In this text, Dr. Hammer presents an analytical model of the Soviet political system and its process of political decisionmaking, based on the theory of "bureaucratic pluralism." He interprets the Soviet regime as a product of three different influences: the Tsarist tradition of nondemocratic rule, the revolutionary movement that overthrew Tsarism, and the Stalinism of 1924-1953. Since the death of Stalin, the Soviet regime has slowly evolved from a personal dictatorship into an oligarchical system. According to the author, this transformation has permitted the great Soviet bureaucracies, such as the military high command and the economic managers, to increase their power and influence over policymaking and to pursue their own interests in addition to those of the regime. From this perspective, the role of party leaders in the Politburo appears to be that of political brokers among conflicting interests, allocating resources among the various bureaucracies. This second edition has been completely revised and updated to reflect the realities of the Soviet system through the 27th Party Congress, which met in February 1986. Dr. Hammer applies the model of bureaucratic pluralism in the areas of public policy and economic planning, illustrating the theme that the evolution of a powerful bureaucratic organization has prevented the achievement of the original Leninist vision. He discusses specific features of the Soviet society that deviate from original principles (often based on dissident sources from within the USSR) and examines the role of party leaders in this ideological transition. Finally, he analyzes the rise of Gorbachev to power and the first steps taken under his leadership, such as the anti-alcohol campaign and efforts at economic reform. Because Dr. Hammer's analysis is particularly valuable for understanding the Gorbachev regime and the future of the Soviet system, this text is essential reading for all students of Soviet politics.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Vision and Reality in Soviet Politics -- Twentieth-Century Russia -- The Collective Society -- Soviet Political Ideology and Doctrine -- The Communist Party -- The All-Union Government -- Government and Administration in the Provinces -- From Brezhnev to Gorbachev -- Law Enforcement and Human Rights -- The Industrial and Military Bureaucracies -- Public Policy and the Welfare State -- Bureaucratic Pluralism -- Afterword: The 27th Party Congress
Darrell P. Hammer is professor of political science at Indiana University. He was formerly a senior scholar at the Russian Institute of Columbia University and an exchange scholar in the USSR Academy of Sciences.