chapter  13
17 Pages

Bukharin and the Problem of Bureaucracy

ByMoshe Lewin

Although Nikolai Bukharin was interested in the problem of the state early on in his politico-intellectual life—the capitalist state, to be sure—he did not devote any thought to the problem of bureaucracy. Bukharin's deep apprehension of the oppressive potential of the modem superstate—as he observed it in the West during World War I—was to remain an important element in his thinking, as documented by his biographer Stephen F. Cohen. Bukharin's moment of lucidity finally came later when he joined the battle against the emerging Stalinism. Bukharin observed and understood the dangerous linkages from the very beginning. The gigantic apparatus carried with it the great danger of bureaucracy. However, the Bolsheviks could not produce an in-depth theory of bureaucracy, although they began to collect empirical data, and the Commissariat of Inspection engaged in serious studies of administration, management, and organization.