Authority, Power and Policy in the USSR: Essays dedicated to by T. H. Rigby

By T. H. Rigby

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1aking: Studies of Communism in Transition (New York, 1967); Robert J. Osborn, Soviet Social Policies: Welfare. , 1970); H. Gordon Skilling and Franklyn Griffiths (eds), Interest Groups in Soviet Politics (Princeton, NJ, 1971); Paul Cocks, Robert V. , and London, 1976), esp. pt 3; Richard B. \1aking in the USSR (London and New York, 1977); Theodore H. Friedgut, 'lntert"sts and Groups in Soviet Policy-Making: The MTS Reforms', Soviet Studies, xxvm, no. \1aking in Communist States (Farnborough, Hants, 1978).

Consider, for instance, that such basic concerns as those of workers to have unions that would press to improve their wages and conditions, of intellectuals for a reduction in censorship controls, of Christians, Muslims and jews to practise their religion without gross Conceptual approach to authority, power and policy 25 impairment of their educational and career opportunities, of the non-Russian nationalities to enjoy greater autonomy, or of underprivileged groups to seek a greater share of economic resources, are excluded from all legitimate access to power under this system.

Exemplary performers in any field are 'heroes'. It is hardly surprising that in such a system political leadership emerges not from a rule-bound process of competition to control the rule-making and rule-applying machinery, but from success in a career of task-achieving assignments, and that legislative bodies should not exercise a genuine rule-making and executiveconstraining role, but be utterly dependent, both as to their membership and their activities, on the task-assigning leadership. The constitutional forms and rituals which suggest otherwise serve a cosmetic and 'mobilisational' role transparent to all but the politically infantile; while these form a significant component of the system's legitimating doctrines and symbolism, the actual powerrelationships which they embellish are accorded full legitimacy through such formulas as 'the leading and directing role of the party', 'democratic centralism', etc.

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