Does change in leadership make a difference in Soviet policy? 1 This is a pivotal question and one that almost all specialists on Soviet affairs must consider, given Mikhail S. Gorbachev's succession to the USSR's top leadership post in March 1985. Gorbachev is young, dynamic, and fast-moving—so different from previous incumbents of the general secretaryship. The CPSU's new general secretary has raised expectations among peoples within and outside the Soviet Union to such a level that it is not an overstatement to speak of what might be called "Gorbachev fever," Nevertheless, it is still too early to assess whether Gorbachev will bring any significant, meaningful changes to the Soviet Union.