Mikhail Epstein

Relativistic Patterns in Totalitarian Thinking:

an Inquiry into the Language of Soviet Ideology


Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Occasional Paper, #243.

Washington: The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1991, 94 pp.




Introduction 1

Chapter 1. The Boundaries of Ideolingustics 5

Chapter 2. Words as Ideologems 13

Chapter 3. Relationships between Ideologems 20

Chapter 4. The Structure of Tetrads 26

Chapter 5. Ideology as Hidden Dialogue 30

Chapter 6. Lenin and the Logic of Ideology 35

Chapter 7. The Evolution of Soviet Marxism and the Left-Right Party 41


Chapter 8. Ideological Functions, Lexical Groups,

and Philosophical Oppositions 50

Chapter 9. Ideological Syntax: Forms of Address 62

Chapter 10. The Self-Evaluation of Ideology: The Meta-Tetrad 66

Chapter 11. Soviet Marxism in a Postmodernist Perspective 72

Conclusion 82


Appendix: The Susceptibility of Russian Language to Ideological Use 85

Bibliographical Supplement 89




Socrates: Then it is not for every man, Hermogenes, to give names, but for him who may be called the name-maker; and he, it appears, is the law-giver, who is of all the artisans among men the rarest.



...The spontaneously evolved speech has been turned into a national language. As a matter of course, the individuals at some time will take completely under their control this product of the species as well.

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels



"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."

Lewis Carroll



Mastery of language exists only as mastery of its worst and most inadequate possibilities.

Martin Walser




The crucial issue of the survival of ideology in our postmodern era brings into focus the concept of relativity. The defining feature of postmodernist thought is the absence of any particular centralist patterns which claim objective truth or absolute value. The generic quality of ideology, on the other hand, is considered to be an absolute commitment to some system of ideas which is strictly opposed to all other idea systems. Is it possible that ideological thinking will survive the postmodernist kingdom of playful relativity, preserving all necessary ideological definitions of mandatory and absolutist modes of thinking?

This question was recently raised by Bernard Susser in The Grammar of Modern Ideology: "The question was, how do sophisticated ideological thinkers justify the certainties they claim about past and future, man and society, in the face of the relativist skepticism that is the common coin of modern intellectual consciousness. Posed in this way, the problem appeared singularly intriguing, for ideology was the unique exception to the modernist rule; no other discipline or mode of discourse made such strident truth claims or clung to its certainties in so uncompromising (and non-modernist) a fashion."

One could hardly disagree with such a formulation, with the exception of one term--modernism. It seems more appropriate to identify "relativist skepticism" with postmodernism than with modernism because the latter is known exactly for its "strident truth claims," as in the philosophy of Marx and Nietzsche or in the art of futurism and surrealism. Unfortunately, the answer given by Mr. Susser is not persuasive. "Ideology claims certainty because it is its social function to do so. ...An ideology that was nonchalant or equivocal about the activities it enjoyed or prohibited would be no ideology at all... Ideology and modernism were to each other as an immovable object to an irresistible force." Susser assumes that ideology follows a standard of certainty while the modern age follows a standard of relativism--their modes of thinking remain completely alien to each other. As Kipling said, "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet..." Thus, the question of how Eastern ideology can survive in the epoch of Western relativity loses its intriguing appeal.

My answer, if only preliminary and partial, is quite different. Far from being antithetical to post-modernism, ideology supplies a unique forum for the post-modernist interplay of all conceivable ideas. Paradoxically, Soviet Marxism, the philosophy least expected to be involved in postmodernist debate, can provide an explanation. The ideology of Soviet Marxism has always enjoyed the reputation of being one of the most conservative and anti-modern system of beliefs of the twentieth century. Totalitarianism was assumed to exclude the sort of relativism that flourished in Western culture and laid the basis for the transition to the postmodernist condition. However, glasnost' and perestroika have shed new light on this ideological system which, if regarded in the process of its formation, reveals a stunning example of relativism inscribed into totalitarian thinking. Totalitarianism itself may thus be viewed as a specific postmodern model which came to replace the modernist ideological stance elaborated in earlier Marxism. The difference between classic Marxism, which is recognized as a breakthrough in philosophical modernism, and Soviet Marxism in its Stalinist and especially Brezhnevian versions, can be described precisely in terms of the modernist-postmodernist relationship. The latter tended to absorb and assimilate the former, eventually overcoming classic Marxism's original system of historical certainties and utopian beliefs.

The following discussion will attempt to answer a series of interrelated questions: What are the principal patterns of ideological thinking in general and of Soviet Marxism in particular? Is the allegedly "scholastic" system of Soviet ideology alien to the mainstream of Occidental thinking, or does it reproduce or perhaps precede some of the most striking intellectual developments of the West? How are relativist patterns introduced into the structure of totalitarian ideology, transforming it into a variant of postmodernist thinking?

Ideology is perhaps more strongly connected with language than any other kind of social activity. Language is the main vehicle of communication, and the mission of ideology is to rule the process of communication and organize people into communities governed by specific ideas. Karl Marx himself noted that "ideas do not exist in separation from language." Marxist ideology, especially in its Soviet version, confirms the force of this union of language and ideas.

Language is the most honest witness of ideological contradictions, which in Soviet Marxism were painstakingly concealed from the consciousness of the population in order to mold more successfully its collective subconscious. Ideological language became the decisive tool of the Soviet regime's systematic construction of such "ideal" phenomena as the "Soviet man" and "Soviet mentality." Yet, despite its crucial influence on Soviet society, ideological language--or "ideolanguage"--has not been properly investigated in the Soviet Union as a single, comprehensive phenomenon. Until now, only individual aspects of Soviet Marxist ideolanguage have come under consideration: in the 1920s, ideolanguage was investigated as "the language of revolution," in the 1930s, as "social dialect" or "class language," and in the 1960s and 1970s, as the publitsistika style. But the essential overall patterns of ideological language have thus far been neglected, and the analytical framework reduced to one historical epoch, one social stratum, or one functional style (see Bibliographical Supplement, p. 89).

In fact, the "language of the revolution" is only one stage in the development of Soviet Marxist ideolanguage, "proletarian dialect" only one of its sources, and publitsistika only one of its thematic realms. Ideolanguage goes beyond these particular aspects, it is something constant and universal, with its own logic, imagery and archetypes rooted in human consciousness. The author proposes the term "ideolinguistics" for this field of analysis, a field as important for understanding the nature of language and the development of society today as were sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics in the 1960s and 1970s.

Most of the author's observations in this paper will be based on ideological practices of the pre-Gorbachev era in Soviet Marxism. As the following discussion will make clear, however, perestroika and glasnost' did not abolish the fundamental patterns of Soviet ideological thought. Instead, these policies made more explicit the rhetorical devices of Soviet Marxism which the previous two or three generations of ideologists had concealed. With perestroika, the ideological relativism inherent in the totalitarian mode of thinking oversteps the boundaries of totalitarianism--an outwardly coherent and intolerant system of political thought--and displays a host of controversial meanings which were previously hidden inside the self- contradictory doctrines of Stalinism and Brezhnevism. The advent of glasnost' and perestroika appears to have laid bare the hidden foundations of Soviet ideocracy and made possible the deconstruction of its Babylonian sign system. A unique opportunity exists for linguistic and epistemological analysis of the patterns of the most long-standing totalitarian ideology of modern times.




