Perestroika Demise

by Gordon M. Hahn

[The following was written in 2000 but the commissioner refused to publish it. Expanded it was published as my first book Russia’s Revolution From Above]


           The collapse of the Soviet Union was the consequence of a unique historical outcome – a revolution led not from below, by a society revived by a reformist liberalization, but from above, led by one elite faction against another. Like all revolutions, the Soviet revolution of 1991 resulted from a confluence of constraints impinging on the choices of the main political actors: including a ‘structural’ crisis deepened by the chosen reform path, the subsequent incapacitation of both regime and state institutions, and an ultimately irreconcilable political contest.[1] The interaction of these multiple constraints prevented the ancien regime from negotiating a transition pact to extricate itself from power in the revolutionary situation. Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika of the partocratic regime greatly weakened the Soviet state’s organizational and territorial integrity. It was a classic case of state institutional reforms, inspired by challenges emanating from the international environment to the pattern of domestic socio-economic and political organization, leading not to the stabilization of the regime and state but to institutional disequilibrium and a revolutionary situation or a period of great instability in which the overthrow of an existing political and social order from within appears feasible and even probable.[2] While periods in which transitions from non-democratic to democratic regime-types are also characterized by a high degree of instability, there are factors in the institutional arrangements and relationship between state and society that permit the success of pact-making.

             In a period of revolutionary or transitional disequilibrium, the degree of probability that the regime’s transformation will occur by revolution, defined as a unilateral unconstitutional and/or extraconstitutional seizure of power, can be measured by the degree to which the opposition institutionalizes disequilibrium in the form of dual or multiple sovereignty and power that supports its competing claim to rule over the regime’s territory and that enables it to act unilaterally. Institutionalization can consist of a well-organized opposition social movement, political party, public association or state institution that has come under a revolutionary opposition’s control. If the opposition uses non-state social institutions for the most part, then its unconstitutional seizure of power is a revolution from below. If the opposition does not acquire the power to make a credible claim of sovereignty to rule, the revolutionary situation is likely to be negotiated out of, and a transition pact will likely be concluded by regime and opposition leaders. If the institution that the opposition uses to seize power is a part of the state’s organizational structure, then the act is a “revolution from above.”[3]

            In the Soviet/Russian transformation, conservative resistance to reform opened the way to strengthening societal opposition by weakening both regime and state institutions, it facilitated in tandem with reformist advances the opposition’s takeover of important state institutions in both the multinational Soviet state’s metropole and periphery. The opposition to the Soviet regime was too divided by ideology and nationality and lacked the resources and mobilized civil society needed to build a revolutionary organization.[4] Russia, led by the maverick former communist boss of Moscow and candidate Politburo member, Boris Yeltsin, who rose to power in Moscow and was elected Chairman of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, implemented a series of revolutionary reorganizations of the political and administrative systems in order to destroy the communist party’s monopoly of power in both state and society, ultimately destroying the political and institutional unity of both regime and state. The creeping revolution from above which began with Russia’s declaration of sovereignty in June 1990 and its initial moves to lay claim to Union resources, property, institutions and organs located on RSFSR territory, while directed against the regime, greatly weakened the Soviet state’s institutional integrity, creating a high degree of uncertainty among political actors. Dual power and sovereignty split brought the complete breakdown of the institutional unity of the partocratic regime and party-state begun with Gorbachev’s perestroika.

            In retrospect, perestroika’s devolution into the Soviet state’s collapse does not seem so surprising. When “deliberate attempts at reform or reorganization are made within solidly established state structures” during watershed periods, they often end in failure. Failure’s cause lay in the “internal complexities of state structures”, “the ways and degrees to which states achieve overall coordination of their activities”, and features that “knit the inner parts of complex modern states together.”[5] The unique complexities of the Soviet party-state, particularly resistant to controlled change, multiplied the unintended consequences of Gorbachev’s reforms. The party-state’s main features and institutions — the “mono-organization” and permanent mobilization of state and society, a mixed “political-administrative” party-state apparat featuring quasi-bureaucratic administration and “crypto-politics”, and centralized organization of the nomenklatura class and recruitment from it to staff party and state organs — posed great obstacles to reform. These features of what had been an organically whole system of dominance were undermined by Gorbachev’s policy of gradually differentiating (razgranichenie) party from state functions.[6] Since the Soviet party-state’s structures intertwined regime and state more than perhaps any other country case, the weakening and then overthrow of the regime in August 1991 led within months to the demise of state.

            In addressing the effect of changes in the CPSU on perestroika‘s failure, the Soviet regime’s incapacitation, and the Soviet state’s collapse, the main focus must be the party, especially its ruling apparatus of committee and departments. The party apparat was the organization that ensured the institutional unity of party and state — both organizationally, by penetrating and uniting the organs of coercion and the economic administrative bureaucracy, and territorially, by cementing the state hierarchy through centralized control of resources, personnel, and mobilization — as well as the political unity of the party, regime, and society through ideological and informational controls. Its removal from the partocratic state’s nucleus broke the institutional and ideological unity among elites and administrative cadres regarding the leading role of the party in state and society and obligatory support for its goals and priorities, weakening the nomenklatura’s hold on power, grip, undermining the communist party’s legitimacy claims, significantly hampering mobilization efforts, and thereby created the revolutionary situation.[7] Gorbachev’s attempt to break the party apparat’s monopoly on power and transfer power to state organs and the society at-large awoke the dual sovereignty that was latent in the party-state structure and pluralized its ‘bureaucratic’ politics, breaking up the state and producing ‘left’ (democratic) and ‘right’ (hardline) oppositions inside the regime in addition to democratic and nationalist oppositions in society. As a result, institution-building became a key weapon of political struggle, disorganizing the state. The party apparat and state officials who supported it delayed reform and reshaped party and state structures to counter those set up by reformers and revolutionaries.

            However, for a full explanation of perestroika’s outcome, politics – the strategic interaction among reformers, revolutionaries, and reactionaries – must be brought back in. In any internal crisis, even one with the most daunting of structural contradictions and institutional constraints, radicals bent on destroying the regime and reactionaries determined to ‘restore order’ may be isolated or the regime may modernize and liberalize sufficiently to coopt its opponents, allowing the regime to muddle through, or it may negotiate a ‘pacted’ transition to a new equilibrium. As Michael McFaul notes, structural crises alone cannot explain revolutionary outcomes, which are contingent on “(a)ctions taken by individuals, groups, and coalitions in response to the structural crisis.”[8] In addition, if the political siutation is examined closely, we find a structure of strategic action and political preferences among key actors and groups, such as a “moderates’ dilemma” that imparted “intentional constraints” that confounded resolution of the revolutionary crisis.[9] Moreover, intentional constraints interacted with structural and institutional constraints, since neither were resolved by perestroika.[10] The interaction of multiple constraints blocked political resolution of the revolutionary crisis.

            In structuring perestroika’s politics and its interaction with institutional factors, the party apparat again played the vanguard role, informing the political stances of key actors and groups and structuring strategic action. Reactionaries, reformers, and revolutionaries were defined by their relationship to the party apparat. Its conservatism provoked the regime split, polarized key political forces, and determined which institutions radicals, reformers, and reactionaries attempted to control. The partocratic state’s monopoly on resources yielded a unique three-way regime split that included a democratic opposition movement inside the regime which produced a path of transformation in the USSR distinct from the pacted transitions in Poland and Hungary, the peaceful revolution from below in Czechoslovakia and the violent one in Romania. Thus, the structure of perestroika‘s politics at the center and in many republics and regions was far more complex than one of “two intractable camps” — communist regime versus democratic societal opposition — so irreconcilably opposed that transitional pact-making was precluded and revolution inevitable.[11]

            That Soviet softliners were ultimately unable to negotiate with opposition elements was only in part the result of the Soviet mono-organizational partocratic state’s lack of a civil society, which had to be created from scratch. Pressures from the apparat’s hardliners were as strong as those from the amorphous opposition, which was too weak initially to be either a pacting partner with regime moderates seeking ‘extrication’ from a crumbling ancien regime or sufficiently intimidating a force to restrain would-be reactionaries hoping to undertake a successful crackdown. The regime softliners’ liberalization and democratization efforts allowed not only democrats but apparat hardliners as well to organize opposition to perestroika in Russia’s nascent civil society or “movement society.”[12] Moreover, because of the regime’s monopoly on resources, democrats tended to stay within the regime quite long, seeking to extract resources for building an opposition. This did not preclude pacting in and of itself, but it did facilitate the formation of a democratic opposition within the regime-forming organization, the CPSU. Thus, reorganization of political institutions led to intense political infighting, administrative breakdown at the center, and the defection by many actors to state institutions for a revolutionary power base.

            The Soviet state’s collapse, therefore, came as a consequence of a peaceful political “revolution from above” against the party-led regime and the central state apparatus led by increasingly radical party-state officials and bureaucrats who defected from the moderate perestroishchiki to the “democratic” opposition and seized power from the Center through the institutions of the Russian republic. When regime and opposition moderates appeared to have broken the political impasse of winter 1990-91 which threatened civil war, leading party apparatchiki and their supporters in the party’ s traditional ‘sword-bearing’ institutions — the military, KGB and MVD — launched the August 1991 coup, the direct cause of the Soviet collapse. Thus, the limited nature of internal party change, radicalizing some reformers into revolutionary apparatchiki and contradicting the fundamental changes underway in party-state relations helped bring about the USSR’s collapse.

The Genesis of Reform, Resistance, and Democratization

            The genesis of perestroika lay in the mix of a reformist general secretary and a deepening structural crisis. In the USSR, reform had to be generated from above, given the party-state’s complete penetration and domination of Soviet society. The origins of Gorbachev’s ambiguous attitude toward the Soviet order as consolidated under Stalin’s iron rule was recounted in Gorbachev’s memoirs. There, we find him torn between reconciling his father’s devotion to the regime’s brutal collectivization of, and militant anti-religious campaign against, the Russian peasantry and his grandmother’s faith in Russian Orthodoxy.[13] The rise of a personality to the top of the Soviet system who had doubts about many of the aspects of the Soviet regime as structured by Stalin combined with the mounting evidence in the course of his rise to power in the 1970s and 1980s that the system dysfunctional produced the likely result: a Soviet General Secretary who was willing to experiment with the economic and political systems in order to get the economy producing. There is some evidence that Gorbachev intended early on to reform the party and begin transferring power from the party apparat to state organs, the party’s rank-and-file, and even society. Fyodor Burlatskii, a leading adviser to Gorbachev, claims that in June 1983 Gorbachev stated in his speech at the funeral of Italian Communist Party General Secretary Enrico Berlinguer that “we will never forget your (Berlinguer’s) advice about the need for democratization of our country.”[14] In a December 1984 speech before the CPSU’s idelogical aktiv, Gorbachev uttered many of the ideas that would become the basis of perestroika’s political reforms, including the importance of glasnost’, the need for “commodity-money relations,” self-rule by the people, and a greater role for the soviets.[15] Gorbachev was already being criticized for this speech by older conservative Politburo members, who demanded to know what Gorbachev meant by dogmatism when he inveighed against it.[16] Gorbachev claimed in his 24 August 1988 memoranda on reform of the political system that the leadership had begun to think about such reforms just after the April 1985 CC Plenum.[17]

            Gorbachev’s inclination to reform seems to have crystallized into determination with the party apparat’s mounting resistance to Gorbachev’s early reforms from 1985-1987. This was reflected in the wake of the infamous Nina Andreeva letter’s publication, the most overt attempt to date to stop perestroika in its tracks and weaken its leader, since it was then that Gorbachev threw down the gauntlet before the Politburo. At its 31 March 1988 meeting, Gorbachev, as he often does, thought out loud about the frustration he and many others were feeling by that time with the perestroika’s slow progress which now seemed to motivate his radicalization of reform. During a discussion of poor living conditions in rural districts Gorbachev attacked bureaucrats’ “present feebleness,” recounting “ordeals” endured by a council people’s deputy who tried to obtain persuade his local construction administration to build a road to a retired railroad workers’ settlement so it could be supplied with gas. Construction officials had told the deputy: “Let the Politburo gassify it!” Gorbachev concluded this account by declaring: “Listen, and we will keep such a bureaucrat! … It is necessary to sack him. To move him to a new place of work and let him live with those pensioners. Such cadres we do not need. It is necessary to break up these nomenklaturshchiki. They cultivate idlers, who only please higher-ups, and they are completely deaf to people.”[18] By calling for the breakup of the nomenklatura in the Politburo, Gorbachev was asking his colleagues to undermine the very foundation of the Soviet system and their personal power. In taking this risk, Gorbachev and perestroishchiki were a minority in a largely conservative CPSU and party apparat.[19]

            The apparat’s conservatism was rooted in the nomenklatura system and method of recruiting leading cadres run by the departments for party organization (orgotdely) and the Central Committee (CC) OrgOtdel. As the most powerful organs in the party apparat, they essentially selected the ruling nomenklatura class, ran the nomenklatura system, and recruited the staffs of central, republic, krai (territorial), oblast (provincial), and raion (local district) party and state bodies. The powerful CC OrgOtdel recruited much of its staff not from the more ‘cosmopolitan’ Moscow and Leningrad universities and elites (as the more ‘revisionist’ CC International and ‘Consultants’ Departments routinely did), but from the provinces.[20] The domination of the party apparat and orgotdely by ex-provincials laced the apparat with Slavophile and Russian nationalist tendencies; the well-spring of the hardline opposition movement for creation of a Russian communist party (RSFSR CP or RCP).[21] The key role in blocking party reform was played by the CC Orgotdel (which managed the recruitment of personnel and the organization of official meetings) and the General Department (which was the secreterial chancellery controlling the flow of all letters, memoranda, and other official documents through the CC apparat).[22] In fact, the three party apparatchiki who led resistance to reform of the CPSU — Yegor Ligachev, Valerii Boldin and Oleg Shenin — oversaw these key departments under Gorbachev.

            Thus, Gorbachev, aided by a limited number of advisers, CC members, and party apparatchiki, essentially had to force reform on the party and nomenklatura. The apparat had long been accustomed to executing the orders of the Politburo and deferring to the General Secretary or at least giving the appearance of doing so. As a result, the CPSU apparat went along with one reform proposal after another under the slogan of perestroika, if only grudgingly. When possible, however, the conservative apparatchiki put up fierce resistance to change, initially within the bureaucracy and later more overtly.

Party Apparat Conservatism Versus Within-System Reforms

            The secretive nature of apparat ‘crypto-politics’ at first hid the rift between party-state hardliners on the one hand, and the more ‘enlightened’ apparatchiki and institutchiki on the other, when Gorbachev insisted on bringing into the highest decisionmaking levels.[23] In the battle of zapiski’ (internal memoranda) conducted within the apparat during the drafting or reviewing of all party and many state documents, party apparatchiki were able to shape the tenor of party meetings, frame key issues, and hinder implementation of decisions taken by the party’s ‘electoral’ organs, including those of the Politburo.[24] If the battle of zapiski was lost, the apparatchiki resorted to powerful vertushki (telephone command) and used their “control of implementation” to hinder reforms that had just been adopted.[25]

            The party apparat, led by the CC OrgOtdel, began trying to slow perestroika from Gorbachev’s first months in office.[26] From 1986 the apparat — under the leadership of the CPSU CC Secretary in charge of party organizational matters, a post first taken up by Ligachev, then by Shenin — delayed key reforms for a few years or longer: revision of the party’s document secrecy regime was held up until 1 October 1989, proposals for the employment of ‘non-staff’ and non-party workers through early 1991, and full implementation of party electoral reform and nomenklatura decentralization until August 1991.[27] Continuity in the party apparat’s document secrecy regime and the use of only party and mostly staff personnel limited the effectiveness and role of party commissions that had been created in 1988 to circumvent the apparat.[28] Moreover, normative imprecision allowed conservatives who preferred to follow the old rules to do so.[29]

            Later on, the CC OrgOtdel and General Department delayed major structural reorganizations as well, dragging out the first CC apparat reorganization – intended to be completed by the end of 1988 – for a full year or more.[30] By the time it was completed a second Moscow-based party apparat was in place under the new RSFSR CP (RCP), with departments staffed by 275 former CC apparatchiki, many of whom released in the first CPSU reorganization.[31] The creation of a Group for Political Analysis (GPA) in the CC apparat, approved at a September 1989 Politburo meeting, was never begun.[32] Hence, the apparat slowed its own adaptation to ‘political’ and analytical roles through spring 1990, which clearly took its toll on the CPSU’s performance in the local soviet elections in 1989-90 and its ability to respond effectively and in a timely fashion with the economic and emerging political crises.[33]

The Emergence of the Regime Split

            The early resistance by the party apparat and nomenklatura to relatively minor reforms and the growing frustration of some perestroishchiki over the slow pace of reform seems to be what caused Gorbachev’s final decision in 1987 to begin an even more fundamental reorganization of political institutions at the June 1988 19th CPSU Conference. As the party leadership discussed the possible structural reforms and institutional design, deep rifts began to emerge within the party. Although the structural crisis, which seemed to abate slightly with some modest economic improvements in 1986-87, and imminent instititional reforms played a key role in provoking hardline resistance to perestroika, the growing influence of Aleksandr Yakovlev and the presence of new Moscow GorKom chief and Politburo candidate member Boris Yeltsin’s cantankerous personality in Moscow helped provoke a three-way split within the party. For example, just as, in the words of Politburo member Vitalii Vorotnikov, “resistance in the CC and in provincial party organizations to super-radicalism grew,” at a 19 January 1987 meeting of the Politburo Yeltsin questioned the “so-called” revolutionary character of Gorbachev’s perestroika.[34] As a result of intra-elite conflict, the January 1987 CC Plenum was delayed thrice. After the June 1987 Plenum, Ligachev seemed to be conspiring to undermine Yeltsin by establishing a special commission under the Secretariat to inspect the state of affairs in Moscow, perhaps in the hope of placing his own man at the head of the MosGorKom and organizing his own challenge to Gorbachev. At an August meeting of the Politburo chaired by Ligachev with Gorbachev on vacation, Yeltsin and Ligachev battled directly for the first time. In accordance with the party line on democratization and glasnost, Yeltsin proposed creating an area in Moscow for demonstrations, a kind of Russian Hyde Park, but Ligachev vetoed the idea.[35] Yeltsin and Ligachev also clashed at the 10 September meeting of the Politburo, prompting Yeltsin to write a letter to Gorbachev in which he harshly criticized Ligachev and tendered his resignation.[36] At the October 1987 CC Plenum scheduled to hear Gorbachev’s speech for the 70th anniverstary of the Bolshevik coup that would denounce Stalin’s crimes, Yeltsin unexpectedly attacked Ligachev, the Secretariat and their obstruction of reforms in the Moscow party organization. He also criticized Gorbachev and his supporters who, he charged, were encouraging a cult of personality around him. Yeltsin’s demarche marked the beginning of a major split on the ‘left’ within the party over the scale and scope of perestroika. It forced Gorbachev to banish him from the leadership, though Yeltsin had, as noted earlier, asked to be relieved of his duties in September. More importantly, it signaled that the growing frustration with gradualist reforms risked erosion of support for his model of reform. Thus, Gorbachev took a centrist position between Yeltsin and the hardliners in order to disassociate himself from the former to protect himself from the latter and to differentiate himself from the latter so that he remained inexpendable to reformers.[37] Moreover, the momentum of the conservatives after Yeltsin’s defeat — signaled by Ligachev’s boast at the time that he was charged by the Politburo to run the Secretariat — pushed Gorbachev to move against the party apparat. At the Politburo meeting on 7 January 1988, with Ligachev absent, Gorbachev reduced his rival’s powers and those of the Secretariat by ordering its meetings be convened only fortnightly rather than weekly, terminating its review of questions to be submitted to the Politburo, and forbidding Ligachev to convene the Politburo in Gorbachev’s absence. [38] By the spring, Gorbachev was pushing a program for the 19th CPSU Conference that would permit him to purge the party apparat, separate it from the government’s economic management ministries, and begin democratizing the soviets.

