Studies in Soviet Thought

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 259–293 | Cite as

Vom Ende des Marxismus-Leninismus

  • Arnold Buchholz


Classical Soviet Marxism-Leninism is in the process of dissolution, with some parts of the ideology being rejected, others retained in one form or another, and new components being adopted. At the same time, a wide-ranging pluralism of new objectives and forms of consciousness has emerged in Soviet intellectual life. Since both the motives for restructuring and also the braking effects acting on the process of perestrojka are significantly dependent upon intellectual and ideological developments, attentive observations of these developments is of particular importance for the assessment of the evolutionary propects of the Soviet Union. At present the situation on the ideological-intellectual front can be characterized as follows:
  1. 1.

    Although official changes in the ideology did not begin until 1989 they have caught up to the initial perestrojka in political and cultural life.

  2. 2.

    Perestrojka has continually waned in importance as an ideological by-word largely under the influence of Gorbachv's ‘new thinking’ which has turned attention to the dramatic history of the Soviet Union and the plight of the human individual in a society with few prospects for the future.

  3. 3.

    In philosophy the new textbook published in 1989/90 introduces a series of crucial innovations that put paid to a number of classical shibboleths of the Marxist-Leninist world view.

  4. 4.

    Academic philosophy has shifted more and more to a reexamination of the history of philosophy as well as to a reappraisal of pre-revolutionary Russian thought.

  5. 5.

    The critique of Stalinism has gradually given way to a critique of Marxist principles generally, and even Lenin has become the subject of criticism.

  6. 6.

    Fast on the heels of the new thinking and the ideological deconstruction come the voices of political orientations whose differences are so pronounced as to have warranted the compilation of an ‘Atlas of ideologies’.

  7. 7.

    The search for a new moral identity has concentrated on three sources: the reestablishment of links with classical Russian culture, the renewal of links with Europe, and the deep-seated need to commit oneself to some ideal for sacrifice.

  8. 8.

    The economic crisis has produced attitudes hostile to individual gain and speculation.

  9. 9.

    Given the nature of the Soviet crisis intellectual cooperation with the West has to take forms which promote the rekindling of a sense of all-human awareness of the transcendent and reinforce the experience of common humanity.

  10. 10.

    The establishment of all-European academic institutions designed in their very structure to engage in mutual cooperation could have a catalytic effect on the reconfiguration of Europe.



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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Buchholz

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