Talk:History of the Soviet Union (1964–82)
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- 1 Split from?
- 2 Deposing of Khrushchev
- 3 This article needs considerable work
- 4 The word 'erratic'
- 5 Superpower status
- 6 'prolonged power struggle'
- 7 Party principles and collective leadership
- 8 Seniority
- 9 Fringe theory
- 10 Brezhnev consolidated ...
- 11 Brezhnev's political leanings
- 12 Suslov's ideological work
- 13 Brezhnev's health and leadership
- 14 Massive military build-up
- 15 Soviet defense policy
- 16 GA Review
Presumably this page was split from another article. It needs an attribution template (((tl|copied}}). --18:32, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
- This article was entirely rewritten, the Brezhnev Era info which was in the previous article is gone, and replaced. All the other information is at the Khrushchev Era page. So no, their's no need.--TIAYN (talk) 18:33, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Deposing of Khrushchev
Reliable sources cannot clear a statement against a PoV challenge. A simple Web search reveals that "autocracy" of Khrushchev is usually not cited as a reason of his ousting from power. Fix PoV problems instead of edit warring. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 07:35, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
This article needs considerable work
It seems to me that this article is far from ready for being rated as anything but incomplete. Here are some specific examples of what I mean —
The first paragraph states that the period under consideration related to Brezhnev's rule of the Soviet Union. Yet the succeeding emphasis is on collective leadership. An apparent contradiction. Explain more clearly.
The assertion about Khrushchev's apparently increasingly 'erratic' behaviour should be directly referenced, if not quoted from the source. There is considerable scholarly debate about him having been removed because of his liberalisation of state control on individuals. I don't see the justification for the adjective below the outline of the article.
- It is referenced, not just by one but by several scholars....... --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Paragraph three refers of 'a' reform (in the singular). If it was not a reform programme, or part of a five year plan, what was the name of that reform?
The word 'ouster' has the meaning of removal from a position only in American English (see OED 11th ed). In GB English it implies unlawful activity, or removal of some activity from the purview of the law.
The assertion that during the period in question the Soviet Union developed from a regional power into a superpower is tendentious. There is scholarly argument that this occurred while Stalin was still dictator. Who made the assertion? Quote directly or cite specifically.
The Assertion that there was a prolonged power struggle leading to the overthrow of Khrushchev needs to be referenced directly. What was the manifestation of that power struggle? If the original source for this assertion does not provide evidence for it, another source should be found to confirm it.
- The power struggle needs nothing more than a short blurb - it started already in the mid-1950s. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The sentence that includes "... tired of Khrushchev's violation of Party principles. They also believed that his individualistic leadership style weakened the collective leadership" introduces two new adjectives, on top of erratic, which need to be justified with citations. In particular, how can Khrushchev have been found to undermine collective leadership when it had never existed before? Stalin was a dictator, and Khrushchev is accused of the same.
- They talked highly off it, see collective leadership, according to them they existed during their respective rules. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
The following may be properly referenced, but does not make sense in its present wording: "After Kosygin initiated the economic reform of 1965, however, his prestige within the Soviet leadership withered. Kosygin's subsequent loss of power strengthened Brezhnev's position within the Soviet hierarchy. Kosygin was further weakened when Podgorny took his post as the second-most powerful figure in the Soviet Union." How was the loss of power manifested? How did that make Brezhnev stronger (was this a pissing contest between the two)? What is the scond most powerful position in the USSR and why?
The paragraph immediately following makes a number of assertions about seniority. These need to be explained rather than merely paraphrased; otherwise they make no sense. Has that paragraph's single reference been checked?
Where does this assertion come from: "... since Brezhnev would have taken over the post of head of state"? Either he did or did not. Or was there an automatic succession plan in place? Cite specific references.
