DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE
LEONID BREZHNEV: THE MAN AND HIS POWER
(Reference Title: CAESAR XXXVII)
LEONID BREZHNEV: THE MAN AND HIS POWER
After tho pyrotechnic Khrushchev, most anyone to become "number one" in the Soviet Union was likely to appear grey. Brezhnev, the careful, efficient end ruthless bureaucrat who succeodod him, is not completely lacking in imagination, color oralmost so.
This study seeks to understand Brezhnev's power, modus operandi, and prospects. It does so by viewing him from the perspectives of the power of the office he holds, of his methods of attaining and using that power, and of his personality.
The study concludes that Brezhnev does prevail among Soviet leaders and that he hastrong impact on the direction and style of Soviet policy. Barring ill health, his position is not likely to be challenged, despito his general unpopularity and his lack of forceful leadership.
This study was prepared by the Special Research Staff and reviewed by analysts in the Office of Current Intelligence and the Office of National Estimates, who offered no significant disagreement. An Annex, published separately, lays out the evidence on Brezhnev's methods in greater detail. The research analyst in charge was
VDD7I" b'peCial Research
LEONID BREZHNEV: THE MAN AND HIS POWER
REACHES OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY'S
over tho Policymaking
the Defense Establishment.8
EXERCISE OF POWER: BREZHNEV'S
His Poser in the
tho Armed Forces and
OF BREZHNEV'S PERSONALITY AND
Pursuit of Bureaucratic
The General Secretary of the Soviot party Central Committee is the hub and the motive force of thePolitburo* Ho guides its activities and arbitrates between and among its members, nominally Ms peers. Ho convenes the Politburo, determines the agenda and the participation of other party officials in its meetings, and even controls the release or publication of its The role of the General Secretary in Politburo meetings is to preside and summarize the views expressed, toonsensus "ruling.M Apparently the General Secretary's rulings are accepted in most matters, and isBuos comeote at such meetings only in those canesonsensus is unobtainable. This authority gives the General Secretary decided advantages over his fellow policymakers.
The General Secretary also administers the Central Committee's executive Secretariat, which checks on the implementation of Politburo policy in all areas of Soviet life. He is particularly well placed to benefit from therimary the assignment of party personnel to every post of significance in the party and state apparatus. Of course, he delegates much of his authority to his subordinates, some of whom are Politburo members with power in their own right. However, the General Secretary apparently has the ultimate responsibility for the work of the Secretariat and Its operational departments.
In addition to his responsibilities in party administration, the General Secretary sits at the apex of the defense structure. He serves ex officio as chairman of the Defenseivilian-military consultative body which makes recommendations to the Politburo on major military problems. In wartime the chairman of the Defense Council probably would direct tho country's military effort as Supreme Commander in Chief; in peacetime he apparently has important influence on the direction of defense policy. Together with the premier and the president, who areof the council, the General Secretary lends significant authority to the council's recommendations, and it is likely
that in most cases tho Politburo would concur in them. Little is known of the chairman's role on the Defensebut the evidence suggests that the General Secretary, as chairman, guides its operation as fully as he does the activities of the Politburo and Secretariat.
Brezhnev has used the political advantages ofSecretary's office to consolidate his powerruling oligarchy. Through judicious use of hisrule on tho assignment of party personnel, he hasplaced proteges ln key positions at the expenserivals, who have been mainly within thethe first months after Khrushchev's fall in lateseniormembers NlkolayAleksandrsufficient ambition andsupport tohreat to Brezhnev. secretary, Mikhail Suslov, had earnedfrom his long service,n thebut he appearod to lack the ability and desirea contender for the top post. Podgornyy
especially well placed to challenge Brezhnev in the long run, supervising party organization ln general and claiming the supportunior secretary, Vitally Titov, ln charge of the important Party Organs Department.
Brezhnev, whose political strength ln the first few months of tho new regime appeared somewhat weak, began maneuvering to consolidate his position. The transfer of Titov from the Party Organs Departmont ln5econdary post in Kazakhstanajor setback for Podgornyy and had all the marksrezhnev-instigated ploy. In line with his demotion, Titov lost his post on tho Secretariat at thd subsequent Central Committee meeting in September. The weakened Podgornyy was transferred in December to the largely ceremonial post of president. At the same time, Shelepin lost his position as head of the party-state control apparatus but took up Podgornyy's secretarial responsibilities for party organization. Shelepin therefore remainedood position to challenge Brezhnev. However, Ivan Kapitonov, an official with past ties to Brezhnev and Suslov, filled the vacancies created by Titov's removal and thus servedounterweight to Shelepin.
Inrezhnev's associate Andrey Kirilenkoomber of the Secretariat, while Podgornyy'sfrom it was confirmed and Shelepin was reassigned from party organizational affairs to the less sensitive field of consumer goods and light industry. The final blow to Shelepln'a aspirations was his transfer about one year later from the Secretariat to head the trade unions, which already had been preceded by tbe removal of several of his closest supportors from key posts. Throughout the two years of maneuvering, Brezhnevreference for the gradual and indirect approach rather than for thetactic which Khrushchev generally had favored.
The changes In the Secretariat ineriod thus resultedet gain for Brezhnev. Instead of having to contend with four other full members of the Politburo in that body, there were subsequently only two. Of course, ho has no guaranteo that either of theandnot sometime try to oppose or even oust him. Perhaps recognizing this, Brezhnev in effoct hasivalry between the two by allowing each to deputize for himar. In general, however, he has loaned in favor of Kirilenko, who has begun to emergesecond In command" with responsibility for party organization. The only change on the Secretariat in the past two years has been the addition in8 of Konstantinirilenko protego with Brezhnev'soung party technocrat with virtually no experience in foreign affairs, Katushev assumed responsibility for supervising relations with ruling Communistjob which could bring him in conflict with Suslov. There is evidence that Katushev's appointment did not sit well with some of the partyand Brezhnev has seemed concerned to avoid any other appointments which might further upset the balance*'in the Secretariat..
Concurrent with his moves to dominate the Secretariat, Brezhnev has given attention to upstaging Premier Kosygin. The virtually equal billing which the two loaders received during the first months of the new regime gave way to prominonco for Brezhnev at ceremonial functions and in party protocol in the spring Six months lator,
at the September Central Committee plenum on economic reform measures, Brezhnev took part of the spotlight ln what otherwise would have been Kosygin's show. Both leaders were scheduled to deliver reports toarty Congress ln Aprilthe main account of the party's activities since the last congress,eport onconomic plan. At the congress itself, Brezhnev's roport received greater attention by the delegates and greater press treatment, and protocol honors consistently gave Brezhnev the edge over Kosygin, as well as other leaders. In the fallelations botweon tho two men appeared to worsen, and Brezhnev began to receive much greater prominence in the press. By December, small signsrezhnev "cult" dramatlzod his preeminence over Kosygin and set the tone for the political Imbalance that has prevailed between them since then.
