Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Communist Party of the Soviet Union

e the party functionaries had attained consciousness.[128]

Leninism was by definition authoritarian.[128] Lenin, in light of the

  • Executive Bodies of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1917–1991)
  • Program of the CPSU, 27th Party Congress (1986)

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  •  
  •  
  • Eaton, Katherine Bliss (2004). Daily Life in the Soviet Union.  
  • Eisen, Jonathan (1990). The Glasnost Reader.  
  • Evans, Alfred (1993). Soviet Marxism–Leninism: The Decline of an Ideology.  
  •  
  • Gill, Graeme (2002). The Origins of the Stalinist Political System.  
  • Hanson, Stephen (2006). "The Brezhnev Era". In  
  • Harding, Neil (1996). Leninism.  
  • Harris, Jonathan (2005). Subverting the System: Gorbachev's Reform of the Party's Apparat 1986–1991.  
  • Kenez, Peter (1985). The Birth of the Propaganda State: Soviet Methods of Mass Mobilization, 1917–1929.  
  • Lenoe, Matthew Edward (2004). Closer to the Masses: Stalinist Culture, Social Revolution, and Soviet Newspapers.  
  • Lih, Lars T. (2006). "The Soviet Union and the road to communism". In  
  • Lowenhardt, John; van Ree, Erik; Ozinga, James (1992). The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Politburo.  
  • Matthews, Marvyn (1983). Education in the Soviet Union: Policies and Institutions since Stalin.  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Smith, Gordon (1988). Soviet Politics: Continuity and Contradictions.  
  • Smith, Gordon (1991). Soviet Politics: Continuity and Contradictions (2nd ed.).  
  •  
  • Swain, Geoff (2006). Trotsky.  
  • Williams, Simons (1984). The Party Statutes of the Communist World.  
  •  
  • Zimmerman, William (1977). Dallin, Alexander, ed. The Twenty-fifth Congress of the CPSU: Assessment and Context.  
Books
  • McDonough, Terrence (1995). "Lenin, Imperialism, and the Stages of Capitalist Development".  
Articles and journal entries

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  184. ^ Shambaugh, pp. 74–75.

Footnotes

References

  1. ^ Sometimes referred to as the Soviet Communist Party (SCP). Note, the party had four different names during its existence;
    • Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (bolsheviks) (1912–1918)
    • Russian Communist Party (bolsheviks) (1918–1925)
    • All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) (1925–1952)
    • Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1952–1991)
  2. ^ The Soviet Republics of Armenia, Estonia and Georgia all boycotted the 1991 referendum.

Notes

The CPSU was also criticized for not taking enough care in building the primary party organization and not having inner-party democracy.[182] Others, more radically, concur with Milovan Đilas assessment, saying that a new class was established within the central party leadership of the CPSU and that a "corrupt and privileged class" had developed because of the nomenklatura system.[182] Other criticized the special privileges bestowed on the CPSU elite, the nomenklatura system—which some said had decayed continuously since Stalin's rule—and the relationship between the Soviet military and the CPSU. Unlike in China, the Soviet military was a state institution whereas in China it is a Party institution.[183] The CPC criticizes the CPSU of pursing Soviet imperialism in its foreign policies.[184]

While the CPC concur with Gorbachev's assessment that the CPSU needed internal reform, they do not agree on how it was implemented, criticizing his idea of "humanistic and democratic socialism", of negating the leading role of the CPSU, of negating Marxism, of negating the analysis of class contradictions and class struggle, and of negating the "ultimate socialist goal of realizing communism".[181] Unlike the other Soviet leaders, Gorbachev is criticized for pursuing the wrong reformist policies and for being too flexible and too rightist.[181] The [181]

