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As a result of the thorough exchange of opinions (during the nationwide discussion) it was considered necessary to retain a number of union ministries' , such as those of the defense industry. 29 July 1 was set as the date for the completion of this large-scale transformation of industrial administration. Khrushchev's opponents in the Presidium did not want to wait for that date and within a few weeks the First Party Secretary was confronted with their demand that he resign from office. The Abolition of the MTS, 1951-1958 As Soviet peasants were forced in the late 1920s and early 1930s to collectivize, the question of how to service them with tractive power became pressing.

23 Khrushchev's theses for the legislative proposal that he was to present to the next Supreme Soviet session were published at the end of March. They were accompanied by a summons for a nationwide discussion. His central thesis was that with the introduction of regional economic councils the union and republican industrial branch ministries would become superfluous and, by implication, would have to be abolished. 24 Khrushchev did not state explicitly that all ministries would have to be abolished.

No doubt this view of public discussions applies to the mass discussions on the draft-constitutions of 1936 and 1977. However, the question is, is it correct to characterize the many and diverse discussions that have taken place since 1953 in this simple way? Were they really no more than empty propaganda devices? Philip Stewart has suggested that it makes great difference who initiates a policy discussion: the Politburo or lower-level institutions or groups. 16 He has thereby accepted that a lower-level agency may indeed initiate a discussion without prior consent of the Politburo, a presupposition that also underlies this book.

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