Shcherbitsky's Struggle To Dominate The Ukraine: Implications for Kremlin Politics
CIA HISTORICAL REWBVAS
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Shcherbitsky's Struggle To Dominate The Ukrainei Implications for Kremlin Politics
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umber of prominent SovietSecretary Brezhnev and Party Secretarybegan their party careers in the Ukraine and have cot.tlnued to meddle In Ukrainian politics since leaving the republic, political developments in the Ukraine have often provided clues about power politics In the Kremlin itself. Both the rivalry between former President Podgorny and Brezhnev In thend that between Brezhnev and Shelest, ousted as head of the Ukrainian partyere reflected In factional politics at the republic level.
Shelest's replacement In the Ukraine, Sheherbltsky,ong-time protege of Brezhnev who has often beenotential successor to the top party Job In Moscow when Brezhnev departs. Five years have now passed since Sheherbltsky replaced Shelest While an examination of the balance of forces within the republic leadership at this time enables one to reassessolitical prospects In the light of recent evidence, ll at the same time Is germaneeading of Brezhnevs own standing In Mosocw.'
Shcherbltsky's drive2 to assert his predominance In the Ukraine has been Impressive- In many respects, but there have also been Indications thats continued to encounter resistance. Sheherbltsky ha? been more successful In removing old foes than In replacing them with clients of his own. The two most Important republic positions below the first secretaryship are thus held today by men who have not been close associates of Sheherbltsky. In addition, Kharkov andreglonol centers In lite Ukraine whose cadres have rivalled those hailing from Dnepropetrovsk, Shcherbltsky'sto be strongly represented on ihe Ukrainian Politburo. Although the Importance of regional groups in Ukrainian politics may have diminished somewhat In recent years, regional and career ties probably still
comtllute tn Important Indicator of political loyalties. Thus, the continued strength of Donetsk and Kharkov leaders has suggested that Shcherbflsky has yet to consolidate his position completely.
Shcherbllsky's difficulties have probably also teflcctcd tension within the CPS" PolitburoIs, constraints Imposed by Breahnev's colleagues upon his ability to exert patronage In the Ukraine to benefit Shcherbltsky. The elimination this year, however, ofbuilt his early career Inprobably give Breihnev andreer hand In the Ukraine. It Is therefore possible that the faclon constraining Shcherbltsky's career thus far have now been whittled down to the point where Brezhnev may be able to bring him to Moscow within theear.
Shcherbltsky's Struggle To Dominate The Ukraine! Implications for Kremlin Politics
The Ukrotnlon Politburo
Sheherbltsky'i strength on the Ukrainianand Central Committee can be estimated by determining the slie of the Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, and Kharkov groups In thoseIn recent yean officials from these three regional centers haveprobebly continue topower, position, and patronage In tho republic. Sheherbltsky, like Brezhnev and Klrilenko,ember of the close-knit group of officials who began their party careers In Dnepropetrovsk. The promotion of officials from this regional group would sug-
Rtprtwniotlort ol Rtglortol Orovpi on Ukrotnhm Politburo
ise In Shcherbltsky's stock. Conversely. Ihe advancement of cohorts who built their careers In Donetsk or In Kharkov, where both Podgorny and Shelest earlier worked, could be readad omen for Sheherbltsky.
A comparison of the present Ukrainianwith1 Politburorend toward slightly Increased representation ofcadres, while Kharkov and Donetsk respresentatlon has remained stable. Ifsupporters of Shelestnd non-Dnepropetrovsk allies of Sheherbltsky today ore added, the trend toward greater strength for Sheherbltsky It accentuated
Th* Dntprapatrovtk Grove
Alt hey Valchenko, Shcherbltsky'i oldest ond most prominent ally on the Politburo, spent most of his long party career In Dnepropetrovsk, where he worked under both Brezhnev and Shcherbltsky. Vatchenko'i connection with Shcherbltsky was emphasized by the leading role he played In the ideological campaign directed against an Ideologically suspect novol written byhairman of the Ukrainian Writers' Union, Olcs Honchar. Ath Ukrainian Party Congress1 he specifically criticized Slielest's Ideological apparat. Vatchenko was the only Ukrainian speaker at the2 CPSU Central Committee plenum that ousted Shelest and endorsed the decision to go ahead with the Moscow summit afterPresident NIxoii'iof the mining of Haiphong harbor, Moro recently. Valchenko was listed In Soviet media as one of five members of tho USSR Constitutional Commission who participated In
llio rovlew of the new tlraflpet project oftook placo the day before Podgorny'a removal from Ihe CPSU Politburo.
