The Soviet Party Leadership
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN8
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence2
The Soviet Party Leadership
The most significant development on the Soviet political scene during the past yearalf has been the emergence of General Secretary Brezhnev in the new role of spokesman for detente abroad and champion of consumer interests at home. In thc process he has broadened his range of policy involve stent and become the mostfigure in the Soviet leadership. He also has taken on greaterrisks than ever before.
To some extent Brezhnev simply has taken advantage of events at home and reacted to developments elsewhere. As the prevailing view has shifted within the Sovietparticularly inerennial middle-grounder, has moved with the tide. But Brezhnev is first andolitician, and in the past year he has taken thc lead in assuming publicfor controversial policies. His colleagues probably recognize that Soviet interests abroad are best served when there is one undisputed leader able to speak with full authority.
e_: Thie memorandum wae prepared by the Office of
Current Intelligence and coordinated within CIA.
Brezhnev's increased standingesult of political gains ath party congress has facilitated the decision-making process and enabled the regime to move forward in several tough foreign policy areas. Many aspects of current Soviet policy, such as detente with West Germany, the forthcoming talks with President Nixon, and reaction toin Sino-US relations, are controversial in the USSR and call for incisive leadership.
Brezhnev's assertiveness has shaken uprelationships in the USSR, changed theinfluence of individuals, and generatedstatic every step of the way. By shiftingore activist stance on foreign affairsore consumer-oriented position at home, Brezhnev has effectively undercut his colleagues on what we call the moderate end of the Kremlin political spectrum. These moderates were put in theposition of seeing policies they had long espoused finally adopted, but with the credit for whatever gains these may bring largely taken by the party boss.
Brezhnev was able to neutralize or divide thoso who had earlier been his main critics, but his new course hasossibilityreach between Brezhnev and some supporters from his more orthodox days. Those within Brezhnev's immediate political entourage presumably have more to gain by going along with Brezhnev than inhim. But there are persuasive indications that other conservative elements have been dragging their feet, especially Ukrainian party boss Shelest who emerged last year as the principal spokesman for the foot-draggers.
Shelest and those sharing his conservative views have not prevailed in Soviet policy But, in terms of power in the Kremlin, Brezhnev's maneuvers seem to have provoked afrom those of his colleagues who arethat further gains by Brezhnev wouldtheir own positions. At the centralplenum hold last November, there were
signsovement to check the growth of Brezhnev's personal authority. While his policies were approved, the central committee failed to accord him the high degree of personal acclaim that he had been receiving in thc public media in the period before the planum. There were no personnel shifts, despite signs that an effort to removemoderate andcritic ofthe politburo had been in the works before the plenum.
We believe that the idea of collectivebasic notion since Khrushchev's removal inreaffirmed at the November plenum. The composition of the leadership was unchanged- There seems to have been agreement to mute criticism of present policies. This instinct of the collective for survival has maintained stability in the ranks of the politburo in the post-Khrushchev years,policy and political differences. Brezhnev can reduce the power of his politburo opponents* but it is difficult for him to remove them.
Although Brezhnev was under pressure to move against Voronov, he apparently was reluctant to do so unless he could at the same time get rid ofroublemaker at the other end of the political spectrum. The politburo is so evenly divided between moderates and conservatives that to remove one without the other could upset the balance that Brezhnev has long played to his Thus, when Brezhnev found that he could not achieve both his policy aims and personalgoals, he seems to have chosen tofor the timo being, on his policy
Brezhnev's domestic and foreign policies do not appear to be endangered by the existing Unlike Khrushchev, Brezhnev has beennot to accompany his policy of detente with relaxation of internal controls, which wouldarouse real conservative ire. In fact, as tho time for President Nixon's visit approaches, the regime has stepped up domestic vigilanceeminder that detente does not extend to thesphere.
There are, of course, many risks ahead for Brezhnev, External events could give him serious problems at home. He ie in an exposed position on the issue of detente, having assumed public responsibility for this policy. Ratification of theest German treaty is of particular importance because his entire European policyood deal of personal prestige are tied up with that agreement. If the treaty falls.may come under fire from members of thcwho prefer that Soviet relations with the West remain cool. Similarly, Brezhnev must watch his step in negotiations with the US and in shaping policies in response to movement in US-Chinese These matters involve the security of tbe USSR,ajor setback couldhakeup of the leadership.
Brezhnev also is under the gun because of his domestic policies. Even thc weather seems to be conspiring against him. The unusually severe winter has done extensive damage, and prospectsood agricultural year are thus dim. is closely identified with current agricultural policies, and his critics will undoubtedly attempt to hold him responsible if the harvest turns out to be poor.
