Prisoners of the Mind: Public Opinion and Totalitarianism

One legacy of totalitarianism is the widespread belief that a leader does not derive his power from the population.
Deleted draft chapter from The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy (1996)

Most Westerners see that the Soviet Union collapsed because Gorbachev lacked political support. Few Russians believe that. One legacy of totalitarianism is the widespread belief that a leader does not derive his power from the population. He is powerful; they are weak; and if he does not make full use of his vast power, that is his own fault.

Otherwise, Russians do not agree about much. In fact, whenever I visited Russia after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, I was struck by the disparity of interpretations of what had happened. In the early nineties, I could identify the following seven views of the reforms that had taken place during the Gorbachev years. There was some truth in all of them.1 Most of these opinions are still current in the late 1990s, though I cannot say which ones are most common.


Stalinism far outlived Stalin. The dictator died 36 years after the Bolsheviks took power, but the Communist Party retained a monopoly of power an additional 36 years before the Soviet constitution was amended in 1990. Such durability of an illusion can hardly be explained by the personality of the long-dead magician.

Stalin was neither the first nor the last totalitarian dictator. Our generation has witnessed such historic tyrants as Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, as well as rulers of smaller-scale private kingdoms, such as Jim Jones in his Jonestown and David Kouresh in his Branch Davidian ranch. Perhaps charismatic dictators exist as a social type in every society. The crucial question may not be, how are such persons reared during their formative years? but rather, how do they sometimes gain power over entire societies? Answers are needed because true totalitarianism occurred first in our century and may do so again.

To be sure, there have always been tyrants, but until recently no tyrant could monitor a whole society closely, eavesdropping on any conversation taking place — in bed, at work, or on a park bench — and recruiting half the population to inform on the other half. Totalitarianism is a system of social control using surveillance and control technologies that are improving day by day. It is because of the wide applicability of totalitarian methods that we are obliged to understand them and to try to specify preventives, lest the most horrific political experiences of our century recur in the twenty-first century and beyond.

However, not all the methods of totalitarian rulers are extraordinary. Some of them — such as ideological manipulation and propaganda — are common features of democratic societies.

Totalitarian Leader, Public Relations Expert

It must not be supposed that, alongside the masses of obedient citizens, there was a community of dissidents who had been born with the ability to see through Stalin and his policies. On the contrary, even those who would later become critics of the regime developed their misgivings only slowly and gradually. Andrei Sakharov reports that he had never heard a word of criticism concerning Stalin until 1941, when he heard complaints at a campfire by a father whose son had been killed at the front.2 Even some of Stalin’s victims maintained an attitude of adoration toward him, as in the case of a prisoner who spent her time in solitary confinement writing a poem to him.3 Other prisoners who were tortured used their own blood to write “Long Live Stalin” on the wall.4 When Stalin died, many were trampled to death in the stampede to see the corpse. The great dissident figure Sakharov himself recalled that in a letter to his first wife he had written,

“I am under the influence of a great man’s death. I am thinking of his humanity.” I can’t vouch for that last word, but it was something of the sort. Very soon I would be blushing every time I recalled these sentiments of mine. I can’t fully explain it — after all, I knew quite enough about the horrible crimes that had been committed — the arrests of innocent people, the torture, the deliberate starvation, and all the violence — to pass judgment on those who were responsible. But I hadn’t put the whole picture together, and in any case, there was still a lot I didn’t know. Somewhere at the back of my mind the idea existed, instilled by propaganda, that suffering is inevitable during great historic upheavals.”5

Yury Orlov, another scientist and human rights activist who did not become distraught at Stalin’s death, writes that,

“Officers shot themselves (most probably while drunk). Some of our old student group decided to force their way to the body, which had been exhibited for farewell in the House of the Unions, but it was hopeless. People had flooded the entire center of the capital. Zhenya Bogomolov made it. He pushed his way to the rear of the House of the Unions, climbed to the roof by the fire escape, landed on the shoulders of the people who, like himself, had thirsted to see the corpse, and pushed into the Hall of Columns, accompanied by piercing yells from the children, women, and men being trampled on. `Stalin is dead, but his cause lives on,’ Berestetsky commented about the idiotic death of multitudes at Comrade Stalin’s funeral.”6

With some exceptions a similar sense of loss was reported in Communist circles abroad.7 In the Gulag camps, however, news of Stalin’s death was received, for the most part, with great joy.8 Still, those who hated Stalin were not usually opposed to communism in general. Victor Sumsky, for example, is now in his forties. He recalls discussions with his grandfather, who had returned to Moscow in 1956 after being released from the camps.

