chapter  5
9 Pages

Open and Closed Ideologies

WithVladimir Shlapentokh

The Soviet leaders based their decisions on a realistic vision of the world, while advancing an illusory world, grounded in propaganda, for controlling the masses. In this way, they developed a complex and sophisticated ideological mechanism with two components: the open (or public) ideology and closed (or private) ideology. As a "normal" element of life, subordinates lied to their superiors. While countries such as Britain and the United States cultivated secrecy in bureaucratic structures, no country in the world could compete with the level of secrecy in the Soviet state machine. Covert propaganda was also used for the dissemination of the leadership's views on the international arena. Soviet and Western intellectuals mocked the open ideology (as it was reflected in the mass media, literature, arts, and the social sciences), deeming it insipid and ultimately ineffective.