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New Left Review I/62, July-August 1970

Eugen Varga

Political Testament

What is the bureaucratic oligarchy of the Party? What place does it occupy in the structure of Soviet society? Why does it hold a privileged position? How does it govern the State and the population? The official view was and is that after the ‘liquidation of the kulaks as a class’, there effectively exist three nonantagonistic classes in Russia: the workers, the peasants of the kolhozes, and the employees of the State. In fact, these latter have never formed a homogeneous class. For on the one hand there are ordinary employees, members of the Party, who are not invested with any power, who govern nothing and nobody, who cannot give orders or make decisions which have the force of law. On the other hand, there are functionaries who are invested with authority and who rule enterprises, institutions, whole branches of the economy, politics, culture, daily life and the State itself in its internal and external relations—not to speak of the Party which directs and organizes all these. They can give orders and make decisions which have the force of law. They form the ruling stratum of this socialist society, which dominates every domain of life and monopolizes the totality of power. This bureaucratic oligarchy of the Party controls all the ‘levers’ of the Party apparatus and the government, and exercises supremacy over it. It seems to have been at the beginning of the thirties that this ruling group felt the need to institute a certain secrecy.

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Eugen Varga, ‘Political Testament’, NLR I/62: £3

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