By Mark Galeotti (auth.)
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Additional resources for Gorbachev and his Revolution
The first Soviet political police chief since its founder, Felix Dzerzhinski, not to end his career with execution or disgrace, he changed the very nature of the force. He inherited a Stalin-era machine of torturers, executioners and informants, but by his departure in 1982 had turned it into a business-like and flexible modern political police service. While still wholeheartedly and ruthlessly committed to the preservation of the Soviet order, it had become far more sophisticated. Increasingly recruited from the best universities, it above all became a force modelled on Andropov's three basic principles.
More to the point, he kept up his political campaign, using the opportunities his newlyraised profile offered to the full. Mter all, he knew that he could not simply rely upon undermining his rivals; he had to establish a positive platform to win support. He used his new post as Ideology Secretary to develop two linked themes: the need for increased discipline - something which applied to everyone from factory hands to apparatchiki - and the application of this extra energy to economic modernization.
For the moment, though, in variety there was strength. The coalition could appeal to every sector of the elite, and carry within itself a wide and exciting range of ideas and debates. At its heart was Gorbachev, a politician who matured quickly once out from under Andropov's shadow. He proved his 43 Gorbachev and his Revolution ability as a mediator and political deal-maker. Thanks in part to these alliances, he was able to neutralize attempts to undermine his position as heir apparent. Indeed, he worked hard and well to establish his fitness for the job.
Gorbachev and his Revolution by Mark Galeotti (auth.)