Simultaneously, Brezhnev has angled for the support of the armed forces and security organizations. From the start he courted the military by defending their interosts in investment policy and relying on professional advice on strategic-defense policy. This tacticrend in the party leadership favoring relaxation of its defense-oriented posture and introductionost-effectiveness approach to questions of force structure. esult, Brezhnev hasiddle course between the opposing pressures; he apparently has acquiesced in Premier Kosygin's proposal to open stratogic arms talks with the US, but he also has approvod courses of nctlon-for example, the invasion ofhavo had the effect of impeding Kosygin's initiative. Despite pressure from within the high command (presumably centering around the "missile generals" whose vested interest the initiative mostrezhnev has moved mostly with the current in the general direction of negotiation. He appeared to reach some kind of modus vlvendi with the military in tho springhen the regime decided (after several years' debate) to abandon its traditional parade of armed might on May Day.
In contrast to his limited success ln winning the military's full support, Brezhnev has steadily Increased his already considerable influence In the security He has done so by granting them greater prestige
and material support than they had under Khrushchev, aa well as by eliminating the significant influence that Politburo member Shelepin exerted ln them and in the party and state apparatus controlling them. Brezhnev's personal supervision of the police agencies was evident in the appointment of his client, Nlkolay Shcbelokov, to head the militia organization (MOOP, later renamed MVD) in the fall Tho7 appointment of Yuriyarty secretary who had helped promote Brezhnev's drive for tho international Communist conference, to head the Committee of State Security (KGB) also appeared to reflect Brezhnev's will. In both instances, the officials who were removed were allies of Shelepin. Brezhnev's influence was reflected also ln the assignment of past associates to high KGB posts, primarily in the counterintelligence components which have flourished under Andropov's guidance.
In brief, the record shows Brezhnev toautious but ambitious bureaucrat with generallyinstincts. Undoubtedly mindful of the opposition Khrushchev aroused by his dynamism and aggressivenoss, Brezhnev has presided over rather than tried to dominate the party oligarchy, lie has come to stand for the generally status quo policies which the majority of the party loader-shlp have supported. His "safe" behaviour has madeoor target for any political rivals. It has alsohis reputation with the conservative party functionaries and military leaders whose interests had suffered under Khrushchev.
Prospects for Brezhnev's continued rule, despite his failure to provldo forceful leadership, are thus good. Tho possibilityival might capitalizerisis situation or policy failure and attempt to upset the status quo always exists,oro serious and Immediate threat to Brezhnev's political future is his health. istory of heart attacks, Brezhnov could find his career cut short at any time. Such an occurrence might set lnuccession struggle with unforeseeable consoquences in policy. However, the oligarchy sight see its bost interest in continuing the present policy lines by settling on one of Brezhnev's allies, such as Kirilenko. In any case, Brezhnev has succeeded introng and perhaps lasting impact on the direction of Soviot policy.
The power of any individual Soviet leader, and specifically the Communist Party boss, must be defined primarily in terms of his relation to the ruling Politburo oligarchy. The dynamics of Soviet politics have bad their source in the ebb and flow of power between the party boss and the Politburo. Lenin was the main motive force of tho oarly Soviet regime, which took tho form not of an oligarchy so muchhinly disguisedof one man. Nevertheless, Leninonscious effort to share his decision-making power with bis closest colleagues, and the present regime points to the Leninist ruleodel of "collective leadership." In contrast to the concept of shared power, the mature Stalinist regime In practice denied the existence of any source of power outside the Leader. Stalin had reigned autocratically above the party itself and was not identified as the party's highest executive during most of his rule. Since Stalin's death, however, the oligarchic or "collective"partyheld or shared all political power in tandem with the party boss.
The history of Khrushchev's rule,3as onoonstant fluctuation of political power between him and the party Presidium, as the Politburo was known then. In essence, two opposing political forces or tendencies regulatod the power flow. It was In the oligarchy's interest, on the one hand, to give the party leader sufficient authority to guardrifting or rlgidifying policy and, on the other hand, to prevent the Individual from acquiring too much power andanger to the group. On two major occasions,7ajority of the oligarchy doclded that Khrushchev had acquired too much power and was usurping their role as decision-makers. Khrushchev had the support ofinority in the party Presidium for theshowdown7 but defeated his opposition by appealing to the Central Committee, where his superior forces could legally overrule the oligarchy. hrushchev's poweris the Presidium was generally greater than before but suffered from periodic overloading and short-circuiting, until in4 the majority of the Presidium again had accumulated sufficient power to restrain him, this time permanently.
With Khrushchev's ouster, tbe oligarchy succeedod In overcoming what it regardedangerous buildup of political power under the control of one man. In fact, by specificallyeparation of the posts of party boss and governmental premier, which Khrushchev had held jointlyhe new collectivemade It more difficult for any individual leader to acquire the powerictator. onsequence, it had had toertain amount of drift and rigidity in policy in place of the kind of forward movementotential or actual dictator could supply. In these circumstances, Brezhnev's position as party boss has Inherent limitations, but he still has advantages over any other Individual in the leadership ln terms offor the accumulation of power.
THE REACHES OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY'S OFFICE
Leonid Brezhnev undoubtedly holds the most powerful posts in the Soviet collective leadership. As General Secretary of the party Central Committee, he holds supreme prerogatives in three vital areas of responsibility. First, he directs the operation of the Politburo, which is the party's supreme policy and decision-making body. Second, he heads the Central Committee Secretariat, which through tho staff of party functionaries known as tho apparatus, supervises the execution of the Politburo's policy decisions. And third, the General Secretary is ex Officio the chairman of the Defense Council, the supreme military-civilian body with responsibility for defenseclosest Soviet equivalent to. National Security Council. In addition, Brezhnev's position carries withumber of lesser rights and responsibilities such as membership on the largely prestigious Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (Parliament). No other Soviet leader has so many levors of power ln his grasp.
It is often difficult in actual practice to determine when Brezhnev is acting as Politburo leader and when ho is functioning as chief of the Secretariat. The line between the two functions is exceedingly thin when
the Politburo or Secretariat is not in formal session. Indeed, the distinction is often meaningless; the General Secretary's decisions today in implementing Politburo policy, taken togothor with numerous similaractions, can perceptibly influence the formulation of policy tomorrow. In other words, Brezhnev controls the machinery for action and thus has the capability to act, directly or subtly,olleagueolicy.
The General Secretary must, nevertheless, serveeader and arbiter,ictator. Otherwise, he becomes vulnerable to criticism from political rivals. The primary source of potential opposition to the General Secretary is first of all the Secretariat itself. In fact, Brezhnev seems to have seen the gravest threat to his power so far ln the personseniorone of the members of the Secretariat who are also Politburo members and who deputize for the General Secretary in his absence. The Council ofPremier Kosygin's government bureaucracy in which Brezhnev holds nono direct threat to the power position of the General Secretary. Nevertheless, it represents an institutional obstacle to his ambitions, and Brezhnev has tried to make inroads there while blocking Kosygin's bids to enhance the premier's authority. He also haa had to guard against the formation of alliances between the Premier and Brezhnev's fellow secretaries which could weaken or threaten his own authority as General Secretary. More serious potential instruments of power outside the partygenerally are under the control of the General Secretary but could be used against him by partythe security organs and tho armod forces. All these Institutional factors complicate the political equation and affect Brezhnev's power position.
