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The Soviet regime possesses enormous powers of coercion and control: ast propaganda and censorshipuge policearty organization that penetrates all segments of society. Overall, since World War II the Soviet population has been one of the world's most politically quiescent. Although we by no means exclude the possibllty of major localized disturbances (along the lines of the Novocherkassk riotsver the next decade, if the economy grows
Despite the regime's residual strengths, however, societal strains have Increased in recent years and the regime seems somewhat less able to cope than In the past.
--Control of Information has weakened with expanded contact with west.
--Ideology is virtually dead as mobilizinghere hasalpable decline in level of fear and
Increased populartandard of living problems, declining opportunities for
social nobility, heightenvents in Poland attract greatome areas of life appear to be slipping beyond regime
regulationabor mobility, youthoviet leaders may be primarily concerned about the Impact that low public morale is having on economic productivity. But they also seem more worried than at any time since at least thebout the possibility of public disorders that could threaten political stability. |
--Andropov and Chernenko both warned that failure to address popular demands could produce social "collisions" or political "crisis."
pessimism within elite about future of the country. Apprehension about popular mood has probably underpinned much of regime policy over past several years. It accounts at least in part for:
--priority for Food
massive grain imports.
attempts to strengthen worker discipline, high profile for KGB.
attempts to curtail contacts between Soviet citizens and Westernersamming, broadening definition of treason to include the unautholr1zed disclosureoreigner of virtually any kind of Information).
attacks on more blatant forms of corruption and official abuses of power.Original document.