Getting to the Top in the USSR

Getting to the Top in the USSR

Cyclical Patterns in the Leadership Succession Process

Author: R. Judson Mitchell
ISBN: 978-0-8179-8922-4
Publication Date: 10/1/1990

Dissenting from the current trend of academic research, which shows "democratization" of the Soviet political system, R. Judson Mitchell has carefully researched the evidence to demonstrate how Soviet leaders have traditionally consolidated their power, especially over the Communist party, and to illustrate how Mikhail Gorbachev has also followed this pattern. Mitchell clearly shows that in the first three-and-one-half years of Gorbachev's leadership, traditional patterns in the succession cycle have been the most pronounced since the Stalin era.

The author explores the cyclical operation of the system, wherein succession "crisis" is seen as a means of partially resolving the contradictions and shortcomings of the one-party system.

The extraordinary political changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 1989 suggest that the relationship between leadership and the power structure may change radically, bringing into question the continued dominance of the society by the Communist party of the Soviet Union and the nomenklatura. No serious student of Soviet politics and the operation of the Communist party should be without this book.

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