ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Was Collapse of CPSU Inevitable-A Polemical Essay

A Polemical Essay N K Chandra Was the Soviet experiment doomed from its inception, as the 'totalitarian' school of western scholars has maintained? Their main arguments are: the seizure of power in 1917 was an anti-democratic coup d'etat leading necessarily to a one-party state, Stalin was the logical heir to Lenin, and industrialisation through forced collectivisation was the corollary to the dogma on state planning; even when growing weaknesses came to light, every attempt at radical reform, political or economic, from within came to nought because of the incompatibility with the monopoly power of the party-state. This article questions each of these assertions by exploring the political alternatives to the actual course of history that emerged at some crucial moments, the Soviet debates on alternatives to command planning; the factors leading up to perestroika and why it failed, and finally the meaning of democracy and 'legitimacy' in the Soviet context.

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