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A More Perfect Union

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The Construction of the Post-War Consensus of the Soviet Governing Elite

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wwii led to the creation of a more technocrat-oriented Soviet elite, whose managing ethos is still visible in the Russian leadership paradigm. The war filled the party with a vast number of the new Communists whose political and general, education level, remained low, forcing the party focus toward pragmatic rather than ideological aims and forcing the center to devolve a considerable degree of autonomy to the provincial party leaders.This situation led to the rise of G. M. Malenkov and the pragmatist faction, tasked to reaffirm the political authority of the party as the central feature of the Soviet system. Malenkov’s approach consisted of embracing rather than limiting the role of the party as the governing, managing institution, encouraging the ties between the governmental and the party apparatus. The Kremlin would acquiesce in the party direct management of the economic matters, in effect legitimizing the wartime compromises.Yet the change in course required a fundamental shift in party identity. By making economic growth the central priority, the party reoriented away from the role of the guardian of the ideological purity and toward a more conventional governmental structure, in many ways laying the foundation of party-state’s destruction.

1. fn11 “Zapisi besedy,” rgaspi (1947) f.17, op.125, d.516, l26–27.
2. fn22 G. V. Eliseev, Prifrontavaia Kandalaksha: vospominaniia sekretaria gorkoma partii (Murmansk: Murmanskoe knizhnoe izdatelstvo, 1985), 67.
3. fn33 Vera S. Dunham, In Stalin’s Time: Middleclass Values in Soviet Fiction (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990), 77.
4. fn44 See Mark Edele, Soviet Veterans of the Second World War: A Popular Movement in an Authoritarian Society, 1941–1991 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), Yoram Gorlizki and Oleg Khlevniuk, eds., Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), Vladislav Zubok, Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009).
5. fn55 Eric Duskin, Stalinist Reconstruction and the Confirmation of a New Elite (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), 22.
6. fn66 Jonathan Harris, The Split in Stalin’s Secretariat, 1939–1948 (New York, Lexington Books, 2008);
7. fn77 Susan J. Linz, ed, The Impact of World War II on the Soviet Union (Totowa: Rowman and Allanheld, 1985), 173.
8. fn88 “Spravka,” rgaspi (14 June 1946) f.17, op.122, d.189, l.149; A. B. Konovalov, Partiinaia nomenklatura Sibiri v sisteme regionalnoi vlasti, 1945–1991 (Kemerovo: Kuzbassvuzizdat, 2006), 22.
9. fn99 “Stennogramma XI plenuma obkoma,” pako (26 March 1948) f.147, op.4, d.1095, l.1–l.5.
10. fn1010 V. Kondratiev, “Ne tol’ko o moem pokolenii…” Kommunist #7 (1990): 114–15.
11. fn1111 “Spravka o sostoianii partiinogo khoziaistva, ucheta kommunistov i vydachi partiinykh dokumentov v nekotorykh raikomakh,” pako (12 November 1951) f.147, op.5, d.199, l.131.
12. fn1212 “Stennogramma XI plenuma obkoma,” pako (26 March 1948) f.147, op.4, d.1095, l.6.
13. fn1313 A. B. Konovalov, Partiinaia nomenklatura Sibiri v sisteme regionalnoi vlasti, 1945–1991 (Kemerovo: Kuzbassvuzizdat, 2006), 34.
14. fn1414 Partiinoe Stroitelstvo 10 (1937): 24.
15. fn1515 A. G. Fedianin, Podgotovka partiinykh kadrov v poslevoennyi period, 1946–1955 (Saratov: Izdatelstvo Saratovskogo universiteta, 1974), 12.
16. fn1616 E. Yu. Zubkova, Obschestvo i reformy, 1945–1964 (Moscow: Rossiia Molodaiia, 1993), 77.
17. fn1717 Vladislav Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War From Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007), 52.
18. fn1818 Geoffrey Roberts, The Soviet Union in World Politics: Coexistance, Revolution and the Cold War, 1945–1991 (London: Routledge, 1999), 25.
19. fn1919 Alec Nove, Stalin and After: The Road to Gorbachev (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 1992), 94.
20. fn2020 E. V. Taranov, “Partiinyi guvernator” Moskvy: Georgii Popov (Moscow: Izdatelstvo glavarkhiva Moskvy, 2004), 206.