Presiding Over the;Pollcymaking Politburo
The mechanics of decision-making in the Soviet Union, and especially the workings of the Politburo, are veiled from public view. Nevertheless, certain aspects of
its "colloctive" procedures have become known over the years. Ambassador Dobrynin has explained that the general practice in the Politburo is to seek aor, failing that, to take votes on disputed issues. The role of the General Secretary, he said, is to proslde and to summarize tbe views expressed. He added that the General Secretary's "rulings" usually are accepted.
Dobrynin's account Is in line with the standard explanation of Politburo decision-making givon Westerners since the. The Soviet press, arefrom Its usual secrecy on such matters, had quoted Khrushchev7 interview to the effect that at meetings of the Politburo (then called Presidium) its members try to arrivesingle viewpoint" or, failing that, to resolve the questionsimple majority vote."
the Politburo, with theho or two tarieseference to the "seniorho act in the General Secretary's absence. The General Secretary dominates the work of the Politburo, convening and chairing meetings and submitting the agonda for discussion. The General Secretary further has administrative
control over the operation of the Politburo primarily through the Central Committee's General Department, which functions mainlyecretariat of the General Secretary and supervises the printing and distribution of Politburo documents. The General Secretary reportodly is the arbiter of all conflicts within the Politburo and, indeed, all other organs of which he is nominal or de facto chairman.
Brezhnev has not always abided by the strict interpretation of his positionirst among oquals. Sometimes he has been observed protecting or building on tho authority of tho General Secretary as the highest leader of the entire party. His efforts to enhance tho standing of the General Secretary tend, of course, to detract from the authority of other Politburo mombers. Recurrent warnings in the Soviet press against violations of collective procedures suggest that those efforts have not sat well with some of the other loaders. Forravda article on6 seomed to have Brezhnev specifi-cally in mind in citing tho fallibility of any individual "regardless of the party post he might be assigned to" and asserting that "the secretaryarty committee is no chief, he does not have the right tois only the senior person in an organ of collective leadership, elected by the Communists." An article of such apolitical nature could only appear with the backing of one or more top-level leaders, whoa the dictates of party etiquette if not political wisdom prevent from speaking out personally.*
.. *The article's importance was indicated by the fact
F-was identifiedJoil func"onaryhe travelled to Bulgaria in5elegation led by Politburo member Suslov his precise position and other connections with policymakers have not been revealed.
Steering the Party Machine
Most of Brezhnev's political strength derives fron his position as administrator of the party. Allfunctions in the party jtilerarchy ultimately are located ln the post of the General Secretary, The General Secretary rolies, of course, on his subordinates to super* vise various aspects of party administration. Thisof authority, however, does not appear to detract from his ultimate responsibility for all aspects of party life. In his capacity as party chiefp the Generaldirects the activities of the other secretaries and, through them or directly himself, supervises the Central Committee apparatus (which in turn provides closeguidance to all Soviet organizations in and out of tho party).
Brezhnev's role as chief of the Secretariat Rives him two important advantages ovor his colleagues in
secretarial positions, as well as other secretaries. First, he is better placed to benefit from the Secretariat's right to control party organizational policy and,to propose candidates for assignment to virtually all important positions. His right (probablyeto power) to approve each appointment, while other leaders consent to or propose candidates only within their area of competence, allows him totronger core of support at all levols* Second, because the party pervades all aspects of Soviet life, Brezhnev canin the administration of evory other organization inthe governmental (ministerial) bureaucracy, the state apparatus of councils andcommittees, the military and security forces, etc. When the Secretariate interference in these organizations implies incompetence on their part, it tends to discredit their leading officials and the performance of the ultimately responsible individuals in the Politburo.
Just how forcefully and effectively Brezhnev can use his authority in theSecretariat to shape Itsand, in general, to assort his will is not entirely clear from the available evidence. His acquisition at tho
ongress of the title of Generalin Lenin's lime but held only bya gain in prestige, whatever the other purposes of the title's restoration. (The traditional term "Politburo" replaced "Presidium" for the party's policy-making body at the same time, reflecting the party leadership's stress onwith the policies of the Lenin and Stalinn contrast to the previous title of First Secretary, the concept of General Secretary implies that the parly boss islane above tho Secretariat, rather than tho firstine of its members. His actual authority with senior figures like Suslov and Kirilenko is, of course,ifferent order than with junior members like Kulakov and Solomentsev. The latter hold the least status within the Secretariat, while the former, being Politburo members, come close to being Brezhnev's peers
in executive as well as policy-making activities. Because the Politburo presumably must approve appointments at the Secretariat level, lt would seem impolitic if not perilous for Brezhnev to attempt to install his own appointee without prior consultation and, if necessary, political compromise with his colleagues. Whatever the limitations on the General Secretary's jurisdiction within the however, the changes which have occurred in its composition since Khrushchev's ouster (see Annex) suggest that Brozhnev's wishes in staffing thai body havo prevailed.
Certain high-level personnel changes sinceongress appear to havo altered subtly the institutional weight of the Secretariat to the advantage of thebut not clearly to the detriment of tbe General Secretary. Thus, throe moves7 involving setbacks for Shelepin (and an Implied boost to Brezhnev's power) had the effect of cutting into the Secretariat's nroa of responsibility. In May, Party Secretary Andropov replaced Central Committee member Semlchastnyy as KGB chief. at the June plenum Andropov was dropped from the Secretariat; at the same time, however, heolitburo candidate member. In late June, Politburo candidate member Grishln replaced the Moscow party boss. Central Committee member Yegorychev. esult of these two actions, the KGB and the Moscow party organization in theory became accountable directly to the Politburo rather
than to the Secretariat. Then, when Grishin was released as head of the Soviet trade unions in July, Politburo member-Shelepin himself left the Secretariat to take tbe vacated post. This had the effectignificantof tho trade unions, givingay inpolicy. Aside from power considerations, that is, the fact that by these moves Brezhnev succeededtho Immediate threat Shelepin represented within the Secretariat, the impact of this shift in the Secretariat's authority on the position of the General Secretary would seen to be minimal in view of his preeminent position in the Politburo.
Directing the Defense Establishment
In the Soviet hierarchical set-up, the General Secretary traditionally has carried the function ofover the defense effort. In contrast to the collective procedures which prevail elsewhere, the need for ultimately concentrating all military authority in onepartyis recognized in practice. In wartime this means his assuming responsibility for the total direction of the country and its armed forces as Supreme Commander in Chief. In peacetime it moans his chairing the Defensesupreme military-civilian consultative body attached to the Politburo.* The Defense Council is comprised of several Politburo members and high military officers, and its recommendations on defense policy presumably carry great weight with tho Politburo, which has thefor all final decisions ln this as in overy other area.
confusion over tho exact name, composition, and operation of tho council, and even its very existence, has arisenesult of the secrecy shrouding all things military in the "Soviet Union. The Defense Council should not be confused, for example, with the military council that functions within the Ministry of Defense at the apexierarchy of regional and service-oriented military councils.
