De-Stalinization surely constitutes the most significant politicai event of the 1950s in Russia. It also proved to be one of the least expected events in recent history. In the immense literature that grew up around the problem of the presumptive succession of the ageing dictator, nobody seems to have foreseen it very clearly. “The death of Stalin will not be the end of Stalinism” was the leitmotiv of the majority of the studies that appeared around 1953. Indeed, Marxist critics of Stalinism were naturally reluctant to attributo, in defiance of the principle of historic materialism, such far-reaching historico-sociological repercussions to the death of a mere individuai. As for the right-wing detractors, they tended—no less naturally—to deny in principle any chances of lasting improvement for an abhorrent regime. For both groups, although for different reasons, Stalin himself had to be considered the product of Stalinism rather than its creator. As Isaac Deutscher has rightly remarked, 1 this is a matter of two different aspects of what social psychologists of the Kurt Lewin school cali “resistance to change.”