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The Failure of CPSU Democratization

Stephen White
The Slavonic and East European Review
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Oct., 1997), pp. 681-697
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4212490
Page Count: 17
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The Failure of CPSU Democratization
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Abstract

Western scholars have often regarded the Soviet Communist Party as 'unreformable'. Its own leaders took a different view, and an extensive debate took place at the party's 28th Congress, in 1990, on the manner in which the CPSU might evolve. The archive records of this debate indicate that members had a number of central concerns. There was wide agreement, for instance, that members and branches should have greater rights, and that the party should have a more limited role in society, perhaps abandoning its powers of appointment to other bodies. The actual changes that took place in party organization, however, were much more limited, and this failure to democratize, despite pressure from the mass membership, was central to the party's rapid collapse.

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