- It is sourced.... There does not need to be a specific source unless its quoted. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
" ... Brezhnev's liberal stance on Yugoslavia and his disarmament policies with First World countries." What liberal stance? Disarmamanet policies cannot be 'with'. Is this not a case of 'agreeing to disarmament treaties with the US'? Or 'with Western powers'? I'm pretty sure the Societ Union never agreed to anything with the entire first world, and that some scholars have argued the USSR was, in fact, part of the first world.
- To say the USSR was a part of the third wolrd is more-or-less a fringe theory. The most normal conclusion is that the USSR was part of the Second World --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
"Brezhnev consolidated his position considerably" means what exactly? What titled or untitled position was consolidated and with what manifestation?
"Tikhonov, as with Brezhnev, was a conservative" appears to contradict the reference to Brezhnev as liberally inclined towards Yugoslavia. The problem here might lie on the wording. Was it, perhaps, the case that Brezhnev and some others were members of an identified conservative faction within the party? This needs clarification.
- This is noted many other places in the articles. Just because you're a conservative doesn't mean you're conservative on everything. I'll reword however. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
"Towards the end of the period, Brezhnev was regarded as too old to carry out some of the functions of head of state by his colleagues." What colleagues? If no list, then a direct quote or citation? What follows suggests that Brezhnev, by ordering a new positionm, agreed he was no longer fit to carry out those duties. Is that true? Citation?
- The source says colleagues nothing more specific. It is referenced...... --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
" ... Suslov continued to write several ideological documents about it. In 1978, one year after Podgorny's retirement, Suslov made several notable references to the collective leadership. It was around this time that Andrei Kirilenko's power and prestige within the Soviet leadership started to wane." This passage makes several ambiguous assertions that may need to be individually referenced or quoted. What were some of the ideological documents or notable references? What is the importance of Kirilenko and his fading power?
"As Brezhnev's health worsened, the collective leadership took an even more important role in everyday decision-making. Brezhnev's death did not alter the balance of power in any radical fashion, and Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko were obliged by protocol to rule the country in the same fashion as Brezhnev left it." How can this be true? If his successors were forced to rule the same way as Brezhnev, how can collective leadership have assumed an even more important role? It is a logical fallacy. Wording needs to be clarified or cut.
- It says the collective leadership took an even more important role as his health worsened. Chernenko and Andropov ruled the country the very same way Brezhnev left it. There is no logical fallacy. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
What is the evidence for the assertion of a massive military build-up being launched in 1965? If someone made a bare assertion, he/she should be cited specifically.
"... useful leverage in negotiating with the First World" appears misleading. Was it not also leverage with China? Or was there a deliberate consideration of only Western powers? Clarification of language and/or specific reference needed.
"... Due to the country's weaker infrastructure compared to the United States, the Soviet leadership believed that the only way to beat the First World was by a rapid military conquest of Western Europe, relying on sheer numbers alone." What does this mean? During the era of mutually assured destruction this would have been a complete nonsense, as nuclear arsenals would have made infrastructure irrelevant. Is this not really a consideration that no nuclear war could be fought, and the USSR was preparing for superiority in a conventional confrontation? If there is a specific quote, it should be cited.
" ... achieved nuclear parity with the United States by the early 1970s, after which the country moved from being a regional power to a superpower." This is the same assertion made in the summary at the beginning of the article. Specific reference needed.
"The apparent success" is meangless without being qualified. Success in what aim or object?
- Working. --TIAYN (talk) 15:03, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
My comment on the article is now long enough for me to step back and ask others not uncritically devoted to its present format to consider whether any of the shortcomings I have mentioned don't deserve to be rectified before the presumptive elevation of this article to any kind of status.
My purpose here is to establish that this article, like some others in the Soviet history category, needs considerably more work before it can be considered encyclopedic, and that work cannot be subject to the whims of any self-appointed 'owner'; if the article is to be regarded as the proprietary plaything of anyone, I recommend that it is removed in toto as tendentious, ideologically motivated and far from neutral about information in general, and the subject matter specifically.
This is a particular concern for any history of a totalitarian society in which 'revisionism', the practice of re-writing history to exclude events or people, and to add others, for the purpose of meeting specific ideological perspectives, is/was a known issue.