VICTOR SUMSKY: My grandfather was a staunch Bolshevik and he was depressed by what he saw there, but that didn’t push him so far as to renounce his political faith. Most people of that kind shared this ideal. Very few of them went so far as to denounce the basics of the ideal or to take the view that [what had gone wrong] was anything more than just a temporary deviation by one person or group of people. I myself passed through all the political organizations arranged to bring up the younger generation — the Young Pioneers, and later the Young Communist League — and I can’t say that I was cynical about that system. I was more or less an honest Young Pioneer and an honest Young Communist League member until maybe the age of 24 or 25, during the mid-seventies.9

How could Stalinism persist so long? Totalitarianism depended on specific structural arrangements, such as mandatory identity cards and agencies capable of monitoring the movement of vast numbers of citizens. Totalitarianism requires, not only that the people be subjected to mass communications from the centre, but also that they be prevented from communicating frankly with each other, or with outsiders, or accessing sources of information that might challenge the ruling group. For the regime to suppress opposition, it must monopolize control over the production and dissemination of ideology. In the Soviet Union, the press, schools and universities, clubs and associations, and all media of communication were controlled by the state. If one managed, despite these obstacles, to disseminate unapproved ideas, fierce punishments could be imposed, including officially-sponsored beatings in the street, imprisonment, or incarceration in a mental hospital, where one would be given painful “medications.” Few citizens were stubborn enough to incur these terrible penalties. Independent thinking is hard to sustain in any society, but expecially in one where all the institutions are planned to advance a single, coherent ideology.

Totalitarianism is facilitated when all jobs are allocated from the centre so that potential critics of the regime can be intimidated by the possibility of losing their livelihood. According to pluralist theory, a state’s monopoly of economic power constrains free speech as much as its monopoly of political power. Thomas Jefferson argued that it was important for democracy that many ordinary citizens own their farms and businesses so they could be economically self-sufficient enough to survive while opposing the government. I was reminded of Jefferson’s point during a conversation with a dissident in Hungary in 1984. Far earlier than the Soviet Union, Hungarians had already gained the freedom to own small enterprises instead of all being employed by the state. A young samizdat publisher told me, “I was studying to become a high school teacher, but the Party found out about my political views and will not let me teach. But since laws now permit small private businesses, I am setting up a muesli factory. I am not afraid of the Party. I will go on editing our magazine.”10

It is partly through such structural arrangements as control over jobs that a totalitarian state keeps its grip over the populace. However, I will focus here mainly on the psychological manipulation of people_—_ the systems for controlling the minds and hearts of citizens. These methods include the socialization of children; the re-socialization or “liquidation” of dissenting adults; the inculcation of the preferred political culture; and the manipulation of public opinion through propaganda and censorship. Such processes of social control are not entirely unfamiliar to the citizens of democratic states.

Actually, of course, the Soviet people (as well as people living in democratic societies) controlled themselves and each other. That is part of the puzzle. We must acknowledge an aspect of power that has been articulated by Gene Sharp, a historian who has shown how nonviolent sanctions organized by a grievance group can sometimes defeat governmental power.


When childhood socialization succeeds as planned, the outcome can be seen in the characteristics of adults. The term “authoritarian” was coined by refugee psychologists from Hitler’s Germany precisely to describe the personality traits of Nazis they had known. Nor surprisingly, many of the same traits characterize the graduates of the Soviet program of upbringing. This is not true of all traits (no one, for example, would accuse many Russians of the obsessive perfectionism often attributed to Germans) but it does describe the Soviets’ typically hierarchical interpersonal relations. As survey researcher Nikolai Popov has pointed out, this tendency was apparent in the traditional Russian peasantry, and was furthered by the monarchy, serfdom, and Russian Orthodox traditions;11 the Communist regime then demanded it of all citizens under the rubric of “democratic centralism” — the principle that criticism by a minority was not legitimate after a decision had been reached.

