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The militarist and Bonapartist tendency


In a study financed by the U.S. army and conducted by the Rand Corporation, Roman Kolkowicz  analyzed, from the reactionary point of view   found in military security services, the relations between the Party and the Army in the Soviet Union. It is interesting to note how he supported all the tendencies towards professionalism, apolitism, militarism and privileges in the Red Army, right from the twenties. Of course, Kolkowicz  attacked Stalin for having repressed the bourgeois and military tendencies.

After describing how Stalin defined the status of the army in the socialist society in the twenties, Kolkowicz  wroted:

`The Red Army emerged from this process as an adjunct of the ruling Party elite; its officers were denied the full authority necessary to the practice of the military profession; they were kept in a perennial state of uncertainty about their careers; and the military community, which tends toward exclusiveness, was forcibly kept open through an elaborate system of control and indoctrination ....

`Stalin ... embarked on a massive program intended to provide the Soviet army with modern weapons, equipment, and logistics. But he remained wary of the military's tendency toward elitism and exclusiveness, a propensity that grew with its professional renascence. So overwhelming did his distrust become that, at a time of acute danger of war in Europe, Stalin struck at the military in the massive purges of 1937 ....

`Hemmed in on all sides by secret police, political organs, and Party and Komsomol organizations, the military's freedom of action was severely circumscribed.'


Roman Kolkowicz,  The Soviet Military and the Communist Party (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1967), pp. 343--344.

Note what the U.S. army most `hates' in the Red Army: political education (`endoctrination') and political control (by political organs, Party, Komsomol and security forces). On the other hand, the U.S. army views favorably the tendencies towards autonomy and privileges for superior officers (`elitism') and militarism (`exclusivity').

The purges are analyzed by Kolkowicz  as a step in the Party struggle, directed by Stalin, against the `professionalists' and Bonapartists  among the superior officers. These bourgeois currents were only able to impose themselves at Stalin's death.

`(W)ith Stalin's death and the division of the Party leadership that followed, the control mechanisms were weakened, and the military's own interests and values emerged into the open. In the person of Marshal Zhukov,  broad sectors of the military had their spokesman. Zhukov  was able to rid the establishment of the political organs' pervasive controls; he introduced strict discipline and the separation of ranks; he demanded the rehabilitation of purged military leaders and the punishment of their tormentors.'


Ibid. , p. 344.

Zhukov  gave Khrushchev  armed support in the two coups d'état of 1953 (the Beria  affair) and 1957 (the Molotov--Malenkov--Kaganovich     affair).

next up previous contents index
Next: Vlasov Up: The Tukhachevsky trial Previous: Plot?

Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995