            With these more radical structural reforms in the offing, regime hardliners and softliners permanently parted ways, as the Andreeva affair and the memoirs of both Gorbachev and Ligachev testify.[39] On 13 March 1988, with both Gorbachev and his chief reformist advisor, the increasingly liberal Politburo member for ideology Aleksandr Yakovlev (as early as 1985 wrote a memo to Gorbachev proposed something along the Senegalese model of transition to a multiparty system by suggesting that the CPSU be split in two in order to create a two-party system)[40] abroad, an article authored by a chemistry teacher from Leningrad but sponsored by Ligachev, was published in the conservative newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya. The article titled “I Cannot Forego My Principles” — an open attack on glasnost’, a cornerstone of Gorbachev’s liberalization campaign that laid the ideological groundwork for democratization of the political system — attacked the mounting press campaign against Stalinism sanctioned by Gorbachev’s November 1987 speech on the anniversary of the October 1917 Bolshevik coup. Ligachev then convened the Secretariat and recommended invited editors to reprint the article in papers throughout the country. This affair was the first serious and semi-overt attempt to prevent real reform of the Soviet system and to weaken, even remove Gorbachev from power.

            Thus, the structure of perestroika politics at the center was far more complex than some analysts have implied. It was not simply a contest between “two intractable camps” or the communist regime versus democratic societal opposition.[41] Ligachev’s demarche marked a deep party split on the ‘right’ as well. It also marked the last time that the party apparat would have to rely on the more cryptic methods of resisting perestroika. Institutional reforms would allow and encourage all factions to engage in open politics, but they would also lead to the breakdown of partocratic institutional in addition to the breakdown of political unity that had already been provoked by the early within-system reforms.

Razgranichenie and the Breakdown of Institutional Unity and State Administration

            In response to the party apparat’s resistance to the rather tentative pre-reorganization reforms, Gorbachev, his inner circle of advisers, and Politburo supporters decided in 1987-88 to reorganize the party-state in order to weaken the party apparat’s role, particularly in economic management. Once a fundamental reform of the party-state structure of the political system was decided upon, the goal, apparently was to redistribute power, by weakening the party apparat and creating greater mobility within and into the nomenklatura, while simultaneously strengthening the soviets as a counter to the party’s domination over the state and as an experiment in limited democracy that would pressure both party and state apparatchiki to more responsive to the demands of society.  A policy of differentiating (razgranichenie) party functions from those of the state became the key element in perestroika, as internal party reform stalled. It led, however, to the incapacitation of state administration by reducing the party’s ability to mobilize state bureaucrats and society in carrying out economic tasks. It also incited a conservative backlash and war for control of party and state structures among competing executives and bureaucrats. In the first phase of razgranichenie, the party apparat’s economic decisionmaking and administrative powers were surrendered to the soviets and the government ministries, respectively. All economic branch departments throughout the party apparat were eliminated to end interference in economic administration.[42] The economic branch departments at the center were unsuccessful in their attempts to lobby Gorbachev to downgrade the departments into subunits of the new Socio-Economic Department, but the CC apparat did manage to delay the reorganization’s implementation through early 1990. Deep staff cuts of hundreds of thousands of party apparatchiki at all levels of the apparat meant a serious reduction in their old administrative functions, particularly because the party apparat was given broader analytical responsibilities.[43] This weakened capacity was reflected in the reduced number of questions delivered by CC departments for review at the Secretariat and Politburo from 1987 to 1990.[44] On the other hand, the party apparat was able to secure thousands of seats in state posts for officials who had been dismissed.[45]

            Although much of the central apparat’s role in decisionmaking was curtailed in the last year of perestroika, the Secretariat and local party committees still sought to control implementation and to mobilize government work, much to the consternation of Gorbachev’s aides.[46] In February 1991 the CC apparat was even able to veto an inventory and ‘rationalization’ of Soviet administrative legislation, which had long been plagued by numerous contradictory laws, resolutions, and orders that had resulted from the conflict between party and state bodies, the dissonance between pre-perestroika and perestroika era legislation, and the new “correlation of jurisdiction between the Union of SSRs and the union republics and their legislative and executive bodies.”[47] The government favored putting an end to party interference in administration by eliminating party branch departments, but because of inertia or a bid to muster political support, ministerial officials continued to refer to the party apparat.[48] The government also fought aggressively to maintain its control over the economy and to prevent cuts in its central and ministerial staffs, but it is a serious mistake to claim that the government played the leading role in the USSR, in opposing  perestroika, and in the August coup.[49] Niether limited party reform nor executive branch razgranichenie in party-government relations succeeded in transforming the CPSU from a parastatal, political-administrative apparatus into a socio-political organization and parliamentary party, at least not until perestroika’s final months (see below).

            This occurred as a consequence of the second phase of razgranichenie that was implemented in the legislative branch through democratization of the soviets and broke the party apparat’s decisionmaking diktat by exposing it to open politics. Whereas razgranichenie of the administrative function broke the institutional unity of the party-state horizontally, across the government-party apparat divide, razgranichenie of the legislative function through democratization of the soviets led to the breakdown of institutional unity vertically by destroying the hierarchical order within both the party and the soviets and to a decline of party political unity, expanding the space for open politics. Moreover, the strengthening of the soviets brought to life the potential for dual power that lay latent in the partocratic regime’s combined political-administrative structure and the co-existence of the party apparat and soviets, much as the weakening of the party apparat’s economic function created the potential for dual power in economic adminstration, since the government became more than the administrative arm of the party, but potentially the main bureaucracy for generating economic initiatives.

            The scale of the party apparat’s first reorganization and some aspects of its implementation that began in the fall of 1988 compromised party unity and the party’s effectiveness in the elections of people’s deputies (PDs), leading to its split and incapacitation. Provincial party secretaries were replaced at such a rapid pace in 1988-89 that by the end of the April 1989 CC plenum, almost half of the union republic first secretaries and over half the obkom and kraikom first secretaries (88 of 155) were not CC members.[50] Meanwhile, a purge of 700,000-800,000 local party officials (550,000 from the obkom, reskom, raikom and gorkom levels)[51] and forty percent of the CC apparat, combined with an outpouring of press criticism and investigations of privilege and corruption, led to a crisis in provincial party organizations and the obkom “revolutions” (as they were called) of 1989-90. The crisis was compounded by the irregularity of Politburo meetings, the four-months delay in late 1988 and early 1989 in convening the Secretariat, its failure of the Secretariat to meet po protokolu until after the XXVIII Congress, and the consequent reduction of central instructions and guidance from the Secretariat and CC departments. All this produced a breakdown of the center-periphery party relations and full disorientation of the provincial party apparat.[52]

            The future First Secretary of the hardline RCP, Krasnodar Kraikom First Secretary Ivan Polozkov, wasted little time in confronting the reformers with the results of their work, using a line that became the mantra of the opposition to reform. In July 1989, he complained that no one had taken over the functions of the provincial party apparat in managing the economy and that the Secretariat in Moscow was telling local party secretaries who phoned for instructions: “You mean you really do not know that we are no longer occupied with that?”[53] By October, he was at the forefront of the movement to create the RCP and a  new party apparat in Moscow that would unite hardliners.[54] Democratization allowed the democratic ‘left’ as well as the reactionary ‘right’ to organize ‘societal’ opposition under the RCP movement. Otherwise, party committees were at a loss about what to do in lieu of a pervasive role in the economy, and the leadership had little to propose in place of such work.[55] One option was to prepare for the elections to the semi-democratized soviets and to learn the techniques of modern political campaigning, but this was not the apparat’s natural instinct. The party apparat did not begin to organize such campaigns until 1991, when it was too late (see below).

            The party apparat’s slowness to reform had grave consequences for its own political viability. Because so many of the oblast first secretaries were not elected to the soviets in the spring of 1990, the provincial apparat became ever more distanced from the Center. With the opposition’s victory in the Baltic republics, first in the elections of USSR PDs and then of republic PDs, many Communist parties split. By May 1990 the independent Lithuanian CP (80,000) outnumbered the loyalist party CPL (CPSU) of the apparat (30,000-35,000 members) by more than two to one. They now constituted, as it was reported to the Secretariat, “forces in opposition to each other”, relegating the CPSU faction in the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet to a third place opposition movement behind the democratic-nationalist revolutionary opposition ‘Sajudis’ and the reformist LCP.[56] The CPL (CPSU), in turn, began to attack the central party leadership. A similar fate awaited the CPSU in Moscow as the 28th and final congress approached.

            Consequently, Gorbachev attempted to consolidate the party’s factions and stabilize the state apparatus by the creation of a USSR presidency in May 1990 in a third phase of razgranichenie. As hardline opposition grew on the “right” within the party and as “leftist” forces gained strength inside the party and in many soviets and the party apparat continued to see its executive functions weakened, Gorbachev moved to restore executive power, rather than rely on the unwieldly new legislative apparatus: the USSR CPD and Supreme Soviet. He also needed to balance the correlation of forces by strengthening the regime moderates, whose ranks were being depleted by defections to both hardliners and Yeltsin’s moderate opposition based in the Russian administration. There can be no doubt that the party apparat and most hardliners looked upon the new office of the president with suspicion, and even disdain. The USSR presidency was set up with Presidential and Federation Councils and equipped with its own apparatus of departments to strengthen its ability to circumvent the party. The new office posed further threat to the economic administrative prerogatives of the government. In May 1990, along with the creation of the presidency, Gorbachev ordered preparations for deep cuts down to few more than a handful of ministries, the merging of the Council of Ministers and new presidential organs, and the government’s subordination to the President.[57] Thus, both party and government officials — including Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov previously a stauch supporter of all of Gorbachev’s reforms — opposed certain aspects of the new presidency, particularly when the office became the focus of aspirations for a coalition government and the main element of cooperation between the Gorbachev and Yeltsin camps in drafting economic transition plans.[58] At the Politburo meeting on 22 March 1990 Ligachev argued that the party, not a presidency, was needed.[59] The head of the CC General Department, Valerii Boldin, mistakenly appointed by Gorbachev to head the presidential apparat, deliberately slowed the staffing of the presidential apparat, especially appointments of reformers.[60] Despite creation of the Soviet presidency, the soviets remained the main arena for political struggle and institution-building, the polarization of the main political actors continued, and an institutional opening for Russia’s revolution from above was made.

The Creeping Revolution from Above

            Key political and institutional contradictions produced the revolutionary situation and emerged from the tense coexistence of the party’s old style of work and democratization of the soviets in 1989-90.[61] Democratization of the soviets spawned executive presidencies, which in turn accelerated the separation of party and state, weakened party control over the power ministries (defense, internal affairs, and state security) or silovkie, and by 1991 gave rise to widespread uncertainty among the competing political forces. In short, revival of the soviets broke the hierarchical order of ‘democratic centralism’. Gorbachev’s early view that democratic centralism could be squared with pluralism and democracy proved untenable. His hope that, despite razgranichenie, the combination of party first secretaryships and chairmen of elected Soviet presidia would come under popular control turned out to be illusory.[62] The newly elected soviets received a legitimacy independent of party backing. As they increasingly became the main political and legislative fora, they came to serve as conduits for divisive issues; and they spread conflict throughout party and state organs.

            The soviets in some republics proposed to remove the party completely from state executive organs. This process culminated in the rewriting of the USSR Constitution’s Article 6 and the establishment of executive presidencies, another institution to which the party apparat would be subordinated. Before these changes and the March 1990 Lithuanian declaration of sovereignty, several republican supreme soviets’ had abrogated Article 6 in their constitutions and had banned primary party organizations’ activity in the local departments of the power ministries, administrative agencies, and judicial organs. (This occurred in Lithuania and Estonia, and in Moldova in July). The issues of sovereignty and departyization then moved to Russia. In July the Moscow city soviet recommended that law enforcement workers not join political parties and that Communists suspend their CPSU membership. In the face of these challenges, central party organs were paralyzed. The USSR MVD’s party-political administration proposed an “experiment” in which the political organs of the Baltic MVDs would be transformed into “services for education and social defense of personnel.” Party organizations of Communist law enforcement officials would be placed under gorkomy and raikomy, a joint party committee would be created under republican CCs, and a draft USSR law on the unconstitutionality of the republics’ decisions would be proposed. But by August, when the CC still had not made a decision, the republic CPs began “acting on their own…leading to the ousting” of party organizations in the Baltics, Moldova “and other” republics.[63]

            While the USSR and CPSU might have survived loss of the Baltics, or even Moldova, they could not afford to lose Russia. This was reflected in the relatively modest reaction by the regime to the Baltic secessionist movement before the Russian revolution from above gained force. The December 1989 CC plenums saw a polarization of relations between hardliners and softliners over the issues of the Lithuanian secessionist movement –largely an element of revolution from below — and the Lithuanian CP split. This peaked at the January 1990 plenum, where hardliners issued their first ultimatum: Gorbachev would either rein in Vilnius or be replaced by someone who could employ coercion. Gorbachev offered his resignation, which was rejected, but it was reported by one party official that his fate “hung by a hair.”[64] Dispatched to Vilnius during the plenum, Gorbachev failed to end the secessionist movement and functioned as a gatekeeper who blocked the employment of repressive measures. Moreover, he continued to remove reforms forward, pushing through the February CC Plenum a resolution recommending the rewriting of Article 6 to permit other political parties. After Yeltsin’s election to Russia’s chief post and moved the focus of the war for control of institutions from the party to the state, beginning Russia’s revolution from above, Gorbachev would take much tougher measures, at least temporarily.[65]

            Russia’s Communists were also divided between the hardline RCP movement and the DP. Not only Russian democrats but some 40 percent of Russian Communist legislators supported both Boris Yeltsin’s election as Supreme Soviet chairman and Russia’s declaration of sovereignty, which accelerated the ‘parade of sovereignties’ and war of laws and institutions.[66] Emulating the Baltic republics, Russia subjected all state organizations to ‘departyization’, adding impetus to the softliners’ razgranichenie, which had been mandated for the power ministries and the nomenklatura system by the 28th Congress. In full swing by October 1990, Russia’s departyization campaign led to the demise of full party organizations in 40 of the 75 RSFSR ministries and state committees by the spring of 1991. Many of them lacked CPSU organizations altogether.[67] Softliners and hardliners alike had counted on the 1.5 million Communists in legislative and administrative posts at various levels, including 60 percent of the RSFSR’s 25 thousand ministerial bureaucrats, to be a bulwark ensuring Communist control in the new multiparty system.[68] Not only were party  organizations being liquidated, but membership was falling precipitously. In one RSFSR ministry 305 officials had left the party in a period when only 33 new members had joined.[69] By October 1990 Ryzhkov was already complaining at the USSR Presidential Council, that RSFSR Council of Ministers refused to fulfill orders of the USSR Council.[70] By November he told the Supreme Soviet: “Control has been totally lost at all levels of the state structure… (T)hroughout the greater part of the  country’s territory, a situation has been created in which no one is in charge, and this has led to a complete or partial deterioration of all systems of administration.”[71]

            This administrative implosion resulted partly from the Russian Supreme Soviet’s financial revolution against the USSR’s Central Bank and financing system during the 28th Congress. The revolution was accomplished through a de facto privatization of capital through the commercialization of banking on RSFSR territory and through the transfer of power over cash flow to industrial managers (see Joel Hellman’s article in this volume). The cycle of republics’ sovereignization, their increasing economic autarchy, and the breakdown of inter-republic supply and contracts that resulted from democratization of the soviets had created an economic and financial crisis not just in the fall of 1991 but as early as the third quarter of 1990. “(A) lack of state orders, an undetermined volume of centralized capital investments’ distribution, and the strengthening of separatist tendencies in a number of regions” were already leading to such a high rate of non-fulfillment of contracts that the supply of consumer goods would meet only 33 percent of demand in 1991, as opposed to 65 percent in 1990. The situation was even worse in the metallurgy, agro-industrial, and fuel-energy sectors.[72] At a meeting of Communist ministers on 7 January 1991 at the CC, many demanded presidential or emergency rule to address the “state of emergency” in fuel and materials supplies for production in the automobile and light industry, agriculture machine-building, and other branches that were using “no more than 50 percent” of capacity. Only two-thirds of the material and technical resources needed for the defense industry were being provided. Several ministers at the meeting argued that the key financial problem was “the lack of correspondence between union and republic financial, tax and budget policies.” Indeed, the USSR Law on Taxes established a total tax on profits of 45 percent, but the RSFSR Law set a 38 percent tax. The further reduction of capital investments in the fuel and energy and chemical complexes, it was feared, would lead to “a fall in the tempos of the economy’s development and a lowering of the reliability of the country’s energy security” and would provoke “a full collapse of separate branches.”[73]

            The breakdown of administration was a direct result of the dissolution of the party-state’s institutional and political unity, the ensuing war for control over state organizations, and the party’s weakened capacity to mobilize production through its ‘control’ function. The breakdown of institutional and political unity was a cancer spreading throughout party, state, and society. Administrative breakdown, the regime split, and the political and financial ‘revolution’ in Russia and the Baltic states were symptoms of the main intermediate cause of the USSR’s collapse: Gorbachev’s institutional reorganization of the Soviet partocratic state. Reformist razgranichenie and revolutionary departizatsiya had split the regime, incapacitated the state, and, in combination with political liberalization and economic crisis, laid the basis for a revolutionary situation.

