Here is an essay I wrote a year ago on the nature of control and power in Stalinist Russia. I booked at George Orwell's famous novel 1984 as a basis for establishing the meaning of control in the political climate.
The essay is a few thousand words long, so I will probably shorten it in the near future to provide a more concise, blog-friendly version of my argument. I also haven't looked at it in a year, so please be forgiving; as a 16 year old this was my first lengthy essay and the first essay whereby I conducted independent research and wrote the whole thing on my own. Since I wrote it in the space of a week and a half my research wasn't extensive, so some of the opinions are simplified.
The meaning and level of control in Stalinist Russia
To look into control in Stalinist Russia, the meaning of total and complete control must first be established. The political novel 1984 by George Orwell depicts a society in which controlling the ideas and thoughts of the people is more important than a physical repression of the opposition. Following this theory, if the thoughts of an entire population are controlled completely, then absolute control exists. If we take this as the definition of ultimate authority then it cannot exist, even in a repressive regime such as that of Stalin. However 1984 very effectively portrays a realistic society in which the people accept everything without doubt or question. 1984 suggests that it is more important for the ideas of a regime to be maintained than a single individual’s power. Therefore the question the political novel raises is about the possibility of complete control over a population, not in the hands of an individual but an ideology, as Party member O’Brien reveals whilst torturing Winston: