Eastern Bloc - Concealed Transformation Dynamics

Concealed Transformation Dynamics

At first, the Soviets concealed their role in other Eastern Bloc politics, with the transformation appearing as a modification of western "bourgeois democracy". As a young communist was told in East Germany: "it's got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control." Stalin felt that socioeconomic transformation was indispensable to establish Soviet control, reflecting the Marxist-Leninist view that material bases, the distribution of the means of production, shaped social and political relations.

Moscow-trained cadres were put into crucial power positions to fulfill orders regarding sociopolitical transformation. Elimination of the bourgeoisie's social and financial power by expropriation of landed and industrial property was accorded absolute priority. These measures were publicly billed as "reforms" rather than socioeconomic transformations. Except for initially in Czechoslovakia, activities by political parties had to adhere to "Bloc politics", with parties eventually having to accept membership in an "antifascist" "bloc" obliging them to act only by mutual "consensus". The bloc system permitted the Soviet Union to exercise domestic control indirectly.

Crucial departments such as those responsible for personnel, general police, secret police and youth, were strictly communist run. Moscow cadres distinguished "progressive forces" from "reactionary elements", and rendered both powerless through. Such procedures were repeated until communists had gained unlimited power, and only politicians who were unconditionally supportive of Soviet policy remained.

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