Soviet Use of Corruption Purges as a Control Mechanism: The Uzbekistan Case

John Staples


ABSTRACT: In a series of purges between 1982 and 1988, the Soviet government sacked many of the Uzbekistan Communist Party's elite and replaced them with people of unquestionable loyalty to the Kremlin. These purges, which were justified by charges of widespread corruption in the Uzbek Party, have been widely interpreted as indicating a profound change in the policies of the Soviet government, initiated by Yuri Andropov and continued by Mikhail Gorbachev. This essay argues that purges of the type carried out in Uzbekistan were a standard feature of the Kremlin's policy under Brezhnev, and that the first symptom of the Uzbekistan purges manifested themselves well before 1982. The purges should be seen, therefore, as evidence of continuity between the nationalities policies of Brezhnev and his successors, rather than evidence of a changed policy.

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