Conclusion: The Weakness of Infrastructural Power
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The preceding analysis has shown that the course and nature of criticism of lower-level party leaderships was moulded by central political priorities and local political realities. When the party First/General Secretary personally mounted a vigorous campaign directly against lower-level leaders, as Khrushchev did at the beginning of the 1960s and Andropov and Gorbachev did in the 1980s, the levels of criticism in the republican press were higher and the charges more severe than at other times. Furthermore, turnover levels tended to increase. But the pattern was not standard across all republics; in those areas where a leadership change had occurred in the recent past or during the campaign, levels of criticism tended to be higher unless there were countervailing, usually centrally related, factors. Where local leaders were not removed, criticism was less harsh. What is particularly interesting about these periods of more intensive criticism is that although the charges tend to be more severe, broadly reflecting misdemeanour rather than mismanagement, the situation they portray at the local level is perfectly consistent with the picture that is presented in the sort of criticisms made in the non-campaign periods. Continuing personalist politics, continuing family group control, low levels of organisational institutionalisation and weak infrastructural power shine through the criticism during all periods.
KeywordsLeadership Style Local Elite Leadership Change Party Organ Infrastructural Power
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