We hove long thought lhal changes in Vat-chenko's slatus would be an Important indicator of Shcherbltskv. standing. Infinally happened to Vatchenko: ho was appointed Chairman of the Presidium of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, The circumstances of this move were ambiguous, however, and lis significance therefore Is not entirely clear. For one thing, Vatchenko replacedhcherbltsky adversary In this Job, but another official with Dnepropetrovsk credentials, Ivan Crushetsky. Crushetsky served briefly with Brezhnev8 and, like Vatchenko and Shcherbltskv, also served with him on thefront during thetrushetsky probably departed for ihe officially stated reason of health.
More Important, It Is open to questionadvancement from ihe firstIn Dnepropetrovsk, the secondparty In the Ukralno, to theof Ukrainian "President" was In factMore prestlgethan power attachespost.
"rules out Valchenkouccessor to Shcherbltsky. In his opinion, Vatchenkoediocrity "whose culture can never rise above the oblost level."
On balance, hovever, by broadening hisand extending the range of hii political contacts, the transfer probably enhances's chances of ultimately succeeding to the top Job In the republic. Moreover, It Is possible that the post of Ukrainian "President" will be upgraded In line with the upgrading of the analogous position In the central government. Thus, Vatcnenko'i transfer seems to represent some progress for Shcherbltsky.
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Tho other Politburo full member with abackground ll Petr Pogrebnuak, an agriculture ipeclaTlst who left the oblasta Ath Ukrainian Party Congressogrebnyak was promoted fromof agriculture to first deputy premier for agriculture, and candidate member of thePogrcbnyaka advancement seemed tothat Sheherbltsky and his close associates were not taking the rap for the harvest failureast October Pogrebnvak attained full Politburo membership, the rank which hisIn office had held.
Also added to the Politburo at theandldete member was Viktor Dobrik, concerning whoso loyalties there can be little doubt. Although Dobrikecent Interviewestern correspondent was reticent about his connection with Brezhnev, denying anyrelationship, his career tells another story. Over tho years he has been singled outeries of special honors not merited bv th* oosltlons he
has held.s_ head of (he party In Dneprodzerzhlrok, Brezhnevs home town, he received the signal distinction of becoming the only gorkom (city party committee) firstIn the Soviet Union etccpt for Ihe party chiefs of Moscow and Leningrad to beeat on tho CPSU Central Committee. By the limeh CPSU Congress metobrik had become first secretary of Ivano-Frankovsk obkom (regional partyn this capacity, as head of one of ihe least populous Ukrainian oblasts with one of the smallest party memberships, Dobrik was promoted fromto full Central Committee membership, the first bead of the Ivano-Frankovsk party lo be so honored. Ath Ukrainian Party Congress, Dobrik, who bad since been transferred lo Lvov obkom as first secrtary, achieved anotherby becoming the first official In thai post to be elected to Ihe Ukrainian Politburo
Dobrik, who Is said to have been openly hostile to Shelesl during his lime of troubles. Is ihe prototype of the Russified and trustworthy Easl Ukrainian apparatchik tapped for duty In the restive Western regions. The removal cf Vasily Kulsevol, who was demoted againstill from head of Lvov obkom. and the Installation of Dobrik In his stead, were reportedly triggered by alleged errors In "Internationalist and atheistic education of the masses."
The Lvov party's work under Dobrik has been extensively praised In ihe centralPSU resolution commended Lvov's Initiative Inystem for ensuring quality control of Industrial output. Dobrik was further honored when Shcherbllsky chose tbe Lvov partyIn5 as one of Iwo precongress oblast conferences he attended.