The principal theoretical problem of ideolinguistics is how to define the relationship between ideology and language. Two theoretical approaches dominate this field: one emphasizes the homogeneity of ideology and language, the other treats ideology and language as heterogeneous phenomena. It seems neither theory expresses the entire truth. In contrast to the assumptions of both homogeneity and heterogeneity, the author will argue that ideology and language are two phenomena which can neither be equated to, nor torn apart from one another. This section will attempt to demonstrate that the dialectic interaction of ideology and language defines the specific subject of ideolinguistics, laying the groundwork for the analysis of Soviet Marxist ideolanguage which follows.

Let us now examine the heterogeneous and homogeneous approaches. Exponents of heterogeneous theory include Alfred Korzybski, Stuart Chase, S.I. Hayakawa, and other representatives of the so-called "general semantics" school. This philosophical school was founded by Alfred Korzybski, who developed a comprehensive critique of the ideological abuse of language. In Korzybski's theory, the phenomenon of ideology is treated as a pathology of language because it involves deep-rooted misunderstandings and logical mistakes in word usage. Meanings of words are improperly broadened and abstracted from concrete references. These empty abstracts, which do not correspond to reality, are then easily manipulated in order to provoke love and hate with respect to purely fictitious objects.

Semantic analysis claims to show that ideological terms such as "democracy," "communism," "fascism," and "capitalism" are devoid of any specific meaning. Each speaker supplies such words with his own meaning, resulting in ideological battles which, in real life, often progress to the point of military clashes. Semanticists recommend certain logical procedures to heal language from this ill-intentioned substitution of concepts and deterioration of meaning. One procedure would require that each pronouncement include an indication of its own incompleteness and non-identity with its object. Such words as "Germany" or "Russians," for example, are abstractions; expressions like "Germany chokes freedom" or "the Russian people are virtual slaves" are vague and ambiguous. It is necessary to identify a more specific subset before such expressions can become meaningful: "Well, some persons called Germans are choking the activities of other Germans... But `Germany' is not doing any choking." Another procedure would require that the same word, if used in a different context, be accompanied by indexes. For example, "war1 is not war2," would prevent confusion over different meanings of this word in such expressions as "Germany is eager to engage in war" and "the war between cinema and TV is the main cultural collision of the recent decades." Phrases such as "et cetera", "and the like", "and so on," should be used as often as possible to indicate that reality may go beyond specific linguistic expressions.

On the whole, general semantics proceeds from the assumption that language can be improved rationally. This liberal optimism goes back to the philosophy of John Locke who, in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690; Book 3, chapters 9-11), focused on the criteria for the verification of speech. In this perspective, ideology is alien to the essence of language, an irrational distortion of its rational structures.

An opposing approach was developed in the works of Russian and French thinkers. V.N. Voloshinov, in his book Marxism and the Philosophy of Language (many researchers actually attribute this work to Mikhail Bakhtin or "Bakhtin's school"), outlined a neo-Marxist, comprehensive theory of ideology which encompasses all linguistic phenomena. His theory holds that any system of signs is completely ideological: "The field of ideology coincides with the field of signs. They may be equated... A word accompanies and comments on every ideological act.... All this makes a word a fundamental object of the theory of ideologies." In Bakhtin's view, there can be no language activity which extends beyond the bounds of ideology. His approach to language as an "ideological substance" is based on the assumption that "in living pronouncements each element not only signifies but also evaluates... The objective (predmetnoe) meaning is formed by evaluation... Evaluation has the creative role in changes of meanings."

This theory of language as completely charged with ideology was further developed in French structuralism. Structuralism views ideology not as imposed on language from the outside, but as the immanent property of language itself. Language is considered to undergo the process of ideologization every time it is transformed into speech. Ideology is thus not an anomaly, but a norm of every pronouncement which somehow relates to the world of values. French semioticians A. J. Greimas and J. Courtes make a clear distinction between paradigmatic and syntagmatic articulation of a world of values, known as "axiology" and "ideology," respectively. In their view, ideology can neither be avoided nor banished from language because language is constantly assimilating some values while expelling others. These authors imply that axiology is a stable system of values while "ideology is a permanent quest for values..."

This trend in structuralist thought--ideology as the quest for values--was initiated by Roland Barthes. In Elements of Semiology, Barthes discusses ideology within the framework of so-called "connotative linguistics." Connotation is usually understood to be the expressive/evaluative meaning of a word, as distinct from denotation, which indicates an objective, conceptual meaning. According to Barthes, ideology is a secondary system of connotations which is built over a system of denotations. For example, the word "Motherland" denotes "the country in which one was born and of which one is a citizen". The connotation of the word may be defined as "patriotic pride," or "faithfulness to the land of the ancestors," or "love for compatriots." "As for the signified of connotation, its character is at once general, global and diffuse; it is, if you like, a fragment of ideology..." In other words, every denotative meaning in its turn may be a sign relating to an ideological meaning (which appears as the signified of still another signified). Here, the word "Motherland" is the sign, "country" is the first signified (denotation), and "pride" is the second signified (connotation). Barthes concludes, "We might say that ideology is the form... of the signifieds of connotation."

General semantics and structural semiotics offer opposite approaches to ideology. For Stuart Chase, ideology is a "tyranny of words" from which one can and must liberate oneself. For Roland Barthes, ideology is "a linguistics of connotation," in which every speaker inevitably inscribes his own meanings. But ideology should be neither opposed to nor equated with language because these extremes abolish the main question raised by ideolinguistics: what is the specificity of ideological use of language? If every evaluative component of speech is classified as ideological, then the distinction between different modes of evaluation is lost.

Clearly, expressions such as "Oh, what bad weather!," "The movie was fascinating," "The Divine Comedy is the greatest masterpiece of world literature," and "Communism is the bright future of all humanity," are evaluative in their own right. Does this mean that all of these expressions are ideological pronouncements? If the answer is yes, then the concept of ideology covers such a broad range of phenomena that it loses all specificity and theoretical usefulness. It would be frivolous to detect the same ideological character in Soviet Marxist expressions and momentary, emotional proclamations of an individual. If, however, we agree that ideology does not include evaluations based on personal emotions or whims, and only one of the above-mentioned expressions is genuinely ideological (the latter one), then the specific relationship between ideology and language can be explored. On the other hand, if ideology is a perverse use of language which can and must be abandoned, then the proper theory of ideological language loses its focus. From this point of view, ideology is just an obstacle to communication and understanding and has nothing to do with the inner essence of language.

In the 1960s, the methods and problems of syntactical research, in particular generative and transformative grammar, prevailed in linguistics. In the seventies "semantics," the analysis of semantic primitives, universals, and primary lexical functions, dominated. Only in the late seventies and early eighties did the accelerated development of pragmatics become evident and lead to the formation of a specific discipline--

"pragmalinguistics." As distinct from semantics, which studies signs in their relationship to the signified, and syntactics, which studies signs in their relationship to each other, pragmatics studies signs in their relationship to the person or collective who uses or perceives them. This theory attempts to show how signs express the attitude of the speaker or of the listener towards the signified. In contrast, general semantics and structuralism are oriented towards semantic and syntactic aspects of the sign, respectively.