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Brezhnev'5 Response to Challenge
In the early days of the collective ership, the principal challenge to Brezhnev came from the ambitious Shelepin who spoke forand rode the wave of reaction against Khrushchev, Brezhnev, in classic political style, moved with the flow of conservatism to limit the ground available to Shelepin, at the sameolitical base. Byrezhnev had control over the conservative wing of the party, and Shelepin had been reduced to the politically powerless post of trade unions chief*
Shelepin evidently was forced to lookfor new constituents, new issues,ew Because of expediency,hange of heart, he gravitated toward what we call theKosygin, Mazurov and Voronov, Although there are many differences among these men and they never actaction or bloc, they apparently do holdviews inparticular, an interest in modern methods of management and in economic They alsoeep hostility toward the agricultural lobby represented by Polyansky, Kosygin and Shelepin have both been identified with consumer needs. Possibly most important, these men arethey do not belong to the Ukrainian coterie clustered around Brezhnev. Suslov, anotherhas on occasion joined with them on certain issues.
3. On foreign policy questions, Kosygin has long been associatedolicy of reducingtensions, Suslov had provided arationale for positive responserandt
move toward theull six months before Brandt himself came to power. There were hints of similar receptivity to overtures from the West in some of Shelepin's trade union activities.
9 therereports that Brezhnevfire from Suslov,Kazurov for lack ofa tendency to tread waterquestions. His effortsthe cohesion of theworld were frustrated, and _
the stalemate with China persisted. Mfkhiila.Su&lo* The "Brezhnev doctrine" was useful to justify, after the fact, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, but was hardly the basisrezhnev foreign policy. Brezhnev needed an opening for fresh initiatives, and Brandt's election as West German chancelloran opening in the foreign policy field. Seizing on it, Brezhnev used the tactic that had served him
in thethe platform of his critics while undercutting their political positions. In the followingew, activist Brezhnev began to emerge.
first seemed to move to secureof his conservative colleagues on themost notably Polyansky and Shelest, bya costly agricultural investment programfavored. rogram was embedded ineconomic plan inong beforeother sections of the plan were completed. his right flank, Brezhnev started tobyolicy of detente and bythat consumer interests would be given The twin programs of peace abroadat home were not in keeping withcautious style of leadership andoutlook. And they exposed him torisks than before.
after theestwas signed in the summerout in favor of normalizing relationsGermany. At the party congress thehe put considerable stress on the theme
of European detente and peace in general, andpeech in Tbilisi in late1 he enlarged on these themes.
But until the visit of West GermanBrandt to the Crimea inrezhnev clearly was operating as spokesman for the collective leadership; the troika of Brezhnev, Kosygin, and Podgorny was sharing responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy. Brezhnev's solo two-day meeting with Brandt marked adeparture from this pattern. Brezhnev used the visit to establish himself publicly as the chief spokesman for detente policy, the one person in the leadership responsible for its conduct. He thus put himselfosition to reap the benefits should it succeed.
easure of how far Brezhnev had come, it is worth recalling that at the signing of theest German treaty0 he had insisted on calling all of his colleagues back from vacation to stand at his side. ear later he went it alone. He was at great pains to stress to Brandt that he was speaking not just as the party chief but as the leading Soviet statesman. Hisat the meeting conveyed the message that he, rather than Premier Kosygin or President Podgorny, was the man in the Kremlin for President Nixon to talk to. Tho Nixon visit to Moscow was announced the following month.
On the domestic front, Brezhnev has for some time championed various measures to raise living standards, but his efforts to satisfy all important interest groups, particularly thecomplex, blurred his image. He had made clear his commitment to greater agricultural investment in Inhe draft five-year planas published
over his signature, rather than under the auspices of the central committee, as had been customary since Stalin's death. His identification withinterests was underscored in the draft, which highlights the task of raising living standards. Ath party congress in March andre2hnev reiterated these positions. The image has been created even though, in real terms, theto consumer goods appears to be in large measure propaganda froth that will have littleimpact on the country's economy. olitical sense Brezhnev's move is both real and controversial. Iteparture from the long sacrosanct tenet of the primacy of heavy industry over light industry and, over the long run, it could have important economic results*
Political Impact in the Kremlin
departures in foreignpolicy once again cut ground fromcritics and rivals. Shelepin againcrowding his political platform. Shelepin managed to hold his positionpolitburo ath party congress,in ranking from sixth to last place.