The accumulated evidence indicates that thecontrols the Defense Council as fully as
Brezhnev generally has the same authority in defense matters that Khrushchev once exercised, although he (unlike his predecessor) has not acquired the title
of peacetime Supremo Commander in Chief.* However, procedures of the post-Khrushchev regimeon the chairmanship of the Defense Council,the definition of Its leadership. The OctoberCommittee plenumecision whichin the future the combining of the dutiesFirst Secretary of the Central Committee and thethe USSR Council of Ministers in one person." separating the top party nnd governmentthe classic formulation of militarythat appeared ln Khrushchev's time inbook, Military Stratogy (first and
The entire leadership of the country andArmed Forces in time of war will beby the Contral Committee ofParty of the Soviet Union,possible organization of aof leadership of the country andForces. This supreme organ ofcan be given the same powers as(State Committee of Defense) inof the Great Patriotic War, andbv the First Socretarv of theand tho head of tho governmentthe functions of tho SupremeChief of All Armod Forces can beadded.)
The Russian language, which gave the "whom" of the final clause ln singular form, had left no doubt that the top functions of the party and government were united. As
allowed himself identified with this title, despite the fact that his colloagues apparently opposed his public identification ln that position and despite the fact thot it was customary for the title to take effect only in wartime. Brezhnev evidently has not chosen to take the same political risk.
a consequence of the October plenum ruling, however, tho) edition of Sokolovskiyfcs book dropped the underlined clause entirely, withoutubstitute definition of the Supreme Commander in Chief.*
Collegiality notwithstanding, Brezhnev is chairman Of the DefenHR Council, as he himself told "
nd this gives him ai
remier aosygin and other Politburo members who sit on
the council. As in the Secretariat, Brezhnev mjst take into consideration the fact that some members of the Defense Council are his theoretical equals on the Politburo. The council's exact composition is unknown, but bv all accounts it includes Premier Kosygin.
whose list conflicted somewbr
nent raemnorsixoica ureuu&u, Warsaw Pact Commander Vakubovskiy Chief of General Staff Zakharov, the chiefs of the General Staff's Main Operations and Intelligence(COlonel Generals Povalyy and Ivashutin,nd General Yepishev, chief of the Main Political Admini-stration of the Soviet Army and Navy.
avc une following as the council's members:
Brezhnev, Podgornyy, Kosygin, Grechko, Zakharov,candidate member Andropov (as KGBnd Deputy Premier Baybakov (as chairman of the state Planninc
Ivashutinrovide Outside expertise but do not participate in discussions beyond their competence.
the Central committee decree stipu=
lAles tnai return uu one-man rule is justifiedational emergency or crisis, but only then. Despite Sokolovskiy's bow to collective leadership, therefore, Brezhnev would seek to utilize this ruling to justify his taking on both party and government functions in wartime and the position of Supreme Commander in Chiefnified command structure along the lines of the GKO.
Brezhnev nevertheless appears in complete charge of the Defense Council, as In the Secretariat.
I the General secretary co-nv OTTOSana aeteralries the topics to bo discussed. usually are heldonference room next toof the General Secretary ln the Central (The council would use the War Room atheadquarters to discuss the War Plan, whichunless signed by tho General Secretary.) Inmilitary emergency, Brezhnev would callinto session for consultation, timenot said so, tho Politburo might then
discuss tiro council'stime permittii But the General Secretary is empowered to act on his own ln surprise attack situations wbero the time factor is all-important. In other words, he has his finger on the nuclear trigger at least for the purpose of retaliation. The Central Committee Department of Administrative Organs servesecretariat of the Defonse Council.
Brezhnev's ultimate authority in defense matters is reflected ln several other ways. For example, he supervises the Defense Ministry's Main Politicalwhich functionsentral Committoo department ratheromponent of the military forces whose political reliability it ensures. Brezhnev probably is responsible also for approving senior military appointments. He has, of course, been publicly identified with military affairs,peech annually to the graduates of the military academy eachleasthen no civilian leader spoke at the ceremony.
The suproae position of the General Secretary has brought Brezhnev several other, primarily prestigious, titles and rights. These merely reflect rather than add to his position of authority and do not fall neatly into such categories as the functions of policy-maker, party administrator, and supreme commander. It certainly was by virtue of his position as party chief, for example,
that Brezhnev wan elected In4 to replace Khrushchev as chairman of the Constitution Commission of the USSR Supreme Soviet. Brezhnev at the time vasupreme Soviet delegate and vas not elected to the Supreme Soviot Presidium until*
Brezhnev also Is chairmanentral Committee commission for drafting nev kolkhoz statutes and callingongress of kolkhoz workers, vhich vas formed apparently in5 or6 in accordance vith the5 Central Committee Plonum decisions onquestions. Although Brezhnev emerged at the plenum as tho regimo's spokesman for agricultural policy, Politburo member Polyanskiy actually appears to have the primary responsibility in questions of agriculturaland administration. In this light, Brezhnev's role on the commission may be strictly nominal. Moetlngs of the commission have been very infrequent, most recently on9 to hear andeport by Polyanskiy on the completed draft statutes. Brezhnev merely summed up the discussions at tbe meeting.
Brezhnev also has the right as party boss to inter-fore in tho activities of any "public"trade unions, tho Komsomol, the Peoplo's Control Committee, for example. In the Soviet system these organizations do not exist Independently and serve to assist the party in Implementing its policies. Brezhnev exercised his prerogative, for example, in intervening personally in Komsomol affairs after replacing the chief of thein
commission toev constitution has yet to make any perceptible progress, despite Brezhnev's promise to have it ready forh anniversary of the Russian Revolution in His election to the Presidium ostensibly was for the purpose of legitimizing travel abroad on state matters and meetings with non-Communist statesmen.
TICK EXERCISE OF POWER: BREZHNEV'S STRUGGLE FOR DOMINANCE*
Brezhnev has been the model of an "organization nan" in his first five years of rule. He has been able, through very careful and gradual maneuvering, to rise from aposition in4 to dominance bye directed his first efforts to improving his situation within the Secretariat, where ho had rivals in the persons of Podgornyy and Shelepin, The latter had their own power bases and bad been influential ln party personnel assignments since tbo. Brezhnev also moved to Improve his statusis Premier Kosygin, his counterpart in the government bureaucracy who appeared to rank fairly oqually with the party boss in prestige and authority for the first few months. At the same time, he sought toirm grip on the security forces and the military. He pushedfor more direct control of the police, where he already had had significant influence. His efforts to gain the full support of the armed forces, on the other hand, yielded variable results. The military seemed solidly behind Brezhnev in the first period of the now regime,art of the high command lator began to oppose or pressure him as the leadership took steps toward opening negotiations on strategic arms. Until9 Brezhnev vacillatedtho opposing civilian and military pressures but appeared generally to defend the interests of the military.arty congress due sometime next year, however, he now seems anxious to play safe with the civilian majority of the party Central Committee who will be called on to reolect him General Secretary for another four years.