The Party Apparat and the Soviet Regime Split at the 28th CPSU Congress

            By the 28th CPSU Congress, the party’s crisis, its tradition of party discipline, its monopoly over various resources, and liberalization produced a four-way split in Soviet politics that included a three-way split within the regime and party, after the rise of the movement for the creation of a RCP (Dvizhenie kommunisticheskoi initsiativy or DKI) in mid-1989,[74] split the party on the ‘right’ and a democratic opposition, the Democratic Platform (DP), split the party on the ‘left’ in January 1990, with Gorbachev’s reformist perestroishchiki in the party center. The still amorphous but more radical societal opposition permitted by liberalization added to the three party factions made up the basic structure of strategic political action during the last two years of the USSR. This structure involved an imbalanced and asymmetrical relationship among the four groups — regime hardliners and softliners, an intra-party democratic opposition straddling the line between regime and opposition, and external social opposition movements — approximating the pattern of a moderates’ dilemma noted earlier. The party apparat’s delay, dilution, and obstruction of reform had a direct effect on this structure of strategic action. It produced a hardliner-softliner split, provoked a split among reformers made evident by the formation of the DP, and then drove the DP out of the party. Once outside the party, DP members in concert with others were able, by virtue of  liberalization, to consolidate the revolutionary movement from its base in Russian state organs. It should be remembered that Yeltsin was a key softliner until his failed demarche at the October 1987 CC Plenum, where he attacked Ligachev, the Secretariat and their obstruction of reforms in the Moscow party organization, and where the softliners Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Shevardnadze and Arbatov took a centrist position between Yeltsin and the rest of the CC.[75]

            After reform of the elections to the soviets and Gorbachev’s assumption of the chairmanship of the new USSR Congress of People’s Deputies, the struggle over perestroika took on a new cast. The new institutional milieu required open political manuvering. Thus, each group sought to restructure the evolving political system to its own political advantage and to insure itself against its opponents’ efforts to exploit the means of coercion. This polarized perestroika’s politics in both the Center and the periphery. What was at stake in these battles was the executive branch, which the party apparat sought to seize from the maverick USSR and renegade Russian presidents. This multidimensional political game played itself out at the CPSU’s final congress.

            Gorbachev’s sense on the eve of the 28th congress was that 70 percent of the CC and its apparat “hated” him and perestroika could have been said of almost the entire party and state apparat. The feeling was mutual: Gorbachev referred to the party apparat’s “shkurnichestvo” and harshly criticized it at Politburo sessions.[76] Indeed, the party apparat played the decisive role in the outcome of the conflict between the three party factions, which came to a head during the elections of delegates to the 28th Congress and to the conference of CPSU organizations in the RSFSR that evolved into the RCP’s founding congress. The DP threatened to join the opposition by defecting from the CPSU if the party congress failed to meet its demands on the “legality” of internal party factions, CPSU democratization and, most importantly, full party-state separation and the CPSU’s transformation into a purely parliamentary party (see below). Because Boris Yeltsin, had just been elected RSFSR Supreme Soviet Chairman by a democratic-hardline coalition in defiance of Gorbachev’s openly declared opposition in the chamber before the vote, the prospect emerged of a war against the reformist leadership in the metropole for control over the state waged by an ad hoc alliance of hardliners, who controlled the new RCP, and democrats, who controlled the Russian state and who had begun on the eve of the congress to use the RSFSR state apparatus to dismantle the partocratic regime (see below). The institutionalization of dual power and sovereignty over RSFSR territory was underway, marking the onset of a revolutionary situation produced by an opposition from above rather than from below. Indeed, Yeltsin and the DP favored formation of the RCP, playing the hardliners’ card of Russian nationalism, whereas hardliners opposed the formation of platforms and hoped to organize a purge of the DP. Gorbachev’s supporters sided with the DP in supporting the right to form platforms as long as they did not have organizational structures, while he unsuccessfully opposed the formation of the RCP. Behind thess issues lay the three-way struggle for delegates, the congress itself, and the party’s vast resources.

            The conflict between hardliners and softliners over these issues peaked at the 9 April 1990 Politburo session, which featured a battle of zapiski, notably a proposed CC Open Letter to Communists on party factions.[77] The Letter was an attempt by hardliners to purge DP supporters from the party, and it appears to have been inspired by a letter to the CC apparat from Ligachev. A harsh first draft emerged from the CC OrgOtdel, which Gorbachev ordered Medvedev to tone down. The hardliners preferred sending a tough Letter calling for an organizational razmezhevanie from the DP, including the disbanding of party organizations controlled by DP factions. Softliners, including Gorbachev, Medvedev, Yakovlev, Shevardnadze, and Pravda editor Ivan Frolov, opposed the hardliners’ attempt to incite a purge and to protect the right to form alternative platforms.[78] Convinced that DP supporters wanted to remain in the party, the softliners also sensed that a more moderate Letter as useful, as Gorbachev noted, might “give an impulse” that would restrain DP supporters from provoking hardliners and could convince them to maintain party unity.[79] Ligachev, however, insisted that the Letter be brought before the CC for discussion, hoping to rally the arch-conservative middle-levels of the party apparat. Gorbachev naturally won the battle in the Politburo. The session approved the “soft” version of the Letter without submitting it to a plenum. This provoked an outburst by Ligachev who defended the CC and condemned the decision as “strange and shocking.” In response, Gorbachev asked the Politburo to make de jure what had been de facto since Ligachev’s demotion in 1988 after his opposition to the first reorganization: putting Medvedev in charge of all questions coming under the jurisdiction of the Politburo and Secretariat. This was approved.[80]

            Despite Gorbachev’s attempt to tone down the Letter and its effect after publication, it polarized relations between the three regime camps and between the party leadership and the middle-level apparat.[81] At the 3 May Politburo meeting Medvedev reported on the “grave” situation in the hardline Leningrad party organization: “They say we abandoned the Leningrad party organization. … They say that it is inevitable that we will take the party so far that we will, in effect, have left socialism for the market. Such a mind-set is so deeply rooted that one cannot reason with them, arguments do not help. … (T)he conservative temperament in the higher echelons of the Leningrad party organization must have been exacerbated by approval of the CC Open Letter…”[82]

            The conservative or hardline temperament was heralded by the RCP movement and by an open revolt not only on the part of the central apparat but also on the part of the middle-level party apparat (from the obkomy down to raikomy) in the Russian provinces, whose committees had come under siege as a result of liberalization.[83] Ligachev supported the RCP movement, defending it at the 9 April 1990 meeting of the Politburo against criticism from Gorbachev, Yakovlev, Medvedev, and Frolov.[84] The ‘vanguard role’ in the RCP movement was taken up by the hardline Leningrad party organization.[85] Its first secretary, Boris Gidaspov, took the opposite line of Medvedev’s a few months later, warning the Politburo that the situation in Leningrad was “very grave” because “the counterrevolution is beginning.”[86]

            In attempting to hold hardliners in check and the DP inside the party, softliners hoped to stop the party apparatchiki from dominating the June RSFSR party conference and the CPSU congress.[87] However to Gorbachev’s dismay, the apparat continued to manipulate the delegate election process to its advantage, thereby further alienating the DP from Gorbachev. As Razumovskii and Yurii Manaenkov reported at the 3 May meeting of the Politburo, results showed that 24 percent of the delegates to the congress and conference would be party apparatchiki, and only 14 and 13 percent respectively would be ‘workers and peasants.’ In addition, 60 percent of Moscow’s Communists supported the DP. In response, Gorbachev (and Frolov) attacked the apparat for sitting in their offices and worrying about their jobs while ‘Gorbachev abandoned socialism.’ Gorbachev also demanded that the OrgOtdel somehow ensure that “workers” be nominated as delegates (and candidates for PD) and that party officials be forced to “compete” and not “nominate themselves”, since the process of self-nomination was provoking a “growing reaction against raikomy and gorkomy“ and would soon alienate workers so much that they would “search for support in other political movements and in the workers’ committees.”[88] Regardless, Manaenkov reported to the congress that the apparat’s delegate share was 40 (!), not 24 percent and touted this as “a special feature” of the congress.[89] The ensuing reactionary tenor of the CPSU and RCP congresses drove hundreds of thousands of members from the party in the fall.[90] In many Moscow raikomy, 80 percent of party members considered the resolutions of the RSFSR CP founding congress to be without validity.[91] As had been the case in Lithuania, defectors tended to be reformers, democrats, or separatists oposed to the reactionary Russian nationalism of the CPSU-loyal Baltic and RSFSR CPs. Thus in driving out the DP, hardliners ‘consolidated’ the party’s ranks in their favor, but they also strengthened the opposition and enriched it with new leaders, further polarizing regime and opposition.

            However, the central issue at the congress was the party’s proper relationship to the state. The three main party groupings could be distinguished by their very different positions on this issue. The softliners supported razgranichenie and had acquiesced in the legalization of mnogopartiinost’ (multiple parties), but they avoided explicit support for the party’s transformation into a parliamentary party. As Gorbachev told the congress, the CPSU would govern only if it won at the ballot box, and “in this sense it acts as a parliamentary party” (my highlight).[92] This equivocal stance contrasted with the firm stands of the DP and the hardline DKI. Yeltsin and the DP demanded not razgranichenie but the party’s full separation from state and ‘public’ structures and its transformation into a purely parliamentary party.[93] The hardliners’ position, represented in Ligachev’s speeches and those of the future first secretary of the RCP, Ivan Polozkov, supported the party’s role as the nucleus of the political system and opposed removal of the Politburo and Secretariat from the apex of state power.[94]

            The importance of the party-state separation issue was now highlighted by Gorbachev’s possession of both the general secretary’s and the president’s chairs. At the time of the 28th Congress the A debate arose over whether he ought to relinquish the former post to implement reform from above solely through the latter. Many of Gorbachev’s advisers and supporters urged that he do so. However, if Gorbachev had done so, it would have been perceived by the party as Gorbachev’s abandonment of party reform, even of the party itself. Moreover, such a step might well have led to the surrender of the party to the hardliners who opposed party-state separation at a time when the party still retained links to key state structures, including the power ministries. The party had not been so transformed that it accepted its loss of monopoly power. Most of perestroika’s reforms had been forced on the CPSU, despite Gorbachev’s assertion that the party was the initiator of perestroika. Moreover, when the 28th Congress convened, the reorganization of the party-state had not been in effect for very long. The USSR Congress of PDs and Supreme Soviet had been functioning for only a year, the presidency and local soviets for only a few months. Finally, the presidential apparat was still not formed, and the presidency as a whole lacked of an institutional history and real authority at the time. To surrender the general secretaryship at this time would have been to invite a coup a year earlier, since the party still retained its institutional links to the power ministries. As long as Gorbachev held both posts, he and the party remained in a scorpions’ embrace, each attempting to subordinate the other in the hope of harnessing its power.

            Gorbachev’s reluctance to transform razgranichenie into rasdelenie (full separation) or departyization was perhaps the key factor in the DP’s decision to leave the party. The campaign of departizatsiya in Russia’s creeping revolution from above and subsequent polarization between regime and opposition moderates in the fall brought the first stirrings of a revolutionary situation; a direct result of the split at the congress. The DP’s defection from the regime made the “moderates’ dilemma”[95] “balanced” and “symmetrical”, with moderates and extremists in both regime (Gorbachev’s softliners and the RCP) and opposition (Yeltsin’s revolutionaries from above in the RSFSR adminstration and Democratic Russia’s revolutionaries from below). A pattern ensued in which “anything” could happen in the next year: political polarization, crackdowns, a threat of civil war, pact-making, and constitutional and armed coups.[96]

The Second Reorganization of the Party-State and the Polarization of Soviet Politics

            Despite the dangers inherent in the developing revolutionary situation, the creation of the presidency and the decisions of the 28th Congress marked the onset of a second wave of reorganization of the party-state with the extension of razgranichenie to the nomenklatura system and the power ministries, subordinating the latter to the president as constitutional commander-in chief. This, the fourth phase of razgranichenie initiated by Gorbachev constituted a risky venture coming in the wake of Yeltsin’s rise to power in Russia, Gorbachev’s declaration of support for the creation of a volunteer army, his agreement with Yeltsin to develop a joint economic transition plan, and his annoincement of plans for a new Union Treaty. The power ministries, party apparat, and nomenklatura system were the core institutions of the Soviet partocratic state. The power ministries – the party’s ‘sword-bearers’ – backed up and reinforced the party’s organizational, nomenklatura, and mobilizational functions. Gorbachev’s simultaneous assault on all three of these institutions threatened to provoke a wave reactionary actions against perestroika by hardliners.

            First, Gorbachev ordered a second reduction of the party apparat, including a 40 percent cut in the CC apparat.[97] This was a real betrayal, since when “everyone panciked” in the CC apparat before the first reorganization after rumors circulated there that a 70 percent staff cut was being planned, Gorbachev had promised this would not occur.[98] However, a second reduction of 40 percent amounted to an overall cut of 70 percent. More importantly, Gorbachev ordered a drastic reduction in the CC apparat’s party nomenklatura powers and full dismantling of the party’s state nomenklatura powers, but it gained pace only in 1991.[99] The CC apparat apparently delayed the CC Secretariat resolution finalizing the new system until 6 August 1991. Nevertheless, as a result of this reform, the CC apparat finally lost its prerogative even to ‘confirm’ ex post facto the election or appointment of some 1,000 top central governmental, soviet, military, KGB, and ‘public organization’ posts – from vice-president to chairmen of councils of ministers, chairmen of soviets, and chairmen of ispolkomy in krais, oblasts, and the cities of Moscow, Kiev, Tashkent, and Leningrad.[100] At the center and in many republics, the party apparat henceforth would have been forced to rely on the will of state executives and the soviets for its candidate’s appointment to state posts. In the party, power devolved to the union republic CPs, which by now represented a wide range of political orientations, most of which by then were in opposition to perestroika; the result – further disintegration of the party.

            Finally, the effort to curb the power ministries’ ties to the party included the removal of ministers from the Politburo, the statization and deideologization of the party’s political organs in the power ministries, the removal of first secretaries of local party committees from military councils, and the dissolution of CC and local state and legal departments and commissions (even though they continued to exist in some party committees.[101] CC and local defense (industry) departments were also eliminated, but the Secretariat allowed some committees to retain such departments prohibited by the reorganization.[102] To compensate for the transfer of the political organs to state control, party organzations in the power ministries’ armed units were permitted to elect committees with their own apparats which were run by commissars who had been released from the new state military-political administrations. This soon provided the party apparat and military ample opportunity to reforge ties and show solidarity in the face of reform as hardliners mounted a reactionary campaign against perestroika.

The Party Apparat Resurgent

            After the 28th Congress, the Secretariat, with its new schedule of weekly sessions and a smaller number of party documents reviewed or signed by the GenSek, attempted to consolidate the party’s ranks behind the conservative line of the RCP and maintain the apparat’s ties to the power ministries while going through the motions of implementing reforms mandated by the congress. Oleg Shenin, a new Politburo member and CC Secretary for party organization played the leading role in the party apparat’s attempted resurgence and efforts to reforge party-silovkie ties. This was facilitated by the failure of the first and second reorganizations to cut in any significant way the staffs of the orgotdely (or of the general departments and administrations of affairs), which was testimony to their staying power.[103] The CC OrgOtdel remained the only CC department with a liaison unit for the power ministries. This, along with the decision to create party committees with apparats in military, KGB and MVD party organizations, was used by Shenin to develop his own ties, as well as to reinforce those of the party apparat, to the power ministries.