Marxism was not inherently manipulative. Indeed, Marx, who had worked as a journalist, strongly defended freedom of the press, which he regarded as “the ubiquitous vigilant eye of a people’s soul,”12 a view that he carried so far as to oppose all censorship. His close associate, Friedrich Engels, also claimed that press laws were disgraceful, since the workers’ movement was “fighting to establish the environment necessary for its existence, for the air it needs to breathe.”13 Nor was Marx’s view of ideology favorable; he invariably portrayed it as a deception perpetrated upon working people. In The German Ideology, he introduced the idea of ideological subjection, claiming that as social classes are generated through the division of labor, “one dominates all the others.”14

The practices of ideological repression were Lenin’s invention, not Marx’s. Before coming to power, Lenin had personally drafted a clause of his party’s platform calling for freedom of the press; it was adopted unanimously by his party. However, on the second day after coming to power (and against some opposition within his own party) Lenin introduced a law authorizing the monopoly of the Bolshevik press.15 This was only one of many ominous signs. By 1920, Lenin’s wife, Krupskaya, was purging Soviet public libraries, removing from the shelves vast numbers of books that seemed “counter-revolutionary” or “harmful.” This tradition of secrecy continued throughout the Soviet period. In 1987 the Lenin Library in Moscow was accused of concealing at least 1.5 million Russian-language books from the readers’ catalogue.

The Soviets also carried out campaigns of persuasion, intending to educate a “new man” superior morally to human beings of any previous society. They distinguished between “propaganda” (which supposedly aimed to explain the party’s basic theories and goals) and “agitation” (which was designed to mobilize support for immediate policy goals).16 Under the direction of the party’s chief ideologist, frequent and often mandatory “educational” courses were taught in workplaces throughout the country. Armed with the righteousness of their official “struggle,” these “agitprop” instructors were free to put pressure on anyone who refused to be persuaded. The result, of course, was that the regime deprived itself of feedback from its intimidated citizens and lost the necessary mechanisms for detecting and correcting its own mistakes.17

How effective were these ideological manipulations? How closely did public opinion adhere to the demands of the party? Since this was simply one more phase of an unbroken tradition of authoritarian repression, most people generally did think along officially approved lines. The pollster Nikolai Popov writes,

It is a mentality of slaves, born in slavery, who loved their cage and their guards, of those who would hail — not with gloomy desperation, but with sincere joy and adoration, “Caesar, we who are about to die salute you!”18

Over time public opinion would change and become more divided, but the “slave mentality” would remain widespread. Surveying opinions during the period just before and after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Popov included in some of his polls items from the famous “F Scale” that measured authoritarianism. (Originally, “F” meant fascist.) He found that the majority of his respondents agreed, for example, that “what is needed most today for children’s upbringing is strictness and discipline by parents,” and that “a few strong leaders can do more for our country than all the laws and rhetoric.”19

Sociologist Yury Levada included some questions measuring an authoritarian respect for the state in surveys of 2700 respondents in various Soviet republics in 1989.20 He was studying the political socialization of Soviet citizens. Here are some of his findings.


Our state has given to us everything and nobody is entitled to demand anything more from it 4%
The state has given to us not a little but we can demand more from it 11%
The state has given to us so little that we have no obligations to it 8%
Presently our state is in such a situation that we have to help it, even making sacrifices 33%
We have to be free people and to make the state to serve our interests 33%

Levada assumes that the first four responses embody the paternalistic attitudes and that the respondents who have chosen them regard the state as the “organ of the paternal care.” Only the last option reflects the truly civic, contractual attitude toward the state. It is significant that this position is shared by the younger people: 44% of respondents in the age of 25-29 years.21

Almost everyone engaged in “double-thinking” for the sake of self-preservation. Levada asked employees what they did when their boss gave them a stupid order. The poll shows that 21% pretend to obey; 16% fulfill the stupid order without objecting, 11% try to avoid doing it, and only 29% tell the boss that his order is wrong. This distribution of responses Levada regards as evidence of double-thinking within a collective.22

One of specific traits of the authoritarian “homo sovieticus” has been a tendency to turn away from the dark, harsh or tragic sides of life. Levada’s respondents relate that only 28% of their families have ever discussed the Stalinist repressions. Only 11% could remember talks with their parents about the death; talks about sex could be recalled by only 4% of the respondents; and only 2% could recall talks of suicide.23

Coercive Persuasion

Despite the willingness of people to look only on the bright side, the regime evidently felt it necessary to practice a considerable amount of “coercive persuasion.” In the West this term would be regarded as an oxymoron, but no Soviet dictator regarded it as such. When abstract reasoning did not work, he turned to monotonous repetitions of slogans and cant. When monotony did not work, he turned to imprisonment or torture.

Oddly, such brutality sometimes succeeds, at least temporarily. In China, millions of people underwent “thought reform” in prisons; some of them came out convinced that they must indeed have been, as they had been accused of being, traitors or even spies for foreign governments.24 Among those who went to live in a free society, such beliefs usually diminished over time, but not without great emotional stress.

Despite the presence of many eminent psychologists in Russia, political prisoners were not subjected to psychological manipulation of the Chinese type.25 Soviet prisons were not meant to be places of thought reform but only places to isolate or stifle dissent. Outside the Gulag camps Soviet society was intensely ideological, but instead of using psychological methods of persuasion comparable, say, to the techniques Western advertisers employ, the Party relied only on heavy-handed sloganeering. Short on subtlety and attractiveness, its propaganda was dull, repetitive, and abundant.

Was the Propaganda Effective?

The state monitored and supervised the circulation of ideas exhaustively and with fastidious attention to detail. Both the American CIA and the KGB26 were responsible for monitoring Soviet public opinion and providing their best estimates as to the effectiveness of the thought control. In addition, foreign scholars and even some internal Soviet surveys tried to assess the trends during the postwar years.

Perhaps the best of the early studies were those based on samples of Soviet emigrés, most of whom probably disliked the regime more than people who remained at home. The most thorough such study of Russian political views was done at Harvard between the 1940s and ’60s, under the direction of Raymond Bauer, Alex Inkeles, and Clyde Kluckhohn. The subjects were Russians by nationality who, for the most part, had been living in Europe in displaced persons camps. Almost 3000 subjects completed a long written questionnaire and 329 undertook a detailed life history interview lasting two or three days.

In their political opinions, these postwar Russian emigrés were by no means entirely opposed to the Soviet system. Although they detested the secret police, collective farming, and the intrusion of the state into personal affairs, they liked many other aspects of socialism, including state control over heavy industry, transportation, and communications systems. Over 86 percent favored state ownership of heavy industry. They also strongly supported free education and health care and guarantees of job security.27 The ideal economy, in the opinion of the majority, was the mixed system that had characterized the New Economic Program (NEP) during the 1920s, when banking, most industry, and foreign trade had been managed by the state.

The Harvard study found significant differences of opinion among these respondents, with the younger, better educated ones being most favorable toward the socialist regime. The researchers concluded that at that time the Soviet state seemed to be successfully socializing the population to accept political values congruent with its declared objectives. Nothing in the survey finding suggested the likelihood of a foreseeable counter-revolution or any significant opposition to the Stalinist regime.

In the 1970s, several studies were conducted in Israel, comparing Soviet and American immigrants to that country. Stephen White concludes,

“Compared with the American immigrants, it was found, former Soviet citizens were generally less suspicious of authority and more willing to see the state as legitimately performing a guiding and educational role. (`In Israel the government should be more active because the majority of the population are not yet ready for democracy,’ as one repondent put it.) Former Soviet citizens were also more willing to allow “the government or its bodies” to determine the boundaries within which freedom could legitimately be exercised; Americans, in contrast, placed less trust in government and were more likely to emphasise individual and group initiative.”28

Another study of emigrés, the “Soviet Interview Project,” began its interviews in September 1981 with the technical support of the National Opinion Research Council (NORC). Its sample frame, which comprised not only Russians but some emigrants from other Soviet republics, eventually netted 2793 interviews.29 There was one especially conspicuous difference between this sample, studied in the 1980s, and the earlier Harvard study. Whereas those who were well-educated and who had been well-off economically had previously been most supportive of the Soviet regime, that was no longer true of the later emigrés, of whom Brian D. Silver reports that

“the long term growth of educational attainments works to undermine support for established institutional practices, both in the area of state control of the economy and in the area of individual rights. The younger generation also appears to be substantially more supportive of individual rights, independently of levels of education.

