After the Kratkii Kurs: Soviet Leadership Conflict Over Theoretical Education: 1956-1961

Jonathan Harris


The nature and extent of political conflict between Soviet leaders under first secretary N. S. Khrushchev has recently become a matter of considerable dispute. Since the late 1960's, Western specialists have generally endorsed Carl Linden's conclusion that a reformist Khrushchev was locked in constant conflict with orthodox elements in the Soviet leadership over a wide range of political, economic, and social issues.l However, a recent study of the Khrushchev and Brezhnev regimes by George Breslauer has charged that Linden and others had produced historically inaccurate portraits of the Khrushchev administration. For one thing they oversimplified the choices facing Soviet leaders in each issue area. For another, they sought to document conflict without first documenting the policy consensus within which that conflict was taking place. The result was that the books in question

exaggerated the level of polarization in the Soviet leadership.

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