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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.
Origin and Etymology of apparatchik
Russian, from apparat
First Known Use: 1941
APPARATCHIK Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of apparatchik for English Language Learners
: a very loyal member of an organization (such as a company or political party) who always obeys orders
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