- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: November 2011
- Print publication year: 1979
- Online ISBN: 9780511895579
When Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks seized power in 1917 they sought to scrap the existing structures of government and substitute new ones based on Marxist principles. This book attempts a detailed account of their efforts to create a socialist 'cabinet' (Sovnarkom), to elaborate effective machinery and methods of operation, and to use it to govern the country. It examines what kind of people were appointed to Sovnarkom and who chose them. It shows how elements of the pre-revolutionary system of government were taken over along with former ministerial officials. Sovnarkom was headed by Lenin and this helped to ensure its early pre-dominance. Nonetheless it was gradually overshadowed by the Party Central Committee and Politburo, and the book seeks to explain why this happened and why Lenin's efforts to reverse the process failed. The book throws important light on the origins of the Soviet system of government.