21. fn2121 Moshe Lewin, “Rebuilding the Soviet Nomenklatura, 1946–1948,” Cahiers du Monde russe 44, no. 2–3 (April–September 2003): 225.
22. fn2222 N. V. Bezriadin, Ni chasu otdykha, ni chasu bez tseli (Novosibirsk: gp Novosibirskii Poligrafkombinat, 2002), 34.
23. fn2323 Fedianin, 19.
24. fn2424 Konovalov, 34.
25. fn2525 Fedianin, 22–25.
26. fn2626 A. A. Shchebliakov, “Deiatelnost’ kommunisticheskoi partii po vospitaniiu partiinykh kadrov v pervye poslevoennye gody,” in Opyt perestroiki raboty partii v poslevoennyi period, ed. L.V. Shirikov (Moscow: Akademia obschestvennykh nauk pri TsK kpss, 1989), 56.
27. fn2727 Fedianin, 68–69.
28. fn2828 “O podgotovke k novomu uchebnomu godu v sisteme partiinogo prosveshcheniia,” pako (November 1951) f.147, op.5, d.39, l.31.
29. fn2929 “Doklad,” rgaspi (9 February 1951) f.17, op.116, d.565, l.18–l.20.
30. fn3030 Shchebliakov, 61.
31. fn3131 “O rabote Chitinskogo obkoma partii,” rgaspi (25 August 1950) f.17, op.116, d.526, l.4.
32. fn3232 “Informatziya o novom uchebnom gode v sisteme partiynogo prosvesheniya,” rgaspi (7 January 1949) f.17, op.132, d.103, l.5–l.7.
33. fn3333 Pravda, 19 December 1952, 2.
34. fn3434 N.V. Chertverkov “Partiinye organizatsii v bor’be za povyshenie rentabelnosti predpriiatii tezheloi promyshlennosti” in L. V. Shirikov, ed., Deiatelnost’ kpss v pervye gody posle Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny (Moscow: Akademia Obshestvennykh Nauk pri TsK kpss, 1978), 71.
35. fn3535 kpss v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s’yezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK (Volume 6) (Moscow: Politozdat, 1971), 277–80.
36. fn3636 Shchebliakov, “Deiatelnost’ kommunisticheskoi partii,” 57.
37. fn3737 Ibid., 59–60.
38. fn3838 Chertverkov, “Partiinye organizatsii,” 73.
39. fn3939 Ibid., 61; “Svodka pisem postupivshikh v ‘Pravdu’ v sviazi s obsuzhdeniem materialov k XIX s’ezdu partii,” rgaspi (11 September 1952) f.592, op.1, d.30, l.7.
40. fn4040 V. P. Mokhov, Evolutsia regionalnoi-politicheskoi elity Rossii, 1950–1990 (Perm: Permskii Gosudarstvennyi Tekhnicheskii Universitet, 1998), 35.
41. fn4141 William O. McCagg, Stalin Embattled, 1943–1948 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1978), 85.
42. fn4242 Ibid.
43. fn4343 V. E. Demidov and V. A. Kutuzov, Leningradskoe delo (Leningrad: Lenizdat, 1990), 60–61.
44. fn4444 Werner G. Hahn, Postwar Soviet Politics: The Fall of Zhdanov and the Defeat of Moderation, 1946–1953 (London: Cornell University Press, 1982), 130.
45. fn4545 Michael Parrish, The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security (London: Praeger, 1996), 216.
46. fn4646 Gorlizki and Khlevniuk, 81.
47. fn4747 Blair A. Ruble, “The Leningrad Affair and the Provincialization of Leningrad,” Russian Review, 42, no. 3 (1983): 315.
48. fn4848 Judson Mitchell, Getting to the Top in the ussr: Cyclical Patterns in the Leadership Succession Process (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1990), 1.
49. fn4949 “Informatsiia o provedenii otchetno-vybornykh konferentsii v raionakh oblasti,” pako (7 February 1949), f.147, op.4, d.1543, l.25–l.26.
50. fn5050 Parrish, The Lesser Terror, 216.
51. fn5151 Benjamin Tromley, “The Leningrad Affair and the Soviet Patronage Politics, 1949–1950,” Europe-Asia Studies 56, no. 5 (Jul., 2004): 719.
52. fn5252 Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939–1953 (London: Yale University Press, 2006), 343.
53. fn5353 Bolshevik, no. 14, (1950), 4.
54. fn5454 Stephen Kotkin, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (Berkley: University of California Press, 1995), 200–1.
55. fn5555 “Spravka o sostoianii organizatsionno-partiinoi raboty v Kalininskoi oblasti,” pako (September 1953) f.147, op.5, d.770, l.168.
56. fn5656 “O rabote Chitinskogo obkoma partii,” rgaspi (25 August 1950) f.17, op.116, d.526, l.3–l.6.
57. fn5757 Alexei B. Kojevnikov, Stalin’s Great Science: The Times and Adventures of Soviet Physicists (Athens: Imperial College Press, 2004), 197.
58. fn5858 Merle Fainsod, How Russia is Ruled (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963), 210–11.
59. fn5959 kpss v resoliutsiiakh i resheniiakh s’yezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK (Volume 6) (Moscow: Politozdat, 1971), 291.
60. fn6060 “O komandirovanii v mestnye partiinye organizatsii rabotnikov apparata TsK vkp(b), ministerstv i vedomstv dlia okazaniia pomoshchi v ikh rabote,” rgaspi (7 May 1951) f.17, op.116, d.583, l.73
61. fn6161 “O zhurnale Bolshevik,” rgaspi (13 July 1949 ) f.17, op.3, d.1077, l.36–l.37.
62. fn6262 Ibid.
63. fn6363 William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: W.W. Norton, 2003), 210.
64. fn6464 Hahn, Postwar Soviet Politics, 137.
65. fn6565 V. Kondratiev, Krasnye Vorota (Moscow: Moskovskii Rabochii, 1988), 364–65.
66. fn6666 Dunham, 4.
67. fn6767 V. Kondratiev, “Ne tol’ko…” Kommunist #7 (1990): 114–15.
68. fn6868 Ibid., 113–15.
69. fn6969 Amir Weiner, Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 43–45, 50.
70. fn7070 V, Astafiev, “Snachala snariady, potom liudi,” Rodina #6–7 (1991): 55; Georgi Arbatov, The System: An Insider’s Life in Soviet Politics (Toronto: Random House, 1992), 34.
71. fn7171 John Armstrong, The Politics of Totalitarianism: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1934 to the Present (New York: Random House, 1961), 203.
72. fn7272 “Spravka o nerazreshennykh otdelami obkoma voprosakh postavlennykh raikomaki i gorkomami,” pako (24 April 1950) f.147, op.4, d.2129, l.130.
73. fn7373 “Spravka,” rgaspi (14 August 1946) f.17, op.122, d.195, l.13–l.17.
74. fn7474 “Report about organizational-party work by Stalingrad and Kabarda Obkoms,” rgaspi (December 1950) f.17, op. 88, d. 958, l. 259–l.289.
75. fn7575 “Spravka,” rgaspi (December 1949) f.83, op.1, d.5, l.97–l.106.
76. fn7676 “Protokol zasedaniia TsK,” rgaspi (30 March 1951) f.17, op.116, d.573. l.67.
77. fn7777 “Stennogramma oblastnoi konferentsii,” pako (1952) f.147, op.5, d.283, l.131, l.296; “Doklad,” rgaspi (September 1952) f. 17, op.88. d.990, l.128.
78. fn7878 B. Borisov, Zapiski sekretria gorkoma (Moscow: Politizdat, 1964), 161.
79. fn7979 “Doklad,” pako (January 1949) f.147, op.4, d.1707, l.95.
80. fn8080 N. A. Petrovich, ed., Pervichnaia patiinaia organizatsia: dokumentykpss (Moscow: Politizdat, 1974), 306.
81. fn8181 Ibid.
82. fn8282 Dmitrii Shepilov, The Kremlin’s Scholar: A Memoir of Soviet Politics under Stalin and Khrushchev (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), 196.
83. fn8383 Ibid, 196.
84. fn8484 Ibid, 197.
85. fn8585 Ibid.
86. fn8686 “Pis’mo tov. Kanchukha,” rgae (29 June 1945) f. 1562, op.329, l.108–l.109.
87. fn8787 Zubkova, Russia After the War, 143.
88. fn8888 Ibid., 144.
89. fn8989 Fedor Abramov, “A liudi zhdut, zhdut peremen” Izvestiia, 3 February 1990, 1.
90. fn9090 “Spravka,” rgaspi (12 September 1952) f.592, op.1, d.27, l.144.
91. fn9191 Bruce Franklin, ed., The Essential Stalin: Major Theoretical Writings, 1905–1952 (London: Groom Helm, 1973), 451, 480.
92. fn9292 Mark Edele, A “Generation of Victors?”: Soviet Second World War Veterans From Demobilization to Organization 1941–1956 (Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago, 2004), 564.
93. fn9393 Zubkova, Russia After the War, 36.
94. fn9494 “Spravki,” pako (1950–1953) f.147, op.5, d.1242, l.86, l.87, l.90, l.91, l.93.
95. fn9595 “Otchet,” rgaspi (December 1950) f.17, op.88, d.958, l.259.
96. fn9696 “Velikolukskii Obkom,” rgaspi (September 1950) f.17, op.88, d.962, l.9–10.
97. fn9797 E. A. Rees, “Stalin as Leader, 1937–1953,” in The Nature of Stalin’s Dictatorship: The Politburo, 1924–1953, ed. E. A. Rees (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 227–28.
98. fn9898 A. Mikoyan, Tak bylo, (Moscow: Vagrius, 1999), 569.
99. fn9999 S. Khrushchev, ed., Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, 3 vols. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State Press, 1999), 2: 106–7.
100. fn100100 Taubman, 230.
101. fn101101 Elena Zubkova, Obshchestvennye nastroenia v poslevoennoi Rossii, 1945–1953 (Moscow: Izdatel’skii tsentr Instituta rossiiskoi istorii ran, 2000), 125–27.
102. fn102102 Rees, “Stalin as Leader,” 228.
103. fn103103 Armstrong, 230.
104. fn104104 Gorlizki and Khlevniuk, 151–52.
105. fn105105 Shepilov, 239.

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Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, Humanities & Social Sciences Dept., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA,


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