Returning these compliments, Dobrik hasto Issue publl- praise for Brezhnev and Sheherbltsky on appropriate occasions. Alh Ukrainian Party Congress, he Invoked Brezhnev's name more times lhan any party leader other than Sheherbltsky, and by thanking Brezhnev for the decision of2 to purge
Shelest,-be made Ihe first public reference to Brezhnev's role In the removal of Shelest. At the same time Dobrik expressed full support for Sheherbltsky "in all his good! Rounding out the list of Ukrainian Politburo members Incamp are two.men who had no earlier career association with Sheherbltsky or with Dnepropetrovsk: Vatentyn Malanchuk. the republic ideology secretary, andedorchuk, head of the Ukrainian KGB (Committee for Statehe transfer of Fedorchuk from the central KGB In Moscow tn the Ukraine0 to replace longtime KGB chief Vltaly NIkltebenko provided an early sign that Shelest was In political trouble. Nlkltchenko, who earlier servedharkov secretary with both Podgorny and Shelest, had been on good terms with Shelest and reportedly shared his aversion to the use of "administrative methods" against dissidents. In3 Fedor-chuk's efforts to repress Ukrainian nationalwere rewarded with candidate membership on the Politburo, an honor never accorded his predecessor, who had headed the Ukrainian KGB for almostears. Ath Ukrainian Party Congress, Fedorchuk wasull member. His elevation, although partarger trend In the Soviet Union toward heavier KCBon republic Polltburos, Is at the sameplus" for ShcherblUky.
No change In the composition of the Ukrainian Politburo so symbolized the change In orientation of the new regime In the Ukraine as2 ofdeology secretary Fedor Ovcharenko by Valentyn Malanchuk. Ov-charenko's proclivities toward moderation In the ideological sphere were fairly well established. He may have been tho ghost writer0 book on the Ukraine, published underame, which was later attacked for betraying an unseemly national pride. Malanchuk owes his rapid rise In the hierarchy to quite different tendencies. He made his debut on tho national scene5trong attack In Pravda on nationalist tendencies In Ukrainian literature. Sinceegular flow of tracts bearing his name and extolling the "friendship of peoples" have simplified the task of categorizing him.
Tha KhorkoY Group
The composition of tho Kharkov group has changed sinceay, and It is questionable whether the Kharkov cohorts on the current Ukrainian Politburoohesive group. None of the threo current members fromworked under Podgorny'i direct supervision In Kharkov, end probably only one ofAlehandrsubstantial career ties to Shelest.
Botvin worked for Shelest, not In Kharkov, but briefly as second secretary of Kiev obkomhen Shelest was head of the party there, after which Botvin was put In charge of Kiev gorkom, where he has remained. This career link, plus the fact that Botvln's city organization has been criticized by Sheherbltsky and hit hard by the post-Shelost purge, provides evidence that Botvinheherbltsky opponent.
Bul there Is countervailing evidence. As far back8 Balvln, an ethnic Russian who inny have been offended by Shelest's toleration of the oxpre&slon.of Ukrainian national feeling In lltera-*turo, wrote an article for Pravda which criticized Oles Honchar. Botvin thus seemed to associate himself with the Dnepropetrovsk cadre who had led the campaign against Honchar. Ath Ukrainian Party Congress,peech ;whlch mentioned Shcherbltsky twice and Shelest only once, Bolvln was one of tho few speakers whoavorable reference to Brezhnev. More recently, Botvin seems to have been theof Shcherbltsky's tampering with the organizational control of the party In Kiev. ;
'in5 Shcherbltsky took the drastic step of removing the Kiev gorkom from theof the Kiev obkom and placing It under the direct supervision of the Ukrainian CentralBy this action Shcherbltsky cut the ground from under Vladimir Tsybulko, firstof Kiev obkom, who Is no doubt aware that7 the republic first secretaryserved as head of the Kiev obkom. Tsybulko was left In chargerump" party which had dropped overnight from being the second largest In the republic to the humiliating rank of tenth largest. This move against Tsybulko was partargerInitiative against party officials who, like Tsybulko, began their careen in Donetsk.ise in the party hierarchy hod closely paralleled that of Alefoandr Luaahko, Ukrainian Premier and the leading figure tn the Donetsk coterie.
