chapter  4
16 Pages

Khrushchev and destalinisation

The Stalinist system placed enormous strains on the social and political cohesion of Soviet society. As Gorbachev put it, in Stalin’s later years there arose ‘a contradiction between what our society had become and the old method of leadership’.1 Everything had to be decided at the top and the Stalinist state became heavily overloaded through its extirpation of initiative from below. The challenge facing Stalin’s successors was to find new ways of achieving the integration of the system once terror and personal dictatorship had ended.