His speeches since the congress suggest that he sees no alternative for the moment but to go along with Brezhnev,
Kosyginlightstatus at the congress- from second to thirdPresident Podgorny, Oneprincipal spokesmen forrelations with thehas steadily beenas Brezhnev assumed leader- in this field. It wasvisited Francend who metJohnson atthat year. Butrezhnev who traveled tomet with Brandt. WhileBre2hnev's support
policies that he had long espoused, appreciate the accompanying loss in tige.
can hardly his own
Not only has Brezhnov encroached on Kosygin, butalso has helped his political ally. President Podgorny, to do likewise. The last-minuteof Brezhnev and Podgorny in what were originally scheduled as private talks between Kosygin and Mrs. Gandhi hadeliberate elbowing in on Kosygin. The premier haspecial interest in relations with India, at least since thc Tashkent Conference
Brezhnev went out of his way to demonstrate hisfor Podgorny by making an unusual trip to the airport to see him off for Hanoi.
Kosygin's stature on thc domestic front also diminished. The economic reform program he sponsored5 has not lived up to the highwith which it was launched. It was pretty well buried ath party congress. Moderate elements who had supported the reform may have been mollified to some extent by the increased emphasis on consumer goods. They may doubt that the attempt to provide these goods by thesystem of tight centralized controls will work, but they seem to be willing to givehance.
Of the politburo members who holdmoderate views, Vorcnov suffered the most grievous set-back, both at the congress and later. Voronov has long been at odds with two of Brezhnev'! political allies, Kirilenko and Polyansky. In the past he competed with Kirilenko for politicalof party affairs in the Russian republic, more recently, with Polyansky over agricultural policies. Voronov has advocated administrative reform as an alternative, or atorollary, to huge
capital investments in the agricultural sector. He vigorously campaigned for the adoption of the controversial "link" system of organizing farmystem that, to theorthodox, smacks offarming.
inbureaucracythis system, and theirwas shared by officialsUkraine. Over and aboveto the link systemanswer to the ills ofVoronov clearly tried Ceimsdy I. Voitaw
to use the issue politically to embarrass the agri cultural lobby and its spokesman, Polyansky. The two engageditter public exchange in the springnd the matter was resolved in Polyansky's favor only when Brezhnev gave his full backing.
this defeat, Voronov'sfortunes began to plummet. Several ofwere demoted, and onhwas pointedly snubbed in an officialreceiving less than the full honorspolitburo member. Voronov went onof the agricultural support program andwon Brezhnev's enmity. Althoughhis seat on the politburo at thecongress, he dropped in ranking fromposition he had held innext to
Potential Conservative Backlash
was thus able to countermoderate wing of the politburo, but thepace of detente evidently began to alarmelements in the country. Asclearly identified as the architect of it has maderime potential the conservatives' ire.
16. The depth and strength of conservative feeling in the Soviet Union is difficulteries of public lectures in Leningrad last fallample ofin one locale outside the capital. The lecturesairly rich vein of conservatism on foreign policy. During the question periods, the audiences voicedsuspicionide range of current Soviet foreignChina, through Germany to the visit of President Nixon. "It is strange that Nixon canommon language with China while we cannot. Have we forgotten our Leninist precepts?" "What compromises did wo have to make toerlin agreement?" "Whatever happened to the West German revanchists we used to read about?" "Aren't we helping Nixon to getther questions showed marked hostility to Brezhnev. There were, for example, repeated queries about why his trip to Prance received more publicity thanr Podgorny's travels.
it should be noted, cannottypical. Brezhnev is considered tobecause of his long career there,Ukrainian and Leningrad partylong been rivals for political influence Even so, there is little questionthe foreign policy attitudes of theare reflected at higher levels ofand government. Many rank-and-filesee the world in simplisticdoctrinal terms. The leadership mayaccommodation with "class enemies" inand the US, but this is bound touneasiness among certain party workers
at all levels. Conflicting views are inevitable, and they invariablyactor in Kremlinas leaders are tempted .to exploit them to further their own ambitions.
thc present case, we thinkcan feel reasonably confident that hisguarded against attacks fromrecord of orthodoxy and his close tieselements in heavy industry and thereduce his vulnerability to criticism from
the conservative wing. Furthermore, unlikehe has been careful not to combine aof detente with relaxation of internal On the contrary, the authorities havetheir pursuit of dissident elements.
21. Brezhnev can take comfort in the fact that most of the important spokesmen forcauses had either been removed from office before the detente policy got under way or were sufficiently beholden to him politically totheir compliance. One influential foreign-policy conservative, Leningrad party boss Tolstikov, was maneuvered out of the country as ambassador to Peking beforeh party congress. Hisappears to be somewhat more open toblandishments, andnew boy" carries considerably less weight than had Tolstikov.