As for Botvin, while he may chafe at being so closely supervised by Shcherbltsky, his status hoi visibly Improved, Kiev city accounted for the great bulk of the oblast's party membership. Cut loose from Tsybulko's Jurisdiction,ity organization now ranks fourthhe republic. Botvin emerged fromh Ukrainian Partyull Politburo member, replacing and surpassing Tsybulko, who had onlyandidate.
At tho congress, Botvin was honored as tho second regional leader to speak, preceded only by Vatchenko. One of the few shaken whoShelest by name, Botvin saluted theto remove him.and gave. Shcherbltsky special credit for his "personal Initiative" In solving the problems of the Ukrainian capital. The Pravda Ukrafay venlon of Botvin'j speech differedfrom tho venlon published In the steno-
graphic report of the congress; the latter version contained stronger praise of Shcherbltksy. Either the newspaper dropped part ofpeech or
j the stenographic report added remarks he had not made. If the latter was the case, the doctoring of his speech would Indicate that he earlier had shown reluctance to render the requisite praise of Shcherbltsky's leadership. On balance, however, although Botvin Isember ofentourage, It seems likely that he has made his peace with the powers 'hat be.
Just as Tsybulko's loss was Botvln's gain, Ivan Sokolov, another Kharkov figure, owes his place
on lhc Politburo to tho demotion ot another presumed Shcherbltsky antagonist, Ivan Lutak. Lutok and Shelest worked together In the Kiev party In tho. Untilutak, by then the only-Politburo member with significant career ties to Shelest managed to hold on to the crucial post of republic secondIteasure ofeakness that he was unable to demote Lutak during the first threealf yean of his tenure, but Lutak's assignment to the minor post ofobkon first secretary indicates that this problem has been overcome.
One might have expected that Lulakiwould break up the logjam In theof the Ukrainian party, enablingto move Vatchenko or another closeInto the second secretaryship. Suchwould have provided grounds tothe Ukrainian house had been put Ina successor to Shcherbltsky wasperhaps prepamtory to the transferhimselfetter Job Inselection of Sokolov to replace Lutaksecond secretary, however, put bothsecretaryship and themost common stepping stones to thethe hands of menpotential for filling Shcherbltsky'! shoesdeparted. As the leader of the Donetskpremier Lyaihko would seem an *
Ukrainian second secretary Sokolovual liability: heharkov background, and he is an ethnic Russian whose nationality atone might well disqualify himuccessor. Not3ussian headed the Ukrainian party.may, however, have been selected for the very recson that heussian, In keeping with the all-union trend of once again Installing Rus-'slans as republic second secretaries. Withov's appointment, only one republic (Belorussla)econd secretary of the titular nationality. If Soviet authorities decided to replace Lutakussian, Sokolov was the logical choice. Ethnic Russians are scarce In the upper echelons of the
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Ukrainian party and government. At the time of his appointment, Sokolov was the only Russian on the Politburo and the only Russian In charge of the partyajor Ukrainian oblast. InShcherbltsky may sec some advantages toussian In the second secretaryship, since his nationality may preclude hiserious rival. -
There are some Indications that Sokolov is on reasonably good terms with Shcherbltsky, who presided over the Kharkov plenum that Installed Sokolov as obkom first secretary Inis selection for this post wasark of special favor, but an advancement entirely In accordance with the pattern of stability ana regularity so typical of the Brezhnev era In the Soviet Union. Sokolov had merely moved up from the Kharkov second secretaryship. In his speech ath Ukrainian Congress, however, Sokolov waslaudatory of Brezhnev, and he thanked Shcherbltsky "personally" for his contributions, while registering his support for the decision to remove Shelest. Perltaps Sokolov and Botvin alike were attempting to make up for past sins.
That Sokolov Is In good political standing Is suggested by the fact that he has, on at least one occasion, attended andeeting of the Ukrainian Council of Ministers. Since Klrl-lonka sometimes attends and speaks at Council of Ministers meetings In Moscow,In government deliberations In Kiev may Indicate an extension to the republic level of on institutional change rather than any upgrading of Sokolov's personal authority, Whatever the reason for Sokolov's Involvement In government affairs, however, the fact of his expanded role probably helps him politically.
