deputies, such as KGB’s Leonid Shebarshin, to ensure thatnthe apparatus of power would be decapitated yet capable ofnhandling the consequences of the provocation? In short, wasnthe reorganization of this apparatus, to be achieved by theneventual amalgamation of the internal security structuresnwith the armed forces, the underlying aim of Gorbachev’sncoup?nSo long as Gorbachev remains in direct control of thenapparatus of power, as he now is, this fundamental issuencannot be discounted out of hand. The parallel with Hitler’snpurge of the SA — “the night of long knives” of June 1934nthat is said to have inspired some of Stalin’s most subtlenmaneuvers of the 1930’s — suggests itself to those whonfearfully watch the unanswered questions mounting.nLike Roehm’s Sturmabteilung, Andropov’s KGB helpednto make the dictator but still held enough power to unmakenhim if necessary. In his drive to maximize personal power,nGorbachev reached the point of no return in January 1990,nwhen he told the Politburo that the state was independent ofnthe Communist Party. Thereafter, Gorbachev was the state,nalbeit by the grace of the KGB that had elevated him andnhumbled the Gommunist Party in the process. Like Hitler inn1934, Gorbachev had another move to make: to bite thenhand that fed him, decapitating the existing apparatusnof power and “subordinating it,” in none other thannShebarshin’s words of April l990, “to the state.”nHas Gorbachev miscalculated? It is precisely his benevolencentoward Yeltsin, whose authority over local governmentnand economic decisions has now increased dramatically,nwhich suggests that the answer is no. By allowing Yeltsin,nwith or without direct complicity in his own maneuvers, tontake center stage and establish alternative authority structures,nGorbachev has distracted the West’s attention fromnthe one and only issue that matters: his own control over thenreorganized apparatus of power.nHistorical precedent supports this conclusion. Hitler’snpurge of the SA appeared to weaken the state so decisivelynthat, in June 1934, the international diplomatic consensusnand Soviet intelligence experts briefing Stalin were unanimousnin predicting collapse. Stalin disagreed: “The eventsnin Germany,” he remarked, “will lead to the strengtheningnof Hider’s personal power.” Today, many would argue thatnthe rise of Yeltsin in Russia, combined with the “breakup” ofnwhat was once the Soviet Union, has made a nonsense ofnGorbachev’s ambitions.nYet, as a historian of the Third Reich has written,n”contrary to popular opinion totalitarian rule in no waynimplies a compact and monolithic system of organization,”nas when Hider’s “federal state was changed into an inextricablensystem of satrapies” in which many different authoritiesnappeared to rule. “This,” Kari Bracher observed,n”quickly proved not to be the teething troubles of the newnsystem but part of the system itself,” while the Fiihrer “withnhis control over the direct means of compulsion” emerged asnthe system’s overseer and mediator welcomed or at leastntolerated by Germany’s future victims.nThe precise deployment and future evolution ofnGorbachev’s power are still to emerge. What seems certainnis that both Yeltsin’s probable “innovations,” such as thenrestoration of monarchy in Russia, and Gorbachev’s ownnlikely “reforms,” such as the new, nonconscript, professionalnarmy fused with the KGB internal troops, will furtherndisengage international public opinion from the reality ofnthe dictator’s permanence. To the West, until last August itnstill seemed that Yeltsin was a puppet and Gorbachev thenman to do business with. Now the roles have been reversed;nyet Yeltsin’s gains, like those now made by other leaders innthe nominally independent Soviet republics, may wellnadvance rather than impede the cause of Gorbachev’s newlyndecentralized totalitarianism.nThus the KGB-led perestroika, which has now ended innthe subjugation of the KGB to the state, mirrored Hider’snGleichschaltung, or coordination, which prepared thenground for his pogrom of the SA. In fact, a fuzzy blueprintnfor the future penned by Gorbachev in September, ThenAugust Coup, bears comparison with Mein Kampf. “As forncontrol over nuclear weapons,” he muses, “no one shouldnhave any worries on that account. The centre and thenPresident as commander-in-chief remain.” Lapsing into thenmonarchic plural, he writes that “we decided to retain, innaddition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry ofnInternal Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Committeenfor State Security as Union bodies.”nInV’nGorbachev’s book barely mentions the coup but assuresn•the Western reader that his newly consolidated rule is an”new epoch in [Russia’s] thousand-year development.” Henexplains that “what is collapsing” is only the pre-Gorbachevn”command structure,” and in the end “our renewed Unionnwill be filled with life.” The “battle,” as Gorbachev puts it,n”testifies to the modern state” on “the territory of practicallyna whole continent,” an “unprecedented state” involved inn”a great integrational process on one-sixth of the territory ofnour planet.” His aim for the “renewed Union,” then”originator of the idea of a common European home,” isn”to be included organically into wodd civilization” andn”moving our country more quickly to acquire the achievementsnof science and technology.”nAbove all, “using Lenin’s words,” what is needed is “onenmore change in our understanding of what socialism shouldnbe.” It is this redefined socialism based on concealednmilitary strength that the “renewed Union” will introduceninto Eurasia. Gorbachev speaks of socialism and Chnstianitynin one breath, and holds out the “Leninist principle ofnself-determination” as a workable and trustworthy model fornthe unified Eurasia to follow. There is no point deceivingnourselves: Gorbachev is in charge, and his book is a chillingninsight into the mind of a dictator who is likely to outlast then20th century.nIt was once said that the Reichstag Fire, used by Hitler toninsinuate the Nazis into the mainstream of political life, wasnthe longest fire in history, 12 years in the burning. ThenSoviet Union has now been collapsing for six, with the aimnof integrating Gorbachev’s postcommunist totalitarianismninto the political mainstream of Europe. Provided Gorbachevncan continue “applying the principle of divide andnrule,” as Bracher wrote of Hitler, “with a skill amounting tonvirtuosity,” the fulfillment of that aim is imminent. <^nnnJANUARY 1992/21n