Consolidating His Power in the Secretariat
When Brezhnev inherited the top party administrative position in4 ho acquired nofact,than Khrushchev himself wielded as party boss in the last months of his rule. The Party Secretariat under
fuller exposition of this section is publishedas an Annex.
Brezhnev included several full members of the Politburo: Podgornyy (who had become "second in command" in charge of personnelhe ideologist and foreign affairs specialist Suslov, and the industrial managern addition, the young and ambitious Secretary and Deputy Premier Shelepin advanced to full membership on tho Politburo at the first Central Committee plenum held after Khrushchev's ouster, in November. All of these strongmen on therepresented,reater or lesserotential threat to Brezhnev's power. However, Brezhnev probably felt that Kirilenko would give him support since they had worked closely together in the past, and Suslov had specialized in foreign Communist relations and appeared to be uninterested in engaging the party chief in extensive organizational jockeying. Thus, at the start, Brezhnev faced two serious rivals among the senior administrators within the party apparatusPodgornyy and Shelepinwhose political weight made up for their disadvantage as formal subordinates of the General Secretary.
Brezhnev's uncertain position in the Secretariat was evident In the low level of his activity during the first six months of the new regime. The4 Central Committee plenum approved several actions which served to increase the authority of "Second" Secretary Podgornyy; none clearly redounded to the benefit of Brezhnev, whoinor role at the plenum. On trips abroad and at domestic functions Brezhnev shared the spotlight with Premierew second-level personnel actions in4 appeared to reflect Brezhnev's influence but were farhow of strength.
At the5 Central Committee plenum, however, Brezhnev began to show signs of assertiveness. He announced the regime's first major policy programa realistic
was equivalentarty secretary by virtue of his post as first deputy chairman of the CentralBureau for the RSFSR, which prior to its abolition in6 functioned within the Secretariat.
approach to solving the critical agricultural problem through solid, guaranteed Investments and greater reliance on material incentives. However, Brezhnev did not dominate the plenum completely; Podgornyy presided at Its sessions, and the several organizational moves which it approved fallod to addif at all, to the support Brezhnev could muster at the highest levels of the leadership.
After the March plenum Brezhnev began to work quietly behind the scenes at improving his position. He made use of his right to appoint party functionaries to the staff of the Secretariat,ore responsivo execution of his rule. The most Important chango Brezhnev made was the ro-moval of Vitallyrotege of Secrotary Podgornyy, from the key post of head of the Central Committeeresponsible for personnel assignments. Titov's transfer to the provincesecretary of the Kazakh partywhich meant bis eventual release alsounior member of the central Secretariat, bore the signs of an "end run" by Brezhnev, who had apparently lacked the required Central Committee support forove at the March plenum. In any case,emotionajor blow to Podgornyy and brought Into question his authority as the seniorresponsible for party organizational matters, Aof similar, although less important, changes in the Central Committee apparatus appeared detrimental to theof secretaries Podgornyy and Shelepin during tbe summer These indications contradicted numerous reports which claimed that Shelepin was about to take overassive Brezhnev.
Brezhnev had considerably strengthened his primacy among the senior secretaries by Changes announcedentral Committee plenum that month weredefinitely ln his favor than those of six months earlior. Hepeech which served to undercut the Impact of the report Premier Kosygin had giveneorganization of industrial planning and management. urther gain in Brezhnev's drive to control the Secretariat was tho December transfer of Secretary Podgornyy to the post of President, removing him from direct influence inappointments. At the same time, Shelepin was releasedeputy premier and assigned to full-time work in the Secretariat. It appeared that Shelepin had taken over
from Podgornyy as second In command of the Secretariat, and he thus continued to represent an Important counterforce to Brezhnev. However, Shelepin lost out four months latereshuffle of secretarial responsibilities atarty Congress inielding his control of party organizational matters and concentrating onof the consumer sector and light industry.
Brezhnev had run the show atongress and apparentlyandate for the next four years. Suslov had appeared to function during the congress as Brezhnev's second in command but his subsequent activities did notrimary responsibility in partymatters. Kirilenko was the obvious candidate to pick up the cadres supervision Shelepin had relinquished, but his activities also were unrevealing in this regard. In fact,hile it appeared that there was nosecond in command. Later, however, Kirilenko began to emerge as the probable "second" secretary.
Brezhnev's attention, meanwhile, turned to the police and security forces, which were in the hands of men loyal to Shelepin. One of these men, militia chief Vadim Tikunov, had been instrumental in promoting an anti-crime campaign that led to the augmentation and centralization of his forces in Tikunov was, therefore, the logical candidate to take over the militia under the new setup. However,wo month delay which suggested high-levellose associate of Brezhnev got the Job, and Tikunov disappeared from public view. Inne of Shelepin's closest supporters, Vladimir Semichastnyy, was removed from the powerful post of KGB chairman. His replacementore independent party official from the Secretariat, Yuriy Andropov, was to Brezhnev's political advantage.
Brezhnev probably did not foresee that this gradual erosion of Shelepin's power would erupt soonhallenge to his own position. Nevertheless, when the attack on Brezhnev's leadership came at the7 Central Committee plenum,he availed himself of his full authority and turned the occasion into another victory over Shelepin and his
dwindling supporters. At the plenum, the young Moscowboss, Nikolay Yegorycbev, criticized thewhich Brezhnev had used In the courso of theclash earlier that month.that he felt the Sovietu>v auoptodstance in the crisis. The majority of speakersplenum, however, apparently supported the Brozhnevwithin days Yegorychov was dismissedinorpost. His important Moscow party position went toofficial, trade union chief Viktor Grlshin. tho end of the chain of reassignments, ShelepinGrishin's relatively powerless trade unionthe Secretariat the following September.* Brezhnev has given overy indication ofKirilenko as second in command. The only additionSecretariat has been Konstantinoungprotege who has supervised relations withparties. Katushev's addition to theto impinge primarily on Suslov's authority,have been indications In the press that some ofleadership have resonted the appointment.
Don Ung_ with Premier Kosvgl n
Brezhnev has soon the need, after the first priority task of controlling the Secretariat, to setotch above his theoretical cooqual on the government side,Kosygin. He made his first move in this direction inhis was indicated when the Soviet press gave hla Central Committee plenum report great play whileignoring Kosygin's important speech to the central planningspeech which revised guidelines for the
"*Harring"aii unlikely change in Shelepin's fortunes in the next few months, he could conceivably be demoted even further to candidate member of the Politburotherank of the trade union bossat the next party congress.
5-year economic plan originally drawn up with Khrushchevian priorities. Brezhnevead in protocol standing at the same time, listed for the first time as head of awhich included Kosyginember,
Brezhnev became even more assertive infter making inroads in the territory of secretaries Podgornyy and Shelepin. entral Committee plenum that month, Kosygin delivered the main report on Importantto reform industrial planning and management, but Brezhnev shared the spotlightpeech that staked out the party's claim in economic-administrative control.