At the same time, there Is anecdotal evidence
that Sokolov IS not vi"Wrvla ivtwor In his own
right. According to
ecent SokolovIn accentedand Botvin openly chatted with each otheray that seemed to slight the speaker, while other leading officials expressed their boredom by
ttously glancing at watches, rolling ryes, and shaking heads.
The last Politburo member from Kharkov, Gregory Vashchenko, was moved2 fromst secretaryship of Kharkov obkom. to his present Job as first deputy chairman of the
, Ukrainian Council of Ministers. On the face of It, this transferateral move rather than a
^demotion, but In retrospect It appears thathas been shunted aside. Although he has
retained his Politburo standing, he has remained stationary, while Sokolov, his Former subordinate in Kharkov, has moved up lo Ihe coveted Job of republic second secretary.
- (Vashchenko began party work In Kharkov after Podgorny left the area, but he was In charge of,the Kharkov party5 when Brezhnevs victory over Podgorny |was accompanied by an assault on his original power base.PSU resolution severely criticized the Urge Intake of new members Into the Kharkov party, Vashchenko himself weathered the storm. In the, he emorgedritic of Ideological laxity and, by Implication, of Shelest himself.
In sum. although the present Kharkovon the Politburo does not include persona! proteges of Sheherbltsky, they are probably more acceptable to him than were men like Shelest and Nlkotay Sobol, Podgorny's closest associate In the Ukrainian apparat who wu dropped from the Ukrainian Politburond at least two of the three current Kharkov members have long records as Ideological hardliners, with views more harmonious with Shcherbltsky's cultural tine than the one Shelest had fostered.
By contrast with the Kharkov group,he Donetsk Politburo members1 hav retained their seals. All four earlier served to gelher under Ivan Kazanets, who headed thi party In Donetsk In the.5 Kazanets was transferred to the post of USSR Minister oJ,Fe'rroui Metallurgy, perhaps In order lo create an opening In Kiev for Sheherbltsky, who succeeded him as Ukrainian premier.ll was becauso iho Donetsk group existed as an Identifiable group that It bore the brunt of Shcherbltsky's precongress drive to secureosition. In lateerse, dramatic announcement appeared in UkrainianVladimir Degtyarev, full Politburoprominent protege of Premier Lyashko, and head of the Donetsk partyullears, was appointed chairman of the State Com mil tee for the Supervision of Labor Safety In Industry and Mining. This demotion was followed In Janury by the precongress Donetsk party conference at which It was revealed that Degtyorov's removal was ihe culmination of an extensive purge of the Donetsk party. Sheherbltsky, who attended the party conference, denounced Degtyarev In stronger terms than he had used against any Ukrainian official since Shelest'i ouster.
Replacing Degtyarev In Donetsk and on the Ukrainian Politburo was Borisew-
tomer aboui whom little Isachura only became second secretory of Donetskaving previously served as first secretary of the Zhdanov gorkom1t.Is not likely that he served under Lyashko, who left Donetsknder Shcherbltsky, however, he has done well, and he has profited personally ' from Degtyarev's misfortune.
Kachura's speech at the lost Ukrainian Party Congress was equivocal, however. He did not exude gratitude toward Shcherbltsky. On the contrary, he was one of only two ohkom first secretaries who failed to mention Shcherbltsky's name, according to newspaper accounts. (One bland reference to Shcherbltsky later appeared In lhc stenographic report version of theul Kachura was somewhat more complimentary of Brezhnev than most speakers and seemed fully
'supportive of the2 decision regarding Shelest.
