It was not until many years later, long after Khrushchev’s ouster, that the Soviet Union fell apart, but it might fairly be said that the Soviet experiment ended with him. For the next twenty years the Party and country would be led by men who apparently no longer believed in the goals or values of the 1917 Revolution. As we have seen in the preceding chapters, the Party had long ago become home to opportunists and careerists. By now they were well entrenched and, with Brezhnev’s ascendancy, in charge. The country was run by a self-selected, largely self-perpetuating elite through a system of patronage and nepotism.