22. Critics could arise from withinown political circle. Polyansky, forreportedly sought in tho pre-congressto appeal to hardliners by supporting their positionsariety of cultural matters. He is said to have even flirted from time to time with the" ultra-conservative neo-Stalinists. But Polyansky is indebted to Brezhnev for support on agricultural policy. Moreover, Polyansky's most visible rival to succeed Kosygin when the premier steps down is Mazurov, whose ties are withcritics. If Polyansky is ambitious, as is likely, his ambition would seem to be best served by loyalty to Brezhnev. The same holds true for Kirilenko, whoarked conservative
cast during the access of orthodoxy following the invasion of Czechoslovakia. As Brezhnev's right-hand man, and presumably with hopes of becoming his successor, loyalty again would seem advisable. So, even if these "Moscow Ukrainians"it uneasyuture of detente and butter, their interests lie with Brezhnev and the politicalof their mutual rivals.
When Ukrainians Fail Out
these former spokesmen for thecause biding their time, at leastthe field has been leftparty boss Shclost,emerged as the principalfor conservative interestsnoisiest critic ofdomestic andpossibly because heUkrainian Premierprotege and an attractiveto Shelest in themade little effort tothe Ukrainian partythe contrary,oliticalShelest athsuccessfully maneuvered
to promote Shelest's rivals in the Ukraine and has tried to keep him continually off balance.
breach between Brezhnev and Shelestin Ukrainian politics, where factionalismexacerbated by tho presence in Moscow ofUkrainian officials who continue to meddleaffairs. Brezhnev, though not ofwas born and made his career in thearea of Dnepropetrovsk in the southernheaded the party organization inseveral years and, since attaining highin Moscow, hasatron for officials
from that area. He has been particularly warm in his support of Shcherbitsky, who wasarty official in Dnepropetrovsk.
on the other hand, gotin the Kharkov party organization, longof the Dnepropetrovsk faction. atron of the Kharkov group whichhurt in the campaign against Podgornyouster. It no longer has muchclout. esult, Shelest has had tofor political support. He has fixedDonetsk party organization- The Donetsk iscoal mining area, and its partyhas emergedew force in Shelest has been busilywith its rank and file.
has sought to buttress hisby appealing to Ukrainian nationalism,contrasts with the Moscow-oriented policiesDnepropetrovsk group. He has been tolerant
of Ukrainian nationalist writers and hasolicy of gradual, limited, and controlled Ukrainization of the cultural and economic life of the republic. He evidently has tried to use the support that this has brought him from lower party and government officials, particularly in the nationality-conscious western areas, toeasure of independence from Moscow.
keeping with this emphasis onShelest has consistently shown anin administrative reforms that woulddevolution of authority from Moscow tolevel- On other subjects, Shelest is
a thorough conservative. His long association with the defense industry has made him afor this special interest group and aof defense spending in general. Heard line on foreign-policyand is particularly insistent oncohesion in Eastern Europe,
between Shelest, on theand Brezhnev and his protege,the other, was more or less dormant during the
years when Brezhnev was straggling against Shelepin Brezhnev may haveeed for Shelest's support (or neutralism) in those years, and the Ukrainian party boss' orthodox views were generally in vogue in Brezhnev's circle then. The first breachthe two men came in9 at afarmers' congress when Brezhnev renegedromise to support one of Shelest'sschemes. Relations were strained by the signing of theest German treaty0 and by disagreements over the allocation ofin the new five-year plan. The drafting of the plan was clearly not easy. It wasarty plenum before the party congress last spring, as was customary, and it was issued over Brezhnev's personal signature, suggesting that controversies may have necessitated unconventional measures to get the document out for the congress.
2Wi ,At the congress, it wasublic row. Shelest complained openly that fundsin the draft plan for the Donetsk coalwere insufficient, in part,esture to curry favor with the Donetsk leadership. It may also haveore general discontent on the part of Ukrainian officials with the plan.
Brezhnev seems to have taken up theissue to beat Shelest with. Thereport to the congress contained an uncharac-
anreat Asians, which was picked up by some, but by no means all, subsequent speakers. The regional party leaders who praised the Great Russians also had publicly expressedBrezhne^ suggesting an orches-nr fSS nst Shelest and other nationalist or independent local leaders. Brezhnev's praise
hf*ussians also seemed designed to help him shed his own Ukrainian image.
split between Shelestroxy for Brezhnev, was much inat the congress. stressed that the laborthe Soviet people formedof Ukrainian success,that "great credit" wasthose in Moscow who werein their concern forrepublics. Shelest'scontrast, contained nothanks to the Greathe insisted thatwas on the otherUkraine was responsiblegreat part of the nation's Shelest was joined in
this stance by the same republic Vladimir V. Shchcrbitaty party bosses who before the congress had shown the greatest reluctance to praise Brezhnev personally.
result was one-sided. from the congress much strengthened;proteges, Kunayev in Kazakhstanin the Ukraine, were promotedto full membership on theretained his ranking on the politburo,position in the Ukraine was considerably Officials connected withfavored over Shelest associates in theto the new party central committee. most serious blow was the elevation of It is most unusual for both top postsrepublic to be represented on thethe promotion of Brezhnev's personalany pretense of neutrality on hisit seemed to eliminate whatevermight have been of patching up hiswith Shelest. The breach, if not final,visible.
