Assessing whether Stalinism was maintained after Stalin's death, and to what extent, is a very simple and somewhat likely exam question - and would definitely be my preferred thematic exam question!
(Remind yourself of how I define Stalinism HERE)
So, to what extent was it maintained after Stalin's death? This time, we're looking by element of Stalinism, not by leader.
Dictatorship of one man
- arguably all leaders post-Stalin lead in this way
- Khrushchev and Malenkov in the collective leadership
- the party's desire, post-Khrushchev, not to let any one leader hold so much power again
- Brezhnev chosen as a "man of the centre" (Tompson)
- Brezhnev's willingness to ask for advice
- Khrushchev's outsting
- Gorbachev's more liberal, Western viewpoint, and the fact that he had political opposition
Cult of personality
- Brezhnev arguably had one; "a personality cult without a personality" (Tompson)
- Khrushchev was accused of building one
- Khrushchev and Brezhnev's assumptions of all Stalin's old positions
- LAVER: "Ideology had simply lost its meaning to many within the USSR by 1982"
- not seen as so dominant in ever after Stalin's death
- Brezhnev's inability to remove Gosplain
- Khrushchev's separation of ind/ag
- Gorbachev's desire for "a free market within the confines of a state-controlled economy"
- the dominance of FYPs
Aggressive Foreign Policy
- Warsaw Pact
- "The Thaw"
- Brezhnev Doctrine
- Regan/Bush and Gorbachev
- USSR joining the UN
- end of the Cold War
Use of terror
- Khrushchev-era legal reforms
- Dissidence and Brezhnev
- End of "reign of fear" - Khrushchev ousted, for eg
- Purges on same scale never happened again
So, was Stalinism maintained in the USSR after Stalin's death? I think we can almost categorically agree not.
Now, have a break. I feel like I need one; you do too! :)
- HistGrrl x