While most CPC researchers criticize the CPSU's economic policies, many have criticized what they see as "Soviet totalitarianism".[178] They accuse Joseph Stalin of creating a system of mass terror, intimidation, annulling the democracy component of democratic centralism and emphasizing centralism, which led to the creation of an inner-party dictatorship.[178] Other points were Russian nationalism, a lack of separation between the Party and state bureaucracies, suppression of non-Russian ethnicities, distortion of the economy through the introduction of over-centralization and the collectivization of agriculture.[178] According to CPC researcher Xiao Guisen, Stalin's policies led to "stunted economic growth, tight surveillance of society, a lack of democracy in decision-making, an absence of the rule of law, the burden of bureaucracy, the CPSU's alienation from people's concerns, and an accumulation of ethnic tensions".[179] Stalin's effect on ideology was also criticized; several researchers accused his policies of being "leftist", "dogmatist" and a deviation "from true Marxism–Leninism.[177] He is criticized for initiating the "bastardization of Leninism", of deviating from true democratic centralism by establishing one-man rule and destroying all inner-party consultation, of misinterpreting Lenin's theory of imperialism and of supporting foreign revolutionary movements only when the Soviet Union could get something out of it.[177] Yu Sui, a CPC theoretician, said that "the collapse of the Soviet Union and CPSU is a punishment for its past wrongs!"[177] Similarly, Brezhnev, Mikhail Suslov, Alexei Kosygin and Konstantin Chernenko have been criticized for being "dogmatic, ossified, inflexible, [for having a] bureaucratic ideology and thinking", while Yuri Andropov is depicted by some of having the potential of becoming a new Khrushchev if he had not died early.[180]

"In my opinion, the fundamental cause of the drastic changes in the Soviet Union and East European countries at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s was the loss of dynamism of the Stalin–Soviet Socialist Model ... The demerits of this model were institutional and fundamental—not a single reform after Stalin's death brought fundamental changes to the Stalin–Soviet Socialist Model. This model, with its problems and contradictions accumulating by day, was finally in crisis, and the people of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe lost their confidence in it. The [only] way out was to abandon the Stalin–Soviet Socialist Model and seek another road for social development."

Lu Nanqun, a Sovietologist from CASS.[177]

The first research into the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc were very simple and did not take into account several factors.[171] However, these examinations became more advanced by the 1990s and unlike most Western scholarship, which focuses on the role of Gorbachev and his reform efforts, the Communist Party of China (CPC) examined "core (political) life and death issues" so that it could learn from them and not make the same mistakes.[172] Following the CPSU's demise and the Soviet Union's collapse, the CPC's analysis began examining systematic causes, unlike Western scholarship which often focuses on the immediate causes of the country's collapse.[173] Several leading CPC officials began hailing Khrushchev's rule, saying that he was the first reformer, and that if he had continued after 1964, the Soviet Union would not have witnessed the Era of Stagnation began under Brezhnev and continued under Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko.[174] The main economic failure was that the political leadership did not pursue any reforms to tackle the economic malaise that had taken hold, dismissing certain techniques as capitalist, and never disentangling the planned economy from socialism.[175] Xu Zhixin from the CASS Institute of Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia, argued that Soviet planners laid too much emphasis on heavy industry, which led to shortages of consumer goods. Unlike his counterparts, Xu argued that the shortages of consumer goods was not an error but "was a consciously planned feature of the system".[175] Other CPSU failures were pursing the policy of state socialism, the high spending on the military-industrial complex, a low tax base and the subsidizing of the economy.[175] The CPC argued that when Gorbachev came to power and introduced his economic reforms, they were "to little, too late, and too fast".[176]

According to the Communist Party of China

"When in 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed not with a bang but a whimper, this unexpected outcome was partly the result of the previous disenchantments of the narrative of class leadership. The Soviet Union had always been based on fervent belief in this narrative in its various permutations. When the binding power of the narrative dissolved, the Soviet Union itself dissolved."[170]

However, Brown said that the system did not need to collapse or to do so in the way it did.[169] The democratization from above weakened the Party's control over the country, and put it on the defensive.[169] Brown added that a different leader then Gorbachev would probably have oppressed the opposition and continued with economic reform.[169] Nonetheless, Gorbachev accepted that the people sought a different road and consented to the Soviet Union's dissolution in 1991.[169] He said that because of its peaceful collapse, the fall of Soviet communism is "one of the great success stories of 20th century politics".[169] According to Lars T. Lih, the Soviet Union collapsed because people stopped believing in its ideology. He wrote:[170]

