The possibility that the world will awake with surprise one morning to a radical change-whether hoped for or feared-in the Soviet system of government is so remote that we can only wonder that the prospect continues to tantalize us, provoking a recurrent international concern. Perhaps it is because we are all too aware of the vulnerability of our analyses and hypotheses as they apply to even the most "open" and flexible of political systems that we do not cease to marvel at the opaque intransigence of the "closed," rigid, "perfect" system of the Soviet Union, and its indisputable reality in our time.
The peculiar futility of such speculation seems all the more glaring when we reflect that the Soviet system has presented itself as a monolithic design since its very inception-a structure "closed" and made immutable to time even at the very flush of its coming to birth; one paralyzed by its architects at the outset, and rendered immune to mutation, whether of growth or decay.
In speaking of the rigidity of this closed Soviet system, we should be aware that we are addressing first its internal, organic structure, and not its relations to or with other systems of political or social theory. Any system claiming to embody a substantial social entity will gravitate inexorably toward consolidation, and the elimination or exclusion of change. What is unique about the Soviet system is its promotion of this condition by deliberately "conscious" acts and measures, endorsed and enforced by the state on a scale far larger than that to which other systems of government lay claim. Here we confront what must be seen, within the Soviet order, as the progressive compounding of its "immutability."
Even though it would be possible to draw parallels between the Soviet system and the despotic regimes of Asia and the East, it is the dubious prestige of the Soviet form of government to stand as the most relentlessly implacable and ossified in modern history. The essential elements within
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