More recently, Kachura was listed by Soviet media as the first speaker at the7 CPSU Central Commillce plenum. He reportedly opened the discussion which led toemoval from the Politburo by suggestingrezhnev should be made Chairman of theldium of the Supreme Soviet. While the factachura played this role at the plenum might seem to suggest lhal Kachuratrong supporter of Brezhnev, It does not necessarily prove that this Is so. It Is likely that the leadership In any case preferred that the proposal to removeast remaining elhnic Ukrainian (except for Shcherbllsky, who has an ex officio seat as head of the Ukrainian party) from the CPSU Politburo come from another Ukrainian to project the appearance of unanimity In theay have been selected for ihis perhaps onerous task for the very reason that hea leading memberroup noi entirelyto the further consolidation of Brezhnev's power. Althoughoyalties remainShcherbllsky certainly prefers him toosllle figure whose longcontacts, and seniority must have given him considerable Influence.
Other Pofly Institutions
Counting heads of regional groups onbelow the Politburo level tends to reinforce the Impressionradual, but not dramatic, rise Inolitical strength. Aof the size of regional delegations tohh Ukrainian Party Congressesodest gain bylight gain by Kharkov, and no diminution In the size of the Donetsk delegationimilar pattern Is evident In the changes in lhc republic Central Committee .
The only surprising change In ihe composition of the republic Ccnlrnl Commltlee wos theing of Aleksandr Ulanov. former first secretory of Dnepropetrovsk gorkomresumed pro-
3li. ofDtJtoqtlom to UVrcWon Porty Congnwi
lego of Sheherbltsky. Appointed0 lo the key post of head of the Ukrainian Department of Organizational Party Work, he was mysteriously transferred3 Io Voroshilovgrad as ansecretary.ime It appearedlhat Ulanov had been sent there on an Investigative mission to build an Indictment against the obkom first secretary, who was In fact soon removedloud. It Is now clear, however, that Ulanov's demotion wu more real than apparent.
Finally, representation of Kharkov andon the CPSU Central Committee declined1hile the number of Dnepropetrovsk members grew
Representation of Ukrainian officials on the CPSU Central Committee, both1 andas based on position. Representation of obkom first secretaries, for example, appeared to be determined almost entirely by the size of the oblast party membership. Consequently, the In-
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crease In Dnepropetrovsk representation was not dueecision to elevate obscure officials who had career lies to that region, but merely(he success of the Dnepropetrovsk group In capturing Important posts In the Ukraine. Only In the very special case of the Dneprodzenhinsk gorkom wu favoritism clearly shown. The last throe first secretaries from that gorkom have been given membership either on the Central Committee or the Central Auditing Commission, It appearj that Dneprodzerzhlnsk hu achieved an ex officio seat during Brezhnevs tenure.
The only surprising chonge In Ukrainianon6 CPSU Central Committee was the election of controversial writer Olesandidate member. Honchar'scame In spite of the fact that he has not appeared contrite about his past Ideologicale has continued to write eulogies to the Ukrainian languageort rarely seen since Ihe demise of Shelest. In his speech ath Ukrainian Congress, while praising Brezhnev, he conspicuously neglected toow in Ihe direction of the "wise" decision ofonchar's election can hardly beonus for Sheherbltsky.
Altarnatlv* Eapkmatleni (or Shf.harblliky'i Apparent Problem
The evidence suggests that Shcherbllsky has been more successful In removing old foes lhan In replacing (hem *vith clients of his own. Although the trend2 tn Ukrainian politics has beenradual accumulation of power by Shcherbllsky, to date he has not completelyhis position In the central partyof the Ukraine. There are several possible explanations for his seeming failure to do so.
Is tht lOSorkov EvioWe UWy?
First ofit may be contended that this conclusion Is Incorrect. It is conceivable that the evaluation offered here proceedsalseis to say, that regional and career ties In the Ukraine have weakened to the extent that they are no longer reliable as Indicators of political loyalties. It can be argued, in particular, that In recent years the Kharkov contingent on the Ukrainian Politburo has not always existedistinct group, and that consequently thepresence on the Politburo doestumbling block for Shcherbltsky.
