One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In the Soviet Union: a Communist Party official attached to a company in the armed forces so as to promote communist ideology and oversee the political reliability of the troops; (hence, more generally) any military officer carrying out ideological or political indoctrination or instruction.
1940s. From Russian politruk from polit- (in političeskij political) + ruk- (in rukovoditel′ leader, instructor).
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