The Communist Party: Trends and Problems

  • John H. Miller
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


It makes sense to picture Soviet leaders as convinced and thoroughgoing Hobbesians, so persuaded of the precariousness of social cohesion and so appalled at the prospect of social breakdown, as to rate the absolute position of the sovereign as a supreme value in politics.1 They are Hobbesians, moreover, not Machiavellians, because they seek the bulwark against social breakdown in an institutional arrangement, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and not in the personal qualities of the sovereign.2 If we imagine Soviet leaders proceeding from a serious conviction of the actual superiority of one-party (absolute) government over other forms, we find a great many of the familiar but characteristic features of Soviet politics, ideological, stylistic and institutional, taking their place in a coherent pattern.


Communist Party Central Committee Party Member Party Organisation Party Membership 
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  1. 26.
    G. Wightman and A. H. Brown, ‘Changes in the Levels of Membership and Social Composition of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia’ in Soviet Studies xxvii, no. 3 (July 1975), 413; also D. P. Hammer in note 28 below, p. 21.Google Scholar
  2. 28.
    Darrell P. Hammer appears to have coined the phrase in Problems of Communism July—August 1971, pp. 16–21. It is applied in this chapter in a somewhat more detailed sense than Hammer’s.Google Scholar
  3. 38.
    A. Unger, loc. cit., 313. Attention should be drawn to an error in this otherwise provocative article corrected by T. H. Rigby, op. cit., no. 3 (July 1977), 453.Google Scholar
  4. 48.
    Mary McAuley, ‘Party Recruitment and the Nationalities in the USSR’, in British Journal of Political Science 10, part 4 (October 1980), 461–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 72.
    Jerry F. Hough, ‘The Generation Gap and the Brezhnev Succession’ in Problems of Communism July-August 1979, 1–18, especially 3–5.Google Scholar

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© St Antony’s College, Oxford 1982

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  • John H. Miller

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