The Soviet Union and the Challenge of the Future - Vol. 1

By Alexander Shromas; Morton A. Kaplan | Go to book overview

3 A Theoretical Evaluation Without Historical Contents
A Commentary on Section 1

RICHARD LÖWENTHAL

Professor Michael Voslensky has called his paper "A Historical and Theoretical Evaluation of the Soviet System." But while the paper is extremely clear in a kind of evaluation that may be described as theoretical, defining the Soviet system as a type of totalitarianism on a par with Italian fascism and German national-socialism, it has virtually no historical content at all. There is no hint on how the ruling parties of those totalitarian systems arose and came to power, except by their, or their leader's, will to total power. Voslensky clearly takes it for granted that the founders of those systems care for power and nothing else, and that their different ideologies were important only as different means to an end that he describes as "identical." As a result, he also has virtually nothing to say about the prospect of transformation in. the Soviet Union -- except his confidence that somehow, sometime it will come to an end and be replaced by some kind of democratic system, as successfully as the fascist totalitarianism of Italy and the national-socialism of Germany were eventually replaced by democratic systems, wholly in the Italian and at least partly in the German case.

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