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Totalitarianism; Soviet Union


Despite Khrushchev's stress on "peaceful coexistence," on greater attention to consumer needs, and on certain "democratizing" reforms in the party apparatus and legal system of the state - concepts that had found their institutional expression in the program of the Party at the 22nd Congress - significant totalitarian elements in Soviet ideology and in the power monopoly of the party remained basically unchanged. That these elements cannot be ignored in any realistic appraisal of Soviet developments and intentions was again dramatically underscored by the manner of Khrushchev's removal in October of 1964. Ideology and program perform a central role in Soviet totalitarianism. Together they represent the authoritative Communist promulgation of what is socially right and wrong, of what is desirable and what is not. Through them, Soviet society achieves its sense of unity and strength, and receives from them the raison d'etre for personal sacrifice and social discipline. Imposed by the ruling elite, which can and does manipulate all the media of communications, ideology thus serves to compel consensus and obedience to what is deemed fundamental for the continuity and eventual victory of the Marxist-Leninist Weltanschauung.

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