            The party apparat immediately began to protest and obstruct Gorbachev’s plans for a second reorganization and purge of the party apparat, the dismantling of the nomenklatura system, razgranichenie of the party from the power ministries’s functions, as well as the overall results of perestroika. At a meetinf of the Politburo on 13 September, where Shenin announced plans for the second reorganization of the party apparat, he wrned of tensions in the party apparat to argue that this should be the last reorganization. Politburo member and CC Secretary for international relations, Valentin Falin, complained bitterly about the first reorganization’s cuts in his department and the plans for the second. Politburo member and CC Secretary for agrarian affairs, Yegor Stroev, complained about the announced reduction of the CC Agrarian Department, claiming that this was unwarranted since the new Peasants’ Party supposedly had a large apparatus. Future August coup-plotter, CC Secretary in charge of the defense industry, Oleg Baklanov, spoke out against elimination of the CC Defense Department. While hardline Leningrad First Secretary Gidaspov expressed amazement about the decision to eliminate the nomenklatura system.[104]

            The dissatisfaction among the top military and KGB command over with party-silovkie razgranichenie was also expressed through obstruction and protest. The A presidential ukaz of 3 September 1990 required the power ministries to draft proposals for the transfer of the political organs to state control within three months. The Defense Ministry’s delayed signing its proposals until 3 December, and the KGB’s proposals expressed concern about how to maintain “the effectiveness of party-political influence on the Chekists’ environment.”[105] As in the army, the new KGB- and MVD-party committees should have taken on this function, as the party’s only remaining institutional tie to the power ministries. But if the results described by one military-political officer are any indication, the “new” political administrations remained party organs in practice. A CC member and Transbaikal VO (Military District) commander noted in August 1991: “Unfortunately, some people have a simplistic notion that the differentiation of functions is tantamount to the mechanical severance of party work from the activity of the troops.” He claimed that the “overwhelming majority of military-political organs” retained “solid contact” with army-party committees among the troops, but he criticized the former for “not always” supporting party work.[106] On the one hand, party-state razgranichenie in the power ministries, the removal of the political administrations in the power ministries and in their armed units from the party, and the formation of committees to replace them produced a decline in soldier-communists’ party participation and in party-silovkie ties overall. In one garrison, 30 percent of the party organization’s members did not attend the assembly, and 23 percent of attendees voted against forming a partkom.[107] In the fall of 1990 Politburo members were complaining that the KGB was not providing them with information, and the CC International Department was reportedly removed from the list of recipients for KGB analyses by mid-1990.[108] At the power ministries’ top levels, however, where party membership was very high, party loyalty continued. The MVD First Deputy Minister, I.F. Shilov, still was reporting to the CC apparat in the weeks preceding the August coup, which, of course, was led by high-ranking KGB and military officers.[109] The picture in party-silovkie relations, even more so than in the economy, was one of limited separation, which could only have kept alive hopes for an authoritarian restoration among hardliners.

            The hardline reaction reached a peak in mid-November as Yeltsin’s Russian administration began to adopt measures for implementing the ‘500 Days’ economic transition program, to make demands for Russian sovereignty under the Union Treaty negotiations, and to purge the Russian state of CPSU structures. Gorbachev was accused of  “surrendering” to Yeltsin’s “ultimatum.” On 13 November, Gorbachev met with military officer-people’s deputies and was roundly heckled. The next day, Colonel Viktor Alksnis, the reactionary leader of the ‘Soyuz’ deputies faction in the USSR Supreme Soviet and a Latvian CP (CPSU) CC member, declared at the Supreme Soviet session that the president “was left without the Armed Forces.” At the 17 November session Alksnis demanded that “Gorbachev had 30 days to restore order in the country or he and the soviets would be replaced by an emergency regime of committees of national salvation headed by the a coordinating body, the Committee of National Salvation, formed by ultranationalist proto-parties led by Yurii Voronov, Vladimir Zhirinovskii and CC apparatchik Yurii Bokan.[110] It was from the “right” that on 16 November Gorbachev was issued an apparent ultimatum which he could not refuse, and, despite his denial, it likely was inspired in large part by the Politburo as well as other party hardliners and the power ministers. It may have been delivered by Politburo member and CC Secretary for international relations, Gennadii Yanaev (who would be nominated by Gorbachev for the vice presidency created during the turn to the “right”).[111] Moreover, at the Politburo on 16 November, party hardliners put forward demands for emergency rule and an end to what was depicted as Gorbachev’s “abandonment” of the party. Whatever the exact origins, in one of perestroika’s watershed moments, Gorbachev subsequently steered to the “right” during winter 1990-1991.

Gorbachev’s Turn to the Right and the Hardline Reaction

            The Politburo’s demands on 16 November that its powers be restored, voiced in particular by the CC secretaries and union-republic secretaries who were not union-republic leaders, was never satisfied during Gorbachev’s turn to the right. Indeed, Gorbachev responded to one such call by saying that he saw no need for him to chair every Politburo meeting.[112] However, it did include a major restructuring of central executive branch that boosted the influence of party hardliners and the silovkie. The Politburo meeting of 16 November “killed,” as Yakovlev put it, the Presidential Council[113] By this time the Council had become the final institutional refuge for Yakovlev, Medvedev, Primakov, and Bakatin, all of whom had left the Politburo and/or Secretariat in line with the razgranichenie policy. The Presidential Council was replaced by the Federation Council as the top executive body. This promoted the party’s role in the central executive, since half the Federation Council’s members were union-republic CP first secretaries, while the creation of a the Security Council returned power ministers to top executive bodies.[114]

            Furthermore, the KGB Chairman and Defense Minister were allowed unprecedented television addresses to the Soviet people. The liberal MVD Chief, Vadim Bakatin, was replaced by the more conservative Boris Pugo, who had criticized Gorbachev’s elimination of the old CC Administrative Organs Department in the first reorganization was a mistake because that organ had effectively coordinated the silovkie.[115] Other hardliners from military were appointed to the MVD, and the MVD and military were allowed to establish joint street patrols and sepcial powers to search enterprises in an ostensible crackdown on organized crime.[116] All these measures encouraged the party apparat and power ministries to undertake aborted coup attempts in the Baltic republics. While Gorbachev’s involvement has yet to be proven, there can be no doubt that the party apparat was deeply involved in the planning and implementation of these operations. In August 1990, Shenin and the Secretariat produced a resolution ordering formation of special KGB Alpha units to defend the CPSU in Lithuania.[117] This document, along with communications on 11 January between the CC and Vilnius, gives clear evidence of the Secretariat’s role in the January 1991 Baltic coups.[118] On the eve of the Baltic coups, at a  meeting of government ministers at the CC on 7 January 1991, numerous calls were made for presidential/emergency rule, which were dutifully reported to Gorbachev by Shenin and the Secretariat.[119]

            After Gorbachev refused to back the Baltic coup attempts and they collapsed, the party appart and power ministries stepped up efforts to maintain party-silovkie ties and turned even more forcefully against Gorbachev and perestroika. The CC Secretariat immediately sent out a secret letter to the party-committee secretaries of the army, KGB, MVD, and the railroad troops drafted by deputy head of the OrgOtdel and future GKChP staff member, I.V. Kovyrin. The letter exhorted soldier-communists (portrayed as the party’s vanguard) to hieghten vigilance during the country’s “complex moment,” which had been caused by perestroika’s failures, the outbreak of the Persian Gulf war, and “attempts by anti-socialist and nationalist forces to liquidate Soviet power and break up the USSR.”[120] In a memorandum couched in the most ideological terms, the CPSU Control Commission chairman (an army colonel) supported Shenin and the AAPK Secretary (an army colonel) in their bid to save military faculties in educational institutions because “the imperialists of the USA and other capitalist states are not refraining from building up the combat strength and technical equipment of their armed forces so that they can win the struggle for man.”[121] In addition, the CC International Department began a campaign against ‘new political thinking’ as well.[122]

            A great opportunity for reforging party-silovkie ties arose with the party conferences held in all primary party organizations (PPOs) to elect a new PPO Secretaries’ Council mandated by the party congress. Both the military and the civilian conferences became the pretext for a flood of letters, appeals, and declarations sent to the CC demanding Gorbachev’s resignation and other measures to restore socialism with the usual cryptic statement that “certain circles in the party leadership are organizing a further fall in its authority, its breakup, and its political death.”[123] Both the PPO conferences and the election processes culminated in the April 1991 CC Plenum, where Gorbachev temporarily resigned as General Secretary after encountering vehement attacks on perestroika.[124] Shenin’s Secretariat, the All-Army Party Committee (AAPK) and the ostensibly “departyized” Military-Political Directorate worked together to increase the representation of uniformed officers at the January, April, and July 1991 CC plenums.[125] Moreover, the party apparat approached the April plenum with an anti-perestroika campaign that included a draft resolution referring to perestroika as a policy “against the people” (antinarodnaya). Gorbachev phoned Shenin about this draft resolution, calling him to account.[126] The campaign was intensified by an equally critical report prepared by the CC Socio-Political Organizations Commission memorandum, an anti-perestroika discussion among CC apparatchiki printed in the CC apparat newspaper, and by a first draft of the GKChP with Shenin placed at its head.[127] Between Gorbachev’s resignation threat at the April plenum and his announcement literally on its very eve that he had negotiated behing the back of the party apparat and power ministries a new agreement with nine union-republic leaders, including Yeltsin, who was in the midst of an intense anti-party crusade in his election campaign for the newly-created Russian presidency, clearly signaled that hardliners and softliners were headed in opposite directions.

The Revival of Pact-Making and the Road to the August Coup

            To explain why perestroika’s potential transformation into a transition to democracy aborted and devolved into the consumation of the revolution from above we must be able explain the most direct cause – the August coup. The revival of the Union Treaty negotiations at Novo Ogarevo under the “Nine Plus One” agreement on 23 April involving the country’s main opposition leader marked the return of pact-making toward a full transition from the ancien regime, just as hardliners had became more determined than ever to “restore order.” The renewed threat of a Gorbachev/Yeltsin coalition inevitably provoked hightened anxiety among hardliners. The party-state separation process by August had already led to the party’s eclipse as the nucleus of the state and vanguard of society. On the eve of the coup, a series of measures were nearing completion, which, taken together, hailed the end of the party’s residual parastatal role. The August coup, therefore, was as much a desperate attempt to halt the party’s separation from the state, as it was an attempt to save the Union from the Union Treaty.

            During the Russian presidential campaign during the spring of 1991, Yeltsin began threatening to issue a presidential ukaz (eventually issued on 23 July) banning CPSU organizations from all RSFSR state organs and enterprises. The party apparat belatedly began pursuing territorial, grassroots and parliamentary forms of organization and work, as it might have much earlier had it been forced to. Since October 1990 the Secretariat had been waging an almost full-time struggle to prevent the removal of primary party organizations (PPOs) from RSFSR state organizations and retain the territorial-production principle of party organization.[128] Yeltsin’s election fully demoralized the party apparat. As an OrgOtdel document lamented, he had won a plurality of 44 percent even in the apparat’s bellwether district, populated in the main by families of present and former party-state aktiv. The same document summarized the mood of a RCP first secretaries’ conference after the election: “People express distrust of the policy of perestroika. The course of the CPSU and the people’s expectations have separated. The population and communists themselves have ceased understanding the CPSU leadership’s policy. A large step has been made toward the elimination of socialism and the CPSU’s collapse, and this defeat has been delivered by the hand of the people. The party has turned out to be neither mentally nor organizationally prepared for serious political struggle, and its leadership is in apparat hibernation. … The central organs of state power and administration are in fact in the name of the CPSU carrying out an antiparty and antipeople’s policy. The CPSU’s leaders have finally lost authority. We are left without cadres and without power.”[129] Still, Gorbachev not only endorsed the election, but he continued to negotiate with him as well as the other union-republic leaders at Novo Ogarevo.

            Days after the 12 June election, the power ministers, USSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Anatolii Lukyanov, and USSR Vice President Yanaev attempted to transfer Gorbachev’s presidential powers to the government. This gambit was supported by the Secretariat, which shored up party-government ties by organizing PPO secretaries’ councils for economic branches on the eve of the aborted “constitutional coup.”[130] This turned out to be the last attempt to block reform through institutional manipulation. The party apparat subsequently turned to “its” power ministries, where it had continued political work.

            With Yeltsin’s election and his 23 July decree, however, the Secretariat began on paper at least to take measures that followed the logic of full departyization. In response to complaints by RSFSR MVD officer-communists that they were “being persecuted by having legal obstacles put in way” of their service, the Secretariat recommended to party organizations that after being expelled from the RSFSR MVD, they should follow the Krasnodar’s Sharyno city MVD party organization’s example and “territorialize” their party organizations.[131] A week before Yeltsin’s ukaz, the Secretariat had prepared detailed instructions for all PPOs to shift from state bodies and enterprises to places of residence and to begin working on a “territorial” basis, concentrating especially on electoral districts.[132] The Moscow Obkom called on its gorkomy and raikomy to reorganize along the lines of electoral districts, form coalitions in soviets, and organize public opinion monitoring and other functions typical of parliamentary parties.[133]

            Other measures being implemented on the eve of the coup, some of them noted earlier, also heralded the party’s demise. Razgranichenie was being directed against the party’s nomenklatura power over state posts, while departyization was squeezing the party out of Russia’s state and productive institutions. A major reduction in the apparat’s vertushki was approved in August.[134] The presidential apparat was finally being staffed, with over half the new officials consisting of young transfers from the CC apparat.[135] Gorbachev had essentially abandoned the Politburo, convening it only once from the April plenum to the August coup. (This was among the factors that sparked the attempt by the power ministers in June to transfer powers from Gorbachev to the prime minister.) Moreover, Gorbachev had agreed to a memorandum from Shakhnazarov that supported a full transition to democracy.[136] He planned to completely reorganize the central state apparatus and eliminate seats set aside for the party and ‘public organizations’ in a new federal parliament after the Union Treaty was signed.[137] In addition, Gorbachev had decided to defend social democratic principles at the 29th CPSU Congress scheduled for November 1991, and he was prepared to split the party.[138] Shakhnazarov’s draft of a social democratic party program was then forced on the July CC Plenum, despite a rival draft that a party commission had been preparing for a year.[139]

            The tectonics of the conflict between the moderates’ pact-making, which heralded the demise of the partocratic regime, and hardliners of the party apparat and silovkie, sworn to defend what remained of the old order reached critical mass on 20 August 1991, which was not only the date set for signing of the Treaty, but was also the deadline set by the RSFSR Prosecutor for all soviet chairmen in the RSFSR who were simultaneously first secretaries of CPSU organizations to relinquish one of their posts. By that date, 1,090 legal suits had been brought against those who combined these two offices. More than 300 first secretaries had decided to abandon their party posts for soviet work; more than 150 chose to stay in party work.[140] Therefore, the reforms had led to a situation in which most party secretaries in Russia now preferred the soviets to the party apparat. This meant that a large portion of the top layer of nomenklatura and party apparat were willing to accept departyization in the empire’s metropole and among its staatsvolk. In sum, state socialism was on the verge of being dismantled by regime moderates as well as by the revolutionaries from above (and from below).[141] By launching an armed coup, the apparat was avoiding the Hobson’s choice between a transition to democracy and a creeping revolution from above.

The Party Apparat and the August Coup

            The party apparat, led by Shenin and the Secretariat, played a major role in the August 1991 conspiracy. Much of it was organized in the routinized, partocratic tradition. Shenin convened the Secretariat, which sent out specific orders to central and many local party committees instructing them to support the GKChP, while maintaining radio communications with the provinces. Local party committees reported as ordered on the population’s response to the coup on a daily basis.[142] However, there was no order to rally Communists at party assemblies or street meetings, perhaps because the breakdown in discipline and the factionalization of the party after liberalization made this too risky a venture, or perhaps because were bureaucratic and administrative methods were so engrained that apparatchiki could only imagine a seizure of power by zapiski and tanks.

            Both the occurrence and failure of the August coup were direct results of the eclipse of the partocratic state engineered from above. The reorganization and razgranichenie of the party-state had given power and authority to state institutions — to the soviets and new presidencies, especially in Russia. Crucially, only in regional soviets where the party first secretary held the chairmanship, as in Saratov and Tambov, did the GKChP find strong support. Party committees whose secretaries failed to win election to the soviets and those who held on to the old model of the party-run state supported the coup.[143] This meant that soviets with chairmen elected independently of the party apparat did not support the coup. The soviets had garnered not only organizational, but enough political, independence to oppose the party apparat’s effort to restore authoritarianism.

            In addition, by August the party’s inability to ensure party-state institutional and political unity had caused a loss of morale within the silovkie. In almost all union republics, either independent military units, national guards, or defense ministries (or committees) had been created. High-ranking KGB and military officers, like many high party officials, had defected to the opposition. Such were the causes of the key lapses in the coup’s execution: the defection of troops around the White House to the opposition, the failure to arrest Yeltsin, and the disobedience and “sabotage” in KGB subunits on RSFSR territory.[144] With the coup’s collapse and the banning of the CPSU, what was but the shadow of a once powerful pillar of the Soviet state disappeared, followed four months later by the USSR itself.


            The collapse of the Soviet Union cannot be regarded as a revolution from below. Rather, it was the result of a revolution from above that followed rather automatically with the breakdown of a somewhat unlikely transition to democracy under Soviet power; a transition uniquely burdened by a set of interrelated structural, institutional, and intentional constraints generated by the partocratic regime. Contradictions between the entrenched Soviet mode of state-society organization and the need to modernize state and social institutions, yielded an erratic course of reform in both party and state, a regime split, and a complex and polarized structure of strategic action.

            Instead of resolving the structural crisis, the reorganization of both the party and the partocratic state provoked a war over institutions among competing “state executives and their followers” who “maneuvered to extract resources and build administrative and coercive organizations” or seize control over existing ones.[145] Institutional reform and reorganization became the weapon of choice for political combat, which incapacitated both party, regime, and state. Although the party’s incomplete separation from the state demobilized the latter, it left party officials with the hope that the process could be reversed, inspiring counter-reorganizations and numerous attempts after the 28th Congress to rein in, or seize powers from, the USSR president. The state saw its administrative capacities reduced because of lax discipline after the party apparat began losing its ‘control for fulfilment’ and nomenklatura functions.

            Within the party, however, the apparat maintained control over organization and cadre work, but it slowly adopted newly mandated ‘political’ analytical functions. As a result, the apparat competed in elections and parliamentary work without having mastered the requisite methods. The resulting decline of its authority and power within the soviets and in society, combined with the three-way regime split within the regime, led to the seizure of power by the opposition in Russia. This institutionalization of the regime’s political split produced a creeping revolution from above, most importantly, in Russia. Both party and state organs were riven by ideological conflict and were increasingly polarized. As a result, hierarchies were broken and institutions were reorganized, counter-reorganized, reorganized again, and a split on the “right” between the CPSU leadership and the hardline party (and state) apparat compounded the split on the “left” between the central state and the revolutionary democrat-led RSFSR state.