Charles Morris, one of the founders of pragmatics, indicated that in addition to signs-designators, whose aim is purely descriptive, other types of signs also exist. Among these signs are appraisors, which make evaluations; prescriptors, which aim at evoking some type of reaction; and formators, which aim at the systematization and organization of the entire behavior of the recipient. This classification of signs allows for analytical distinctions between different types of discourse, including political and propagandistic discourse. The most productive contribution of pragmatics, however, turned out to be not its classification of signs, but its concept that signs possess a flexible pragmatic function which can be actualized in any meaningful pronouncement, depending on the conditions of communication.

The pragmatic relationship between language and its users includes social, psychological, and ideological aspects. In this author's opinion, it is necessary to define the ideological kernel of pragmatics as a specific field. This would create the subfield of ideolinguistics, filling the gap in the existing system of linguistic disciplines. Ideolinguistics would explore a middle ground between language and ideology in the way in which sociolinguistics and psycholinguistcs have examined interdisciplinary problems on the border between language and society and language and psychology.

Although sociolinguistics studies language in terms of its social functions, ideology has its own peculiarities which cannot be reduced to sociological issues. Ideology is a sort of bridge between human mentality and social life and offers its own broad realm of investigation. Moreover, ideological factors sometimes have more importance for the development of language than do sociological or psychological factors. In the Soviet Union, for example, ideology more actively determined the lexical system of language than did the difference between social strata. Blue- and white-collar workers, intellectuals and peasants, all experienced the incessant barrage of ideological language despite their social distinctions. Thus the theory of ideology cannot be treated as a subset of sociology; it is a special discipline in its own right.

The theory of ideology likewise cannot be dissolved into psycholinguistics. The latter studies the process of encoding and decoding verbal messages in different situations, as well as patterns of learning, logical operations, associative connections, and so forth. Noam Chomsky indicates that "the study of language may very well, as was traditionally supposed, provide a remarkably favorable perspective for the study of human mental processes....It seems to me, then, that the study of language should occupy a central place in general psychology." The theory of "deep structures" and language universals elaborated by Chomsky himself represents a significant contemporary contribution to the rapprochement of linguistics and psychology.

Yet thinking is not only logical, it is ideological as well. The exploration of deep structures in ordinary language helps to reveal the logical foundations, inborn schemes, and abstract rules of thinking. The exploration of ideological language leads to an understanding more of the teleological than the epistemological aspects of thinking: an idea is a product of mind in the perspective of its situational use and final ends. Ideology, then, is a practical way of thinking which organizes social life. In the system of linguistic disciplines, ideolinguistics is closer to sociolinguistics, while the generative grammar of Chomsky, which is oriented towards a pure theoretical mentality, is closer to psycholinguistics. (Chomsky himself regards "the study of linguistic structure as a chapter of human psychology.") The difference between ideolinguistics and psycholinguistics also takes into account certain general aspects of language: Chomskian psycholinguistics is primarily based on syntactical research, while ideolinguistics must necessarily focus on lexicology.

The relationship of the three subdivisions of linguistics can be approximately conveyed by the following chart:


Society <--------------> Ideology <---------------> Mind

| | |


| | |

Sociolinguistics <-----> Ideolinguistics <-----> Psycholinguistics


As the chart demonstrates, ideolinguistics is an intermediary discipline which connects the social and mental aspects of linguistic research. In this interdisciplinary realm, the specific task of ideolinguistics is to investigate the social functions of intellect and intellectual biases in society inasmuch as they are realized in language and determine its use.





What is ideology? Although definitions vary enormously, most define ideological discourse as a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical evaluation, as the following four independent sources demonstrate:


Raymond Aron: "Political ideologies always combine, more or less felicitously, factual propositions and value judgments. They express an outlook on the world and a will oriented towards the future."

Daniel Bell: "Ideology is the conversion of ideas into social levers... What gives ideology its force is its passion. Abstract philosophical inquiry has always sought to eliminate passion, and the person, to rationalize all ideas. For the ideologue, truth arises in action, and meaning is given to experience by the `transforming moment'."

Encyclopaedia Britannica: "An ideology is a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones; it is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it."

Great Soviet Encyclopaedia: "Ideology is a system of views and ideas within whose framework people perceive and evaluate both their relations to reality and to each other..."


It is essential that an idea taken as a unit of ideology include not only a perception, but also an evaluation of reality. This combination of perception and evaluation differentiates an idea as a unit of ideology from a concept as a unit of scientific thinking (in Russian, the difference between "ideia" and "poniatie"). For example, matter is a scientific concept which can be based on physical observation. When we endow this scientific concept with an evaluative meaning implying that matter is the primary element of the universe preceding all spiritual phenomena, then we have materialism, an ideological construction. The idea of materialism includes the objective concept of matter plus a value judgment about this concept. An idea, as distinct from a concept, contains an element of active goal-setting; it is possible to fight for an idea, to be faithful to it, to sacrifice oneself for its sake. It is impossible, however, in all these instances to substitute the concept for the idea. One does not fight for matter, but for materialism, as do the literary heros of Turgenev and Chernyshevsky.

An idea in an ideological system is not, however, simply a matter of personal taste, an emotional or subjective attitude towards something. Phrases such as "delicious ice cream" or "beautiful hair" are evaluative, not ideological. These phrases express a personal preference for individual items and do not contain any broader, generalized concepts that are essential to ideological thinking. It is the interaction of the conceptual and evaluative meanings in the semantic structure of language that provides for the possibility of its ideological use.

At the lexical level, three classes of words are revealed in language, varying between the extremes of "factual propositions" and "value judgments," to use Aron's terms. The first class contains those words whose significance is purely factual and does not presuppose an attitude on the part of the speaker towards the designated phenomena. The words "house," "forest," "table," "weather," and the verbs "to walk," and "to look," are examples of descriptive, not evaluative, meanings. The second class includes words whose meaning is evaluative, but not directed towards a particular fact or object. These may be such words as "good," "bad," "useful", "harmful," "delicious," "beautiful," "charm," "horror," etc. Only a specific context can indicate what fact is evaluated by words in this group. Finally, the third class is being the most ideologically significant. Words in this class indicate a definite fact, while simultaneously evaluating the fact. The descriptive and evaluative meanings are strongly linked in these words. For example, the word "peacefulness" (miroliubie) has a positive connotation, while the words "conciliatoriness" or "appeasement" (primirenchestvo, umirotvorenie) have a negative one. All three words describe the same act--"striving for peace"--and at the same time endow it with either a positive or negative evaluative meaning.

In many cases, it is difficult to find the appropriate English-language equivalents for Soviet terms. Often this is because Soviet ideological language actually has an entirely different aim than a "normal" language. Instead of placing the emphasis on an exchange of information, the Soviet language attempts to control and restrict the thinking of the speaker and listener. For example, the Soviet ideological words "oshel'movat'" and "zakleimit'" have the same meaning: "to denounce," "to disgrace." However, the first of these words, oshel'movat', has a negative connotation: to disgrace unfairly in a contemptible manner. The second word, zakleimit', expresses a positive relationship associated with this action: the speaker agrees that someone was disgraced justifiably. We might read in Soviet newspapers: "Pinochet's clique is denouncing (shel'muet) all the honest freedom-fighters in Chile, especially communists." Or we might read: "The honest people of the entire world are denouncing (kleimiat) Pinochet for his bloody crimes against the communists." In American English, one can find numerous equivalent words which have a negative connotation: "to defame," "to brand," "to stigmatize." However, there is no single word in the English language that can convey a speaker's approval of the dishonor.

