Nikita Khrushchev and Mikhail Gorbachev both pursued reformist policies during their respective periods as head of the CPSU. Although their policies were very different in substance, the political problems they faced in prosecuting reform were quite similar. The discussion here focuses on the obstacles facing reform-minded Soviet leaders and the options available for overcoming them. Both Khrushchev and Gorbachev were dependent for their position and for the implementation of their policies on a party-state apparat whose interests lay in opposing radical reform and in limiting the leader's power. As a result both men were in a particularly weak position from which to pursue reformist policies.