The expectations of, again most notably, Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians were enormously enhanced by what they saw happening in the 'outer empire' [Eastern Europe] and they began to believe that they could remove themselves from the 'inner empire'. In truth, a democratised Soviet Union was incompatible with denial of the Baltic states' independence for, to the extent that those Soviet republics became democratic, their opposition to remaining in a political entity whose centre was Moscow would become increasingly evident. Yet, it was not preordained that the entire Soviet Union would break up.[169]

There were few, in any, who believed that the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse by 1985.[168] The economy was stable but stagnating, the political situation was calm because of twenty years of systematic repression against any threat to one-party rule and the country was in its peak of influence.[168] The immediate causes for the Soviet Union's dissolution were the policies and thoughts of Mikhail Gorbachev, the CPSU General Secretary.[168] His policies of perestroika and glasnost tried to revitalize the Soviet economy and the social and political culture of the country.[168] Throughout his rule, he put more emphasis on democratizing the Soviet Union because he believed it had the lost its moral legitimacy to rule.[168] These policies led to the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and indirectly destabilized Gorbachev's and the CPSU's control over the Soviet Union.[169] Archie Brown said:[169]

Western view

Reasons for demise

In late 1925, Stalin received a letter from a Party official which stated that his position of "Socialism in One Country" was in contradiction with Friedrich Engels' writings on the subject.[164] Stalin countered that Engels' writings reflected "the era of pre-monopoly capitalism, the pre-imperialist era when there were not yet the conditions of an uneven, abrupt development of the capitalist countries".[164] From 1925, Bukharin began writing extensively on the subject and in 1926, Stalin wrote On Questions of Leninism, which contains his best-known writings on the subject.[164] With the publishing of Leninism, Trotsky began countering Bukharin's and Stalin's arguments, writing that socialism in one country was only possible only in the short term, and said that without a world revolution it would be impossible to safeguard the Soviet Union from the "restoration of bourgeois relations".[164] Zinoviev disagreed with Trotsky and Bukharin, and Stalin; he maintained Lenin's position from 1917 to 1922 and continued to say that only a defective form of socialism could be constructed in the Soviet Union without a world revolution.[165] Bukharin began arguing for the creation of an autarkic economic model, while Trotsky said that the Soviet Union had to participate in the international division of labour to develop.[166] In contrast to Trotsky and Bukharin, in 1938, Stalin said that a world revolution was impossible and that Engels was wrong on the matter.[134] At the 18th Congress, Stalin took the theory to its inevitable conclusion, saying that the communist mode of production could be conceived in one country.[134] He rationalized this by saying that the state could exist in a communist society as long as the Soviet Union was encircled by capitalism.[134] However, with the establishment of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, Stalin said that socialism in one country was only possible in a large country like the Soviet Union and that to survive, the other states had to follow the Soviet line.[167]

According to Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev supported the resolution of the 14th Conference held in 1925, which stated that "we cannot complete the building of socialism due to our technological backwardness".[162] Despite this cynical attitude, Zinoviev and Kamenev believed that a defective form of socialism could be constructed.[162] At the 14th Conference, Stalin reiterated his position that socialism in one country was feasible despite the capitalist blockade of the Soviet Union.[163] After the conference, Stalin wrote "Concerning the Results of the XIV Conference of the RCP(b)", in which he stated that the peasantry would not turn against the socialist system because they had a self-interest in preserving it.[163] Stalin said the contradictions which arose within the peasantry during the socialist transition could "be overcome by our own efforts".[163] He concluded that the only viable threat to socialism in the Soviet Union was a military intervention.[164]

