The Soviet High Command, 1967-1989
Personalities and Politics
Dale Roy Herspring
The recent transformations in the USSR are nowhere more evident than in the Soviet military. Top-level military officers have been relieved of their positions, Gorbachev has warned of lean times for the military, the symbolic role of the armed forces has been downgraded, and the concept of "military sufficiency" points to major modifications in Soviet force structure. Contrary to some who see Gorbachev as a Sir Galahad out to slay the evil military high command, Dale Herspring concludes that the relationship between the highest Soviet political and military leaders is at the moment more symbiotic than conflictual. In this first in-depth study of the evolution of civil-military relations in the Soviet Union from 1967 to the present, he shows how the views of senior military officers have varied over time: currently, even if the members of the high command do not like all Gorbachev's changes, they understand the need for them and are prepared to live with them. As Herspring looks at the personalities and politics of eight top military figures, he reveals that the most important of them, Ogarkov, was the first senior Soviet military officer to understand the value of working with the political leadership. Ogarkov believed that the arms control and dtente processes, if carefully managed, could enhance the national security of the USSR. In Gorbachev, the Soviet military has found the type of individual that Ogarkov was seeking.
First published in 1990.
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