Thunder on the Right
did not lie low after the Far from it. Throughout the summerhis speeches were punctuated withexpressions of disagreement withon an array of subjects. On economic issues.
Shelest consistently and deliberately ignored or distortedh party congress formulations on the tasks of the new five-year plan. Asin the congress material and stressed by Brezhnev, the "main task of the plan is toonsiderable upsurge in the material andwell-being of the people, on the basisigh rate of development of socialistand improvement of its efficiency.* Shelest, referring vaguelyecision "to strengthen further the economic and defense might of theut consumer welfare last on his list of priorities, or turned the congress formulation on its head so that increased efficiency andinnovation became the main task. In sharp contrast to Shelest's studied downgrading ofinterests, Shcherbitsky warmly endorsed the congress decision and in the main report at an Ukrainian central committee plenum discussed measures to increase production of consumer goods,
a speech to tho Ukrainianin May, Shelest continued histo Ukrainian nationalist pride bypractice of "littering" the Ukrainianobvious reference to borrowing He told the writers that the consolidation
of the socialist community was the most important theme ofh party congress. He made noof Brezhnev's peace program. He warned against underestimating "ideological diversions of the class enemies" and asked for greater politicaland the cultivationhatred for ouro much for the spirit of detente.
danger of ideological subversionWest hasontinuing theme in His tactics were plain. He wou'dby his critics to pin on him thebourgeois nationalist, with hints oflaxness and political blindness inhas studiously refused to suggest thatbe any problem with nationalist sentiment
in the Ukraine itself.
36. In June Shelest again stressed thoof unity in the socialist camp andapprovingly to the blow dealt "rightist" elements in Czechoslovakia He had some jarring remarks on defense too. He dusted off an argument of Sovieta nuclear war would mean the destruction ofturned it around to use it as an argumenttill stronger defense establishment to deter would-be aggressors. This speech cameew weeks after the US and the Soviets hadplans toimited SALT Brezhnev's later lengthy defense of the wisdom of negotiation with the US seemed in part intendediposte to Shelest and others of his presuasion.
the end of Juno, afterin East Berlin that Moscow wassee the Berlin negotiationsour note designed tofears of the Germans. peech at afriendship meeting, healthoughears had passed, "We haveto forget, we must not forget thepaid for our victory. Twenty millionsacrificed." The next day, he againthe danger presented by the spread ofand of bourgeois views and morals.
A Busy Summer
the announcementhe President was going to visit Peking,seemed to grow stronger. OnVoronov, who had tangled with Kirilenkowas removed from his post asthe Russian Republic and demoted to anpost. The shift removed anykeeping him on the politburo, and itwould beatter of time before he Brezhnev interrupted his vacation into attend the installation theof Voronov's successor, party secretary
SolomenCsev. In his remarks at the ceremony,snubbed the outgoing Voronov and went on to praise Solomentsev.
39. With Brezhnev at the ceremonyodgorny, Kirilenkolast twobeneficiaries of Those leaders whoto have had the most toVoronov's politicalwho probably opposedSuslov,absent, perhapsdeliberate gesture to Moreover, rumorsonce again to circulateimpendingto "ill health." It isKosygin has healthlong standing. They do
however, seem to be of an incapacitating nature thus far. Rumors of his retirement because of poor health, which recur sporadically have not coincided with any of the identifiable periods where the Premier was ill and seem to beeflection of any such intention on Kosygin's partymptom of temporaryweakness. They may have been started by others in the leadership eager to see him go.
40. The specterS-Chinese rapprochement aroseime when the Kremlin was annoyed by China's flirtation with Romania and Yugoslavia, and it spurred Soviet moves to warn Eastern Europe against using contacts with Chinaressure tactic against the USSR. Preparations were noisily made in late July for Warsaw Pact troop maneuvers in the Balkans. Pressure was applied against Romania to participate, raising memories of similar pressures In this tense atmosphere, the party chiefs of all the East European members of the Warsaw Pact except Romania--pointedlywere called to the Crimea for consultation with Brezhnev and Podgornyugust. The addedof Shelest, who hadrominent part in the Czechoslovak crisis,urther ominous note to the occasion.