The concept of "Socialism in One Country" was conceived by Stalin in his struggle against Leon Trotsky and his concept of permanent revolution.[161] In 1924, Trotsky published his pamphlet Lessons of October, in which he stated that socialism in the Soviet Union would fail because of the backward state of economic development unless a world revolution began.[161] Stalin responded to Trotsky's pamphlet with his article, "October and Comrade Trotsky's Theory of Permanent Revolution".[162] In it, Stalin stated that he did not believe an inevitable conflict between the working class and the peasants would take place, and that "socialism in one country is completely possible and probable".[162] Stalin held the view common among most Bolsheviks at the time; there was a possibility of real success for socialism in the Soviet Union despite the country's backwardness and international isolation.[162] While Grigoriy Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev and Nikolai Bukharin—together with Stalin—opposed Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution, their views on the way socialism could be built diverged.[162]

The concept was developed by Bukharin and Stalin

Socialism in One Country

The emphasis on peaceful coexistence did not mean that the Soviet Union accepted a static world with clear lines.[160] It continued to uphold the creed that socialism was inevitable and they sincerely believed that the world had reached a stage in which the "correlations of forces" were moving towards socialism.[160] With the establishment of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and Asia, Soviet foreign policy planners believed that capitalism had lost its dominance as an economic system.[160]

Peaceful coexistence was steeped in Leninist and Stalinist thought.[160] Lenin believed that international politics were dominated by class struggle; in the 1940s Stalin stressed the growing polarization which was occurring in the capitalist and socialist systems.[160] Khrushchev's peaceful coexistence was based on practical changes which had occurred; he accused the old "two camp" theory of neglecting the non-aligned movement and the national liberation movements.[160] Khrushchev considered these "grey areas", in which the conflict between capitalism and socialism would be fought.[160] He still stressed that the main contradiction in international relations were those of capitalism and socialism.[160] The Soviet Government under Khrushchev stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence, saying that it had to form the basis of Soviet foreign policy.[160] Failure to do, they believed, would lead to nuclear conflict.[160] Despite this, Soviet theorists still considered peaceful coexistence to be a continuation of the class struggle between the capitalist and socialist worlds, but not based on armed conflict.[160] Khrushchev believed that the conflict, in its current phase, was mainly economical.[160]

"Peaceful coexistence" was an ideological concept introduced under Khrushchev's rule.[158] While the concept has been interpreted by fellow communists as proposing an end to the conflict between the systems of capitalism and socialism, Khrushchev saw it as a continuation of the conflict in every area except in the military field.[159] The concept said that the two systems were developed "by way of diametrically opposed laws", which led to "opposite principles in foreign policy".[160]

"The loss by imperialism of its dominating role in world affairs and the utmost expansion of the sphere in which the laws of socialist foreign policy operate are a distinctive feature of the present stage of social development. The main direction of this development is toward even greater changes in the correlation of forces in the world arena in favour of socialism."

Nikolay Inozemtsev, a Soviet foreign policy analyst, referring to series of events (which he believed) would lead to the ultimate victory of socialism.[157]

Peaceful coexistence

Lenin did not know when the imperialist stage of capitalism began; he said it would be foolish too look for a specific year, however said it began at the beginning of the 20th century (at least in Europe).[152] Lenin believed that the economic crisis of 1900 accelerated and intensified the concentration of industry and banking, which led to the transformation of the finance capital connection to industry into the monopoly of large banks.[155] In Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin wrote; "the twentieth century marks the turning point from the old capitalism to the new, from the domination of capital in general to the domination of finance capital".[155] Lenin defines imperialism as the monopoly stage of capitalism.[156]

The Marxist theory on imperialism was conceived by Lenin in his book, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism (published in 1917).[153] It was written in response to the theoretical crisis within Marxist thought, which occurred due to capitalism's recovery in the 19th century.[153] According to Lenin, imperialism was a specific stage of development of capitalism; a stage he referred to as state monopoly capitalism.[153] The Marxist movement was split on how to solve capitalism's resurgence after the great depression of the late 19th century.[154] Eduard Bernstein from the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SDP) considered capitalism's revitalization as proof that it was evolving into a more humane system, adding that the basic aims of socialists were not to overthrow the state but to take power through elections.[154] Karl Kautsky, also from the SDP, held a highly dogmatic view; he said that there was no crisis within Marxist theory.[154] Both of them denied or belittled the role of class contradictions in society after the crisis.[154] In contrast, Lenin believed that the resurgence was the beginning of a new phase of capitalism; this stage was created because of a strengthening of class contradiction, not because of its reduction.[154]

"Imperialism is capitalism at stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts as begun; in which divisions of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed."