In Soviet dictionaries, definitions of these and similar words usually combine descriptive and evaluative components. The latter may be written in various ways, either in the form of a stylistic note ("contemptible," "disapproving," "lofty," "deferential"), or by including evaluative words in the definition itself ("bad," "false," "alleged," "truthful," "progressive," "criminal," "reactionary," etc.).

Let us compare two definitions in Ozhegov's popular dictionary of the modern Russian language:

"accomplice (posobnik) [disapprov.]: a helper in evil, criminal, activities."

"comrade-in-arms" (spodvizhnik) [lofty]: a person who participates as someone's helper in an activity in someone's field of endeavor."


While these words possess an identical factual meaning, they express opposite attitudes on the part of the speaker regarding a person who might be neutrally indicated as a helper. Kalinin or Dzerzhinsky, for example, would be called "Lenin's comrades-in-arms" in the Soviet press, whereas Goering or Goebbels would only be identified as Hitler's "accomplices." "Helper" is the neutral factual component to which either positive or negative evaluative components are added.

To sum up, three types of words can be identified in regular language:

(1) "Descriptive" words, which acquire their evaluative meaning only in a broader context: a criminal agreement.

(2) "Evaluative" words, which acquire their factual meaning when combined with a descriptive word: a criminal agreement.

(3) "Descriptive-evaluative" words whose lexical meaning combines the two components. A "criminal agreement," for example, is compressed into "a collusion" (Russian "sgovor"). A typical sentence would read: "Imperialist powers entered into a collusion against the Palestinian people to rob them of their rights for statehood." Here the denotative meaning "an agreement" and evaluative meaning "criminal" are united to make up an ideological meaning of the word "collusion."


The third category of words, which combines the descriptive and evaluative meanings in such an inseparable way that they make one whole lexical meaning, I shall call "ideologems." Words of the first and second categories such as "house","agreement", "good", "bad" are not ideologems. Their meanings are dependent on their context and connections with other words. As for ideologems, their possible context is included in their significance, which is stable and presupposes a definite attitude of the speaker to the signified object. Ideologems are not only nominative, but communicative units of speech; that is, they not only name the facts (objects, actions, or qualities), but communicate some message (an opinion, an idea) of how one should treat these facts.

Let us look at some examples from current Soviet language. The verb "oshel'movat'," as I have already explained, means not only "to disgrace," but to do it in such a way that must be condemned by both the speaker and his listeners. "Ob'ektivizm" means that a scientist or a scholar is loyal to so-called "minor" facts at the expense of the Party line and "historic tendencies." "Pochin" means not only "an initiative" but one that is extremely valuable and demands the support of the masses. The adjective "opytnyi" means an experienced person who can work productively, while "materyi" means an enemy who has great experience with criminal actions. "Splochenie" is the solidarity and unity of all Soviet allies and compatriots, while "blokirovanie" refers to the activities of all anti-Soviet forces. For example: "The feast of May 1 is a call to the solidarity (splochenie) of all the working people in the world." "All forces of neo-colonialism are now forming a bloc (blokiruiutsia) against Libya's independence." All these words serve as vehicles of communication, naming the object and establishing an attitude towards it.

Ideologems, being the elementary particles of ideological thinking, are not simply words, but concealed judgments which take the form of words. Usually a judgment is developed in an entire sentence, where it is divided into the subject and predicate. This kind of judgment is then open to discussion because the link between the subject and predicate is explicitly relative. For example, the typical Soviet ideological judgment that "Vladimir Il'ich Ul'ianov is the greatest man in human history" is debatable. We can combine the subject of this sentence with another predicate such as "the greatest criminal" or, vice-versa, combine the predicate "is the greatest man" with another subject such as Shakespeare or George Washington. But in Soviet Marxist ideolanguage, "Lenin" is already an ideologem which refers both to a concrete man, Vladimir Il'ich Ul'ianov, and to an abstract evaluative concept, the "greatest man in human history." The factual meaning of the ideologem usually serves as the subject of the judgment, the evaluative meaning, as the predicate. Thus, "Lenin" is a condensed judgment where the subject and predicate are combined in one word.

In the same way, the ideologem "pochin" has the subject "initiative" and the predicate "is useful and must be supported." Let us compare two kinds of judgments: explicit and implicit. "The initiative turned out to be inappropriate [We may ask: For what reason?] and resulted in much damage [What sort of damage?]." This is an example of an explicit judgment in which a vacant place remains (shown in brackets) for the substantiation or refutation of the argument. "Adventurism!" (avantiurism!) or "arbitrariness!" (samoupravstvo!) is an example of implicit judgment in which the subject, "initiative," is closely intertwined with the predicate, "is inappropriate and must be defeated." An ideologem is nothing other than an idea which is hidden in one word (or, sometimes, in one indivisible phrase or idiom). In this way it can be inserted into the listener's consciousness without the possibility of argumentation or objection. One cannot quarrel with a single word.

Thus, such typical judgments as "this pochin (good initiative) should be supported" or "this samoupravstvo (bad initiative) must be condemned" are mere tautologies: the meaning of the word "pochin" already implies that it is necessary, and therefore must be supported. Many Soviet ideological texts are lengthy repetitions of those judgments which are contained in single ideologems, for example: "All Soviet people unanimously approve and support the courageous initiative (pochin) of the workers of the Dnepropetrovskii metallurgy plant which took on the obligation to produce an additional 25,000 tons of steel by the anniversary of the October Revolution." The ideological meaning of this whole sentence is equivalent to that of a single word--pochin.

It is not sufficient only to identify ideologems as a special category of language units. We must also analyze and systematize relationships between ideologems in order to discover a model which gives rise to varied ideological uses of language. For the remainder of this paper, the author will use the linguistic terms "denotation" and "connotation" to designate the two components of an ideologem: its factual and evaluative aspects.




  The connections between ideologems are determined by the same relationships of similarity and opposition, synonymy and antonymy which are characteristic of lexical systems in all languages. However, ideologems have double denotative and connotative (factual and evaluative) significance. Hence, all relationships between them are doubled. Instead of antonymy and synonymy, four relationships exist between ideologems: full antonymy; synonymy of denotative meanings, antonymy of connotative meanings; antonymy of denotative meanings, synonymy of connotative meanings; and full synonymy.

(1) Full Antonymy

Full anonymy is the opposition of both the denotative and connotative meanings. I shall call this relationship "contrative," and the words which are connected with this relationship, "contratives." The following word pairs could be classified as contratives:

internationalism - nationalism internationsionalizm - nationalizm

(or chauvinism) (or shovinism)

peacefulness - aggressiveness miroliubie - agressivnost'

collectivism - individualism kollectivizm - individualizm

freedom - slavery (or oppression) svoboda - rabstvo (or gniot)

perestroika - stagnation perestroika - zastoi

solidarity - split splochenie - raskol


These ideologems are opposed not only on the denotative plane of their meaning, but on the connotative plane as well. "Collectivism" means the presence of communal awareness between people or the striving towards this awareness; the word carries a positive connotation in Soviet ideolanguage. "Individualism" means the absence of such communal thinking or the striving to abandon it; the word has an extremely negative connotation. All words on the left-hand side of each column above have a positive connotation, while all words on the right-hand side are completely negative. This contrative opposition belongs to the earliest stage of development of Marxist ideology, like the opposition of socialism to capitalism, or labor to exploitation, or of the working class to the bourgeoisie.