IThe question of the solidarity of the Kharkov group and the relation of Shelest and Podgorny to Kharkovites In the Ukraine today Islippery one. That Kharkovites of an earlier day, under the leadership of Podgorny, Vltaly Tltov, andfirst secretaries of Kharkova patronage network seems clear.onnection with this group was more tenuous. Although Shelest and Podgorny did not serve In Kharkov simultaneously, there is Inferential evidence that Podgornyand In Shelest'i elevation to the first secretaryship, and that Shelest "Inherited" some of Podgorny"sIn the Ukraine. From the, bowwer. the evidence connecting Shelest with the Kharkov group Is ambiguous. Shelest'iIn the Ukraine during this period may have come largely from those who. regardless ofbase, supported his policy positions,his toleration of "some manifestations of Ukrainian national feeling. It Is likely that on this Issue the Kharkov group split. Certainly some Kharkovites, such as Botvin, Vashch-nko, and Andreyas Ideology secretary InShelest on ideological matters and cooperated with the Dnepropetrovsk group.like Nlkltchenko, evidently did not
This raises the question of Podgorny'shich may also have shifted. Whatevers personalPodgomy has had the reputation of being the most "Ukrainian" of the centralthe, as he
to withdraw from active competition with Brezhnev, he also on occasion offered public support for Russifying and centralizing policies which Shelest clearly opposed.
8 speech, for example, Podgornyong panegyric to the Russian people, which concluded that "after all, ft Is notthat abroad all citizens of our multinational country ore frequently described asnd at the time of Shelest's demotion, Podgorny,2 Kommunlst article, registered his desire to see "rapprochement and even fusion" of
(codewords for linguistic andRussiflcation) and expounded the view that the Soviet economy "constitutes an Interlinkedeconomic complex developing Inwith an Integratedn whichdecisions are made "from the viewpoint of the USSR central economy" (ralher than inwilh the desires of Individualuch statements suggested that Podgorny was
. putting distance between himself and Shelest's politically dangerous defense of Ukrainianidentity and republic economic Interests. Thus, It would appear that, at least on this Issue, many members of the Kharkov group abandoned Shelest. The fact that the Kharkov grouphole was not associated with Shelest's line wilh regard to nationality policy Indicated that regional and career ties In the Ukraine are not all-important, and that differences on Important policy Issues In some Instances cut across group
Nevertheless, the evidence with regard to the Kharkovites does not Invalidate the overallthat they have represented an element of potential weakness for Shcherbltsky In tholeadership. Although the present Kharkov contingent on the Politburo Is evidently more compatible with Shcherbltsky than was Shelest.nlikely that their Kharkov loyalties have disappeared altogether or that they "belong" to Shcherbltsky In the way that mostofficials presumably da (Similarly, Podgorny acquiesced In Brezhnev's preeminence and supported some of hb policies, but he did not therebylose personal ally In the way that Klrllenko and Shcherbltsky have been,)
How Strong Is maVt Today?
An alternative explanation for the vblbleIn Shcl*rbltsky'swhich. If true, might radically change Ihe complexion of Sovietthat there hasplitting of the Dnepropetrovsk groupchism would doubtless take place If the presumedamong Shcherbitsky, Brezhnev, andbroke up. Whiletrong evidence that Shcherbltsky's fortunes have been tied to those of Brezhnev In the past, at some point the Interests of patron and client may diverge. As the succession question lotms ever larger In Moscow, Shcherbltsky could attempt toorecourse for himself. Brezhnev, for hb part, could conceivably come to view the younger manotential rival, and attempt to hold back Shcherbltsky's ascendancy.
Evidence luggestlng that Shcherbluky may be attempting to put some distance between himself andound In certain of hb recent speeches which have not been uniformlyof Brezhnev. Shcherbltsky, for example, hai used the formula "one of the mostnternational figures of our time to refer to Brezhnev, Instead of the more complimentary "most outstanding" figure. Shcherbluky has also stressed the virtues of collectivityay which could beriticism of Brezhnev's leadinglso Interesting that speeches ath Ukrainian Congress revealed no clear correlation between praise of Brezhnev and praise of Shcherbltsky. In addition, in an article publbhcd on the eve of Podgorny's ouster, Shcherbltsky condemned "great powerhbodeword for Russianb rarely used by Soviet leaders.use of ll at this time could conceivably be Interpreted as resbtance to Brezhnev's removal of the lost non-Russianey central post. According to one report, finally, Shcherbitsky warned Brezhnev5 against including In the new constitution any further formal restrictions on the rlghb of union republics, lest thb lead to an unnecessary exacerbation of the situation In the non-Russian republics, particularly In the Ukraine. (In the event, the draft constitution formalized the movement toward further centralization.)