—Lenin, citing the main features of capitalism in the age of imperialism in Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism.[152]

Imperialism

Lenin justified these policies by claiming that all states were class states by nature and that these states were maintained through class struggle.[146] This meant that the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union could only be "won and maintained by the use of violence against the bourgeoisie".[146] The main problem with this analysis is that the Party came to view anyone opposing or holding alternate views of the party as bourgeois.[146] Its worst enemy remained the moderates, which were considered to be "the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class".[147] The term "bourgeoisie" became synonymous with "opponent" and with people who disagreed with the Party in general.[148] These oppressive measures led to another reinterpretation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism in general; it was now defined as a purely economic system.[149] Slogans and theoretical works about democratic mass participation and collective decision-making were now replaced with texts which supported authoritarian management.[149] Considering the situation, the Party believed it had to use the same powers as the bourgeoisie to transform Russia; there was no alternative.[150] Lenin began arguing that the proletariat, like the bourgeoisie, did not have a single preference for a form of government and because of that, dictatorship was acceptable to both the Party and the proletariat.[151] In a meeting with Party officials, Lenin stated—in line with his economist view of socialism—that "Industry is indispensable, democracy is not", further arguing that "we [the Party] do not promise any democracy or any freedom".[151]

"Dictatorship means nothing more nor less than authority untrammelled by any laws, absolutely unrestricted by any rules whatever, and based directly on force. The term 'dictatorship' has no other meaning but this."[146]

In early Bolshevik discourse, the term "dictatorship of the proletariat" was of little significance and the few times it was mentioned it was likened to the form of government which had existed in the Paris Commune.[142] However, with the ensuing Russian Civil War and the social and material devastation that followed, its meaning altered from commune-type democracy to rule by iron-discipline.[144] By now, Lenin had concluded that only a proletarian regime as oppressive as its opponents could survive in this world.[145] The powers previously bestowed upon the Soviets were now given to the Council of People's Commissars, the central government, which was in turn to be governed by "an army of steeled revolutionary Communists [by Communists he referred to the Party]".[143] In a letter to Gavril Myasnikov in late 1920, Lenin explained his new interpretation of the term "dictatorship of the proletariat":[146]

"[Because] the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, so corrupted in parts ... that an organization taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship. It can be exercised only by a vanguard that has absorbed the revolutionary energy of the class."

—Lenin, explaining why the regime had become increasingly dictatorial.[143]

Bukharin and Trotsky agreed with Lenin; both said that the revolution had destroyed the old but had failed to create anything new.[141] Lenin had now concluded that the dictatorship of the proletariat would not alter the relationship of power between men, but would rather "transform their productive relations so that, in the long run, the realm of necessity could be overcome and, with that, genuine social freedom realized".[142] From 1920 to 1921, Soviet leaders and ideologists began differentiating between socialism and communism; hitherto the two terms had been used interchangeably and used to explain the same things.[142] From then, the two terms had different meanings; Russia was in transition from capitalism to socialism—referred to interchangeably under Lenin as the dictatorship of the proletariat, socialism was the intermediate stage to communism and communism was considered the last stage of social development.[142] By now, the party leaders believed that because of Russia's backward state, universal mass participation and true democracy could only take form in the last stage.[142]

Marx and Lenin did not care if a bourgeois state was ruled in accordance with a republican, parliamentary or a constitutional monarchical system since this did not change the overall situation.[138] These systems, even if they were ruled by a small clique or ruled through mass participation, were all dictatorships of the bourgeoisie who implemented policies in defence of capitalism.[139] However, there was a difference; after the failures of the world revolutions, Lenin argued that this did not necessarily have to change under the dictatorship of the proletariat.[140] The reasoning came from practical considerations; the majority of the country's inhabitants were not communists, neither could the Party reintroduce parliamentary democracy because that was not in synchronization with its ideology and would lead to the Party losing power.[140] He therefore concluded that the form of government has nothing do to with the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat.[140]