I will continue to place words with positive connotations on the left side and words with negative connotations on the right side of each pair of words. This will not only be easier for the reader's perception (one must perceive something before one can perceive its negative), but corresponds to the Soviet ideological dichotomy of left and right, where the left is usually associated with good and the right with bad.


(2) Synonymy of Denotative Meanings/ Antonymy of Connotative Meanings

These ideologems indicate identical or similar phenomena, but give them opposite evaluations. I shall call this relationship "conversive." Conversives are as follows:

internationalism - cosmopolitanism internatsionalizm - kosmopolitizm

peacefulness - appeasement miroliubie - umirotvorenie

(or conciliatoriness) (or primirenchestvo)

freedom - license svoboda - raspushchennost'

initiative - arbitrariness pochin - proizvol

(or initsiativa - samoupravstvo)

traditional - backward traditsionnyi - otstalyi


The words "peacefulness" and "appeasement" have the same denotative meaning--a striving to establish peace, but have entirely different connotative meanings which indicate the speaker's attitude concerning this striving toward peace. "The entire world had the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the peacefulness of the Soviet people during the post-war period," but "Communists will never appease the imperialists by accepting their involvement in the internal affairs of the developing countries."

From the linguistic point of view, the conversive relationship is especially interesting, as connotative meanings become the only factor which differentiate words with a common denotative meaning. This is especially typical of Soviet ideolanguage:


rally - mob sobranie - sborishche

soldier - mercenary soldat - naiomnik

(or voin - voiaka)

comrade-in-arms - accomplice spodvizhnik - prispeshnik

(or soratnik - soobshchnik)

efficiency - small-mindedness delovitost' - deliachestvo


Entire ideological expressions may sometimes maintain parallel denotative structures, but differentiate at the connotative level. "The experienced politician concluded an agreement with the leaders of the rebel detachments" (Opytnyi politik zakliuchil dogovor s rukovoditeliami partizanskikh otriadov) can thus be conversed into "The unscrupulous pol made a deal with the ringleaders of the bandit gangs" (Materyi politikan vstupil v sgovor s glavariami banditskikh shaek). The law of ideological agreement does not allow elements of these two statements to change places. One could not say "the ringleaders of the heroic partisan detachment" (glavari geroicheskogo partizanskogo otriada) because the word "ringleaders" has a negative connotation which does not agree ideologically with the rest of the sentence. This necessity for expressive concord was aptly exemplified in the thirties by the Soviet educator Makarenko. "Try to slip the phrase `the collective of Krupp factories' past any Soviet audience. Even a Soviet citizen unschooled in sociology will find the juxtaposition of the words `collective' and `Krupp' absurd... A collective is a social organism within a healthy society. Such an organism cannot be imagined in the bourgeois chaos." Thus, Soviet ideological stylistics does not permit the combination of two words with opposite connotations in one phrase.

The evaluative conversion, changing the connotative meaning while retaining the denotative meaning, is the routine practice of Soviet ideology. Soviet journalists have often used information from Western sources, repeating it word for word, but choosing to substitute words which possess opposite connotative meanings. Experienced Soviet readers, however, perform an almost instinctive ideological conversion which allows them to decipher the original Western text and draw precisely the opposite conclusions than those reached by the journalist. This mental transformation following conversive patterns occurs when, for example, a Soviet citizen reads information about the rebels in Afghanistan or the contras in Nicaragua in Soviet newspapers: "bandit gangs" are deciphered as "rebel detachments."

The celebrated Marxist formula "goods - money - goods," which designates the circulation of capital in bourgeois society, turns out to be appropriate for the circulation of ideas in socialist society. An example would be "soldier - martinet - soldier" (voin - voiaka - voin, or soldat - soldafon - soldat). The first conversion "soldier - martinet" occurs in the mind of a Soviet journalist when he transforms information about American troops into Soviet ideolanguage. The second conversion "martinet - soldier" occurs in the mind of the Soviet reader when he processes information from a Soviet newspaper which has already conversed the original American report. Soviet political language is thus subjected to a system of double conversion. One can conclude that the law governing the circulation of goods and ideas follow the same pattern; in Soviet mentality, objective facts ("goods") are exchanged for ideological words ("money").

(3) Antonymy of Denotative Meanings, Synonymy of Connotative Meanings

This type of relationship is the opposite of a conversive relationship and can be called "correlative." Correlatives are ideologems with opposing denotations, but identical connotations:


internationalism - patriotism internatsionalizm - patriotizm

peacefulness - steadfastness miroliubie - neprimirimost'

(or irreconcilability)

class struggle - classless society klassovaia bor'ba - besklassovoe


materialism - spirituality materializm - dukhovnost'

(or ideinost')

innovation - tradition novatorstvo - traditsiia

vigilance - trust bditel'nost' - doverie


The above are correlatives with opposing denotations, but equally positive connotations. In Soviet ideolanguage, "internationalism" and "patriotism" mean "equal love for all nations" and "exclusive love for one's own nation," respectively. Both have highly positive connotations in Soviet ideology. Below are correlatives which have equally negative connotations:

subjectivism - objectivism sub'ektivizm - ob'ektivizm

thickheaded - spineless tverdolobyi - miagkotelyi

to whitewash - to blacken obeliat' - ocherniat'


Frequently, correlatives serve as homogeneous components of a sentence. For example: "It is indispensable to strengthen the concern about the internationalist and patriotic upbringing of the younger generation." Or: "Both innovation and tradition comprise a firm foundation of artistic creativity." And finally, "The struggle against subjectivism and objectivism in the humanities is a pressing problem for Soviet scholars." At other times, correlatives coalesce in such a way that oxymoronic expressions arise and become popular idioms of Soviet ideology: "the struggle for peace," "solidarity in class struggle," "ideological commitment to materialism," or an "optimistic tragedy." Correlatives and their oxymoronic epiphenomena are usually explained by the dialectical essence of Marxist thinking, which strives to combine opposites such as "national" and "international," or "objective" and "subjective".

Two correlatives have become very popular in the years since the policy of perestroika was launched in 1985: "the plan" and "the free market." For seventy years, the first term was considered sufficient to explain the advantages of the Soviet regulated economy. The second term previously indicated bourgeois economic anarchy, but now is appreciated as a means of reanimating the dormant Soviet economy. Today, these two positive ideologems are correlatives in one incredibly oxymoronic expression: "the planned, or regulated, free market."


(4) Full Synonymy

Full synonymy is the identity (or similarity) of both denotative and connotative meanings. For example, such ideologems as "discipline - organization - consciousness" (distsiplina - organizovannost' - soznatel'nost') have the same denotative meaning and positive connotation in Soviet language. These words can be called "substitutives" because, as a general rule, they can be substituted for one another in the same context. "It is consciousness first of all that Communist commissars tried to raise in the ranks of Red Army soldiers during the Civil War." Here "consciousness" can be replaced by "discipline" or "good organization." Substitutives like "anarchy - spontaneity - licence - permissiveness" (anarkhiia - stikhiinost' - raspushchennost' - vsedozvolennost') are used equally to dismiss bourgeois morals and the bourgeois system of production.

