In recent years two lines of research on USSR power and personnel have challenged some long-standing interpretations of the bases of Soviet political activity. In one line, historical studies dealing with the Stalin era have called into question the conventional emphasis, epitomized in the totalitarian model, of a single leader who commands an army of loyal apparatchiki and monopolizes the political agenda. A number of scholars have shown that chaos and confusion in personnel matters were the salient characteristics of this period, rather than a coordinated system for the recruitment, placement, and promotion of cadres—an image suggested by both the totalitarian model and Stalinist boasting of a “monolithic party,” a “unified state structure,” and so forth. In substantive policy, the actual results in implementing regime directives in the Stalin period regularly bore no better than the faintest resemblance to the announced policy. Absent the well-oiled machine highlighted in images of the “totalitarian party,” the regime's failure to control real policy results seems to have followed as a necessary consequence.