“The increase in education and the replacement of generations are dynamic phenomena that are likely to force continual renewal of the exchange agreement between society and the state. … It involves not just the manipulation of objective opportunities and materal rewards, which are heavily discounted by a population with rising material aspirations, but also the manipulation of perceptions. For example, Moscow and Leningrad are very desirable places to live…. But former residents of Moscow and Leningrad were less satisfied with their material conditions than those who lived elsewhere. This is probably due to their higher expectations. … [They] are less supportive of established regime norms than are people from other large Soviet cities. Consistent with this finding, the proportion of respondents who reported that they “sometimes did not vote” or “never voted” during their last normal period in the USSR is substantially higher among Muscovites and Leningraders than among respondents who lived in other cities.”30

By the late 1980s, it was possible for Soviet researchers to conduct accurate surveys of public opinion. Based on his research, Yury Levada claims that, “According to the data collected in the last few months, the ardent advocates of the old system made up 10-12% of the population. There is no reliable way to count how many such people there were 20 or 40 years earlier. But one may assume that there was no greater proportion of those who thought and felt as if everything was “as ought to be” even at that past time. There are reasons to believe that such people had never made up a majority or significant minority of the population.”31

This is a surprising conclusion, but Levada may be right. On the other hand, there is evidence that Soviet citizens believed much of what they were told. The state was particularly careful to keep the public from hearing sympathetic accounts of grievances in their “satellite states.” According to Elizabeth Teague, who studied the relations between the Soviet Union and the Solidarity movement, by the time martial law was declared in the 1981 crackdown on Solidarity, the great majority of Soviet citizens held hostile views of their Polish neighbors’ aspirations.32 So did the regime, of course; although Western radio broadcasts had not been jammed since 1973, the authorities re-imposed jamming ten days after the outbreak of strikes in Gdansk in 1980.33 The better-educated Moscow residents were the most sympathetic toward the Poles in those days, but according to a nation-wide sample survey, even they (especially Slavic respondents) were predominantly negative toward the strikers. They envied the Poles who, though they were better off than Soviet citizens, could still demand more.34

Nevertheless, the Polish protests politicized members of the Soviet dissident subculture. Varianty, the samizdat journal, noted that “One of the lessons of Poland is, of course, the necessity of combining a mass movement with clandestine social and political organizations whose structure is secret.”35 It is unlikely hat such a policy could be carried out, given the prevailing attitudes among the Soviet workers. However, the Polish events may have persuaded the Soviet authorities to combat corruption, for Andropov soon introduced tougher legislation along those lines.36 Thus the actions of Eastern European dissidents became influential in Soviet politics, despite the policy of the Soviets to isolate their own society from contacts with these foreign dissidents.

How keen was the support of ordinary Soviet citizens for democracy after Gorbachev began introducing reforms? It is worth noting a study of political culture carried out by Jeffrey W. Hahn in 1990 in the city of Yaroslavl with a systematic random sample of nearly 1000 voters.37 Hahn compares the responses of Yaroslavl’s respondents to those of an American sample. In his opinion,

“The data suggest considerable popular support for democratic elections among our predominantly Russian respondents. . . . [W]hile the roots of support for democratic institutions do not run as deeply in contemporary Russian political culture as they do in America, neither are they absent. .. . . Russians come closer to what we find in Western industrial democracies than to what we would expect to find if the traditional cultural patterns ascribed to the period of Russian autocracy had persisted. … With one quite important exception, similar [positive] relationships between education and the indicators of political attitudes and values used in the present study were found regardless of age group. The exception was political trust. Here statistically significant relationships between education and trust largely disappeared when we controlled for age; younger cohorts are more politically cynical regardless of education. … Soviet society is distinguished by a younger and better-educated generation that is more disaffected from the politics of the past.”38

Public opinion polls had been carried out for a number of years before the coming of glasnost, though some observers question the validity of the findings. However, pollster-sociologist Yelena Bashkirova defends the research she carried out during those years.