41. We do not know what happened, exceptew and more hopeful mood seemed to ensue. ew weeks the Soviet leadership was engagedurst of diplomatic activity. There must haveecision not to be stampeded by the President's visit to Peking and to attempt to stay out in front of the Chinese. We also speculate that negotiations between the US and the USSR for President Nixon's visit to Moscow prompted at least some of the change. In any event, by the end of August the militant spirit of the Crimea meeting had all but evaporated. The Warsaw Pact maneuvers failed to materialize, and Brezhnev's peace offensive gained new momentum. Onugust the four-power draft agreement on Berlin was signed, clearing away many long-standing obstacles in the path of rapprochement with West Germany, During the last two weeks in August, the Soviet leadets arranged trips that would soon take the three top leaders to Yugoslavia, Prance* Hanoi, Canada, and Scandinavia, The groundwork was also laid for Brandt's visit to the Soviet Union in mid-September.
Renaissance of the Moderates
movement toward detente gainedthe influence of those who had longa policy, particularly Kosygin and Suslov,to rise again. Although critical ofthe past, neither Kosygin nor Suslov is arival in the same sense as Shelepin or Neither Kosygin nor Suslov has designs
on the top party post, and thus do not feelto offer alternative policies to those set forth by the party boss. Furthermore, as Brezhnev became identified as the spokesman for detente, particularly after his solo meeting with Brandt in September, he needed the support of moderates to counter the mounting attacks of the
fiora making plans to retire,to regain some of his former vigor.ong interest in the policy that was
being pushed, he may have had other considerations in mind. The alacrity with which he acceptedto visit Canada and Scandinavia, and his prefonnance on these trips, suggested that he and others interested in preserving collective rule were anxious to bolster his position in the His initiatives in bohalf of increased US-USSR trade, particularly his role in the visit of Secretary Stans, may have served the same Indeed, Kosygin seems to have responded to Brezhnev's encroachment on his position as Soviet spokesman for relations with thc West by himself striking out into new territory. In pursuingin US-Soviet trade, he is in an area where his expertise and experience are great
secretary Suslov, out of thein July and early August, subsequentlymore active in public than haslately. In an unusual gesture oftoward the US, he met with Senator Scott on
ugust and was cordial and forthcoming. During the fall, heumber of ideological conferences providing carefully reasonedarguments in support of the current Soviet line. Moreover, on at least one occasion, he attackedamiliar target before the invasion of Czechoslovakia, but rare in recent years. This, coupledautious plea for greater creativity in theoretical work, suggests that he may be attempting to nudge the leadership further away from the rigid orthodoxy of the past few years.
mid-October, the politburoof the draft five-year plan. Thels without recent precedent, undercutrole of the central committee inand approving such plans. In theon the plan, stress on raising living
standards as the main task came through withforce.
journey to France inwas the high point of his drive toSoviet spokesman for detente. oint decision of thePresidium of the Supreme Soviet, and theof Ministers was announced. Itactivities in France and dubbed the visitof great international importance." enhanced Brezhnev's image and, likeapproval of the economic plan,range of permissible public dissent forlike Shelest, by tying them to anline.
At the end of October, it was announced that the Supreme Soviet would conveneo give final approval to the five-year plan. The central committee routinely meets beforeof the Supreme Soviet, and rumors began to circulate that there would be significantchanges marking new political gains for The conspicuous absence of Voronov fromovember anniversary celebrations reinforced the impression that his days on the politburo were numbered and that his removal might open the way for other adjustments in the leadership.
Rumors also began to spread that thecommittee would approve the establishmentuper-body that would providetatebefitting his new role. The rumors could have been floated by Brezhnev to test the water, or by his opponents in an effort to head off what they fearedikely development. Whatever their source, the rumors added to the sense of expectation concerning the central committee plenum.
Brezhnev's pre-plenum maneuvers seem to haveeaction from some of his colleagues During the period before thc plenum Kosygin andthe two most influential "independents" on the politburo, were increasingly prominent. Most remark able, however, was the assartiveness of Shelest. Shelest's activities suggest that he may have sensed that he would bo next on the list after Voronov, After all, the seating of the two leading Ukrainian
officials onman politburo was the mostanomaly of all the personnel actions taken at the party congress. Shelest appears to have decided to fight for his position.
traveled to East Germany in Rather curiously, he went under theof the Supreme Soviet, rather than inrole, and spent considerable time withboss Walter Ulbricht. Given Shelest'sexpressed suspicions of the policyby the Brezhnev-Brandt meeting, thebound to raise eyebrows, whatever may havein private, Shelest's public remarks were
in the USSR, in two speechesbefore the plenum, Shelest seemed to goto exploit vulnerabilities in Brezhnev'sand to make common cause with otherparticularly Belorussian party bosscontinued to divert attention from hisstand in the Ukraine by hammeringdangers of ideologicalMoscow, And for the first time he broadenedon Brezhnev. Be directly attacked thegiven to consumer welfare, echoing theearlier by Masherov against *'vulgar** The entire leadership hadfor the plan, but it waswho had publicly played up the consumerastonishingly for an experienced Sovietfailed to cover himselfod to theof "consumer attitudes." Adding insult toShelest implied that Brezhnev hadthan he could deliver in the consumer goods Masherov followed upecondon "consumerpecificallywith Brezhnev's reference to the needthe market with consumer goods.