07:47, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
- Why do you refer to me as an owner of the article? Because I corrected several mistakes from the sandbox version which would have made this article even more unencyclopaedic? Get a life.... Most of your points are invalid, but those which are valid I will fix. --TIAYN (talk) 15:05, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
- Most of your comments deserve considered responses, starting here with the consideration of the word 'erratic' below. Considered responses take time, which I can not devote in a single sitting, so please bear with me as I address each point individually.
- My point about ownership relates directly to some heated discussions in other talk pages about other aspects of Soviet history in which I perceived some strong proprietary claims, and is made here because you have made the comment to me that: 'I'm protective, very protective of my work', clearly implying ownership of the article. My intention is not to comment on your work, but to preserve the integrity of information on WP as neutral and contestable by anyone on grounds of rationality and sources. I think that discourteous and dismissive comments add little value to that goal: what exactly does 'get a life' add to this discussion? What rational argument is advanced by the blanket statement 'most of your points are invalid'? Let's stick to the substantive points at issue.
- 04:53, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
- To say that i'm very protective of my work is not a property claim, while it might been seen as is seeing it wrote "my work". But it was my work, until recently when other editors started to contribute....... fine --TIAYN (talk) 06:16, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
The word 'erratic'
Searching the article page minutes ago the word 'erratic' appears once only, and is unreferenced. If, as you say TIAYN, it is referenced by several sources, where have I missed mention of those citations?
The Oxford English Dictionary proposes that erratic refers to an uneven or irregular pattern or movement. As such it is an ambiguous word to begin with. If used to characterise the attributes of a man, it is a personal judgement made in a specific context. What I'm getting at here is that the person who made that judgement must be identified as the source of that characterisation. This is important not only because there a multiple views about why Khrushchev was deposed, but also because the characterisation isn't 'truth' just because it appears in a book (even a creditable one). It remains a particular and contestable point of view, and therefore needs to be individually (that is, the word itself) referenced in an encyclopedia which does not make such judgements, ever.
Bearing in mind that you have previously referred to my own research into this matter as 'false and inaccurate information', I nevertheless urge you to reconsider adopting an exclusive point of view on the manner of Khrushchev's retirement when multiple and credible conclusions about it, and Brezhnev's role in it, exist. To that end I commend to you the following -
Kenez, Peter. A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End, Second Edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. (pp 175, 210-211.)
Taubman, William (2006). 'The Khrushchev period, 1953–1964' in Suny, Ronald Grigor, ed, The Cambridge History of Russia, Vol III: The Twentieth Century. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp 268-291. (p 290.)
Thompson, John M (2009). Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present, Sixth edition. Philadelphia, PA: Westview Press. (pp 291, 294.)
Service, Robert (2009). A History of Modern Russia from Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century, third edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (pp 377-378.)
Barron, John (1975). KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents. London: Corgi Books. (pp 10-11.)
04:30, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but why would we repeat an assertion without finding and stating evidence for it? Just because someone wrote it doesn't make it so, and just because the source is credible, doesn't mean we should repeat it as undisputed fact, particularly since the word 'erratic' is hardly neutral. My point is that it might be better to put a variety of points of view, identifying these as points of view rather than lending credibility to any of them as absolute truth.
06:51, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Robert Service suggests the USSR was already a superpower under Stalin (p 328). Kegley Jr and Wittkopf (pp 83-84), and Thompson (p 267) suggest that the conclusion of WWII saw the USA and the USSR emerge as the world's pre-eminent superpowers. Wikipedia's own article on superpowers suggests the same with its own references. My point is that any claim that the USSR did not become a superpower until the Brezhnev era is contestable and should be identified as a particular point of view among other points of view.
You might assist here by identifying the context of Bacon & Sandle's analysis that led you to distill their words as you have in the Historical assessments section, or by quoting B&S directly.
Referring to a 'common belief' is dangerous territory. Common to whom? Who says? It is certainly not sufficient evidence for an encyclopedic article.