Lenin, supporting Marx's theory of the state, believed democracy to be unattainable anywhere in the world before the proletariat seized power.[135] According to Marxist theory, the state is a vehicle for oppression and is headed by a ruling class.[135] He believed that by his time, the only viable solution was dictatorship since the war was heading into a final conflict between the "progressive forces of socialism and the degenerate forces of capitalism".[136] The Russian Revolution was by 1917, already a failure according to its original aim, which was to act as an inspiration for a world revolution.[136] The initial anti-statist posture and the active campaigning for direct democracy was replaced because of Russia's level of development with—according to their own assessments— dictatorship.[136] The reasoning was Russia's lack of development, its status as the sole socialist state in the world, its encirclement by imperialist powers and its internal encirclement by the peasantry.[137]

"Either the dictatorship of the landowners and capitalists, or the dictatorship of the proletariat ... There is no middle course ... There is no middle course anywhere in the world, nor can there be."

—Lenin, claiming that people had only two choices; between two different, but distinct class dictatorships.[135]

Dictatorship of the proletariat

Concepts

At the 1939 18th Congress, Stalin abandoned the idea that the state would wither away. In its place, he expressed confidence that the state would exist, even if the Soviet Union reached communism, as long as it was encircled by capitalism.[134] Two key concepts were created in the latter half of his rule; the "two camp" theory and the "capitalist encirclement" theory.[133] The threat of capitalism was used to strengthen Stalin's personal powers and Soviet propaganda began making a direct link with Stalin and stability in society, saying that the country would crumble without the leader.[133] Stalin deviated greatly from classical Marxism on the subject of "subjective factors"; Stalin said that Party members of all ranks had to profess fanatic adherence to the Party's line and ideology, if not, those policies would fail.[133]

We stand for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which represents the mightiest and most powerful authority of all forms of State that have ever existed. The highest development of the State power for the withering away of State power —this is the Marxian formula. Is this contradictory? Yes, it is contradictory. But this contradiction springs from life itself and reflects completely Marxist dialectic."[133]

Stalinism, while not an ideology per se, refers to Stalin's thoughts and policies.[131] Stalin's introduction of the concept "Socialism in One Country" in 1924 was an important moment in Soviet ideological discourse.[131] According to Stalin, the Soviet Union did not need a socialist world revolution to construct a socialist society.[131] Four years later, Stalin initiated his "Second Revolution" with the introduction of state socialism and central planning.[131] In the early 1930s, he initiated the collectivization of Soviet agriculture by de-privatizing agriculture and creating peasant cooperatives rather than making it the responsibility of the state.[131] With the initiation of his "Second Revolution", Stalin launched the "Cult of Lenin"—a cult of personality centered upon himself.[131] The name of the city of Petrograd was changed to Leningrad, the town of Lenin's birth was renamed Ulyanov (Lenin's birth-name), the Order of Lenin became the highest state award and portraits of Lenin were hung in public squares, workplaces and elsewhere.[132] The increasing bureaucracy which followed the introduction of a state socialist economy was at complete odds with the Marxist notion of "the withering away of the state".[133] Stalin explained the reasoning behind it at the 16th Congress held in 1930;[133]

Stalinism, while not an ideology per se, refers to the thoughts and policies of Stalin

Stalinism

[130] would comprise and be led by the working class alone, Lenin argued that a socialist revolution did not necessarily need to be led or to comprise the working class alone. Instead, he said that a revolution needed to be led by the oppressed classes of society, which in the case of Russia was the peasant class.socialist revolution In contrast to Marx, who believed that the [129] would last for a long period.socialist mode of production to the capitalist mode of production Lenin believed that the transition from the [128] The repressive powers of the state were to be used to transform the country, and to strip of the former ruling class of their wealth.[128] He viewed the dictatorship of the proletariat, rather than the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, to be the dictatorship of the majority.[128]