52. ln the past/ the Ukrainian and Belorussian party organizations were rivals, and their party chiefs were more often than not on opposite sides of policy disputes. The synchronized attacks onconsumer-goods policies on the eve of the
planumommunity of interest, at least on some issues. Something of this sort may also have been in Shelest's mind when hereferred to the similarities between the Great Russians and Ukrainians. In part, thismay have been an attempt, like Brezhnev before him, to shed some of his provincial image and broaden his appeal to conservatives elsewhere, particularly among the Great Russians. His attack on Zionism--by no means hisalso sit well with ultra-conservative elements among the Great Russians.
his most contentious, Shelestthe draft of the five-year plan had onlyby the politburo and would be submitted"Ey the next plenum of the centralformulation ignored the publicly announcedapproval of the plan and left thethat there was still room for revisions bycommittee. Once again, he"main task" of the plan. He seemed, inclose to appealing to the centralover the heads ot his politburo colleagues for
a change in economic priorities. If he actuallythere was any chance at this late date of forcing some adjustments in the plan, he was to be disappointed, but his trouble-making didiversion.
general secretary dominated theof the two-day plenum at the end ofas he had at previous plenums. Brezhnevyet unpublishcd--report on foreign Ee summed up the debate on the report, asthe debate on the plan and budget report, thetfiain item on the agenda. Nevertheless,toorttop-Brczhnevhis policies were endorsed, the centralfailed to accord Brezhnev the high degreeacclaim that he had been receiving fromin connection with his excursions in Furthermore, Kosygin held the spotlightSupreme Soviet session that followed,main report on the five-year plan and1
plan and budget. Brezhnev, contrary to his usual practice, did not attend the Supreme Soviet session after opening day.
party plenum failed to removethe politburo, despite all the signs andminimal changes were made--the removalfrom the party secretariat andandidate member of the politburo* Nonamed to fill Solomentsev's post on the The plenum, like1 partyan impression of loose ends.
Voronov probably owed his reprieve in part to the reluctance of some of his colleagues, despite policy and political differences, to vote against him. Some of them probably reasoned that his ouster would make it that much easier for one of them to be removed later. The instinct for survival hasbeen responsible for the stability in the ranks of the politburo over the years. It has been easier for Brezhnev to reduce the power of hisopponents than to remove them.
Brezhnev, although under pressure from Polyansky and Kirilenko to move against Voronov, may have been reluctant to do so unless he could at the same time get rid of Shelest, the main trouble-maker at the other end of the political spectrum. The politburo seems to be so evenly divided between what we label as moderates and conservatives that toone without the other might tend to upset the balance that Brezhnev has long played to his The noisy performance of Shelest during the period before the plenum suggests that he may have been aware of this linkage.
But there were other reasons why Brezhnev may have found it no longer politically expedient to move against Voronov. Brezhnev badly needed the support of the moderates as his detente policy moved into the uncertain triangular relations amongChina, the US, and the Soviet Union. Suslov, on whom Brezhnev relics heavily, had acted as aof Voronov in the past. Thus,ariety of reasons, Brezhnev was apparently not able to achieve
both his policy and his political goals. For the time being he has apparently decided to concentrate on his policy objectives.
winter in the Country
In mid-December, following the central committee plenum, members of the leadership fanned out across the countryside to address regional party meetings on the decisions of the plenum. Although party leaders touchedange of subjects in their talks, including economic questions andlocal problems, the main purpose of theapparently was to explain the current line on foreign policy as outlined in Brezhnev's report.
The leadership has resorted to this sort of whistle-stop tourumber of occasions in the past in an effort to ensure that sensitive and complex policy issues were understood and to sound out grass-roots sentiment. Given the controversial nature of the detente policy, the Moscow leaders may have felt particularly obligated to carry the word to the local level.