YELENA BASHKIROVA: It would be wrong to think that we all were so frightened here that we couldn’t open our mouths, though some did refuse to speak. Some people didn’t want to do so by telephone because they said they were working in the KGB.

People were influenced by this huge, powerful propagandistic machine and they accepted what was said. In the case of Afghanistan, for example, they sincerely believed that it was our duty to help a neighbor who had asked for this help. They saw on our TV how those Afghan guerrillas were killing children. But the intelligentsia was not fooled by what was shown on television. They could always read between the lines.39

At least the last part of Bashkirova’s assertion seems certain; as we shall see in subsequent chapters, there is abundant evidence that, at least during the Brezhnev years, the intelligentsia held views that markedly differed from the opinions of the population at large. Further, there was considerable variation even within the intelligentsia, with the true experts especially hoping for and even expecting reforms.

If the surveys that I have cited are correct, there was evidence well before Gorbachev came to power that the party had not succeeded in every respect in controlling public opinion through propaganda. Support for the regime (and especially for Stalin) had been intense at certain points, especially during World War II, but had declined after Khrushchev had revealed the worst of the dictator’s crimes, and after it became apparent to all that the pledge could not be kept to overtake the West economically. To workers and farmers, the chief grievance was the relative shortage of consumer goods, but their resentments were subdued, for ordinary citizens were not well enough informed to make meaningful comparisons between situations at home and abroad. The intelligentsia, especially those who were young, constituted a growing class in Soviet society and was the only sector that was well informed and whose discontent was clearly increasing. As Nikolai Popov has concluded,

“In a word, the system was stable. Its decay, stagnation, and growing absurdity could have lasted for many more years. There were no signs of self-disintegration.”40


If one cannot say that the system of propaganda and ideological control worked well, one must still say that it worked well enough. From our point of view, it was all-too-successful in retaining the basic consent of the Soviet people toward the regime.

On the other hand, this apparatus of propaganda and social control would not alone have successfully kept the population under the party’s spell for 73 years. Some other process was at work — indeed, several such processes.

Many of these unfortunate results can be attributed to the habitual compliance and obedience of the Soviet people, for had they been unwilling to conform, the dictators would have been unsuccessful. Thus to manipulate public opinion, each successive “great leader” depended on the willingness of writers and newspaper editors to lie. Likewise, to imprison his opponents, each dictator depended on the willingness of police and prison guards to use violence. The puzzle remains: How were the millions of victims of totalitarianism induced to repress others — and even to repress themselves?

To understand how totalitarianism becomes routine, we must begin our analysis at an earlier point. We must consider the complicated dynamics of becoming committed and of discovering oneself to be helplessly paralyzed inside a “social trap.”


1 I am indebted to Alexander A. Kalinin for his comments on these views, and particularly for proposing the “passive resistance” theory.

2 Andrei Sakharov, Memoirs New York: Vintage, 1990, p. 52.

3 Evgeniya Ginzburg, Into the Whirlwind (London, 1968), pp. 169 and 223.

4 Yevgeny Yevtushenko, A Precocious Autobiography (London, 1974), p. 13.

5 Sakharov, Memoirs, p. 164.

6 Yury Orlov, Dangerous Thoughts: Memoirs of a Russian Life. New York: Morrow, 1991, p. 116.

7 Wolfgang Leonhard, “The Day Stalin Died,” in Problems of Communism, July/August 1967, pp. 76-82.

8 Leonhard, p. 78. This article is based on a reading of about 100 reports of the death of Stalin. It mentions a certain satisfaction that could be seen in Eastern Europe, and emphasizes the joy that inmates of the Gulag camps experienced on hearing of the death. For another report on the reaction of Gulag inmates and former inmates, see Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. Three New York: Harper and Row, 1976, p. 421.