As the substitutive relationship has no oppositional elements, it is not included in the main model of ideological thinking considered in the next chapter. The substitutive relationship is, however, essential for bringing the ideological model to life in lexical variations of Soviet ideolanguage and thus will be treated extensively in Chapter 8.






Three relationships between ideologems--contrative, conversive, and correlative--make up the entire structure of Soviet Marxist ideolanguage. The basic model is composed of four elements (a tetrad), each of which interacts with the others in three separate ways, and can be presented as a diagram. For the sake of clarity, horizontal lines in the diagram are used to indicate contrative relationships; vertical lines, correlative relationships; and diagonal lines, conversive relationships. The meaning of each element in this structure is determined by its relationships with the other elements; it is the relationships which give the structure its integrity.

(+) internationalism (-) nationalism







(+) patriotism (-)cosmopolitanism

In this diagram, the ideologem "internationalism" participates in all three possible relationships with the other ideologems. It makes a contrative pair with "nationalism," a conversive pair with "cosmopolitanism" and a correlative pair with "patriotism." In other words, "internationalism" has opposing denotative and connotative meanings in relation to "nationalism," the same denotative and opposite connotative meaning in relation to "cosmopolitanism," and the same connotative and opposite denotative meaning in relation to "patriotism." Moreover, we can see that not only is "internationalism" linked by three relationships with the other words, but that each of the four words participates in all possible relationships with one another. Thus "patriotism" makes a contrative pair with "cosmopolitanism," a conversive pair with "nationalism" and a correlative pair with "internationalism."

One can trace the same underlying structure of relationships between other Soviet ideological words, bearing in mind that it is sometimes difficult to find the same relationships between synonyms and antonyms in the English language, or in any other language not so deeply permeated by ideology. In the tetrad below, "peacefulness" makes a contrative pair with "aggressiveness," a conversive pair with "appeasement," and a correlative pair with "uncompromisingness."


peacefulness - aggressiveness miroliubie - agressivnost'

uncompromisingness - appeasement neprimirimost' - primirenchestvo


The same structure can be seen in the following tetrads:


innovativeness - backwardness novatorstvo - otstalost'

traditionalism - avant-gardism traditsionnost' - avangardizm

steadfastness - spinelessness tverdost' - beskhrebetnost'

flexibility - thickheadedness gibkost' - tverdolobost'

generosity - miserliness shchedrost' - skarednost'

thriftiness - wastefulness berezhlivost' - rastochitel'stvo

realism - dogmatism realizm - dogmatizm

principled character - unscrupulousness printsipial'nost' -



vigilance - gullibility bditel'nost' - rotozeistvo

trust - suspiciousness doverie - podozritel'nost'

efficiency - inefficiency delovitost' -


selflessness - selfishness beskorystie - deliachestvo

acceleration - stagnation uskorenie - zastoi

stability - instability stabil'nost' - destabilizatsiia

strict - permissive trebovatel'nost' - popustitel'stvo

tolerant - oppressive dobrozhelatel'nost' - pridirchivost'

freedom - repression svoboda - podavlenie

discipline - anarchy distsiplina - anarkhiia

materialism - idealism materializm - idealizm

spirituality - nonspirituality dukhovnost' - bezdukhovnost'


A binary system can be used to analyze the tetrad as a semantic structure, with the first number of each pair identifying an ideologem's connotative meaning, the second, its denotative meaning. In the first position of each set of numbers, let's use the number 1 to designate a positive connotative meaning, 0 to designate a negative connotative meaning. In the second position, we will use the number 1 to designate the presence of a denotative meaning, 0 to designate the absence of this denotative meaning. All four ideologems can then be coded by using four possible combinations of the digits 1 and 0. For example, the word "peacefulness," which has both positive denotative and connotative meanings, would be designated "11." The first 1 indicates a positive connotation and the second, a positive denotative meaning ("the striving for peace"). The word "aggressiveness" would be marked "00" because it has a negative connotative meaning and denotes the absence of peacefulness. The word "uncompromisingness" would be marked "10" because it has a positive connotation, but denotes the absence of peacefulness. The word "appeasement" would be marked "01" because it has a negative connotation, although it denotes a "striving for peace."

All the tetrads listed above will have the same structure of binary pairs, which may be diagrammed schematically as follows:


11 00

10 01


If the first and second number of each pair are different, the relationship between the ideologems is contrative (11-00 or 10-01). If they differ only in the first digits (connotations), the relationship is conversive (11-01 or 10-00). If they differ only in the second digits (denotations), the relationship is correlative (11-10 or 00-01).

We can now see how this structure generates interdependent ideologems. Let us designate the original meaning of an idea or concept as an "archetheme." The ideological mind reworks the original meaning, or archetheme, of the idea into four components, first dividing it into two opposite denotative meanings and then multiplying the two denotations so that each has two connotative meanings. Take, for example, the archetheme "pace of development". Its ideological transformation would result in four ideologems. A denotative split of the archetheme produces two opposing concepts: rapid development and a lack of development. Both of these concepts are subsequently split into two connotative units: positive and negative attitudes to a rapid development (acceleration - instability) and positive and negative attitudes to a lack of development (stability - stagnation).

Similarly, the ideological transformation of the archetheme "quality of expenditure," would result in four ideologems: positive and negative attitudes towards substantial expenditures (generosity and wastefulness) and positive and negative attitudes towards savings (thriftiness and miserliness). In the archetheme "attitude towards nations," an equal feeling towards all the other nations is ideologically approved (internationalism) and disapproved (cosmopolitanism), just as an exclusive love for one's own nation is approved (patriotism) and disapproved (nationalism or chauvinism).

The structure of tetrads is a pairing of dualities. Thus tetrads are as simple and persuasive as 2 x 2 = 4. Herein lies the enormous power of the ideological mode of thinking.




The tetradic structure described as a theoretical construction above has been present in the linguistic practice of mankind since ancient times. We can draw a vivid example of the ideological use of language from Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War, which observes changes in word usage during periods of social upheaval:


"Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, ineptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected."


Two sets of ideological evaluations belonging to various social groups, political parties, or subjects of speech are presented in this passage. That which one group considers to be a positive display of "courage," the other characterizes negatively as "recklessness." Similarly, the deliberate and careful behavior of one camp is perceived from within as prudence, but may be reproached from without (by the opposing camp) as hidden cowardice. The essence of this ideological controversy can be conveyed by using the following tetrad:

courage - cowardice

prudence - recklessness

As I have already indicated in Chapter 2 (pp. 17-18), the very usage of an ideological word frees the speaker from the necessity of logical proof. The judgment that prudence is better than recklessness, or that courage is better than cowardice, is contained in the words themselves, in their stable connotative meanings rooted in the lexical system of language.

We can observe further that the tetrad is not just an abstract, logical scheme, but composed of dyads which belong to opposing sides. One side can be characterized as radical; it uses the first line of the tetrad to exhort citizens to courageous action and condemn cowardice. The other side is conservative; it uses the second dyad to encourage citizens to exercise prudence and resist recklessness. The above-cited tetrad actually represents the intersection of two dyads, each of which can be used separately by opposing sides in a political struggle.

