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By Stephen F. Cohen

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Is this a real possibility? "The boundary between progressive and conservative runs through each of us," remarked a Czech official during the Prague Spring. 55 Soviet reformers must appeal to this "progressive" element in moderate conservatives. Historians tell us that conservatives are uncomfortable reformers but that many become reformers to save what they believe is most important in the existing order of things. 56 There is some evidence that in the I960s a consensus for change was forming between moderate reformers and moderate conservatives, at least among the party intelligentsia.

Seizing the initiative as he did, Khrushchev struck a blow against Stalin's closest comradesin-arms such as Molotov, Malenkov, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, and Mikoyan, who were convinced of their own stronger claim to "inherit" the power of the departed despot. Although Khrushchev never referred to any of these men by name, they were all obviously intimately involved in those monstrous crimes which had been the subject of his remarks at the closed session of the Twentieth Congress. With this well-timed stroke, Khrushchev knocked the ground from under the feet of these "leaders" who were left with a simple choice: they could either submit to his authority or lose power altogether.

Bruce Lincoln, "The Genesis of an 'Enlightened' Bureaucracy in Russia, 1825-1856," Jahrbucher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, vol. 2, no. 3, June 1972, pp. 32 1-30. 52. The connection between East European and Soviet reformers has been very important since 1953. Since the Soviet overthrow of the reform communist government in Czechslovakia in 1968, Soviet conservative literature on the dangers of "right-wing revisionism" has grown into a virtual industry aimed implicitly at domestic reformers as well.

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