and the party General Secretary alongside with collegial bodies such as the Politburo, Secretariat and the Central Committee.
Currently, the central authority of the Chinese government is concentrated in the Politburo Standing Committee, which is composed of 7-members, of the Communist Party of China, headed by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.
Collective leadership (Russian: коллективное руководство, kollektivnoye rukovodstvo) or Collectivity of leadership (Russian: коллективность руководства, kollektivnost rukovodstva), was considered an ideal form of governance in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Its main task was to distribute powers and functions among the Politburo, the Central Committee, and the Council of Ministers to hinder any attempts to create a one-man dominance over the Soviet political system by a Soviet leader, such as that seen under Joseph Stalin's rule. On the national level, the heart of the collective leadership was officially the Central Committee of the Communist Party, but in practice, was the Politburo. Collective leadership is characterised by limiting the powers of the General Secretary and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers as related to other offices by enhancing the powers of collective bodies, such as the Politburo.
Vladimir Lenin was, according to Soviet literature, the perfect example of a leader ruling in favour of the collective. Stalin's rule was characterised by one-man dominance, which was a deep breach of inner-party democracy and collective leadership; this made his leadership highly controversial in the Soviet Union following his death in 1953. At the 20th Party Congress, Stalin's reign was criticised as the "cult of the individual". Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's successor, supported the ideal of collective leadership but only ruled in a collective fashion when it suited him. In 1964, Khrushchev was ousted due to his disregard of collective leadership and was replaced in his posts by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier. Collective leadership was strengthened during the Brezhnev years and the later reigns of Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms helped spawn factionalism within the Soviet leadership, and members of Gorbachev's faction openly disagreed with him on key issues. The factions usually disagreed on how little or how much reform was needed to rejuvenate the Soviet system.
- "New Politburo Standing Committee decided: Mingjing News". Want China Times. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
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