            Elements of a transition pact emerged in the negotiations on the “500 Days” economic transition plan, on a new Union Treaty at Novo Ogarevo before the August coup, and the Nono Oarevo II negotiations after the coup’s collapse. The moderates’ pacting efforts exacerbated the reactionary backlash from the conservative ranks of the party apparat and its supporters in the power ministries and led to efforts to counter-reorganize state and party bodies, to rein in Gorbachev at the 16 November 1990 Politburo meeting and the April 1991 CC Plenum, overthrow him by way of the June “constitutional coup” and the August armed coup. The party apparat and its supporters in state structures resisted Gorbachev’s policy of razgranichenie in order to save the state by preserving the party-state.Each effort failed, since the employed means were no longer effective because the institutional structure of power had shifted. The RCP was created after power had been shifted to the soviets and executive presidencies. Gorbachev’s ‘turn to the right’, apparently at the instigation of the party apparat at the 16 November Politburo meeting, came after power had devolved to Russia and the republics. The USSR presidency’s powers had already been proven weak in relation to the growing authority of Russia’s President Yeltsin. By the April 1991 Plenum, the Party Rules no longer gave the CC the authority to remove the General Secretary. In the June 1991 constitutional coup attempt, the USSR Supreme Soviet did not have the constitutional right to transfer presidential powers to the premier.

            Similarly, when party and silovkie hardliners moved save what remained of the partocratic regime from the impending signing of the Novo Ogarevo pact, they failed once more because the party could reliably command the silovkie and the Soviet and Russian presidents as well as the soviets had superceded them as the legitimate ruling organs. The August coup sparked the August revolution, marked by the suspension of the CPSU. Russia’s revolutionary bureaucrats proceeded after the August coup to expropriate the central state institutions and resources that constituted the remains of the partocratic regime. The consummation of the political phase of the revolution from above led to the a final breakdown of negotiations towards a Novo Ogarevo pact and the rapid breakup of the Soviet state.

            The main consequences of the hardliners’ attempts to reorganize power and  ‘restore order’ were the split of reformers into moderates and radicals and the latter’s growing popular support and disdain for the party. To rally support for the amorphous and weak set of opposition movements led by ‘Democratic Russia’, the radicals seized the RSFSR executive, departyized state structures in the Russian metropole, and then expropriated the state’s central organs after the August coup. Softliners also contributed to the destructive phase of the crisis. Indeed, the perestroika period was one of considerable tacit cooperation between the opposition and regime moderates, especially in incapacitating the party apparat. The reformers’ soft response to Yeltsin’s decree banning the CPSU from RSFSR state institutions was simply the last expression of this tacit cooperation between democrats and regime softliners in the party-state separation process. Russian democrats did not invent the policy of razgranichenie; they merely transformed it into a policy of rasdelenie or separation. By the 28th Congress, the difference between these policies had been reduced to whether all parties or none should be allowed to organize in state institutions. (The right to organize in society had already been granted with the rewriting of Article 6 of the USSR and many union-republic constitutions.) The party apparat was not allowed to resolve the issue. Instead, this was left to the Soviet and Russian presidents. Gorbachev’s restraint, his constitutional control of the power ministries, and Yeltsin’s aggressive attack on the party in Russian state structures presaged the CPSU’s fall from power. Softliner-democrat cooperation culminated in a “first-order understanding” toward a transition pact, represented by the Novo Ogarevo agreement in April 1991.[146] The August coup’s failure intervened to change the structure of political action in favor of the opposition, allowing the completion of Russia’s political revolution from above.

The reformers, caught between the Scylla of revolution and the Cherybdis of totalitarian restoration, also played important roles as liberalizers, who chiseled away at the foundation of partocratic state power in the Soviet Union, and gatekeepers, who blocked the apparat’s aspirations to crack down and restore order. In so doing, they facilitated the opposition’s acquisition of real power and the non-violent collapse of a great, imperial state in Yeltsin’s Russian revolution from above.



[1] For a more detailed account of Russia’s revolution from above, the model of revolution from above, and a theory of interacting constraints for explaining revolutionary as opposed to transitional regime change see my Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition, and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Rutgers u.: Transaction publishers, 2002). Using a non-Marxist structural approach, Skocpol argues revolutions are the result of lost capacity to “reform” due to constraints posed by the “macro-structural and historical contexts.” Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 81, 65. McFaul places a contingency on macro-structural and historical factors, arguing that politics and the actions taken by political groups and actors play important roles in revolutionary outcomes. Michael McFaul, “Revolutionary Transformations in Comparative Perspective: Defining a Post-Communist Research Agenda,” in David Holloway and Norman Naimark, eds., Reexamining the Soviet Experience: Essays in Honor of Alexander Dallin (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), pp. 167-196.

[2] Paraphrasing Skocpol we can say that Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms of the Soviet multinational party-state triggered “the concerted political resistance of well-organized dominant…forces… Because these forces possessed leverage within the formally centralized machineries” of the state, “their resistance disorganized those machineries.” Partocratic “authority was abolished. And as the dominant…groups based in various institutional and geographical locations” (party and central state apparat, KGB, military, and many union republics) “competed…to define new political arrangements,” “administration and armies were broken irretrievably apart.” Successful opposition to reforms “inadvertently opened the door to deepening revolution.” Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, p. 81.

[3] My model of revolution from above is adapted from Trimberger and defined here as the extralegal takeover of some or all of the state’s political institutions of power for the implementation of a fundamental overturn of the existing political, economic and social order by top civilian and/or military officials and bureaucrats. All stages of a revolution are carried out using the newly won bureaucratic apparatus with little or no mass participation or violence. Ellen Kay Trimberger, Revolution from Above: Military Bureaucrats and Development in Japan, Turkey, Egypt, and Peru (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1978), pp. 3-5.

[4] Its most “revolutionary” actions were in fact defensive in nature: the mass demonstrations in a few Russian cities and the Baltic capitals that helped defeat the hardline August coup, and the February-March 1991 demonstrations in support of the Baltic republics and Yeltsin against hardliners’ crackdowns and manoeuvres to restore partocratic power. Without Russian support, the Baltic and Georgian republics’ independence movements could not have weakened the Soviet regime or state sufficiently to bring down either. The Azerbaijani and Armenian oppositions were more interested in Nagorno-Karabakh than in Moscow.

[5] Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Reuschmeyer, and Theda Skocpol, “On the Road to a More Adequate Understanding of the State,” in Peter B. Evans, Dietrich Reuschmeyer, and Theda Skocpol, eds., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 361.

[6] See Jan Pakulski, “Bureaucracy and the Soviet System,” Studies in Comparative Communism, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Spring 1986), pp. 3-24. Rigby described crypto-politics as “not overt and channeled through specialized ‘political’ institutions, but covert, masquerading as the faithful performance of assigned organizational roles. It involves competition between constituent organizations and their formal subdivisions, biased reporting of information relevant to the formation or vetting of policy, informal networks or cliques, the use of personnel powers to reward friends and punish enemies, and bias in the execution of policy so as to facilitate or prejudice its success or to favor certain affected interests rather than others.” T.H. Rigby, “Stalinism and the Mono-Organizational Society,” in Robert C. Tucker, ed. Stalinism: Essays in Historical Interpretation (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977), pp. 58-59.

[7] Pakulski, “Bureaucracy and the Soviet System,” p. 23.

[8] McFaul, “Revolutionary Transformations in Comparative Perspective,” pp. 174-175.

[9] Cohen found a structure of transitional politics in Brazil and Chile, where regime and opposition moderates are constrained in their political choices by the extremism of partners on their side of regime-opposition divide and by uncertainties on the part of both moderate sides’ regarding the ability of their potential pact partners to free themselves from the preferences of their respective extremists. The tendency is toward polarization and either a radical-led revolution or a reactionary-led restoration. Given the limitations of space and the seminar’s task, I can only touch in a suggestive way on the “intentional constraints” in perestroika’s structure of strategic action, which at crucial moments resembled a prisoner’s or “moderates’ dilemma” involving regime hardliners and moderates (softliners), opposition moderates, and revolutionaries. Youssef Cohen, Radicals, Reformers and Reactionaries: The Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Collapse of Democracy in Latin America (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1994), Ch.5.

[10] Thelen’s model of “dynamic constraints” recognizes “the dynamic interaction of political strategies and institutional constraints.” Katheleen Thelen and Sven Steinmo, “Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Politics,” in Sven Stienmo, Katheleen Thelen, and Frank Longstreth, eds. Structuring Politics: Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis (New York: Cambridge University, 1992), p. 15. See also Krasner’s more static model of “punctuated equilibrium” in Stephen Krasner, “Approaches to the State: Alternative Conceptions and Historical Dynamics,” Comparative Politics, Vol. 16, No. 2 (January 1984), pp. 223-246. However, the possibility of constraints imposed by the structure of strategic action and their interaction with institutional and structural constraints are not considered by institutionalists. Combining the possibility in a revolutionary situation of alternative outcomes ranging from authoritarian restoration, within-system reform, revolution, or a transition to democracy with the recognition of the possible interaction of intentional and structural (institutional, state-society, regime-ruling class) constraints, suggests a ‘theory of interactive constraints’ for explaining why contingency becomes necessity, why and how revolutionary situations bring regime change, political and/or social revolution.

[11] McFaul, “Revolutionary Transformations in Comparative Perspective,” pp. 181, 184. This is Fish’s interpretation as well. See M. Steven Fish, Democracy From Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). Party traditions of discipline did not minimize perestroika’s three-way regime split, but, along with the custom of crypto-politics, disguised it as unity, particularly in regard to the softliner-hardliner split on the “right.”

[12] Fish, Democracy From Scratch.

[13] Mikhail Gorbachev, Zhizn, i reformy, Vol. 1 (Moscow: Novosti, 1995), p. 38.

[14] Fyodor Burlatskii, Russkie gosudari: Epokha reformatsii (Moscow: Shark, 1996), p. 195.

[15] Mikhail Gorbachev, Izbrannye rechi i stat’i, Vol. 2 (Moscow: Politizdat, 1987), pp. 75-108, esp. pp. 80, 82-86, 93-95. For a faithful abridgement of this speech see Pravda, 11 December 1984, p. 2.

[16] Angus Roxburgh, The Second Russian Revolution: The Struggle for Power in the Kremlin (New York: Pharos Books, 1992), pp. 21-22.

[17] Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 1 (January 1989), p. 83.

[18] Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Poitburo regarding the Results of the 4th All-Union Congress of Collective Farmers, 31 March 1988 in Tsentr khraneniya sovremennoi dokumentatsii (TsKhSD), Fond (F.) 89, Opis’ (Op.) 42, Delo (D.) 20, List (L.) 9.

[19] Aleksandr Tsipko, “Gorbachev postavil na sotsialisticheskii vybor’ i proigral,” Nezavisimaya gazeta – stsenarii, 21 November 1996, p. 3.

[20] This view on the CC OrgOtdel’s and party apparat’s conservatism comes from the author’s interview with Vadim Medvedev, Moscow, 11 November 1996.

[21] Tsipko, “Gorbachev postavil na sotsialisticheskii vybor’ i proigral,” p. 3.

[22] Leon Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada (Moscow: Respublika, 1996). For the local level see also A.M. Kasymov and V.N. Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii: Vybornye organy i apparat (Taskent: Uzbekiston, 1991), pp. 51-56.

[23] Examples would be Georgii Shakhnazarov, Georgii Arbatov on Gorbachev’s advisory team, Aleksandr Tsipko, Nikolai Petrakov, Grigorii Yavlinskii and Yegor Gaidar who were consultants to working groups for his reports and other documents, and Aleksandr Yakovlev, Stanislav Shatalin, Leonid Abalkin, Vadim Medvedev, Ivan Frolov in top party and state posts. For the academics’ poor reception from apparatchiki, see the views of Ligachev’s top aide and OrgOtdel consultant Valerii Legostaev in his article in Den’, No. 14 (July 1991), p. 2.

[24] Shakhnazarov stresses the importance of zapiski in Georgii Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody: Reformatsiya Gorbacheva glazami ego pomoshchnika (Moscow: Zevs, 1993), p. 351. For the delay of reforms by the organizational and general departments through their ‘control of implementation’ function see Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 105-7; and Kasymov and Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii, pp. 39-41.

[25] For cases of this, see Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 101-106.

[26] The OrgOtdel practically exorcised the word ‘perestroika’ from all printed versions of Gorbachev’s speeches and party organizations’ plenum materials and other documents during his first few months in office. For machinations around his use of the word in the May 1985 Leningrad speech see Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 93-97.

[27] On Ligachev’s opposition to using non-party advisors and to reform of the document secrecy regime see Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 41, 52-5. On OrgOtdel manipulation of zapiski at the 27th Congress of 1986, the  28th Congress of 1990, and the January 1991 Joint CC/CCC Plenum to delay the use of non-staff and non-party personnel see Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 98, 106-111. On the document usage regime, not reformed until 1 June 1989 at lower levels of the party apparat, see Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 101-6, 178, 196-7. On the OrgOtdel’s salvation through the January 1991 Joint CC/CCC Plenum of the loophole phrase ‘as a rule’ (kak pravilo) in party Instruktsiya’s statute on multicandidate elections see Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 3 (March 1991), p. 21 and Pravda, 8 October 1991, p. 3. Instances of non-alternative elections of obkom first secretaries and circulation of apparatchiki from the center to such posts occurred into August 1991. See Pravda, 12 August 1991, p. 2; 15 August 1991, p. 2; and 19 August 1991, p. 2.

[28] A party study concluded that in “many” committees through 1989 the commissions’ role was “small,” and they suffered from “an informational hunger.” Kasymov and Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii, p. 38-39.

[29] For example, in Kazakhstan some decentralization was achieved, while in Uzbekistan none took place. Kazakhstan CP First Secretary Nursultan Nazarbaev expressed confusion at a September 1990 Politburo session over the need for republican party committee’s “formalistic” confirmation of first secretaries elected by obkomy. Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, Ll. 4, 14. An OrgOtdel report on Kazakhstan’s 1990 elections noted that 264 of 271 raikom and gorkom secretaries were elected at conferences, not at committee plenums. Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 5 (May 1991), p. 69. A study on Uzbekistan showed that through 1989 lower-standing party committees’ cadre decisions were controlled at the “‘apparat-secretary’ level and agreed with higher-standing authorities.” Kasymov and Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii, p. 38-39.

[30] After precise proposals for the CC apparat’s new structure and staff cuts were approved in late December 1988, the OrgOtdel and General Department prolonged implementation by ordering departments “in the process of work to take into account accumulated experience in order to make more precise the structures and staffs” and to present “precise” proposals “to be considered at the end of 1989.” Resolution of the TsK KPSS on the Structure of the TsK KPSS Departments and Staff Charts, Draft Structure of the TsK KPSS Departments, Voting Records of Politburo Members, Distribution List, and a Memorandum of the TsK KPSS from G. Razumovskii, V. Boldin, and N. Kruchina with their Proposals concernng the Stucture of the TsK KPSS Departments, December 1988, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 4, D. 9, L. 2.

[31] Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, L. 2. By August 1991 the RSFSR CP CC apparat had some 400 executive officials. Komsomolskaya pravda, 3 October 1991, p. 2.

[32] This prompted a query at the 3 May 1990 Politburo meeting by Yevgenii Primakov as to what had happened. Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo Regarding Preparation for the XXVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, 3 May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, L. 26. Shenin at the 13 September 1990 Politburo session noted it had never been established without explanation. Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, Ll. 3-4. The first proposal for a GPA described a think tank-like organ to include fifteen consultants, scholars from research institutes, and a “public council” of respected figures “in the party and society who represent a broad spectrum of views.” Extract from the Minutes of the TSK KPSS Politiburo Regarding Establishment of an Analytical Group under the TsK KPSS to Carry Out Analysis of the Political Situation in the USSR, September 1989, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 9, D. 29, Ll. 1-2. A new proposal in 1991 stipulated a staff made up exclusively of officials from the CC apparat and power ministries strictly subordinated to the Secretariat, with no public council. Memorandum from A. Girenko to O.S. Shenin, 4 January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 4, D. 25, Ll. 1-2.

[33] Secretary of the CC apparat’s party organization, Viktor V. Ryabov, noted in late April 1990 that the CC apparat was only beginning to produce analytical work. Pravda, 25 April 1990, p. 2. Creation of departments for work with socio-political organizations was approved by the CC only in late April 1990 as well. The party apparat’s inability to learn ‘political’ methods of work at the local level is noted in Kasymov and Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii, pp. 38-62.

[34] V.I. Vorotnikov, A bylo eto tak… Iz dnevnika chlena Politbyuro TsK KPSS (Moscow: Sovet Veteranov Knigoizdaniya SI-MAR, 1995), pp. 122- 128.

[35] A.N. Yakovlev, Gor’kaya chasha: Bol’shevizm i reformatsiya v Rossii (Yaroslavl: Verkhne-Volzhskoe izdatel’stvo, 1994), pp. 216-7.

[36] See L.M. Gorshkov and L.N. Dobrokhotov, eds., Gorbachev-Yeltsin: 1500 dnei politicheskogo protivostoyaniya (Moscow: Terra, 1992), p. 18. See Yeltsin’s letter in Boris Yeltsin, Ispoved’ na zadannuyu temu (Riga: Rukitis, 1990), pp. 6-8.

[37] See Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 2 (February 1990), pp. 252, 262, 266, 278, 280-84.

[38] V. Legostaev, “Proba sil v Oktyabre: stranitsy budushchei knigi,” Den’, No. 15 (August 1991), p. 3.

