Stalin's Successors: Leadership, Stability and Change in the Soviet Union

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Cambridge University Press, 1982 M04 30 - 312 pages
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This book provides a comprehensive overview of the ways in which the structure and process of Soviet politics have been transformed since Stalin's death, and particularly during the years of the Brezhnev regime. In explaining the Soviet Union's political stability, the author analyzes the Soviet combination of harsh authoritarian rule with political flexibility in the treatment of its citizens, and he describes the social processes that contribute to this stability. He also analyzes the Soviet perception of the current international situation and discusses trends in Soviet foreign policy, including the imbalance between military power on the one hand and political, economic, ideological, and cultural resources on the other. Professor Bialer explains the Soviet concept of détente and explores the difference between Soviet and American perceptions of this process. A major part of the work is devoted to an examination of the imminent succession of the Soviet leadership. The book gives a profile of the new generation of potential leaders and identifies the characteristics that make them different form those whom they will replace. The Soviet leadership, while embroiled in its succession struggle, will have to make difficult decisions concerning the allocation of national resources and overall changes in management, planning, and incentives. Professor Bialer concludes by analyzing the kinds of economic reform that could make the problems manageable and the conditions under which the new Soviet leadership will need to institute reforms.

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Stalinism and the Soviet Political System
The Mature Stalinist System
Stalin and the Soviet Political Elite
Stalinism and the Evolution of the Soviet Polity
Succession and Turnover of Soviet Elites
The Approaching Succession The Top Leader
The Approaching Succession Leadership and Elite Turnover
Soviet Political Stability and the Question of Legitmacy
Soviet Stability and the National Problem
Soviet Perceptions of International Affairs and Trends in Soviet Foreign Policy
The Centrality of USSoviet Relations
The Arms Race and the Correlation of Forces
The Role of the Military Factor in International Relations
The Third World and the Translation of Power into Influence
Prospects for the 1980s

The Approaching Succession Generational Change
The Nature and Extent of Soviet Political Stability
Stability Analytical Considerations
Soviet Stability and Its Sources
The Politics of Stringency

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About the author (1982)

Seweryn Bialer was born in Berlin, Germany on November 3, 1926. He was raised in Lodz, Poland. At the age of 13, he was relocated to the Jewish ghetto in Lodz. There he discovered the writings of Karl Marx and joined the Communist underground. Bialer was imprisoned at the Auschwitz and Friedland camps. After the war ended, he held posts in the Polish government and the Polish Communist Party. He received a doctorate from the Polish Academy of Sciences Institute for the Education of Scientific Cadres. In 1954, he made his first trip to the Soviet Union as part of a delegation from the Polish Communist Party. He decided to leave the system. In January 1956 while on an official trip to East Berlin, he defected to West Berlin. By June 1956, he was testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee about the inner workings of the Soviet system. He spent several years as a research analyst for United States government agencies. He joined the faculty of Columbia University in 1964 and taught there for 33 years. He received a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia in 1966 with a dissertation on the Soviet political elite. He wrote several books including Stalin and His Generals: Soviet Military Memoirs of World War II; Stalin's Successors: Leadership, Stability and Change in the Soviet Union; and The Soviet Paradox: External Expansion, Internal Decline. He died from heart failure on February 8, 2019 at the age of 92.

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