9 Viktor Sumsky, in interview with Metta Spencer, Moscow, June 1992.

10 Interview with Gyula Bartok, Budapest, 1984. “Samizdat” was independently-produced writing that was circulated secretly, in violation of the rules of the regime.

11 Nikolai Popov, The People of Russia at the Crossroads (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1994), chapter 5. Popov is not being original in describing “Soviet man” as not really new, but as a holdover from old patriarchal, peasant society and the Orthodox Church. This interpretation is commonplace among Soviet and post-Soviet psychologists. One example is E. I. Golovakha, I.E. Bekeshkina, V.,S. Nebozhenko, Demokratizatsiia obshchestva i razvitie lichnosti. Ot totalitaritarizma k demokratii. Izd. Akademiia nauk ukrainy. Kiev: 1992, especially chapter two by I.E. Bekeshkina. These authors regard post-Soviet mentality as ambivalent at present, uncertain about both democracy and totalitarianism. Golovakha’s conclusion distinguishes among three types of ambivalence. The “mosaic” type is torn by the disparity between democratic ideals and the actual slow pace of mass democratization, and may be tempted simply to use all the weapons of the totalitarian arsenal to eradicate the “enemies of democracy.” Nevertheless, this type of ambivalence is described as the least dangerous of the three dominant types of social character.

12 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works Vol. 1, p. 164.

13 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works Vol. 20, p. 78.

14 Karl Marx, The German ideology. 1st ed. (New York: International Publishers. 1970.)

15 First Decrees of Soviet Power, pp. 29-30. See also Robin Blick, The Seeds of Evil: Lenin and the Origins of Bolshevik Elitism (London: Ferrington, 1993), p. 55.

16 David Wedgwood Benn, Persuasion and Soviet Politics (New York: Oxford, 1989), pp. 21-22, 37.

17 Benn, p. 124.

18 Popov, chapter two.

19 Popov, Table 5.6.

20 Yury Levada, “The Disappearing Model? `Homo Sovieticus: The Preliminary Results,” Znamya, No. 6, 1992, pp. 201-11.

21 Levada, p. 203.

22 Levada, pp. 203-4.

23 Levada, p. 205.

24 Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China (New York: Norton, 1961); Edgar H. Schein, Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-Psychological Analysis of the “Brainwashing” of American Civilian Prisoners (New York: Norton, 1961).

25 David Wedgwood Benn, Persuasion and Soviet Politics, (New York: Oxford, 1989) p. 220-23.

26 The KGB was the Soviet secret police, which went by various names, such as NKVD, and Cheka, during its long history. It was officially disbanded when the Soviet Union ended, but the Russian offices mostly just reorganized and continued to function, albeit within more restricted rules of operation.

27 Alex Inkeles and Raymond Bauer, The Soviet Citizen (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1959) p. 236.

28 Stephen White, Political Culture and Soviet Politics (London: Macmillan 1979), p. 107. He cites Zvi Gitelman, “Soviet Political Culture: Insights from Jewish Emigrés” Soviet Studies, xxix (1977) 543-64, pp. 558-61.

29 James R. Millar, “History, Method, and the Problem of Bias,” in Politics, Work, and Daily Life in the USSR, edited by James R. Millar. (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 16-17.

30 Brian D. Silver, “Political Beliefs of the Soviet Citizen,” in Millar, Politics, Work, and Daily Life, pp. 132-33.

31 Levada, p. 203.

32 Elizabeth Teague, Solidarity and the Soviet Worker: The Impact of the Polish Events of 1980 on Soviet Internal Politics (London: Croom Helm: 1988), p. 138. Ludmilla Andreyeva also reports on two other surveys conducted during that period that found only a little over 20 percent of the respondents approved of Solidarity. See Andreyeva, p. 455-56.

33 Teague, p. 143.

34 Teague, p. 150.

35 Teague, p. 185.

36 Teague, p. 263.

37 Jeffrey W. Hahn, “Continuity and Change in Russian Political Culture,” British Journal of Political Science 21: 393-421.

38 Hahn, pp. 412-19.

39 Elena Bashkirova, in interview, Moscow, summer 1992.

40 Popov, Chapter one.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books