REVIEW OF SOVIET INTERNAL AFFAIRS (U)

Created: 1/1/1981

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Central Intelligence Agency-National Foreign Assessment Center1

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REVIEW OF SOVIET INTERNAL

Pomsstic Politics

President Brezhnev appears to be at the height of his political power as preparations for holdingh Party Congress in February move into high gear. The departure of Aleksey Kosygin from the political scene in October afterears as head of government was the most significant single personnel change in this status quo regime since Khruschev's ouster umber of high-level changes in government personnel have ensued, and more are likely. The effect on the power configuration within the policymaking Politburo, while less visible, is considerable. Nevertheless, because Brezhnev has been the.main beneficiary of the changes so far, the forthcoming Congress is shaping up as one ofrather than transitionuccessor regime. pjJJJJ

Kosygin Joins the Innumerable Caravan

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correct but restrained official treatment ofand subsequent death, however, suggests thatKosygin remained personally and politicallymost essential respects Kosygin'& funeral and theof it vere identical to that accorded Defensewho died But in several minor waysslighted. The fact that he had already retiredexplain the protocol lapses that occurred, butmost prominent Soviet leader to die in favorhimself, Kosygin might have hoped for better than

Brezhnev's Position Further Strengthened

Kosygin's demise has left Suslov as the only remaining independent force in the leadership. No viablo succession

contender emerc-ed from tho leadership changes produced

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Kosygin's departure. By promoting men who lack the

Brezhnev has once

qualifications for the top party job, aoain finessed the succession issue.

Both Kosygin'syear-old Nikolay Tikhonov, and the man moved up to take Tikhonov's job as first deputy premier, Ivan Arkhipov, are Brezhnev cronies whose ties to the leader date to their working together in the Dnepropetrovsk area in. Brezhnev's praise for Tikhonov in his

"'Although Brezhnev's primacy over Kosygin was clear by the, ae Brezhnev worked further to inareaee hie power and that of the party at the expense of Koaygin and the government, the premier defended hie territory doggedly. In recent years Kosygin moderated hie public advocacy of economic reform, but he aleo resisted Brezhnev's plan toeorganization of the government, which Kosygin believed would result.in increaeed party interference in economic management. Koeygin also attempted, with mixed euaaeee, to prevent the advancemen^of Brezhnev's cliente |U| ithin the Council of Ministers. "

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emoirspecial closeness. iplomatic flap by failing to show updinner given by Indian President Reddy, reportedlywife had died. Tikhonov's advance withinover the last several years has clearlyinfluence at Kosygin's expense. We expectwill be more amenable than was Kosygin inlead on policy)

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The promotionyear-old agricultureGorbachev from candidate to full member ofbrought at least some new blood into thewho apparently is politically tied toone of only five leaders who hold dual membershipparty's top policymaking and executive bodies. will assume significantly expandedagricultureesult of the leadership's repentunify agricultural management of production, processing, industrial support of the sector,

Despite this increase in authority, Gorbachevrequire some seasoning and broadening beforewould considererious candidate for thepost. Agriculture has been the graveyard of manycareer in the Soviet Union. Gorbachev'sadvancement will be limited unless ho is able toportfolio further. His ago may actually han.'.incurrent gerontocracy.ortrait of Gorbachev displayed during tho celebrations in November had

altered to give hiri an older appearance, suggesting that his Politburo seniors find his relative youth embarrassing. JBJBJ

The ability of senior Party Secretary Andrey Kirilenko tohallenge to Brezhnev, should he be so inclined, probably has sufferedesult of Kosygin's departure. In the, when Brezhnev seemed wary of Kirilenko's growing influence and began promoting Party Secretary Konstantin Chernenko as an apparent counterweight, Kirilenko and Kosygin drew closer on issues that had previously divided them. In particular, whereas Kosygin in earlier years had associated himself with the interests of light industry and Kirilenko with heavy industry, both men had begun to favor more balanced development than previously. With Kosygin's etirement, the potential threat thatormidable alliance might represent to Brezhnev was eliminated.

Shake-up in the Government

Kosygin's resignation provided the impetus for thechanges in the Council of Ministers inears. the process, several relatively young

demonstrable ties tomoved into positions of mi importance in the Council of Ministers, which under Kosygin hadreserve for septuagenarians.

Although both Tikhonov and Arkhipov are in their, seventies, at the deputy premier level several younger men have been promoted. The average age of the five new deputy premiers (out of is There are also twelve new ministers or chairmen of state committees, most cf whom are younger than he men they replaced. The Council of Ministers, which had rsrogressively older bodyas thus been ,UI somewhat rejuvenated.

While these personnel changes have cleared outcontinuity in promotions has largely beenof the new ministers were first deputy or deputycf the new deputy premiers were ministers withexpertise, although the other two new men

party officials with career ties to Brezhnev.

Toward the Congress

The cycle of party congresses of the union republics, preparatory to the opening ofh Congress, began on schedule in mid-January and will continue until mid-February. These meetings provide the final opportunity for promotions and demotions at the republic level before the election of the new CPSU Central Committee at the end of the congress. The regional party conferences, which are just ending, have produced very little turnover in key positions. In general, the number of changes in jobs that merit Central Committee membership has been extremely limited during the five years since the last congress. esult, the new Central fqijqsb Committee will probablyigher percentage of returnees from the previous Central Cor-mittee than ever |j, before. Only in the Council of Ministers have personnel changes taken place that will significantly affect the composition of the Central Committee.

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Nor is there reason to expect far-reaching change in the Politburo itself, Arkhipov may be promoted to the body, and there is always the possibility that someone will notice that Arvid Pelshe has passed retirement age. But Arkhipov has no political future beyond Brezhnev- and Pelshe is in iikMI<HTn the never-vill-be-missed category. Nothing in Brezhnev's ecenxbcr birthday speech suggested that he himself isretirement. Ho promised to devote his energy tc the tasks confronting the party "in the years ahead."

The one force for change that Brezhnev cannot ignore is the passage of time and the inevitable aging of old warriors. Death could claim another leader at any time. Defense minister Ustinov's uncertain health perhaps makes him the prine candidate for.the next niche in the Krenlin vail, but Brezhnev's health remains precarious as well, and he faces several wintertime when he is rost vulnerable

Office of poltutsni^^

Economic

Ah the USSRew Five-Year Plan period,appear toealistic picture ofin. Theyonvergence ofdefy easynew ones suchanpower shortage, the slowdownformation, and smaller growth in consumerwell as old ones such as lagging agricultural andand poor organization and management. is acknowledged as an added burden. Moreover,that gains in productivity have not been

enough to counter the slowdown in input growth, resultingcontinuing slide in economic1

Soviet leaders know they must shifttrategy of intensivemore efficient use ofare alarmed that the economy is not making this transition successfully. Their public statements indicate particular anxiety over the energy crunch, the slow pace of economic reform, and the effect on worker productivity of lowered EDUBSi expectations. An examination of Soviet words and actions onindividual problem areas revealsuick turnabout in fortunes is not expected. The regime appears to believe that there are no panaceas, only palliatives.

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