The delicate balance between the party boss and the premier, with Brezhnev carrying slightly more weight, was maintained up to and duringarty Congress ln Each leaderajor report to the congress, although Brezhnev's was discussed longer. While Kosygin received greater applause from the delegates at the beginning of the congress, Brezhnev received the highest protocol honors in the official record. At the conclusion of the congress, Brezhnev continued to have an edge over Kosygin in authority and prestige.
The apparent calm prevailing atarty Congress gave wayeries of squalls in the Brezbnev-Kosyginbut the duumvirate remained generally on an even keel until At that time, the press gave short shrift to Kosygin's activities in the Ukraine and noat all to his speech in Donetskovember; it gave prominent coverage of Brezhnev's speech on the same day in Georgia. The same slighting treatment of Kosygin prevailed throughout November and December, while Brezhnev enjoyed greater publicity and even some personal adulation for his wartime servicesa revival of the"personality cult"inor scale, The incipient Brezhnev cult stopped after he received high state honors onh birthday in mid-December, but from that point on he has had little trouble in maintaining his primacy over Kosygin.
Controlling the Armed Forces and Security Agencies
An Important factor in Brezhnev's coming to powerecessary condition of his continued rule has been the support of the armed forces and security organizations. This support has been variable, especially from the military, due to the strong influence that Party Secretary Shelepin (andesser extent Secretary Podgornyy) exerted in themhile after the Khrushchev ouster. Brezhnev has tried, with some success, to improve his organizational footing in these organizations, meanwhile defending their interests on most issues within the Politburo. Some tension has existed between the party leadership and the militaryhole, but the elite of the armed forcestheover-aged marshals and generals who nevertheless have Central Committee statusprobably feel safe with theBrezhnev. It would seem unlikely, moreover, that any pretender to the top party post could turn the security forces against Brezhnev in the near future, so successful has he been in strengthening his grip on them.
The Restive Military
Brezhnev's relations with the military have been marked by ups and downs. At the start, Brezhnev appeared to make some gains byontinued high priority for defense in budgetary debates and encouraging the acceptance of military expertise in strategic doctrinal He scrapped Khrushchev's heavy emphasis on strategic rocket forces in favorore balanced policy that gave greater weight to conventional forceslexiblestrategy. This reemphasis probably had the supportajority of the military (and civilian) leadership.
Relations between Brezhnev and some of the militaryurn for the worse, however, after the death of Defense Minister Malinovskiy in late Several reports suggested that at least some Politburo members backed the long-time armaments administrator, Secretary Dmitriy Ustinov, for the vacant post in order toost-conscious approach to questions of force structure.
It is conceivable that Premier Kosygin, who just one month earlier had revealed an interest in opening negotiations vith the US on strategic arms limitations, had persuaded Brezhnev to nominate Ustinov. After an awkward delay which suggested the appointment was contentious. First Deputy Minister of Defense Grechko was given the post. roponent of conventional warfare and weaponry, has close connections with the "Ukrainian clique" which Khrushchev had patronizedprimarily Podgornyy, Polyanskiy, and Kirilenkoand for this reason was probably acceptable to Brezhnev. Despite an outcome favorable to the majority of the military, the aborted nominationivilian Defense Minister probably created some ill will between the party leadership and the high command.
Oppositionart of tho high command appeared to bebasis of the attack on Brezhnev's handling of the Arab-Israeli war which Moscow Party boss Yegorychev spearheaded at the7 Central Committeeonceivably, the reported nominationivilian Minister of Defense and Semichastnyy's removal as KGB chairman brought some military leaders together with young party militants, supported by junior members of the Politburo, against the "seniors" of the leadershipBrezhnev, Kosygin, and Podgornyyand their status quo policies. In any case, Yegorychev's charges of unpreparedness would have appealed to some of the high command (presumably the minority group of "missilehotronger rocket force) since they suggested the inadequacy of measures taken by the civilian-dominated Defense Council.
Brezhnev continued his general support of the defense establishment during7hen thedemocratization was the main concern of the political
speech reportedly contained statistics to prove that Moscow was inadequately defendedissile attack.
leadership. Byremier Kosygin appeared almost alone among the Politburo members insistingolitical solution to the problem (only Suslov and Shelepin sided with Kosygin, by most accounts). Apparently Brezhnev, in his capacity as Defense Council chairman, had set the military wheels in motion early in the year. During the summer he did nothing to slow those wheels, and by August the invasion was virtually theoviet political defeat.
Brezhnev's reliance on the military tooreign policy goal increased their pres'tige, at least as an Instrument of power, and may have had the effect ofsomewhat the more clamorous of his high command critics In late June Brezhnev apparently had agreed to support Kosygin's initiativeaborted once inn opening strategic arms talks. The regime's intention to participate in such talks was made public in an official government declaration in July, doubtless not without Brezhnev's acquiescence. Brezhnev's sanctioning of the invasion in August had the effect, of course, of impeding the Initiative. Nevertheless, official reaffirmations of this intent paralleled the9 "normalization" of the political situation in Prague (achieved by Dubcek's downgrading after Grechko delivered the Politburo's ubsequent delay in arrivingecision on the time and place for the talks probably has reflected opposition on the part of the Soviet "missile generals" and their political allies in decision-making circles, since any savings realized from cutbacks in strategic weaponry could be allotted to the conventional arms forces which Brezhnev and Grechko have favored.*
-the missile generals" tended to"
side witn ureznnev's political rivals in the hope oftheir own positionhange of the party leadership, iney added that the high commandbut particularly the missile generals"were pushing for the formationouncil of Marshals" which would have the power to makedecisions in an emergency without prior consent from the Politburo. All Politburo members wero said to opposeouncil, which presumably would supplant Brezhnev's Defense Council.
Brezhnev and the military reached some kind of modus vivondi inlthough it might not have been to the liking of the high command. The partyclearly in connection with the renewed interest in arms talks,ecision to relax the strong defense posture of the Soviet Union by abandoning the tradition of parading its military might on May Day. The decision reportedly came after several years' delay and was in keeping with the repeated statements by Brezhnev that the Soviet regime has no need to rattle sabres. It may have been the subject of intensified debate in the springhen the regime was hinting its interest in the arms talks andivilian Minister of Defense. The sameseemed to be behind Brezhnev's failure to address the graduating class of young officers in July, which made the annualore strictly military affair. At the same time, there has been no reduction in Brezhnev's control of the armed forces through the Central Committee'sof Administrative Organs, the KGB's militarydirectorate, and the Defense Ministry's (actually Central Committee's) Main Political Administration
The Obedient Police
In contrast to his fluctuating fortunes with the military, Brezhnev has succeeded inirm grip on the two important policehe security and intelligence giant known as the KGB, and the uniformed police, or militia, of the MVD. He has carefully avoided any actions that would antagonize the professional corps of these "administratives the security andagencies are known in Soviet usage. On the contrary, they have received greater prestige and material support than they had under Khrushchev. More importantly, shifts in the leading personnel have been to Brezhnev's political advantage and to the detriment of his chief rival for their support, Politburo member Shelepin.
