Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: An by Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich

By Stephen White, John Gardner, George Schopflin, Tony Saich

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Extra resources for Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems: An Introduction

Example text

S. Uvarov, later Minister of Education, in 1832, and which was taken as the basis of official political doctrine until the revolution of 1905, if not beyond. The formula was intended to imply support for the principle of autocracy, and thus opposition to liberal reforms; for Orthodoxy, or the teaching and ritual of the Russian Orthodox Church; and devotion to the Russian national heritage, together with a reluctance to take Western European thought and institutions as suitable models for developments in Russia.

Those who adopt this approach focus upon three key features of politics in the communist states: first, the dominant position within them of the communist party, and within the party of its top leadership; secondly, the absence of competitive elections or of other effective instruments of democratic control, leaving the party, in effect, in a position of permanent government; and thirdly, the wide scope of the powers that are exercised by the communist parties in these states, as a sort of 'super bureaucracy' superior to and intertwined with the government and social institutions such as the trade unions, the press, industry and the courts.

The 1917 Russian revolution, according to the Programme, brought into being the first workers' and peasants' state and began a new era in world history, an era ofthe transition from capitalism to socialism and ultimately to full communism. A socialist society, such as that constructed in the USSR and the countries with which it is associated, is held to put an end forever to the exploitation of man by man 28 Communist and Postcommunist Political Systems based upon the private ownership of the means of production.

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