All members of the politburo andparticipated in the campaign, with one notable exception, Ukrainian party boss Shelest. Ordinarily he would have been expected to report to Ukrainian party workers on the plenum decisions. But in an unprecedented move. President Podgorny was sent from Moscow to do the honors in the Ukraine. Hisin Moscow may have assumed that Podgorny, because of his Ukrainian heritage and his pastwith Shelest, would be the most acceptable emissary, but reports in the Ukrainian newspaper suggest that he metistinctly cool reception,
Since then, Shelest's published speeches have stayed away from foreign policy questions and other controversial issues. He appears to have been muzzled, at least in public and for the time being. Curiously enough, Belorussian party boss Masherov has continued his attacks on Brezhnev's policies in language stronger than, before. peech at an ideological conference in Minsk in early February,
Masherov combined his earlier complaint againstarsh attack on the West and the ideologicalas Shelest had in
63. Masherov differed with Shelest on oneissue, the nationality question. This sets limits on their cooperation. Consistent with his ideologically militant set of mind, MMasherov sharp] attacked the "poison weed" of nationalism and urged that greater strides be made toward the goal of drawing all the peoples of the Soviet Union togethet In this he appeared to be responding to the note sounded by party thooretician Suslov, who stressed the same pointseport in December. Suslov's treatment of the nationality question and dogmatism had apparently been aimed at Shelest and his allies.
64. There is other evidence to suggest that Bre2hnev and his supporters are trying to silence Shelest, or at least to turn his harpings against him. First, the central press in early December chargod that Lvov officials were lax in theirto nationalist manifestations in their These accusations were followed by thearrest of more thankrainian intellectuals on charges of nationalist activities. The arrests were partationwide roundup of dissidents that appears to have been carried out on the orders of the KGB in Moscow.
Shelest has consistently sought to play down the problem of nationalist sentiment in the Ukraine, possibly because widespread reprisals by the authorities against dissident elements would reflect adversely on his leadership. The charges against the Lvov officials could only have been embarrassing to Shelest. (le had just presented the Order of Lenin to Lvov, accompanying it with words of unstinting praise for all aspects of work in the city.
During the winter there was evidence that Brezhnev was also trying to counter Shelest's appeal to other conservatives. In the briefing campaign after the November plenum, Brezhnev spoke not only
,ln During his four-day
inl^ -Iwa* intentostility of local officials to
heir "PPort for his policies. Brezhnev praised theini-
in Ar-lZiiD "ttin9 UP Production associations and in drawingomprehensive economic and social plan for the city. He apparently promised tothe extension of this concept of integrated planning to other cities. His remarks reportedly
standing in the city may have risen.
S*5nov iE not prepared to etente or hls commitment to consumer interest at home, but his actions in Leningrad pro-
! lee kind of concessions he can
in.aPparenJly willin9 totoI ts in order to win them over. His?k ^nf^raders should hold some Like the Leninoraders, the
Belorussians combine an interest in progressive innovations such as complex planning with an ultra-
SKSffira-rforei9n qu"uon> and
The Road Ahead
are, of course, many pitfalls ahead
JVhecc' hePseema to be presidingivided politburo. He has not
lts composition enough to ameliorate this problem, and he may find it increasingly difficult ELK? 1iS factions at least partially content. ^derates appear to be pushing SLfS stments in party dogma to meet new requirementshanging world, but thia pressure only .increases the alarm of conservatives.
Brezhnev's failure tovoronov in November may haveand Polyansky, in particular, and points
Si?T? tmt8 t0 Bre2hneu's ability to come up with political concessions for his allies in return for their support of his policies. Although Polyansky still seems to be beholden to Brezhnev and there la no evidence that he has bolted the party boaa, on
one occasion he apparently went out of his way to associate himself with Shelest. Polyansky was the only politburo member on hand to see the Ukrainian party boss off to East Berlin in early October and greet him on hiseminder that the two havo political ties and that Polyansky's support for Brezhnev is not unconditional.
70. Tho weather appears to be against Brezhnev Tho extent of the damage done to crops by thesevere winter is still being assessed, but it may be extensive and will require much resowing at great cost and effort. The prospectsood harvest are thus dim. Brezhnev's critics willattempt to hold him responsible if thereajor setback. Brezhnev's close identification with agricultural policy and his insistence onthe credit when things were going well make him especially vulnerable. Certainly the fortunes of the principal critic of his agruculture policies, Voronov, should brighten if the year brings aharvest. Inudden renewal ofin the press to his pet "link* scheme last month suggests that he may already be benefiting.
71. External events could compound Brezhnev's problems at home. He is in an exposed position on the issue of detente, and he will need tangible The ratification of the WestSSR pact by the Bundestag is of particular importance becauseuropean policyood deal of personal prestige are linked to that treaty. Moreover, Shelest's ability to hold out against Brezhnev suggests that other important members of the leadership ate skeptical of Moscow's present course and, perhaps, are standing by if it should fall.Original document.