Brezhnev's influence over the administrative organs waxed and Shelepin's waned when Deputy Premier Polyanskiy filled the vacancy of first deputy premier in
olitical ally of Brezhnev whose responslbt1ity on tho Council of Minlstors had been almost exclusively the administration of agricultural affairs, may have taken on an additional responsibility for overseeing governmental administration of security-related areas (transport; power sources, and the like)areas which Shelepin had administeredeputy premier. In any case, Polyanskly's influence was obvious in the5 promotion of his political ally, Mikhail Yefremov, to deputy premier In place of Sholepln, who transferred to full-time work In the Party Secretariat. The circumstantial evidence stronglyollusion between Polyanskiy, who benefitted from Shelepin's transfer, and Brezhnev, who "required" Shelepin's full-time presence on the Secretariat. Brezhnev's hand was more directly visible when in6 Shelepin became responsible in tbe Secretariat for supervising consumer-good production and light Industry alone, yielding any authority he may have had In the security field. The campaign against Shelepin's influence in this area xulminated in the removal of Vadlm Tikunov and Vladimir Semlchastnyy, both close associates of Shelepin, from their leading posts in the militia and KGB respectively lh6 and
Brezhnev probably has given his full backing to the increased emphasis on counterintelligence which hasthe KGB's activities under its new chief, Politburo candidate member Yurly Andropov. An indication of this new direction was the appointment, apparently inhat is, only one month after Andropov's takeoverof experienced counterintelligence professional Semen Tsvigunecond first deputy to Andropov.* Brezhnev's Influence
evidenceast working relationship with Brezhnev suggests that Tsvigun is another of his proteges. The other first deputy chairman, Nikolay Zakharov, remains active despite past association with former KGB boss Semlchastnyy. Zakharov's political allegiances are
was evident ln the appointment, alsoftoloading KGB post, probably as chief ofChief Directorate (for counterintelligence According
| "Brezhnev's closo personal ties
witn Tslnev date back at least as early as the, when Tsinev served in military counterintelligence. Viktor Chebrikov, another presumed Brezhnev protege up from the party organization in Dnepropetrovsk, recently has been idontlfied as deputy chairman of the KGB.*
Brezhnov's influence today ln tho Central Committee Department of Administrative Organs appears as strong as it was when his Ukrainian associate, Nikolay Mironov, was its chief. Mironov's first deputy, Nikolay Savinkin, became acting chief after Mironov's death in his confirmation as chief in8 sooraed to indicate that Brezhnev was satisfied with Savinkln's performance. In addition, some very tenuous evidence suggests abetween Brezhnev and Savinkln's replacement as first deputy chief, Nikolay Mal'shakov.
ASPECTS OF BREZHNEV'S PERSONALITY AND STYLE
Personality and political style have an important Influence on the overall shape of Soviet policies as well as on tho shifts in day-to-day tactics. Brozhnev hasthe interests of the Stalinist party functionaries and conventional military; Khrushchev did not, although he had the same options. Brezhnev has thus far avoided brinks-manship in international affairs; Khrushchev did not, although the same high risks were involvod. Because an analysis of Brezhnev's influence on specific Soviet policies4 is beyond the scope of this paper, the following considerations are intended merely to suggest tho most distinctive characteristics of his personality and outlook.
identified as such in Izvestiya,
His Conservative Instincts.
Brezhnev may have reached the top under Khrushchev's patronage, but the two men could not be much loss alike. Khrushchev was naturally quick-witted, imaginative, bold, and ebullient, and these traits dotorrained much of his behavioreader. He rose to prominence lnrgely due to his abilitiesarty trouble-shooter and an agitator for Stalin's policies, and after the dictator's death his passion for political argument and exhortation won hla dividends in the ongoing power struggle. His willingness to tackle long-standing domestic problems attracted political support which may have been decisive In the defeat of his conservative opposition in thethe so-called antiparty group of Uolotov, Malenkov, Kaganovich, and other contemporaries from the Stalinist bureaucracy. dynamism and growing self-importance latertragicowever, and his constant reorganizations of tho state and party apparatus alienated important vested interests, particularly among the moro conservativeof the society.
odel organization man with abent, in those circumstances was the most logical succoasor to Khrushchev. No other leader had Brezhnev's general array of power and prestigo. Suslov, with quiet and conservative bureaucratic manner, would have been suited to succeed Khrushchev but lacked tho desire and perhaps the power base, Podgornyy, the other senior secretary in Khrushchev's Secretariat, hadufficient base to assume the top job, had he not acquired the reputationhampion of Khrushchev's more liberal programs. Thus, Just as Khrushchov seemed suited to correct the failings of Stalin's policies, so Brezhnev appeared to be the right man to restore some order to the party and government bureaucracies and to Soviot policies in general after"hare-brained schemes" hadtate of constant turmoil.
Brezhnev's early experiencearty officialcontributed, at least In part, to his basic Brezhnev was appointed to his first oxocutive positions in the government and party, when ho wasears
old. Hence, he benefited directly from tho massive purge of those years, which probably coincided with the mostperiod of bis political development. Such an experience must have taught him to keep his powderattitude he has held ever since, judging from the circumstances of later comebacks. Brezhnev gradually climbed the ladder of the party hierarchy, not as Stalin's protege but as Khrushchev's client, attaining national prominence only
Setbacks which Brezhnev suffered at the national level may have reinforced the "safe" behavior which theof his early career suggest was the predominant trait of the rising Stalinist apparatchik. irst humiliation was his removaln the occasion of Stalin's death, from tho Central Committee Secretariat and the "enlarged" Politburo after only six months' tenure. An apparent factor was Khrushchev's Inability to protect him ln the face of opposition from the majority of older members of thewhom Stalin probably had intended to replace with the younger officials added to the body Brezhnev's second major setback, probably more damaging to his prestige and confidence, was his "kick upstairs" to the presidency He had already made his earlier comeback to the Secretariat and Politburoo his transfer had all the appearancesove to semi-retirement. Hls..careful execution of duties and avoidance of strong commitments on policy matters may have eased the way for his return to the Secretariat when Frol Kozlov's incapacitating stroke opened the question of Khrushchev's succession*
"Illustrative of Brezhnev's unwillingness to commit himself on specific Issuesand probably toirect show of opposition to Khrushchev's policies and programsis the fact that ho is not known to have spoken at any Contralplenum betweenh Partyis, from the time of his election to the Secretariat and Politburo inhis return from the presidency ln He did, however, spoak at the party congresses.
Despite its adverse effect on his power positiontime, Brezhnev's appointment as president did giveto travel widely abroad and to deal withforeignopportunity often deniedparty officials. Although this has not alteredconservative outlook, it appears to haveunderstanding of things non-Soviet. Perhaps, also, contributed to an appreciation of thein the great-power status of the Soviettold^
example, that there could be no forgiving mistakes which ledew war. Continuinghilosophical andnon-argumentative voin, ho added that It wasatter of any groat importance to the Soviet Union what political and social systems other countries had, but the important thing was what foreign policies they pursued. While the purpose of these remarks is open to question, Brezhnev's personal inclination in foreign policy has been to use all possible political and diplomatic means to resolve conflicts, and, above all, to avoid military actions which mightirect confrontation with the US. On the other hand, whon political means have been exhausted ho might not shyilitary solution, expecially if there were littlo or no riskIS counter move.
