Khrushchev's “Flexible Communism”:
The 21st Congress in Moscow
THE 21st Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union was more remarkable for the problems it shelved or disguised than for those which it solved. It had nothing of the bold, clearcut decisiveness of the 20th Congress held three years ago-the Congress which Khrushchev’s “secret” speech on Stalin’s crimes made truly historic. Not that the Congress this January went back in any substantial way on the achievements of its predecessor: the break with the Stalinist tradition of mass terrorism, and the transition from an economic system based primarily on coercion to one largely based on incentive. These developments, which have transformed the lives of the peoples of the Soviet Union and of which the 20th Congress was the most dramatic expression, continue unimpaired. But Khrushchev’s very success in freeing Soviet society from some of the shackles of Stalinism has meant that the country is now moving into new, uncharted territory and that its rulers are faced with new and partly unexpected problems.
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