Ideology and Soviet Politics by Stephen White, Alex Pravda (eds.)

By Stephen White, Alex Pravda (eds.)

The legitimate ideology of Marxism-Leninism is principal to Soviet politics and but its improvement lately has bought little or no scholarly cognizance. during this publication a bunch of top experts drawn from each side of the Atlantic enhance decisively upon all prior discussions of this topic to supply either an authoritative and special photo of the improvement of reputable ideology from the early years as much as Gorbachev's 1986 celebration Programme, in addition to a attention of the altering function of ideology in Soviet international and household policy-making. The publication can be required examining for all scholars of Soviet and communist politics; it may even be of curiosity to a much wider non-specialist audience.

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To attribute the party's present dominance of Soviet society to Marx, even by way of a Leninist refraction, is elliptical in the extreme. Moreover, whilst analysis has tended to focus on the political and economic aspects of this dominance, the ideological aspect is no less important. The party's theorists have had to rationalise the party's monopoly over the vast pool of centralised power, and to make that rationalisation stick. Thus works appear, for example, expressly linking democratic centralism with central command planning and with the party's leading role, and in turn linking all these Soviet inventions with Michael Waller 39 the Marxist thesis by defining socialism and democracy in terms of them.

First and foremost, Soviet history offers a valuable example of an ideology being promoted deliberately and with dynamism by a political leadership. It illustrates, in fact, the close relationship between ideology and power. Four tasks in particular that the Bolsheviks had to address at different stages of Soviet development favoured the creation of a structure of political education reaching down to the roots of society. The first of these tasks was to secure in people's minds the identity of the new social order.

That, however, took time; and whilst this lengthy process was taking place, other means had to be found of anchoring the new ideas and patterns of behaviour. The emphasis on textual sources, the generation of slogans and of a vigorous poster art, the cult of the personality of the founding fathers of the ideology, the publication of a new dictionary to enshrine new definitions, all played a part in this process of anchoring new values. 12 The effects of this early assertiveness are still present in more than vestigial form, although the self-consciousness might be expected to diminish with the passing of time.

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