The U.S.S.R.: Most Equal of the Equals

The political system that eventually will choose Leonid Brezhnev's successor as leader would appear to be a model democracy. It is headed by the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., which is composed of 1,500 members and which elects a select body of 39 representatives known as the Presidium. In fact, political power rests with a gigantic, self-protecting and self-selecting bureaucracy that is effectively controlled by a small and cautious elite. The constitution adopted in 1977 —the fourth in the history of the U.S.S.R.—was the first to assert the primacy of the Communist Party...

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