The structure of opposing dyads helps us to understand how tetrads serve to unify opposing ideological attitudes. For example, the dyad "internationalism-nationalism" may be regarded as leftist; it is the very essence of early Marxist ideology. Another dyad, "patriotism- cosmopolitanism," arose much later, after World War II, when Stalin tried to introduce extremely rightist principles into the Soviet world view. However, Stalin did not eliminate the first dyad (the traditional Marxist approach), rather, he combined the two dyads. The combination of leftist and rightist concepts is typical of totalitarian ideology, which cannot help but be simultaneously "left" and "right"--radical and conservative at the same time. Totalitarian politics uses leftist slogans to defeat the right, rightist slogans to defeat the left.

In modern Soviet political language, specifically that of the late 1980s, two separate dyads have been used by opposing parties: one advocates change and reform, challenging stagnation; the other defends the value of stability, claiming radical reform will completely destabilize society. These dyads can be contrasted as the political views of two Soviet politicians:

Yeltsin's dyad: reform - stagnation

Ligachev's dyad: stability - instability


For Gorbachev and his followers, the above dyads together constitute a tetrad. This tetrad is used extensively in all speeches of the USSR President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the first being more radical, the second, more conservative:

Gorbachev's tetrad: reform - stagnation

stability - instability

In denouncing the political position of former Communist Party Politburo member Egor Ligachev, Gorbachev used the first dyad; in his attacks on Yeltsin, the second. Gorbachev's speeches are generally constructed to achieve a balance between these two dyads while using the expressive force of all elements in the tetrad. Condemning stagnation, Gorbachev praises stability; proclaiming faithfulness to socialist ideals, he tries to establish a free market.

Gorbachev is famous for confounding Western observers with his political swings to the left and right. The key to the riddle of his political behavior may lie in the tetradic model, which imposes ideological constraints upon political leaders. Usually, a Soviet political leader adopts two positive positions in a tetrad and uses them to oppose leftist and rightist political rivals. Examples of such tetrads would be:


Stalin (right) - Trotsky (left)

Stalin (left) - Bukharin (right)


Gorbachev (right) - Yeltsin (left)

Gorbachev (left) - Ligachev (right)


In the same manner, Lenin first struggled against "patriots" who called for the defense of Russia ("the fatherland") during World War I, then against "internationalists" who suffered "an infantile sickness with leftism" by attempting to ignite a world revolution.

As a language structure, the tetrad can be actualized in three different modes of speech: expressive, analytical, and totalitarian. In the expressive mode, the tetrad is actualized in separate dyads, each of which represents the position of a specific political group. A speaker using this mode can be identified as a convinced follower of particular ideological tenets. Thus, radicals would use only the dyad "courage-cowardice," conservatives, only "prudence-recklessness." The second mode is analytical. Here the tetrad is examined as a whole in theoretical terms; the speaker tries to describe how the mechanism of the tetrad functions from a bystander's point of view. The previously cited passage from Thucydides is an illustration of the analytical mode.

The third and most interesting mode of using the tetrad unites the two preceding methods. In the totalitarian mode, the speaker embraces the entire tetrad in his practical vocabulary, but does not use it immediately in its entirety, only in dyadic fragments. The same speaker uses both dyads, "courage-cowardice" and "prudence-recklessness," in turn, defeating moderate ("cowardly") adversaries in one case, and leftist allies (former "courageous" radicals) in another. One subject of speech adopts the role of two opposing subjects and uses both dyads contained in the tetrad. In this way, the totalitarian subject (speaker) acquires a practical advantage against opponents on either end of the political spectrum, using the strength of each side--the evaluative force of its words--to gain a victory over the other.

Niccolo Machiavelli brilliantly formulated the strategy of this kind of political maneuvering: "...you assist at the destruction of one by the aid of another who, if he had been wise, would have saved him; and conquering, as it is impossible that he shouldn't with your assistance, he remains at your discretion." We can see how Lenin followed Machiavelli's advice: after the February revolution of 1917, Lenin appropriated the slogans of the Socialist Revolutionaries and exhorted the peasants to seize the landowners' property, then, having received the support of the peasants, he seized power in October 1917, promptly removed the Socialist Revolutionaries from power, and destroyed them.

The totalitarian mode of speech is distinguished from the other two in that it is not dominated by political emotionalism, as is the expressive mode, nor is it purely theoretical, as is the analytical mode. The totalitarian type of speech uses the emotions rationally. Having at its disposal the set of all four ideologems for two opposing forces, A and B, the totalitarian speaker is capable of seizing complete control over them. In a situation which requires the strengthening of position A and a corresponding weakening of position B, the ideologems "+a" and "–b" are used ("internationalists" vs. "Great Russian chauvinists"). However, if A acquires too much popularity and threatens to dominate the political scene, the speaker changes the names and uses the other contrative dyad, "+b" and "–a" ("Russian patriots" vs. "rootless cosmopolites"). In Machiavelli's words, the Prince "sets up an arbiter, who should be one who could beat down the great and favour the lesser." In a totalitarian state, ideological language itself becomes such an arbiter.

The tetrad provides a speaker with the optimal speech strategy in conflict situations. Applying lexical evaluations against two opposing sides with the aim of weakening both of them, the speaker achieves global advantage. The totalitarian speaker who controls the tetrad does not so much participate in the conflicts as uses them, playing upon their contradictions. The tetrad itself generally remains hidden in separate acts of speech, for if it were used explicitly in its entirety the force of its practical application would be reduced.





Let us now turn to a more extensive examination of the use of tetrads in Lenin's public statements on war, peace, and the nationalities question. An analysis of these statements will reveal the logic upon which Soviet Marxist ideolanguage is built.

In an article that he wrote in 1916, "The Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution," Lenin proclaimed, "Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. In socialist society, there will not be war; consequently, disarmament will be realized." However, in another article written several days earlier, "On the Slogan of `Disarmament,'" Lenin proclaimed with equal fervor, "Having triumphed in one country, socialism will in no event exclude war in general; on the contrary, it will presuppose war." Lenin unambiguously declared that an object is white, but that this does not exclude the possibility that its color is black. This logic presupposes that the very word "war" has two distinct ideological meanings. The phrase "there will not be war," means that war is aggression, imperialist banditry, provocation, blackmail, an arrogant challenge; in short, war is a crime against all humanity. The phrase "socialism will presuppose war" indicates that war is a sacred duty which is part of the class struggle, a fatal blow which is struck against reactionary forces and is dedicated to the elimination of class enemies.

Lenin openly confirmed this ambiguity of the word "war": "We are not pacifists. We are opponents of imperialistic wars..., but we have always considered it an absurdity that the revolutionary proletariat would renounce revolutionary wars which may turn out to be necessary to the interests of socialism." [Emphasis is the author's.] Here we encounter the concept of ideological homonymity: there are two words, "war" and "war," which have nothing in common. One is defined as "revolutionary" and has a positive connotation, the other is defined as "imperialistic" and has a negative connotation.

This duality can also be found in the ideological homonyms "peace" and "peace." "Peace," as opposed to revolutionary war, is classified as "appeasement, heinous opportunism, rotten pacifism, apostasy, a betrayal of the proletariat's class interests." As opposed to imperialist war, however, "peace" signifies "an expression of the people's will, a striving towards friendship and cooperation with all nations, an indication of our long-standing peacefulness and of our higher ideals." In Lenin's words, this kind of peace is "[t]he end of wars, peace between nations, the cessation of robbery and violence, this is indeed our ideal."