At the sme lime,entative evidence that Klrllenko has In recent months become more assertive and Inclined to play up hb personal importance In the Moscow leadershipay the. may not be altogether pleasing to Brezhnev.peech at hb birthday celebration Inor example.Brezhnev by making an unusualto him as vozhdlso made self-congratulatory remarks which called attention to hb worthinessuccessor. If Klrllenko were lo break away from Brezhnev,ntirely possible that Shcherbltsky might follow hb lead. Shchcr-bibky's career ties to Klrilenko. under whom he earlier worked In Dnepropetrovsk, are even stronger than hb ties to Brezhnev.
But despite these suggestionseakening of the bond between Shcherblbky and Brezhnev,lso significant countervailing textual evidence. Shcherbltsky, for example,ost laudatory tribute to Brezhnev on the occasion of the unveilingust of Brezhnev In Dnepro-dzerzhlnskndne of Ihe few Soviet spokesmen who have publicly referred to Brezhnev's position as Chairman of the USSR Defense Council. Moreover, some of histo colitctlvlty can be read as compliments
to Brezhnev, whose alleged "modesty" andrestraint In stepping on the toes ofhave often been cited amongassets. Thus, Sheherbltsky has statedspeeches "greatly contributed todevelopment of Marx Ism-Leninism"they "embody,oncentrated form,collective' :
et weight of the evidence suggests that Shcherbltsky's difficulties' In the Ukraine do not stem primarily from any problems between him and Brezhnev, but probably haveontinuing tension within the CPSU Politburo itself. That Is, the constraints existing between Brezhnev and his colleagues have apparently also constrained Sheherbltsky. Presumably, the degree of collectivity which has existed In the CPSU Politburo and the character of all-union cadre policy since Khrushchev'sIts emphasis on continuity andcombined to restrict Shcherbltsky's room to maneuver In the Ukraine. Vacancies of obkom first secretaries, for example, arc Invariably filled In the Ukraine, as elsewhere, from within the ranks of the local party, most often by promoting the obkomsecretary. In turn, there hasrend for the heads of the largest obtast parties to have ex officio seals on the Ukrainian Politburo. In this way, limitations of an almost structural character In tho application of power in Moscow have prevented Sheherbltsky from running roughshod over his opposition In the Ukraine. The ouster of Podgorny this year, however, may havereduced the barriers to Brezhnev's exertion of patronage In the union republics and therefore mny haveafor obstacle lo Shcher-bllsky's uscendancy In Kiev.
Podgorny's demise may alsoise In Shcherbltsky's prospectsuccessionFor Sheherbltsky loeriousfor Brezhnev's Job. he needs experience In an Important party or government post at the center. During (he last two years, whilehas remained In place, several other Junior leaders at the national level have advanced. In particular. Crlgory Romanov, ihe Leningrad party leader, hasense caught up with Sheherbltsky by receiving promotion to fullmembership.
In addition, several other Juniors whoto enjoy strong support fromadvanced. For example,irst deputy premier;and Konstanlln Rusakov haveinto the CPSU secretarial. YokovIsrotege of Klrllenko. hasInto the secretariat. Brezhnev duringhas continued lo be either unablelo take steps lo designateheir apparent, ' ,am
Never!heless, because' Podgorny'sthe last member of whal was onceUkrainian contingent holdingposts In Moscow, ihe central leadershipa need toisgruntledby appointing an ethnic Ukrainianpost in Miwnw
"theabrupt rrrnov-irny disquieted many Ukrainians,
ors circulating In Kiev to the effect Sheherbltsky will soon be promoted.
In short, several shreds of evidence suggest an Increase In Shcherbltsky's political standing since Podgorny's fall, and It Is possible lhat the factors that have constrainedcareer2 may now be overcome.Original document.