[39] Both Ligachev and Gorbachev say they parted ways as of spring 1988. See Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, pp. 384-412, especially, p. 386. Ligachev implied the same in his speeches at the 28th Congress (Pravda, 5 July 1990, p. 2; 11 July 1990, p. 6) and in a 1991 interview. Sovetskaya Rossiya, 6 February 1991, p. 3. For other conservatives who indicate that the first reorganization inspired their break with reform see Valery Boldin, Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Years as Witnessed by his Chief of Staff, trans. by Evelyn Rossiter (New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 211; and Ligachev’s aide Valerii Legostaev, “Nina Andreeva – Isgoi pluralizma: stranitsy budushchei knigi,” Den’, No. 16 (August 1991), p. 3.

[40] Yakovlev, Gor’kaya chasha, p. 207. In Senegal, however, the ruling party split in three, forming a Marxist party, a democratic socialist party, and a liberal democratic party. Yakovlev’s model would have excluded at least temporarily, the formation of a liberal party.

[41] See McFaul, “Revolutionary Transformations in Comparative Perspective,” pp. 181, 184 and Fish, Democracy from Scratch.

[42] Later, the party control committees were merged with the revision committees and removed from monitoring ‘control for implementation’ of economic tasks by the ministries to concentrate on internal party disciplinary matters and disputes.

[43] At the center, an exception was made for the Agrarian and Defense Departments, which would exist “through the transition period.” See Gorbachev’s memo on the reorganization, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 1 (January 1989), pp. 83-84. The CC apparat’s reduced capacity for interference in state economic management can be gauged by comparing the 267 otvetstvennye rabotniki in the CC Agrarian, Defense, and Socio-Economic Departments with the 11 pre-reorganization CC economic branch departments’ combined staffs which likely exceeded 1,000. Resolution of the TsK KPSS on the Structure of the TsK KPSS Departments and Staff Charts, Draft Structure of the TsK KPSS Departments, Voting Records of Politburo Members, Distribution List, and a Memorandum of the TsK KPSS from G. Razumovskii, V. Boldin, and N. Kruchina with their Proposals concernng the Stucture of the TsK KPSS Departments, December 1988, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 4, D. 9, Ll. 6-11, 18-19. For a detailed discussion see Gordon M. Hahn, “The First Reorganization of the CPSU CC Apparat under Perestroika,” Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 49, No. 2 (March-April 1997), pp. 281-302. On the local apparat see Kasymov and Dmitriev, Perestroika v partii.

[44] The number of questions delivered by CC departments for review at the Secretariat from 1987 to 1990 was drastically cut from 274 in 1987 to 58 in 1988, 54 in 1989, and 36 in the first half of 1990; for domestic economic questions from the CC Agrarian, Defense, and Socio-Economic Departments reviewed by the Secretariat the cut was from 87 in 1987 to 3 in 1990 (to July). The Socio-Economic Department in 1987 likely refers to the former Economic Department, not all the branch departments). Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 9 (September 1990), p. 23. Not one domestic economic question was among the issues reviewed by the Politburo in the months before the 28th CPSU Congress. TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 47, Dd. 1-18. However, ‘telephone rule’ continued.

[45] The idea for the transfer of many party apparat officials into state bodies and ‘public organizations’ appears to have come from the secretary of the CC apparat’s party organization. “Nedobrozhelatel’nost’ k Partiinomu Apparatu,” Istochnik, No. 3, (March 1995), pp. 159-160. For the growth of ministry staffs despite the ordered cuts see T.M. Smirnov, “Administrativno-komandnaya sistema upravleniya promyshlennost’yu: poiski alternativnykh variantov,” in L.A. Molchanov and G.B. Denisov, eds., Gosudarstvennye uchrezhdeniya i obshchestvennye organizatsii SSSR: problemy, fakty, issledovaniya (Moscow: MGIAI, 1991), pp. 112-119; V. Shcherbakov and Ye. Yasin, “Narodnokhozyaistvennyi kompleks strany: algoritm i struktury upravleniya,” Ekonomicheskaya gazeta, No. 6 (February 1989), p. 2. The Oil Chemical Industry Ministry staff doubled from 688 to 1,310. Pravda, 9 April 1989, p. 3. Later deep cuts did occur.

[46] Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 387-8, 410-11, 415-6, 420, 422, 456. For example, in August 1990 Politburo member and CC Secretary for party affairs, Oleg Shenin, sent to the government a CC Agrarian Department memo on sugar and tobacco shortages. The first deputy chairman answered as if he were a subordinate, promising the ministries’ efforts to improve the situation, having “reviewed the issues raised” in the memo, which admonished GosPlan, GosSnab, and the Foreign Economic, Timber Industry, and Trade Ministries, demanding “the strengthening of control of fulfillment of its decisions.” Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 12 (December 1990), pp. 140-141. See also Izvestiya TSK KPSS, No. 7 (July 1991), p. 16. At republican, oblast and raion levels, Gaidar concludes, party committees (presumably in Russia) continued to carry out “mediating and regulatory functions in economic administrative processes” until August 1991. Gaidar, Dni porazhenii i pobed (Moscow: Vagrius, 1997), p. 80. For joint party-government activity in the cultural sphere see Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 8 (August 1991), pp. 41-43.

[47] To address this problem, the Justice Ministry proposed to the CC apparat (the choice is significant) that the government order an inventory and “global and fundamental screening” of all economic laws and “abrogate (by 1 January 1993) all the decisions of the USSR Government” issued before the suggested date of 1 January 1987. The CC apparat and Council of Ministers vetoed the initiative, an expression of their common interest in preventing the invalidation of pre-reform legislation written under conditions of the party-state’s centralized management of the economy. The Supreme Soviet was to have conducted an inventory of its legislation; the government would undertake an evaluation of all its normative acts enacted before this date and include in a postanovleniye a list of all administrative acts and orders to be exempted from the abrogation. The inventory’s purpose was to clear “acting legislation from antiquated norms” which “should be organized on new principles.” Memorandum to V.S. Pavlov, Prime Minister, from S. Lushchikov, Minister of Justice, Regarding the Review of Soviet Legislation; Resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers Invalidating Obsolete Resolutions of the Soviet Government; Memorandum of the TsK KPSS Law Department; Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from A.S. Pavlov, Deputy Head of the Department of Legislative Initiatives and Legal Affairs, February-July 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 6, Ll. 1, 5.

[48] Interview with Vyacheslav Viktorov, Moscow, August 1995. Viktorov was a consultant for the CC Propaganda and Ideology Department and later an assistant to the USSR Presidential Council’s Secretary, Grigorii Revenko. On Ryzhkov’s support for the CC apparat’s removal from economic work see the Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo Regarding Discussion of the Memorandum by M. Gorbachev ‘On Reorganization of the Party Apparatus’ and Reorganization of Local Party Organs, 8 September 1988, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 22, Ll. 2-5. See also Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, pp. 397, 404; Boldin, Ten Years That Shook the World, p. 184.

[49] For this view see Eugene Huskey, “Introduction,” in Eugene Huskey, ed., Executive Power and Soviet Politics: The Rise and Decline of the Soviet State (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1992), pp. x-xi; Eugene Huskey, “Executive-Legislative Relations,” in Hukey, ed. Executive Power and Soviet Politics, pp. 83-105; Cameron Ross, “Party-State Relations,” in Huskey, ed. Executive Power and Soviet Politics, pp. 49-80, at p. 40; and David Lane and Cameron Ross, “Limitations of Party Control: The Government Bureaucracy in the USSR,” Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1 (March, 1994), pp. 19-38. For Ryzhkov’s opposition to economic reform see Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, pp. 397, 398, 404, 406-407, 413, 462-463, 470. A useful Soviet study of government obstruction of economic reform is T.M. Smirnov, “Administrativno-komandnaya sistema upravleniya promyshlennost’yu,” pp. 112-119.

[50] See Vadim Medvedev’s press conference in Rude Pravo, 26 April 1989, p. 7.

[51] “Zasedanie Politbyuro TsK KPSS,” Minutes, 8 September 1988, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 22, L. 2.

[52] Information about the Secretariat’s failure to meet po protokolu after its four-month hiatus in late 1988-89 through the 28th Congress is taken from an August 1995 interview with Vadim Medvedev, who chaired the Secretariat’s non-protocol sessions.

[53] See Sovetskaya Rossiya, 9 July 1989, p. 3 and Pravda, 18 October 1989, p. 2. Polozkov then became a target of the softliners who initiated a press campaign against corruption in his region and its party organization, which was in the business of closing down hundreds of cooperatives, a backbone of one of perestroika’s early economic reform measures. See Pravda, 27 July 1989, p. 6 and 21 November 1989, p. 2; Moscow News, No. 43 (29 October – 5 November 1989), p. 11.

[54] Pravda, 18 October 1989, p. 2.

[55] Former Kiev ObKom First Secretary and Gorbachev advisor, Grigorii Revenko, argues that much of this was genuine confusion, not only a method of opposing reforms. Gorbachev offered too little advice to party committees as to what the ‘political’ functions of the new apparat had to be. From an author’s interview with Revenko, Moscow, February 1997.

[56] “On the Political Situation Existing in Lithuania SSR after the February 1990 TsK KPSS Plenum,” 26 February 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 54, Ll. 7-8.

[57] Boldin, Ten Years That Shook the World, pp. 249, 253.

[58] Government chairman Ryzhkov opposed the Presidential Council, fearing its potential to serve as an institutional base for a coalition government, and disapproved of the Council’s direct interference in economic policymaking (a Council member Stanislav Shatalin drafted economic transition programs under aegis of the Council and in cooperation with advisors close to the new Russian administration). Thus, Ryzhkov spoke out against the Presidential Council’s acquisition of a substantial apparat. Some of the council members, and softliners such as the USSR Supreme Soviet Deputy Chairman Evgenii Primakov, MVD Chief Vadim Bakatin and Presidential Council Secretary Grigorii Revenko welcomed the Council as the forum for a future coalition government and saw it as a counterforce to government obstruction. Moscow News, No. 13 (26 August – 2 September 1990), pp. 8-9; see also Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, pp. 450, 490-1. Similarly, USSR Armed Forces General Staff chief General Mikhail Moiseev complained that the Presidential Council infringed on the Defense Council’s competencies. Krasnaya zvezda, 16 March 1990, p. 2. At the 16 November 1990 Politburo meeting several members, including Moldova CP First Secretary Pyotr Luchinskii, Deputy GenSek Vladimir Ivashko, and Gorbachev, supported the idea of forming a coalition government fairly soon. CC Secretary for ideology Aleksandr Dzasokhov saw a coalition government in ten to fifteen years. Ivashko replied that it would happen sooner. Gorbachev chimed in for “a coalition of democratic forces” that could include “non-party people” such as USSR PDs Aleksei Yablokov, ecologist and leading member of the Supreme Soviet Committee on Ecology and Rational Use of Natural Resources, and Anatolii Vorontsov, a moderate kolkhoz representative. “Zasedanie Politbyuro TsK KPSS,” 16 November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 30, Ll. 3, 5-6, 8-9, 25-6.

[59] “Ob itogakh sostoyavshihsya vyborov i podgotovke k s”ezdu narodnyh deputatov RSFSR,” 22 March 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 26, L. 23.

[60] On Boldin’s efforts in league with the Ryzhkov government to block the presidential apparat’s formation, see Chernyaev, Shest’ let s Gorbachevym: Po dnevnikovym zapisyam (Moscow: Izdatelskaia gruppa “Progress”: “Kultura,” 1993), pp. 402-403; Boldin apparently saw the Council as a threat to the government. Boldin, Krushenie p’edestala: Shtrikhi k portretu M.S. Gorbacheva (Mocsow: Respublika, 1995), pp. 371-2. Their successes in obstructing the building of the presidential apparat were confirmed by the author’s interviews with former CC apparatchik and head of the secretariat of the president’s apparat after the August coup Vyacheslav Viktorov in August 1995 and with former Presidential Council member and head of the post-coup presidential apparat Grigorii Revenko in August 1995 and 13 February 1997. On the slow formation of the presidential apparat and the May 1991 transfer of officials from the CC General and Defense Departments to the president’s Defense and Security Department, see the Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat Regarding Cadres in the TsK KPSS Apparatus and the Memorandum to the TsK KPSS, from N. Luzhin, Deputy Head of the Defense department Regarding Transfer of Officials from the TsK KPSS Defense Department to the Presidential Department of State Defense and Security under the USSR President, May 1991 in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 54 and D. 55. Interestingly, this department became the general staff of the August coup. See V. Stepankov and E. Lisov, Kremlyovskii zagovor: versiya sledstviya (Moscow: Ogonyok, 1992), p. 23.

[61] This began at the center, where in September 1989 the Supreme Soviet approved the USSR’s budget without prior Politburo endorsement. Later the Supreme Soviet confirmed top government appointments submitted by the Chairman, who conducted mere “consultations” with the Central Committee. Izvestiya, 9 June 1989, p. 1.

[62] Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 389.

[63] The CC State and Legal Department approved the idea and submitted it to the CC in March. CPSU CC State Legal Department document ‘On the Improvement of Political Work with Personnel of USSR MVD Bodies, August 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 53, Ll. 9-11.

[64] Martin Malia, The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991 (New York: The Free Press, 1994), pp. 465-6.

[65] Russia established its own branches of the KGB, MVD, Central Bank, Academy of Sciences and other organizational-institutional attributes of union republic and the state. By early 1991 it prevented army conscripts from Russia from serving in ‘hot spots’ and took the first step toward building a Russian army by creating a State Committee for Defense.

[66] On how the Russian declaration’s undermined a compromise between the Lithuanian and USSR leaderships that was still possible in late May 1990, see Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 527.

[67] In 13 ministries, organizations had not been completed; in 7 there were no party organizations. Memorandum to V. Ivashko, Deputy General Secretary of the TsK KPSS, from N. Stolyarov, Chairman of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of Russia ‘On the Separation of Party Organ from Government Structures of the RSFSR, May 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 91, Ll. 1-4. In many cases hardliners played into the radicals’ hands. For example, the RSFSR CP CCC expelled from the party the RSFSR Supreme Soviet Youth Affairs Committee’s chairman for his committee’s decision ‘On the Departyization of Learning Institutions in the RSFSR’ (on 29 October 1990) that violated the CPSU CC Secretariat’s resolution of 2 October 1990. As the RSFSR CP warned the CPSU CC Org Otdel, many top Russian state leaders were facilitating or “actively implementing” “the line of departyization of the RSFSR’s administrative apparat and de facto detachment of party organizations.” Memorandum to V. Ivashko, Deputy General Secretary of the TsK KPSS, from N. Stolyarov, Chairman of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of Russia ‘On the Separation of Party Organ from Government Structures of the RSFSR, May 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 91, L. 5.

[68] Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 6 (June 1991), p. 21.

[69] Memorandum to V. Ivashko, Deputy General Secretary of the TsK KPSS, from N. Stolyarov, Chairman of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of Russia ‘On the Separation of Party Organ from Government Structures of the RSFSR, May 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 91, L. 5.

[70] He also complained that the RSFSR government chairman, Ivan Silaev, refused to respond to his summons. Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, p. 165.

[71] FBIS, 19 November 1990, p. 29.

[72] This was the case despite the review of these problems in Council of Ministers, GosPlan, the Federation and Presidential Councils, and by several presidential decrees. See the CC Socio-Economic Department Report, October 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 21, D. 41, Ll. 1-2.

[73] Memorandum to M. Gorbachev from O. Shenin, O. Baklanov, and A.V. Vlasov on a TsK KPSS Conference with the USSR Ministers on the Political and Economic Situation in the USSR, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 33, D. 1, Ll. 1-3. On the even more critical situation in fall 1991 see Gaidar, Dni porazhenii i pobed, pp. 82-136.

[74] The specter of a party split and access to party resources induced many democrats (including Boris Yeltsin, Anatolii Sobchak, Boris Fyodorov, and Yegor Gaidar) to keep their party memberships – it was a tempting alternative to the uncertainty of political entrepreneurship. For example, Gaidar’s research institute retained its primary party rganization (PPO) of which he was a member, until the August coup. Gaidar, Dni porazhenii i pobed, pp. 76-77. On the Dvizhenie Kommunisticheskogo initsiatyva (DKI) and the United Workers’ Front, formed in July 1989, see Robert W. Orttung, “The Russian Right and the Dilemmas of Party Organization,” Soviet Studies, Vol. 44, No. 3 (July 1992), pp. 445-78; Rossiia: Partii, assotsiatsii, soyuzy, kluby, 10 Vols. (Moscow: Russian-American University Press, 1992), Book 1, pp. 232-34, 327-8, 338, Book 2, p. 109, Book 5, pp. 20-58; and Izvestiya, 26 November 1989, p. 2.

[75] See Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 2 (February 1990), pp. 252, 262, 266, 278, 280-284.

[76] Gorbachev confided this to Anatolii Chernyaev on 20 May 1990. Chernyaev, Shest’ let s Gorbachevym, p. 345.

[77] For the Politburo discussion of the Letter see “O pis’me Tsentral’nogo Komiteta KPSS k kommunistam strany,” 9 April 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 27, Ll. 1-17. It confirms accounts by Gorbachev, Medvedev and CC OrgOtdel consultant Georgii F. Khatsenkov. Gorbachev, See Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, pp. 540-1; Vadim Medvedev, V komande Gorbacheva (Moscow: Bylina, 1994), pp. 129-30; [Author and title: niether Hoover nor Stanford have Ogonyok, No. 13, 1990] Ogonyok, No. 13 (March 1990), p. 10; and Georgii Khatsenkov, ‘Chistka,” Moskovskye novosti, No. 18 (6-12 May 1990), p. 7. Khatsenkov became one of the first DP supporters to leave the Communist party over the scandal, joining Nikolai Travkin’s Democratic Party of Russia—his actions were indicative of the Letter’s effect. Vladimir Pribylovskii, Dictionary of Political Parties and Organizations in Russia (Washington, D.C.: CSIS, 1992), pp. 20-22. For a more detailed discussion of the conflict around the CC Letter see Gordon M. Hahn, “The Politics of the XXVIII CPSU Congress and the Central Committee Open Letter,” Russian History/Histoire Russe, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Fall 1997), pp. 375-405.

