Defining the Parameters
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Defining the Parameters book
The leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, signified the period of official de-Stalinization at the seventieth anniversary of the October revolution in 1987. On this occasion he reopened a discussion that had long been officially closed when he publicly declared that "thousands" of Party members and other Soviet citizens had been repressed under Josef Stalin. Apprehensive about the political potential of Memorial, Gorbachev suggested the path of caution: he opted for retaining the investigation of the Soviet in the hands of the Party, by limiting Memorial to the regional level under Party supervision. In Remembering Stalin's Victims: Popular Memory and the End of the USSR, Kathleen E. Smith compares transitions from totalitarianism or authoritarianism to democracy, specifically with reference to Nikita Khrushchev's and Gorbachev's respective reigns of power. One can argue that Gorbachev was clearly a proponent of raising consciousness about the Stalinist, but the Soviet system was in place.