chapter  11
39 Pages

Continuity and Change in Soviet Party-Military Relations

WithVernon V. Aspaturian

In analyzing the relations between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet military, the traditional dichotomy between the two entities is no longer analytically sufficient or appropriate. Stalin recognized belatedly that undue reliance on the secret police as a counterpoise to the hypothetical threat of the military had in fact resulted in an actual threat to the Party apparatus by the secret police itself. By isolating and politically neutering the military, the Party apparatus rendered itself vulnerable to the secret police. During the late 1960s, as the power of the military was enhanced, Leonid Brezhnev deliberately promoted the refurbishing of the secret police. The Chekists were suddenly described as heroes in literature, propaganda, film, scholarly works and even on postage stamps. Past achievements of the secret police were brought out of the closet and heralded. Leaders of the secret police were given publicity, and showered with honors, promotions and awards.