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M0re from Pipes:

The massacres of 1937-38 virtually wiped out the ranks of “old Bolsheviks,” whose place was taken by newcomers. In 1939, 80.5 percent of the executive personnel of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party had joined since Lenin’s death 15 From their ranks came the top officials of the party and government, the so-called nomenklatura, which not only monopolized all positions of authority but enjoyed unique privileges, forming a new exploiting class. Membership in it guaranteed permanent status and became de facto hereditary. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the nomenklatura numbered some 750,000 members—with their families, around 3 mil lion persons, or 1.5 percent of the population, approximately the proportion of service nobles under tsarism in the eighteenth century. And the favors it enjoved resembled those of the magnates of that age. In the words of a member of that elite:

the nomenklatura is on another planet. It’s Mars. It’s not simply a matter of good cars or apartments. It’s the continuous satisfac tion of your own whims, the way an army of boot-lickers allows you to work painlessly for hours. All the little apparatchiks are ready to do everything for you. Your every wish is fulfilled. You can go to the theater on a whim, you can fly to Japan from your hunting lodge It’s a life in which everything flows easily. You are like a king just point your finger and it is done !
The rank and file of the party, the “boot-lickers,” whose numbers had swollen immensely under Stalin, served this elite corps as attendants.

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