The "permanent purge" in an inherent aspect of Soviet totalitarianism, a study by Zbigniew K. Brzezinski of the Russian Research Center has concluded.
Since Stalin's death, Brzezinski says in his "The Permanent Purge" published today by the University Press, purges have hit the higher-ups of the Party rather than the mass membership. He believes conflicts have been confined largely to the upper strata of the Communist hierarchy.
"The need for the purge will not diminish with the growing stability of the totalitarian regime," he says. "It appears to be a perpetual process of shifting, reshifting, eliminating, pushing down, promoting, intimidating." The book is based on Soviet sources and reports of former citizens.
Soviet leaders have openly admitted use of the purge for their own purposes, and Brzezinski quotes Stalin as having once said: "I believe that some time, from time to time, the master must without fall go through the ranks of the Party with a broom in his hand."
Regime Lacks Mobility
The purge is necessary, he says, since a totalitarian regime lacks the standards and methods to encourage change and mobility, and the close contact between leaders and people fostered by a constitutional form of government.
"Totalitarian leadership tends to over-estimate the basis of its strength and to be misled by the appearances of universal support which it requires from all the citizens."
The isolation of the totalitarian leadership also results in "constant suspicion; hence, constant endeavors to eliminate causes of suspicion," he believes.
The Soviet idea of the purge demands active participation by the citizens. To encourage this, the purge is accompanied by a propaganda campaign which aims "to dehumanize the enemy and develop an atmosphere of inevitability strong enough to make resistance seem futile," Brzezinski says.