[78] Yakovlev in particular opposed sending the Letter; others supported the drafting of a softer version. Gorbachev took his typical position at the ‘arithmetical center’ between the two extremes by introducing the idea of a telegram to accompany the Letter when it was sent to party organizations, which would soften the Letter’s effect. Like Medvedev, Yakovlev, Shevardnadze, and Frolov, Gorbachev expressly opposed an organizational razmezhevanie, but he supported a political-ideological distancing from the DP and critique of its program. “O pis’me Tsentral’nogo Komiteta KPSS k kommunistam strany,” 9 April 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 27, Ll. 1-4, 15 (Gorbachev), Ll. 4-5 (Yakovlev), L. 7 (Medvedev), L. 9 (Shevardnadze), Ll. 9-11 (Frolov).

[79] Ibid., L. 15.

[80] Ibid., Ll. 15-16. Only Ryzhkov seemed to side with Ligachev, supporting a plenum on the Letter as a viable option, although he wanted to soften the Letter as well. The hardline resehnie to be attached to the Letter, calling for an organizaional razmezhevanie, and Gorbachev’s softening telegram were rejected by the Politburo. With the Letter’s publication a postanovlenie was sent to party organizations leading to some expulsions of the more radical DP leaders. Many of these leaders had declared their intent to leave the party anyway. Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, Ll. 4-5, 15-16; and the author’s interview with Medvedev, Moscow, August 1995.

[81] Gorbachev moved immediately, on the day of Letter’s publication, to soften its effect by calling for the isolation of both “extreme conservative and ultra-leftist” tendencies. “Idti Vmeste Dorogoi Perestroika,” Vystuplenie M.S. Gorbacheva pered delegatami XXI S”ezda VLKSM, Pravda, 11 April 1990, pp. 1-2.

[82] Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, L. 19.

[83] Vadim Medvedev, who was then an informal chair of the Secretariat, found this to be true from trips to Leningrad and other party organizations. Author’s interviews with Medvedev, Moscow, August 1995 and December 1996. On the non-Russian periphery, an apparatchik from a party organization in Moldova asked Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev to hasten the creation of RSFSR CP (which Yakovlev opposed), so a local branch could be founded in Moldova. Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, L. 16.

[84] Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, Ll. 11-14. Ligachev also told the 18th Congress that he had supported the RCP movement from the start. See the Report on the XXVIII CPSU Congress, Pravda, 10 July 1990, p. 2.

[85] Leningrad’s Communists hosted the founding congress of the DKI, and various levels of its apparat and aktiv supported several hardline movements with leading cadres and by organizing anti-perestroika street rallies throughout 1989. See Hoover/Stanford don’t have, Sotsialisticheskaya industriya, 11 July 1989, p. 2; Hover/Stanford don’t have, Literaturnaya Rossiya, 1 June 1990, p. 4; and Valerii Vyzhutovich, “Miting v Leningrade,” Izvestiya, 25 November 1989, p. 2.

[86] “Zasedanie Politbyuro TsK KPSS,” 16 November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 30, L. 20.

[87] The apparat’s conservatism was reflected in party polls. Whereas only 10 percent of the general populace and rank-and-file CPSU members thought that rewriting the USSR Constitution’s Article VI and the February 1990 CC Plenum’s decision on mnogopartiinost’  had a negative effect on the country, a majority of party aktiv and apparatchiki thought that it was detrimental. “Ob itogakh sostoyavshikhsya vyborov i podgotovke k s”ezdu narodnyh deputatov RSFSR,” 22 March 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 26, L. 20.

[88] Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89. Op. 42, D. 28, Ll. 6-8, see also Ll. 12, 18, 27-8. The apparat’s efforts to appoint its own officials stood in stark contrast to its “laziness and drowsiness” in defending the CC platform against the DP, as Gorbachev noted:

            “We have so many people in the apparat who waste time, who only watch where the leadership is going – is it surrendering our socialism or not. They are discussing this. I know all about it! Instead of going and standing on the position of the party platform, everyone in the apparat is discussing (whether) he will have work in the future or not. It’s necessary to engage in the fight, and they sit on the fence, like in a trench, while they demonstrate…their flexibility of mind here. And those from the apparat who do come forward turn out to be supporters of the DP.

            “What is this? The apparat does not approve the CPSU Platform which the plenum approved. …

            “Where are the CC officials, where are our doctors, and where do they sit? And where are you the managers of this process? … our appearances (in the mass media), …our entire 2,000-strong (CC) apparat? Such will not do!” Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, L. 6.

[89] Report on the XXVIII CPSU Congress, Pravda, 5 July 1990, p. 2. In answering Gorbachev’s complaints at the noted Politburo meeting, Manaenkov had remarked that to influence the delegate elections “administrative pressure” was needed. Working Record of a Meeting of the TsK KPSS Politburo on Preparations for the XVIII CPSU Congress and the Russian Party Conference, May 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 28, L. 9. One suspects that the OrgOtdel used such pressure to arrange this result.

[90] If in 1988 the exodus began, with 18 thousand party members leaving. 140 thousand left in 1989, and 1,800,000 left in 1990, one million in the last quarter of the year. Onikov, KPSS: anatomiya raspada, pp. 148-149.

[91] Many Moscow higher educational institutions’ party organizations, such as those at the Moscow Aviation Institute, willingly left state-owned institutes for places of residence, according to one CC OrgOtdel memo, to “gain independence” from the RCP’s decisions, which they considered “to be without validity.” Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat ‘On Voluntary Dissolution of Several Party Committees of Educational Institutions; Resolution of the TsK KPSS and the TsKK Central Control Commission) KPSS; and memorandum to the TsK KPSS from the TsKK and the TsK KPSS Organizational Department, November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 65, Ll. 2, 7.

[92] Report on the XXVIII CPSU Congress Proceedings, Pravda, 3 July 1990, p. 2. See also Report on XXVIII CPSU Congress Proceedings, Pravda, 11 July 1990, p. 2.

[93] For Yeltsin’s congress speech see Pravda, 8 July 1990, p. 4. The Democratic Platform’s program is in Pravda, 3 March 1990, p. 3.

[94] For his Polozkov’s support of the leading role of the Politburo and Secretariat see Report on XXVIII CPSU Congress Proceedings, Pravda, 5 July 1990, p. 2 and Report on XXVIII CPSU Congress Proceedings, Pravda, 11 July 1990, p. 6.

[95] Regime and opposition moderates (perestroishchiki and the DP) could not satisfy each other’s demands due to the constraints imposed on them by regime hardliners and opposition radicals.

[96] This is especially true during transition pacting when the design of political institutions is at stake if “certainty” among political forces exists regarding the symmetry and balance. Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 81-82.

[97] Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, L. 2.

[98] “Admittance Is Free,” Interview with Viktor Ryabov, Secretary of the Party Committee of the CC’s Staff,” Moscow News, No. 6 (18-25 February 1990), p. 4.

[99] See the XXVIII Congress CPSU Statement (zayavlenie) in Pravda, 15 July 1990, p. 3 and the CC Secretariat announcement in Pravda, 30 August 1990, p. 2. In October 1990 a cut of the CPSU CC’s nomenklatura from 15,000 to 2,000 posts was announced. Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 10 (October 1990), p. 6. The 20 September 1990 Politburo meeting made the final decision to dismantle the traditional nomenklatura system. Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat ‘On the List of Leading Posts in the Party, Government and Administrative Organs and in Social Organizations Registered under the TsK KPSS’, August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 77, Ll. 1-2, 6.

[100] Regarding these state posts, the document noted that “confirmation will not be conducted. CPSU CC departments will inform the CPSU CC Secretariat on the results of elections or an official’s appointment.” Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat ‘On the List of Leading Positions in the Party, Governmentand Administrative Organsand in Social Organizations Registered under the TsK KPSS’, August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 77, L. 4. This concerned the following appointments: chairmen of the Supreme Soviet chambers and their deputies; Supreme Soviet committee and standing commission chairmen; USSR vice president; prime minister; ministers and chairmen of state committees, chairmen and deputies of the All-Union Confederation of Trade Unions; “leaders” of the USSR Academy of Sciences, of central departments of science and creative organizations, and of state banks; chiefs and deputies of the Armed Forces General Staff and Main Military-Political Administration, commanders of military districts’ troops, groups of forces and fleets, armies and flotillas, MVD Internal Troops, of the military-political administrations and departments of the armies and flotillas; union republic presidents, Supreme Soviet leaders, Councils of Ministers; and ispolkomy of union republics down to oblasts and the cities of Moscow, Leningrad, Tashkent and Kiev. A large number of lower state posts were still subject to ‘confirmation’ or review by CC departments: 76 deputies to prime ministers or chairmen of union republic councils of ministers; chiefs of branches of armed forces and administrations at various levels (1,068 officers total); 54 officers of the KGB heading main administrations, administrations and other departments; 105 MVD Troops officers at all-union, union republic, and Moscow and Leningrad cities and oblast GUVDs; Central USSR People’s Deputies’ Elections Commission chairman; the USSR Supreme Soviet secretariat head; USSR Supreme Court, High Arbitration Court, Procuracy’s collegium members; USSR Supreme Soviet apparat department heads; union republic ministers of Rural Economy and Food Production and of Bread Production; USSR Academy of Science presidium members; ambassadorships; and numerous newspaper and academic positions. Party posts still subject to CC confirmation were the 945 CPSU and RSFSR CP Central Committees and Control Commissions seats; 1,182 posts of union republic CP first and second secretaries first secretaries down to obkomy and the Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev gorkomy, party committee secretaries in the military, KGB, MVD Troops, and Railroad Troops; CC apparatchiki; leaders of party press organs, party scientific institutes; and secretary of the USSR Supreme Soviet secretariat apparat’s party organization. Still subject to CC departments’ “confirmation” – second secretaries and secretaries of partkomy from union republic level down to obkomy, of partkomy of the army and public organizations, heads of partkom departments from union republic down to okruzhkomy. List of Positions, August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 77, Ll. 3-6, 8, 23-98.

[101] See the presidential decree ordering “de-partyization” of the political organs in Pravda, 5 September 1990, p. 1. The decree was based on the new Party Platform or Statement and Rules that reformers pushed through the XXVIII Congress. See Pravda, 15 July 1990 and 18 July 1990, respectively. On ‘de-partyization’ of military councils see Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from Yu. Ryzhov, TsK KPSS Organization Department Deputy Head ‘On the Separation of Duties Between State and Party Organs in the Military Councils; Draft Directive  of the USSR President “On the Development of a New Statute on Military Councils in the USSR Armed Forces and Border, Internal, and Railway Guard Troops, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 73. Elimination of the CC State and Legal Department and Commission, successors to the Administrative Organs Department, broke the party executive’s last tie to the power ministries. For their survival in union republics and in many kraikomy and obkomy see List of Positions, August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 77, Ll. 72-81.

[102] Coup-plotters Shenin and CC Secretary for the defense industry Oleg Baklanov “recommended” “taking into account the new military doctrine” and the need “to preserve the influence and control of partkomy over the work of party organizations and collectives in defense enterprises” that partkomy preserve [right word? YES], as in the CC Socio-Economic Department’s Group for the Economics of the Defense Complex, groups “and sectors” for the defense industry. Formerly there had been 44 departments and 11 department sectors in partkomy. Memorandum to the Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the Union Republics and to the KPSS Committees in Autonomous Republics, Krais, Oblasts from O. Shenin and O. Baklanov on Party Leadership in the Defense Industry, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 21, D. 54, Ll. 4-10. The list of 38 partkomy to which this recommendation was to be sent made possible the return of far more than 11 sectors. List of KPSS Committees and Central Committees to which the Memorandum to the Central Committees of the Communist Parties of the Union Republics and to the KPSS Committees in Autonomous Republics, Krais, Oblasts, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 21, D. 54, Ll. 4-10.

[103] From an 11 November 1996 author’s interview with Vadim Medvedev who unofficially headed the Secretariat from early 1989 to the XXVIII Congress. Proposals regarding their reorganization were not in the document on the first reorganization of the CC apparat. Draft Structure of the TsK KPSS Departments and Staff Charts, December 1988, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 4, D. 9, Ll. 3-7. The administrations of affairs controlled party funds and property.

[104] Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, Ll. 2, 4, 9-11, 23.

[105] Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from the Secretary of the KGB Party Committee N. Nazarov, November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 72, Ll. 9, 14-15. The proposals, sent to the CC apparat by the Defense Ministry and KGB on reform of the administrations, dwelt primarily on how to pay officers for their work in partkomy in ways consistent with the new USSR Law ‘On Public Associations’.

[106] Colonel-General V.M. Semenov, “Partorganizatsiya v armii: Kakoi ei byt’?”, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 8 (August 1991), pp. 71-2.

[107] Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from V. Serebryakov, Acting Chief of the Political Department of Military Detachment 72004 regarding the New Party Structure in the Kamenskii Garrison, January 19991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 2, Ll. 2-3.

[108] Frolov complained about this at the 13 September 1990 Politburo session. Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, L. 8; Gidaspov at the 16 November session – “Zasedanie Politbyuro TsK KPSS,” 16 November 1990, in TsKhSD,  F. 89, Op. 42, D. 30, L. 20. On KGB analyses and the International Department see L.V. Shebarshin, Iz zhizni nachal’nika razvedki (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 1994), p. 50.

[109] He reported, in memos read by the OrgOtdel, on incidents in Azerbaijan and the Baltic republics, including issues surrounding the investigation into the Medinakai incident during President George Bush’s visit to Moscow. See documents in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 28, D. 34-36.

[110] A. Stepovoi and S. Chugaev, “Predlozhenie Prezidenta: Polozhenie v strane obsudim v pyatnitsu,Izvestiya, 15 November 1990, p. 1 and A. Gorokhov and V. Izgarshev, “Sud”ba naroda – sud”ba armii,” Pravda, 16 November 1990, pp. 1-3.

[111] A CC International Department consultant, Viktor Kuvaldin, asserts that Yanaev’s role was reported to him upon his arrival to work on 17 November 1990 by another official of the CC International Department. Interview with Viktor Kuvaldin, Palo Alto, California, 31 October 1997. Gorbachev’s economic adviser and co-author of the ‘500 Days’ economic program, Nikolai Petrakov, who broke with Gorbachev over his turn to the “right,” claimed that on the evening of 16 November an ultimatum had been issued to Gorbachev by hardliners, who “sought to prevent a Gorbachev/Yeltsin coalition.” Financial Times interview cited in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Report on the USSR, Vol. 3, No. 6 (8 February 1991), pp. 38-39. Gaidar claims that Gorbachev abandoned the “500 Days” program after “long vacillation and under powerful pressure from the power ministries and conservative part of the apparat.” Gaidar, Dni porazhenii i pobed, p. 66. Shatlain emphasizes Gorbachhev’s consultations with the party leadership rather than with his advisers on the evening of the 16th. Roxburgh, The Second Russian Revolution, p. 199. Gorbachev claims that “Nazarbaev, Karimov, and the other republics’ leaders, besides Yeltsin arrived at the end of the day in the room next to the hall used for (Supreme Soviet) sessions, and they considered it necessary to adopt immediate and decisive measures; otherwise, the situation could spin out of control.” Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 585. This meeting most likely occurred after Gorbachev’s unsuccessful speech at the USSR Supreme Soviet and before the Politburo meeting. About half of the Politburo members were present, given that in half of the republics the posts of the Party first secretaries and top state posts were filled by the same person (for example, Nazarbaev and Karimov).

[112] At this meeting Gorbachev was criticized for having “left” the party (Ivashko) and for “this team (You) lead in the Presidential Council” [anyone specialist would understand this refers to Yakovlev, Medevedev, and other Gorbachevites on the Pres Council???] (RCP First Secretary Polozkov). Polozkov added: “You (Gorbachev) are to blame because you do not rely on the party.” Ukraine CP First Secretary Stanislav Gurenko criticized Yakovlev and opposed “the transfer of Politburo members to the Presidential Council” (softliners Yakovlev and Medvedev). He also complained that the Politburo “was not working” and had become “a council of secretaries.” CPSU Central Control Commission Chairman Boris Pugo, Armenia First Secretary Movsisyan, Azerbaidzhan First Secretary Mutalibov and Lithuanian First Secretary Burokevhichus made similar remarks in favor of returning the Politburo and party to power. “Zasedanie Politbyuro TsK KPSS,” 16 November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 30, Ll. 3, 5-6, 8-9, 13-14, 18-19, 22, 25-6, and 31.

[113] Aleksandr Yakovlev, Predislovie, obval, posleslovie (Moscow: Novosti, 1992), p. 170. Gorbachev denies that the Politburo pushed him into reorganizing the executive branch, arguing that the measures to reorganize it were being worked out prior to the meeting. Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 585. This is substantiated by a 30 October 1990 memorandum from Shakhnazarov, but his claim cannot be extended to the issue of the Presidential Council since the memorandum suggested strengthening the Council by completing the presidential apparatus and tightly subordinating its departments to individual Council members. Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 490-491.

[114] Gorbachev’s shortcomings in institution-building told on matters here [??? (GH-See next sentence and text, if you don’t understand)]. Subordination of the presidential departments to specific members of the top executive body was an impossibility, because the Federation Council’s members sat in the republics. Shakhnazarov’s memorandum also pointed out the duplication of functions inherent in the co-existence of the Defense and Security Councils. Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 490-91, 496-97.

[115] Stenographic Report of meeting of the Tsk KPSS Politburo TsK regarding Stabilization of the Political and Economic Situation in the Country, Preservation of the Leading Role of the KPSS, Reorganization and Reform of the Union’s Power Structures, Signing the Union Treaty, and proposals for the Draft Speech to be Presented by President M. Gorbachev at the Session of the USSR Supreme Soviet, 16 November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 30, L. 14.