My references -
Kegley Jr, Charles, W & Wittkopf, Eugene R (1993). World Politics: Trend and Transformation, Fourth edition. New York: St Martin's Press.
Service, Robert (2009). A History of Modern Russia from Tsarism to the Twenty-First Century, third edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Thompson, John M (2009). Russia and the Soviet Union: An Historical Introduction from the Kievan State to the Present, Sixth edition. Philadelphia, PA: Westview Press.
05:38, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
- NOTE-"superpower" technically means/meant the ability to project force throughout the world. Under Stalin, the USSR did not yet have a naval force able to do this. While the Soviet surface navy of the 60's-80's was not that formidable, they HAD developed nuclear-powered ballistic missle submarines that could deliver nuclear attacks from any ocean in the world and hit any target in the world. Additionally, the Soviet air force during Stalin's time was not the powerful military machine it became after his death. HammerFilmFan (talk) 06:08, 29 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't have your source to hand. Can you quote it here verbatim? That might allow me to work up a wording.
06:53, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
'prolonged power struggle'
Your statement that this power struggle existed since the mid-1950s may be accurate, but that doesn't make it encyclopedic without refrence to specific citation. It is an assertion that the Soviet government was unstable under Khrushchev, and should therefore either be carefully referenced individually (that is, the words 'prolonged power struggle' rather than just an entire paragraph) or removed.
The relevance of the statement to the Brezhnev era should be the determining factor in deciding whether it can be glossed over. I suggest to you that the detailed mention of the collective leadership during that era makes it virtually impossible to mention it at all without expanding on it.
A neutral and uninformed reader of this article should not gain the impression that something vague or shadowy was going on if, in fact, there is detailed information available on exactly what was going on.
I propose to you that the assertion this topic 'needs nothing more than a short blurb' is careless about a feature of Soviet politics that gained ascendancy with Brezhnev, that feature arguably being leadership succession without widespread purges or bloodshed.
05:58, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
- An article about Soviet history from 1964 to 1982 can't go down in detail and tell about a power struggle which started in the mid-1950s with the Anti-Party Group, Vyacheslav Molotov's expulsion from the party and Mikhail Suslov who led the opposition. I can probably write one or two sentences, but that's all. --TIAYN (talk) 06:10, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Party principles and collective leadership
There are two references cited for the entire section: Baylis; and Cocks, Daniels & Heer. But neither source is listed in the bibliography, so it's difficult to tell what specific works are being cited and which specific assertions in the two long paragraphs are referenced to them.
Moreover, when you say 'they' in your reply to my question above (under 'specific examples'}, who are you referring to? When you say they talked highly of it, what specific instances are you referring to?
My point here is that the wording I quoted in my comments under 'specific examples' lacks clarity, partly because it is unclear what the source is for the assertions made, and partly because it is not entirely clear whether the paragraph proposes a statement of objective reality or claims made by a specific group of people (point of view). This may be a language issue, a referencing issue, or both.
07:46, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
- Stalin and Khrushchev talked frequently about collective leadership. I've added books to the bibliography section, thanks for notifying me. Replaced "they" with Soviet leadership. Thanks --TIAYN (talk) 08:00, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
When asserting that "Brezhnev conspired to oust Podgorny from the collective leadership as early as 1970", the implication is a conspiracy, an assertion that is controversial enough to demand its own individual reference, even if that same reference is repeated later on (so long as it actually makes all assertions attributed to it). It is not enough to insist that someone said 'conspiracy' in a book and to uncritically repeat it here. It is appropriate for an encyclopedia to attribute such an assertion to its source rather than becoming complicit in making that assertion by not referencing it as someone else's opinion.
Citing conspiracy contains the added difficulty of clarifying who the conspirators were, and, in view of the assertion (below) of Brezhnev assuming Podgorny's position as head of state, why the conspirators were trying to undermine their own influence as collective leaders by assisting Brezhnev to subvert that collective leadership. That's assuming, of course, the conspirators were part of the collective leadership rather than, say, a clique of military officers willing to back Brezhnev by force.
