Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

‘Suslov’s 1970s: Detente or Anti-Imperialism? The Last Hurrah of Mikhail Suslov’

Fri31  Mar02:30pm(20 mins)
East Quad Lecture Theatre


Alex Marshall1
1 University of Glasgow, UK


The 1970s have come to be most commonly associated with either political detente between the USA and USSR, or Soviet economic and cultural stagnation, or both. The Soviet ideological currents of the period, the era of 'developed socialism' declared in 1971, have usually been dismissed as either irrelevant, or ineffective. The period however had another, until now neglected, characteristic: they represented the peak of power and authority achieved by M.A. Suslov (1902-1982), the so-called 'Grey Cardinal' of Brezhnev's reign. In 1973 Anatolii Chernayev, a deputy within the CC's International Department, noted that 'The spirit of Suslov is still alive. And people are afraid of this spirit. He is our 'political realism'-healthy distrust of the 'partner-opponent' and, at the same time-a balm for the revolutionary conscience.' This paper examines the Soviet 1970s from Suslov's perspective, from the external challenges of Eurocommunism and the Helsinki Final Act, to the growing role of 'political consultants' within the Politburo itself.