[116] Pugo’s first deputy was General Boris Gromov, who had led the humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan on Gorbachev’s orders. Colonel-General V. Shatalin became Pugo’s deputy and was charged with commanding the MVD Internal Troops. Shatalin was transferred from the Urals-Volga VO (Military District) where he had served with the reactionary Colonel Albert Makashov, who had demanded Gorbachev’s resignation at the 28th CPSU Congress and actively supported the August 1991 and October 1993 coup attempts. Pugo was replaced at his post as CPSU CCC Chairman by another colonel, Yevgenii Makhov. With this appointment, both the RCP and CPSU CCCs were headed by army colonels. Party-army ties were further consolidated at this time with the appointment of two officers to the CC Organizational Department. In violation of the “Law on Public Associations,” the Secretariat recommended that these two officers retain their status as active duty military personnel. Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat regarding Cadre Changes in the TsK KPSS Organizational Department, December 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 14, L. 2.

[117] The 28 August 1990 resolution was also signed by Deputy General Secretary Ivashko. See Nezavisimaya gazeta, 29 January 1991, p. 3.

[118] On the evening of 11 January, two CC apparatchiki stationed in, or in contact with, Lithuania reported the successful seizure of the Press House, DOSAAF (Voluntary Society for Assistance of the Army, Aviation, and the Fleet) buildings and officers’ training school and that the national salvation committee’s headquarters was located in a plant run by a CC member, O.O. Burdenko. The memo was seen by secretaries Shenin, Manaenkov, Yanaev, Falin, and Kuptsov and Nationalities Department Head V. Mikhailov. Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from V.A. Mikhailov, Nationalities Policy Department Head, on the Situation in Lithuania, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 28, D. 31, L. 1.

[119] Memorandum to M. Gorbachev from O. Shenin, O. Baklanov, and A.V. Vlasov, regarding a TsK KPSS Conference with the USSR Council of Ministers on the Political and economic Situation in the USSR, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 33, D. 1.

[120] Letter of the TsK KPSS Secretariat to Party Organiations and All Communists of the Armed Forces, KGB Troops, Internal Troops of the MVD, and Railroad Troops, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 32, L. 2. The CC OrgOtdel deputy head who drafted the letter, I.V. Kovyrin, became a member of the GKChP staff. Stepankov and Lisov, Kremlyovskii zagovor, p. 23.

[121] Memorandum from TsK KPSS TsKK Chairman N. Stolyarov regarding Military Departments in the Academy of Social Sciences Under the TsK KPSS and in Educational Institutions, May 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 70, L. 5.

[122] In this, the International Relations (IR) Department, which had been relegated to a tertiary role in foreign policy and subjected to deep cuts during both reorganizations, joined the power ministries and the OrgOtdel. The CC apparat’s work in the months before the XXVIII Congress shows that the International Department played a limited and episodic role, in contrast to the Foreign Ministry (MID) and Gorbachev’s advisors. While MID was involved in decisionmaking on a broad range of some 50 important foreign policy questions, many involving the top secret osobye papki, the International Relations Department was involved in only 27 areas involving the appointment of cadres abroad and relations with foreign political parties. See documents in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 47, D. 1-18. At the 13 September 1990 Politburo meeting at which the CC apparat’s second reorganization was discussed, Falin leveled a harsh attack against the “completely abnormal situation” in the department after the first reorganization. in which it was not privy to “any kind of information on countries, contacts, the resolution of problems for which the party ought to have its own definite position.” He criticized perestroika for its “tens of reorganizations and reformations” and decried the department’s loss of control over appointments of cadres abroad due to significantly reduced staff. Only 24 people were responsible for a sphere where 100,000 communists were placed. There was no separate unit working with the “fraternal” parties; relations with all foreign parties and public organizations were  a responsibility of a single unit. The department’s staff after the second reorganization was meager: three officials worked with public organizations involved in foreign affairs (there were seven of them earlier), six were responsible for the seven East European countries, eight for the 24 West European countries, and three for all of Africa. Working Record of a Meeting of the TSK KPSS Politburo Regarding Violation of Regulations on Industrial Supplies, Improvement in the Structure of the TsK KPSS Apparatus, and the Political Situation in Azerbaidzhan, 13 September 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 42, D. 29, Ll. 4, 9-10. For the IR Department’s campaign against Gorbachev’s foreign policy see its memorandum published in Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 3 (March 1991), pp. 12-17. See also Valerii Musatov, “”Taifun’ peremen,” Pravda, 13 March 1991, p. 5; Chernyaev, Shest’ let s Gorbachevym, p. 346-7; and FBIS-SOV-91-119, 20 June 1991, p. 39. Falin later tied Gorbachev’s foreign policy “failures” to his department’s decline vis-a-vis MID. See excerpts from IR Department Head Valentin Falin’s then forthcoming and later published memoirs in Segodnya, 22 December 1993, p. 3.

[123] Appeal to the TsK KPSS from Captain V. Naryzhnyi, Depty Secretary of the Black Sea Fleet Party Committee regarding the Convocation of an Extraordinary CPSU Congress, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 3. See also a similar appeal from the Air Defense Troops in the Letter to the editorial staff of the newspaper Pravda and other official newspapers from G. Vinnichuk, Secretary of the Air Defense Troops CPSU Committee, June 1991 and another similar statement in the Appeal to M. Gorbachev from Major Postnikov, Secretary of the Belorussian Guards Motor Rifle Regiment Party Organization, December 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 3 and 5, respectively. A Secretariat letter to communist soldiers noted receipt of many such letters and appeals. Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat regarding the Letter of the TsK KPSS Secretariat to Party Organiations and All Communists of the Armed Forces, KGB Troops, Internal Troops of the MVD, and Railroad Troops, January 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 32, L. 3. For a sampling of the PPO conferences’ letters, statements and resolutions see TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 179-181, 185; and TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 12, D. 26. The conferences’ tenor may be gleaned from an anti-perestroika article published in the CC apparat’s journal alongside the PPO Secretaries’ Council membership. A.F. Kolinichenko, “Obretaya doverie zanovo,” Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 5 (May 1991), pp. 30-31. The council was supposed to contribute to party democratization, but the electoral process was controlled by the OrgOtdel’s usual ‘filters’, and the council was subordinated to the Secretariat. See the report on the CPSU CC Renewal of PPO Activity Commission, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 8 (August 1991), pp. 67, 70.

[124] The PPO Secretaries’ Council and the KGB, Army, and MVD Internal Troops All-Union committees were formed by the April plenum. The All-Army Party Committee Secretary was elected to the Politburo at the plenum. For the report by the KGB to the OrgOtdel that it had completed its party committees located in Moscow and the Baltic republics, 23 April 1991, see Memorandum to the TsK KPSS Organizational Department from the KGB’s CPSU Committee Secretary N. Nazarov regarding the Provision of Party Membership and Registration Documents to the Consolidated Party Committees of the KGB Directorates and KGB Troops, April 1991,  TsKhSD, F. 89. Op. 8, D. 13, Ll. 1-3.

[125] All military district commanders and political administration chiefs attended the January 31 1991 joint CPSU CC and Central Control Commission plenum. Resolution of the TsK KPSS Politburo regarding a Joint Plenum of the TsK and TsKK KPSS, January 1991. TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 12, D. 25, L. 3. On the presence of 73 military officers out of 406 attendees (18 percent) at the April Plenum and a request for additional representation at the July plenum see List of Party Officials from the Armed Forces to be Invited to the TsK KPSS Plenum, June 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 93.

[126] Chernyaev, Shest’ let s Gorbachevym, p. 441.

[127] See the Socio-Political Organizations Work Commission memorandum criticizing perestroika in Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 6 (June 1991), pp. 16-20. For the anti-perestroika discussion, see Hoover/Stanford don’t have issue of Glasnost’, 25 April 1991, p. 3. On the proposal for a coup committee headed by Shenin, drafted by GKChP member Tizyakov, see Stepankov and Lisov, Kremlyovskii zagovor, pp. 46, 76-77. In addition, in March, the CPSU Central Control Commission (led not by its chairman but by Shenin) prepared the normative legal basis for a party purge. See the report “Plenum of the Tsentral’noi Kontrol’noi Kommissii KPSS,” Pravda, 5 March 1991, p. 1; the resolution “O Distsipline v KPSS,” Rezolyutsiya plenuma Tsentral’noi Kontrol’noi Kommissii KPSS, Pravda, 6 March 1991, p. 1; and “ODistsipline v KPSS,” Doklad ispol’nyayushshego predsedatelya TsKK KPSS Ye.N. Makhova na plenume Tsentral’noi Kontrol’noi Kommissii KPSS, Pravda, 6 March 1991, p. 3.

[128] See Memorandum to V. Ivashko, Deputy General Secretary of the TsK KPSS, from N. Stolyarov, Chairman of the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party of Russia ‘On the Separation of Party Organ from Government Structures of the RSFSR, May 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 91; Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat ‘On Voluntary Dissolution of Several Party Committees of Educational Institutions; Resolution of the TsK KPSS and the TsKK Central Control Commission) KPSS; and memorandum to the TsK KPSS from the TsKK and the TsK KPSS Organizational Department, November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 8, D. 65, Ll. 2, 7; and a memorandum from V. Mikhailov to V. Ivashko on the possibility of an appeal from the Baltic republics to Participants to the Paris Conference, 17 November 1990, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 11, D. 65, Ll. 1-2.

[129] Aanlytical Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from the TsK KPSS Organizational Department on the Results of the RSFSR Presidential Elections, June 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 22, D. 81, Ll. 12-13.

[130] “Zasedaniya, soveshchaniya v TsK KPSS,” 24 May, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No. 7 (July 1991), p. 12; and “Otraslevoi sovet sekretarie partiinykh organizatsii,” Memorandum of the CPSU CC Department for Ties with Socio-Political Organizations and the CPSU CC Socio-Economic Policy Department, Izvestiya TsK KPSS, No 8 (August 1991), pp. 94-5.

[131] It also approved a “special status” for individual members and naming CPSU organizations, as the Sharyno MVD did its own, a measure for masking its base. Protocol No. 37 of the TsK KPSS Secretariat Meeting regarding the Activity of Party Organizations in the RSFSR with respect to the 20 July 1991 RSFSR Presidential Decree, August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 23, D. 8, Ll. 6-7.

[132] Despite their nature, the recommendations denied the party was switching to the territorial principle of party organization. Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat on Recommendations of the Tsk KPSS Commission of the renewal of PPO Activity regarding the Activity of Local Party Organizations at Places of Residence, July 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 60, Ll. 5-10. A 2 August 1991 memo proposed to PPOs four options for reorganizing themselves in the face of departyization at enterprises and institutions. The first recommended, “where conditions call for it,” transformation of the PPO into “a territorial organization with preservation of its integrity and internal structure,” its renaming, and distribution of party instructions not only at the enterprise but also at other enterprises and institutions and in the adjacent area. Other variations included joint party committees of the branch industry under gorkomy and raikomy. Memorandum to the TsK KPSS from Yy. Manaenkov on Recommendations of the Tsk KPSS Secretariat on Activities of CPSU Organizations under the Law ‘On the Cessation of the Activity of Political Parties and Social Movements in the State Bodies, Institutions, and Organizations of the RSFSR, 2 August 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 21, D. 72, Ll. 5-6.

[133] Decision of the Joint Plenum of the KPSS Committee of Movskovskaya Oblast’ and of the Control Commission of the KPSS Organization of Moskovskaya oblast’ ‘On the Work of the KPSS Committees of Moskovskaya Oblast with the Communists Who Are deputies of Soviets under the Reform of Local Self-Government,’ July 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 22, D. 46, L. 3.

[134] The number of special telephones was to be cut from 3,000 to 900. List of Government and Long- Distance Telephones in Local party Organs after Reduction in their Numbers, July 1991, in TsKhSD, F. 89, Op. 20, D. 71, Ll. 9-11.

[135] From author’s interview with Grigorii Revenko, Moscow, 13 February 1997, and documents on the presidential apparat provided by Vyacheslav Viktorov, head of the presidential apparat’s secretariat from August-December 1991. In January 1991 Gorbachev demanded that Boldin stop delaying the building of the presidential apparat. Chernyaev, Shest’ let c Gorbachevym, pp. 402-403. Two months before the coup Boldin was removed from his party post.

[136] Author’s interview with Georgii Shakhnazarov, Moscow, 28 November 1996. See also the memo in Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 539-540. Shakhnazarov and Gorbachev claim that the latter had no limits regarding reforms and agreed to full but gradual democratization during the preparations for the XIX Party Conference. Author’s interview with Shakhnazarov, 28 November 1996; Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 480.

[137] Author’s interview with Georgii Shakhnazarov, 28 November 1996. In his memoir Gorbachev claims that this was originally intended as a temporary measure. Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformy, Vol. 1, p. 474. The Union Treaty’s Article 13 provided for popular election of the president.

[138] Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody, pp. 539-540. Sergei Svistunov, “…Plyus burbulizatsiya vsei strany?”, Pravda, 30 April 1992, p. 3. Gorbachev was already arranging a union between ‘his’ wing of the CPSU and centrist democrats who had left the softliners’ camp in 1990-1991. He met Aleksandr Yakovlev who, still a CPSU member, led the Russian Movement for Democratic Reforms along with Shevardnadze, Volskii and Moscow Mayor Gavriil Popov to discuss joining together with Gorbachev’s wing of the CPSU. V.I. Boldin, Krushenie p’edestala, p. 425; Hoover/Stanford don’t have issue Pravda, 30 April 1992, p. 2. The Russian Communists for Democracy, led by Russian Vice-President Aleksandr Rutskoi and Vasilii Lipitskii, could have become another ally., Like Gorbachev, they did not support the democrats’ growing desire for a fully independent Russia. Gorbachev’s team had conducted a party survey which showed that approximately 25 percent of its members would join a new social democratic party created from a CPSU split; another 25 percent would follow simply because Gorbachev was the General Secretary. Author’s interview with Georgii Shakhnazarov, 28 November 1996.

[139] Approved by the plenum, it envisaged a party that could include, among others, religious believers and entrepreneurs, and that would accept all forms of property ownership. It eschewed class struggle and dictatorship of the proletariat for “common human values” and multiparty democracy. Hoover/Stanford for 1991 only have English language version which does not have all articles in Russian editions and does not have this article.  I have seen this, as Alexadr Rahr sent a copy of the original in 1991, but I have since thrown it away,  Nezavisimaya gazeta, 23 July 1991, pp. 1-2. This was bound to split the party at the XXIX Congress.

[140] “Russia (Federation), Verkhovnyi Sovet, Kommissiia po rassledovaniiu prichin i obstoiatel’stv gosudarstvennogo perevorota” (Hearing transcripts, 1991-1992), Hoover Institution Archive, Stanford University, Box 1, Folder No. 2, p. 8 (hereinafter Hoover Archive, “RSFSR, Verkhovnyi Sovet, Kommissiia po rassledovaniiu gosudarstvennogo perevorota”).

[141] McFaul, for example, considers the Soviet crisis to have been immune to a transition pact because of the intractability of the issues of dismantling state socialism and the Union. McFaul, “Revolutionary Transformations in Comparative Perspective,” pp. 182-4.

[142] See Hoover Archive, “RSFSR, Verkhovnyi Sovet, Kommissiia po rassledovaniiu gosudarstvennogo perevorota,” Folder 2, pp. 4-8.; Pavel Voshchanov, “Strana Zavetov,” Komsomol’skaya pravda, 8 October 1991, p. 2; Hoover/Stanford do not have these issues of Pravda, 1 September 1991, p. 2 and 21 August 1991. p. 2. Shenin led the delegation to Foros that attempted to win Gorbachev’s support for presidential rule, accompanied by Boldin (and two others), who until a month prior to the coup, was a lifelong CC apparatchik. KGB chairman Kryuchkov, the other leading conspirator, had also once worked in the party apparat. He and five other of the GKChP members were CPSU CC members, and the remaining two (Tizyakov and Starodubtsev) led organizations created and supported by it. KGB Chairman Kryuchkov had been the most vocal of the speakers at the XXVIII Congress in declaring his undying dedication to the CPSU.

[143] Hoover Archive, “RSFSR, Verkhovnyi Sovet, Kommissiia po rassledovaniiu gosudarstvennogo perevorota,” Folder 2, p. 8.

[144] According to the RSFSR Supreme Soviet investigation, 70 percent of KGB sub-units did not support the coup due in part to an order to disobey the GKChP from RSFSR KGB Chairman Ivanenko. Arrests of Yeltsin and other democrats did not occur because co-workers of the KGB “sabotaged several orders and directives.” Hoover Archive, “RSFSR, Verkhovnyi Sovet, Kommissiia po rassledovaniiu gosudarstvennogo perevorota,” Folder 3, pp. 9-13.

[145] Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions, p. 32.

[146] Guillermo O’Donnell and Philippe Schmitter, “Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies,” in Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe Schmitter and Larry Whitehead, eds. Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy, IV Vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), Vol. IV, pp. 25.


Gordon M. Hahn is an Analyst and Advisory Board Member of the Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois; Adjunct Professor and Senior Researcher, Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey; Senior Researcher, Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California; a Contributor for Russia Direct,; and an Analyst/Consultant, Russia Other Points of View – Russia Media Watch, Dr Hahn is author of three well-received books, Russia’s Revolution From Above (Transaction, 2002), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), which was named an outstanding title of 2007 by Choice magazine, and The ‘Caucasus Emirate’ Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014). He also has authored hundreds of articles in scholarly journals and other publications on Russian, Eurasian and international politics. Dr. Hahn has taught Russian politics and other courses at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, St. Petersburg State (Russia), and San Francisco State Universities as well as the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, California. He also has been a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2011-2013) and a Visiting Scholar at both the Hoover Institution and the Kennan Institute.