ap·​pa·​rat·​chik | \ ˌä-pə-ˈrä(t)-chik How to pronounce apparatchik (audio) \
plural apparatchiks also apparatchiki\ ˌä-​pə-​ˈrä(t)-​chi-​kē How to pronounce apparatchik (audio) \

Definition of apparatchik

1 : a member of a Communist apparat
2 : a blindly devoted official, follower, or member of an organization (such as a corporation or political party) a movie studio apparatchik

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In the context of the definition of "apparatchik" (a term English speakers borrowed from Russian), "apparat" essentially means "party machine." An "apparatchik," therefore, is a cog in the system of the Communist Party. The term is not an especially flattering one, and its negative connotations reflect the perception that some Communists were obedient drones in the great Party machine. In current use, however, a person doesn't have to be a member of the Communist Party to be called an "apparatchik"; he or she just has to be someone who mindlessly follows orders in an organization or bureaucracy.

Examples of apparatchik in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To his critics, the arrangement has made Kirill far more than another apparatchik, oligarch or enabler of Mr. Putin, but an essential part of the nationalist ideology at the heart of the Kremlin’s expansionist designs. New York Times, 21 May 2022 Foreign minister since 2004, he is not considered part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner-circle, and is sometimes dismissed by Kremlin scholars as more an apparatchik and mouthpiece than a policymaker. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 The reality is that Putin’s image of a conservative restorer is a political narrative in the same way former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic reinvented himself from a communist apparatchik to a firebrand Serbian nationalist. Joseph S. Laughon, National Review, 2 Mar. 2022 Once the government dissolves into a cult of personality, the successful party apparatchik must exercise at all times the discipline necessary to suppress independent thought. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 Sawyer Hackett, an apparatchik running Julian Castro’s PAC, was an early proponent of the whipping lie on Twitter. Rich Lowry, National Review, 28 Sep. 2021 Consider the apparatchik of the moment, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and her big night at the Met Gala. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 18 Sep. 2021 But many Cubans say that Mr. Díaz-Canel, a longtime party apparatchik, lacks the charisma and mystique of the generation of revolutionary leaders who came to power with brothers Fidel and Raúl Castro. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, 12 July 2021 The 89-year-old is expected to be replaced by his handpicked successor, President Miguel Díaz-Canel, a longtime party apparatchik. José De Córdoba, WSJ, 16 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparatchik.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of apparatchik

1941, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apparatchik

Russian, from apparat

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The first known use of apparatchik was in 1941

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Cite this Entry

“Apparatchik.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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