His Non-Intellectual Method
Brezhnev hasather Russianemotionalism that add uprojection of charmdepending on the point of view of hisIn public, Brezhnev can appear deeplyto tears, by the solemnity of the occasion, as whengave his arm to support the widow of Yurlvthe cosmonaut's funeral.
a meeting or pnrtv oMiciaii
at mil tine wnicW-wms-rd discuss "serious probloms" of rebuilding the ruins of postwar Ukraine and at whichallegodly attached utmost importance to the "minor problem" of what to do with the illegitimate children whose mothers were Soviet citizens and whose fathers wero German soldiers.
Brezhnev's "humanenuine or not, apparently ('anolitical asset. For example. Brezhnev brusquely received
latter had uaa rough talks with Kosyginriendly gesture, Brezhnevnowhad to say
henutBrezhnev, and appealedman-to-man" talk. At that point Brezhnev
and in the best Russian
changed his manner connieiaiu tradition he embraced friendly talk.
late8 that, going than Kosygin.
flamboyant outbursts which quickly subsided, felt thatwere to flare up it would beong time,damage to relations might be permanent, r
Brezhnev can be much more abrasive when dealing with politically independent and sophisticated foreigners,
especially from "imperialist" countries. j
who has had an opportunity toleaders on more than one occasion, complained in
was choleric and less easy-pointing to Khrushchev's
With foreign Communists, Brezhnev drops virtually all pretense of dialogue. In addition, he spins out his "ideas" in no apparent logical sequence. His adviceisiting
example, was punctuated by non sequlturs and sudden shifts ln thought. In these discussions, Brezhnev gives theof relying primarily on the force of his authority, achieving his purposes iridirectly through suggestion, rather than directly by persuasion. The fundamental weakness in this reliance on authority of position rather than the force of ideas is revealed especially sharply in crisis situations. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Czechoslovakia, for example, when it had become clear that the Soviets in Prague had failed toew government, Brezhnev gave the impression of folding under the tension that had been building since before the military action. He apparently lacked the political skill to achieve his purposes in the "negotiations" with Dubcek and other Czechoslovak leaders held captive in Moscow after the Invasion, f
rnmsting tnat tne LzecrrwiovaK leaaera sign trie nnai communique, Brezhnev reportedly saidave had enough of this. Sign them hungry."
Brezhnev hasigh opinion of his handling of difficult political situations. This was shown, for example, which in
-kj uvi irearu-Drwmwjvs own version or tne important role he played during the height of the Arab-Israeli fighting. Boasting rather than complaining, Brezhnev said he was exhausted by the crisis, during which he did not sleep for three days. Brezhnev seemed especially taken by the close attention of President Johnson,several times the close contact that Washington had maintained with Moscow. (it is not clear who in the collective leadership actually has the ultimate responsibility for receiving and responding to incoming and outgoing messages on the hot line, the terminal of which is located by Kosygin's office. Brezhnev may have exaggerated hison this score,
by Implying that he himself had been on the receiving end of "calls" from the President.) He also claimed to have performed the almost impossible job of explaining Moscow's position to all the Arab state leaders and outlining Soviot policy personally to the Soviet ambassadors In the Arab states, who had overreached their authority and promised more than they should have. Brezhnev added, apparently not without pleasure, that handling all these details personally was enough to overcome any one man.
His Pursuit of Bureaucratic Conformity
Perhaps aware of his intellectualhas carried out his responsibilities in acautious manner. Unlike the aggressivehas given theout ofcontentedly within the confines of He has willinglyearing toof bis colleagues and specialists when it doeswith his overall outlook. He has endorsed,the limited application of sociologicalprogressives within the party have advocatedof traditional ideological dogma as the basisand domestic propaganda. But he has notpresumably never would sanction its useoolinquiry into the basic propositionsholy concepts as party supremacy in politics,realism in art, or proletarian internationalism
Brezhnev set out early in his regime to dampen dlssont both within the party rank and file and among the Soviet populace in general. He has shown an abidingto eliminate disunity and establish "order" as defined by the functionaries in the party apparatus and the security police. "Democraticessence, rule from above, where all wisdomthe watchword in Brezhnev's statements and in the practice of party officials.esult, party policy became somewhat more consistent but less vital; sharp discrepancies and failings were fewer, but forward movement was nil.
Brezhnev became especially Insistent on conformity afterarty Congress. He reacted quickly, for example, to criticism from Moscow party chief Yegorychov at the7 Central Committee plenum, and the immediate disciplinary action taken against the critic served to warn others that he could and would take stern action to protect bis position. In his8 speech to the Moscow party organization, Brezhnev rolterated his demand for "iron discipline" in extremely strong terms. He went so far as tourge: "While the party trusts Its cadres, it will, as always, hold everyone accountable . . nd sternly prosecute all cases ofof party and state discipline, regardless of position held or past services." Brezhnev added that whoever believed that iron discipline lost its significance after the "period of direct revolutionary action" was mistaken. Perhapsof this insistence on solidarity, Brezhnev has been careful not to stray too far from the consensus of his Politburo colleagues, as his gingerly approach to the Czechoslovak problem demonstrated.
The accumulated evidence on Brezhnev's political advantages, successful maneuvering, and cautious behaviour suggests that prospects for his continued rule are good. In addition, the major foreign policy problems of tho past yoar which could have affected Brezhnev adversely with an unfavorableof the domestic situation ln Czechoslovakia and the holding of the international Communistbeen resolved relatively favorably from the Soviet viewpoint. At homo, public dislike of Brezhnev was dramatically evident ln the late9 apparent assassination attemptoviet military man; nevertheless, the incident and the lack of popularity it symbolized should have no significant effect on Brezhnev's actual power position, since the majority of the Politburo have supported his status quo policies. the very few personnel changes affecting Central Committee members since the last party congress6 have favored Brozhnev's associates, primarily at tho expense of officials with ties to Politburo member Shelepin; tho chances arc vory good, therefore, that the new Central Committee to be elected ath Party Congress, duo sometime next year, will give Brezhnev approximately the same political support he now has.
ack of indications of widespread opposition to Brezhnev's leadership at tho top levels of tho party, thereouple of factors to be token into account in any projection of his career or tho future shape of the Soviet leadership: Brezhnev's health,ossible challenge froma^minority faction within the Politburo,
"otowing dissatisfaction within tne party over tbe leadership's essentially defensive or passive status quo policies could conceivably serve to spur factional struggle against brezhnev, as vas tbe case briefly in7 regarding soviet actions in the middle east. such amight occur unexpectedly in connectionramatic failure in foreign policy or domestic happonlng that is seizedretexthange in leadershipore forceful or active policy. actic could easily backfire, however, since brezhnev could claim with some justification to have used restraint inonsensus policy. on balance,id to supplant brezhnev on policy grounds does not appear likely.