This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more information, see our privacy statement

New Left Review I/136, November-December 1982


Roy Medvedev

The Death of the ‘Chief Ideologue’

Many Soviet politicians have attracted the attention of the world’s press over the last ten years but very little has been said or written about Mikhail Suslov. He kept himself to the shadows, shunning all publicity. He served neither as a minister nor as Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers; he avoided all the top government posts. Almost all his working life was spent in the party apparatus. He was an out-and-out apparatchik, like Malenkov only more skilful. He made his way up the party hierarchy more slowly than everyone else. At thirty-three Molotov had reached the Secretariat of the Russian Communist Party, as had Kaganovich. At the same age Mikoyan was a People’s Commissar and a candidate member of the Politburo, and Malenkov headed one of the most important sections of the All-Union Communist Party. Suslov, when he was thirty-three, was just a rank-and-file inspector working for the Central Control Commission. And yet, at the end of his eighty-year life-span, he had become more than a modest old-age pensioner or honorary member of the Central Committee—he was a man who wielded enormous power, occupying second place in the party hierarchy. This is why his recent death has been the subject of so much comment, speculation and prediction.

Subscribe for just £36 and get free access to the archive
Please login on the left to read more or buy the article for £3

Username:

Roy Medvedev, ‘The Death of the 'Chief Ideologue'’, NLR I/136: £3
Password:
 



If you want to create a new NLR account please register here

’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’

Download a PDF file


See the contents of NLR I/136


Buy a copy of NLR I/136


Subscriptions