Politics and Policy in the Brezhnev Regime: A Force for Continuity?

by Fritz Walter Ermarth

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In one respect the 24th CPSU signals change: the end of the Brezhnev-Kosygin-Podgorny triumvirate, and the emergence of a Brezhnev regime. Events suggest a pre-Congress accretion of power and stature to Brezhnev, evidenced by personal praise, titles, a personal following, and changes in the Congress' party organs. Even more important is his added power in the Secretariat, on which the Politburo depends. Sources of potential opposition stem from independent Politburo members and from the Leningrad organization. The Congress endorsed a new plan, the industrial combine, yet without establishing positive incentives to innovate and without stating the investment goals of the plan. Brezhnev's line on ideology and culture as well as foreign policy is ambivalent. The image of the Brezhnev regime as a not-unwilling captive of a congealed bureaucratic system suggests no significant policy departures on major domestic issues, but there may be ingredients of surprise and change. 11 pp.

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