When giving as a reason for this conspiracy that "Brezhnev was third, while Podgorny was first in the ranking of Soviet diplomatic protocol", the explanation begs the question why this particular scale of seniority is significant. What does diplomatic ranking have to do with party political power in Soviet political structures of the era?
When going on to say that "the removal of Podgorny would have meant the end of the collective leadership, since Brezhnev would have taken over the post of head of state", the implication is that a single position constituted the difference between collective leadership and something else. If that's the case, what is the source for that assertion?
The same words also imply that Brezhnev would have automatically assumed Podgorny's position as if this were a foregone conclusion. Is that what is meant? Who said this? Would it be better to quote the source directly rather than paraphrasing?
08:25, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Let me try to rephrase the question that prompted your comment about the Soviet Union and the third world fringe theory.
The statement 'Brezhnev's liberal stance on Yugoslavia' does not appear to be qualified. What liberal stance? Is that a Western perception or a Soviet leadership judgement?
The continuation of the same sentence to talk about "his disarmament policies with First World countries" appears to be inaccurate. His disarmament talks with some Western powers did not include nearly all nations that might be included in the category 'First World', even if only because some of those nations did not possess nuclear weapons or common borders. I suggest the alternative of 'disarmament talks with some Western powers', subject to the right references, of course.
Once the two above issues are resolved, how did this lead to greater power for Podgorny? What power (ie, how was it expressed or projected)? Was Brezhnev not universally recognised as Soviet leader in the early 1970s?
I think the point here is to clean up ambiguous language and attribute specific assertions to specific sources to avoid the appearance that Wikipedia is making or endorsing those assertions.
As an aside, if you re-read my original question you will note that I never suggested the Soviet Union was a third world country. I do. however, accept that my mention of debate about Russia, and then the Soviet Union, possibly being part of the first world is aracane and irrelevant to the subject at hand.
10:42, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Brezhnev consolidated ...
As a matter of style and rationality, it cannot stand that as a result of Brezhnev's or someone else's actions 'his position was just strengthened' (as per paragraphs 22-23 'Specific examples' in my original comment above).
If there are no specifics on how 'Brezhnev consolidated his position considerably' (as per paragraph four in the 'Collectivity of leadership' section in the actual article), should it perhaps be a direct quote to remove any doubt that it's not an assertion made by Wikipedia?
11:55, 17 March 2011 (UTC)
Brezhnev's political leanings
If we introduce into the article the assertion that Brezhnev was a right-winger, or right-aligned in some way, not only do we need to explain what that means (ie, were there specific factions? Is it just the observation/analysis of a specific source?), we also need to then explain why a so-called right-winger would adopt a 'liberal' position. This issue is doubly complicated because the meaning of the word liberal is substantially different in the US than it is in the UK, in continental Europe, and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Perhaps the entire article must be re-worded to establish a definition of 'conservative' that makes sense in terms of the USSR of the times, and of 'liberal' within that framework. I have not done the research, but might it be possible that a better term than conservative might be 'hard-liner', and a better term than 'liberal' might be 'non-interventionist'? These terms would then refer directly to Soviet orthodoxy rather than the much larger and possibly ambiguous categories of conservatism and liberalism.
It seems to me that relying solely on a particular quote for a term that might be defined somewhere else in the source's work does us no good here.
04:26, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Suslov's ideological work
If we state that Suslov wrote about collective leadership and that he 'made several notable references to the collective leadership' we should mention at least one of those writings/statements. Otherwise, what's the point or the provenance of the assertion? And what did Suslov actually say about collective leadership?
04:48, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Brezhnev's health and leadership
If collective leadership became more important as Brezhnev's health failed, the implication is that it was less important while he was healthy, and therefore that Brezhnev exercised greater control. If Andropov and Chernenko were obliged to govern the same way as Brexhnev, therefore, their power over-rode collective leadership. It is the wording here that poses a logical conundrum: was 'collective leadership' merely a rhetorical device to justify autocratic rule, or was there really collegiate rule, in which case Brezhnev's health should have played only a minor role.
