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Soviet Professor Says Stalin Botched Economy

May 7, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Soviet professor has traced the country’s economic problems to dictator Josef Stalin, whose rigid centralization of the economy is the mainstay of the system today.

Anatoly Butenko, a department head at the Institute of the Economy of the World Socialist System, said Stalin disregarded the teachings of Karl Marx and Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in building a huge bureaucracy.

Stalin consolidated his power in the years after Lenin’s death in 1924, exterminating his opponents and forcing the peasants to collectivize agriculture in a brutal campaign. He died in 1953.

Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and his supporters repeatedly have blamed ″mistakes″ and ″negative tendencies″ during the last period of Leonid I. Brezhnev’s 18-year rule for the country’s problems.

Butenko, interviewed by the government press agency Novosti, traced the problems back to Stalin’s rule in the 1930s and 1940s. The interview was published today in the newspaper Moskovskaya Pravda (Moscow Truth).

Stalin rejected Marx’s idea that government would diminish under Communism as the workers state took hold, and instead created a vast bureacracy subservient to him, Butenko said.

″Power was fully concentrated in the hands of the administrative- bureaucrati c apparatus created by him,″ Butenko said.

″From these positions the processes and repressions of the 1930s appear as the completion of the formation of Stalin’s power, which destroyed those who defended a system of management existing before establishment of the cult of personality,″ he said.

Although the problems were entrenched in the Soviet system for years, their effects only started to be felt strongly in the 1960s and the 1970s, Butenko said.

He said the 20th Communist Party Congress in 1956, at which Nikita S. Khrushchev denounced Stalin, tried to overcome the Stalinist bureaucracy but in the end was overwhelmed. Khrushchev was disgraced and forced from power in 1964.

Bureaucracy still has the potential to slow down Gorbachev’s restructuring of Soviet society and even to defeat it, Butenko warned.

Gorbachev’s plans are said to face opposition especially among middle-level managers and government and party officials. Gorbachev said last month that he faces no political opposition, but that there is resistance to his program as high as the Communist Party Central Committee.

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