A major change in the operation of the CPSU between the ousting of Khrushchev and the ascension of Gorbachev was the growth in the autonomy of republican party leaderships with a decline in effective control from the centre. There were a number of related reasons for this change. First, the policy of retaining senior personnel except when they had committed very serious abuses (the ‘stability of cadres’ policy) allowed republican leaders much greater room for manoeuvre than under Khrushchev. Most changes to republican party leaderships under Brezhnev occurred because incumbents died rather than because of failures in party supervision or corruption, the main exception being the leadership changes in the Caucasus between 1969 and 1974. Second, the longevity of tenure of most republican leaderships increased the extent to which these politicians relied on their informal networks of patronage rather than on the nominally superior authority of the central party apparatus in Moscow. Republican leaders like Kunaev, Rashidov and Shcherbitsky depended on Brezhnev for their positions in the top leadership. Brezhnev in turn depended on their ability to keep their fiefdoms in order.
KeywordsParty Leader Republican Party Liberal Attitude Party Organ Party Committee
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