If available source are unclear on this point, it shouldn't be mentioned, our role being to present authoritative, not speculative information. We cannot afford to rely on citations alone; we must also ensure they make sense and are not internally contradictory.
04:59, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
- It says Andropov and Chernenko ruled the country the very same way Brezhnev left it; the powers of the collective leadership increased when his health declined. --TIAYN (talk) 07:34, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Massive military build-up
I saw the reference the first time, but I question the use of the adjective 'massive' without qualifying it. Massive compared to what? Does Frank cite materiel numbers, expenditure figures, percentages? If not, should the assertion of 'massive' not be double-checked with another source to help clarify what is meant?
05:04, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
Soviet defense policy
The entire military doctrine of the Soviet leadership needs to be clarified. What was the specific justification of an arms build-up we assert in this article? There was discussion in that period of mutually assured destruction (MAD) and the pointelessness of having nuclear arsenals several times bigger than necessary to extinguish all life on Earth; it was that discussion that led to arms limitation talks. And yet the article makes no reference to MAD at all.
When we say that the Soviet leadership believed a strong military would provide leverage in negotiations with other states, what negotiations did they have in mind? What about? Is this still the topic of guaranteeing post-WWII borders? If so, that needs to be stated clearly. If we don't know, how do we know the Soviets believed this? One thing the Soviets were not shy of was public ideological justifications for all their policies. Can we find some of those?
If the Soviet Union concluded that an East-West war might not be nuclear, and that the only way to beat the West was by massive conventional superiority, this must surely have been documented in more places than a single page in a single book from the 1990s. General Sir George Hackett is a name that comes to mind when thinking about sources on strategy for a conventional war fought on European soil. Unfortunately I don't have his works to hand right now. Marshal Andrei Grechko and Marshal Dmitri Ustinov would be likely sources from a Sovet perspective.
The wording in the opening passage of the defense policy section is inconsistent and ambiguous: 'First World' and 'capitalist countries' excludes China, which I would have imagined was perceived as a very real threat, given the article's section on the USSR-PRC conflict.
I'm not sure how to interpret your comment that because the passage wasn't a quote it doesn't need a reference, but that it was referenced. In any case, my reading of the passage is that it is ambiguous, overly ambitious in its scope and potentially inaccurate in its concatenation of assertions. As soon as I get the time I would like to look into sources for Soviet defense policy myself (which is not to say anyone should rely on that happen soon).
05:40, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
- This review is transcluded from Talk:History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
Beginning review. It's a big article and it may take me a couple of days to review it all; I shall attempt to leave comments below in a big list without timestamps. If you could tick them off rather than remove them entirely that would also be useful. As with many of my review, most of these are just suggestions rather than official criteria, so you can object to them as you wish. Regards, - Jarry1250 [Who? Discuss.] 12:01, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
- Done UK/US spelling seems to be inconsistent. Most seems to be UK/ROW spelling, though, so I've converted the remaining instances of "ize", and if you spot any more US spellings, I suggest you switch them accordingly.
- Done I've added a couple of clarify tags it would be good for you to address (UPDATE: and some more).
- Done Sino–Soviet relations and Soviet-Eastern Bloc relations could do with a sentence at the end of each concluding about what the state of play was at Brezhnev's death.
- Done "The Soviet leadership's policy towards the Eastern Bloc did not change much with Khrushchev's replacement. Reform programmes were met with scepticism, however, ..." I thought I understood that sentence until the word "however". Remind me / the reader, what was Khrushchev's stance to which you refer? Reformist or hardline?
- I get the vague sense that relations with other communists third-world states are absent from that section. If this is the case, a sentence roundup would suffice, I think.
- Fine "Many dissidents, and a number of radical reformers," I have changed to simply "Many dissidents", since they are then characterised in the next sentence as gradualists, which would be contradictory.