In all of Lenin's statements, the use of a tetrad can be detected, even though the tetrad itself remains hidden:


good peace - bad war peacefulness - imperialistic war

good war - bad peace revolutionary war - pacifism


Lenin's views on the nationality question also reveal hidden tetrads: "The proletariat is creating the possibility for the full elimination of nationalistic oppression...right up to the definition of the state boundaries according the `sympathies' of the population, including full freedom for secession." "We desire free unification, and therefore we are obliged to acknowledge free secession." Lenin's dialectic would not be complete, however, if it did not include conflicting assertions: "The interests of socialism are more important than the right of nations for self- determination." "Self-determination is not absolute, but a small particle of the common democratic (now: common socialist) world movement. It is possible that in specific, isolated cases this particle will contradict the whole; then it will be necessary to overthrow it." In one article, "The Results of the Discussion on Self-Determination" (1916), Lenin does not simply change his point of view, he simultaneously supports two conflicting opinions. Further evidence for this conclusion can be found in the so-called "dialectical" proclamations of Lenin, where two blatantly conflicting points of view are juxtaposed, as the following two statements on the self-

determination will make clear. "...The unconditional acknowledgement of the struggle for the freedom of self-determination by no means obligates us to support any requirement of national self-determination." "It is impermissible to mix the issue of the right of nations for free self- determination with the issue of expediency of the secession of this or of any other nation at this or any other moment."

All these statements on nationality issues contain a hidden tetrad: a nation may assert its right to self-determination either as a result of "socialist achievement" or of "bourgeois nationalism" (which is contrary to the "socialist unity of nations"). On the other hand, nations may be united either by the force of "socialist internationalism" or "imperialist oppression" and "great power chauvinism." The tetrad can be diagrammed in two variants:


secession of nations - national oppression

unification of nations - national separatism

otdelenie natsii - natsional'nyi gnet

edinstvo natsii - natsional'nyi separatizm


right for self-determination - great-power chauvinism

socialist internationalism - bourgeois nationalism

pravo na samoopredelenie - velikoderzhavnyi shovinizm

sotsialisticheskii internatsioinalizm - burzhuaznyi natsionalizm

In this game of ideologems there is a certain logic. Marxist- Leninists usually call this logic "dialectics," but it has nothing to do with the Hegelian conception which uses a triadic construction. In classical German philosophy, the thesis and antithesis conflict with each other and form a synthesis. No such synthesis occurs in Soviet Marxist ideological thinking, which could be called "tetralectical," as opposed to dialectical. In Soviet ideology, the two halves of the tetrad change places--the positive becomes negative and the negative becomes positive--but no qualitative change occurs which results in synthesis. The failure to achieve synthesis does not mean, however, that tetralectical thinking is inferior to dialectical thinking. On the contrary, in a practical political sense perhaps tetralectical thinking is superior to its dialectical predecessor.

The structure of ideo-logic merits special research beyond the scope of this paper. There is reason to believe that the tetrad as an ideological model includes essential components of other logics, uniting them in an ideally constructed whole. A comparison of the structure of Soviet Marxist ideo-logic with the structures of formal, dialectical, and relativist logics would be especially illuminating. The cursory comparison which follows indicates the principal directions additional research could explore.

The central component of formal logic is the principle of contradiction: A non-A, which is expressed in the contrative relationship of ideologems in the tetrad. "Freedom" is contrary to "slavery" and "discipline" is contrary to "anarchy." The central component of dialectical logic is the principle of the unity of contradictions: A = non-A. This relationship is revealed in the correlative relationship of ideologems, where contradictions display their own unity. In spite of being opposites, "freedom" and "discipline" are both equally approved, while "slavery" and "anarchy" are both rejected. Finally, relativist logic holds that the qualities of an object are dependent on the position of the observer, corresponding to the conversive relationship of ideologems. The same object displays different qualities and is characterized by opposing ideologems depending on the speaker's convictions. What is regarded as "freedom" from a democratic point of view may be assessed as "anarchy" from an authoritarian point of view. Similarly, "discipline" may be perceived negatively as "compulsion" or "compulsion" may be perceived positively as "discipline."

Thus, opposites are arranged in the tetrad in such a way that they:

a) are opposed to each other: A non-A (contratives);

b) are unified and equated: A = non-A (correlatives);

c) are transformed into each other: A <--> non-A (conversives).

These relationships correspond to the three operations carried out in the domain of different logics. Each operation appears to be illegal in the system of the other logic. For example, formal logic does not allow the dialectical union of opposites. Tetralectics, however, legalizes all three logical operations because they form the three relationships inside the tetrad. What seems to be an unsolvable contradiction in the framework of one logic is transferred through the tetrad into another system of logic where the contradiction is easily solved. Tetrads allow "the use of logic against logic," as Orwell's newspeak demonstrated.

Thus, "freedom" as proclaimed by Marx-Engels-Lenin is strictly opposed to the "compulsion" and "slavery" practiced in "antagonistic" class societies. "Freedom" can correspond with this same "compulsion," however, when regarded as the "iron discipline" or "revolutionary violence" found in communist societies. One can read in Lenin that no freedom is possible without violence against the exploiting classes. On the other hand, "freedom" can easily be equated with "anarchy" or "license" (i.e., transformed into its negative counterpart) and consequently considered to promote "violence" or "slavery."

The celebrated Orwellian slogans, "FREEDOM IS SLAVERY" and "WAR IS PEACE," which symbolize the totalitarian ideology in his novel 1984, are, of course, artistic hyperboles. Any follower of "scientific" communism would object, "Our ideology is striving for freedom and helps humanity to overcome slavery." However, in essence Orwell was right. Although "freedom" and "slavery" are contratives, they are mediated by correlative and conversive relationships which actually make them equivalents. "Freedom" demands, as a correlative, "revolutionary discipline," which in totalitarian language is nothing but a substitutive for "revolutionary violence." This latter expression is in turn nothing but a positive conversive of "oppression" or "slavery:"

freedom is slavery

| |

| |

| |

| |

discipline - anarchy

All components of the tetrad are transcoded and transformed into one another along the vertical and diagonal lines according to the principles of dialectical and relativist logics. Thus, two formally contrary and incompatible ideologems, freedom and slavery, become interchangeable. Orwell's slogans directly juxtapose the initial and final links of this logical chain, omitting the intermediate links. "Freedom is Slavery" is not simply an extravagant formula; the paradox of the slogan reveals how ideo-logic works through a tetradic structure, ending by equating ideas which are proclaimed to be exact opposites.

This ability to equate opposites is the reason why it is so difficult to fight Soviet Marxist ideology by logical means--the ideology is invulnerable to logical critique because it is free to use the components of all conceivable logics in response. If one attempts to prove that this ideology actually justifies aggression, the ideology answers that its final goal is worldwide peace, but that peace cannot be achieved without a decisive struggle and this struggle may require military means. Therefore, so-called "pacifists," who deny the need for a decisive struggle against "imperialism" or "capitalism," encourage an oppressive government to be more aggressive. The structure of the defensive argument is always the same: to converse a negative, accusatory term ("aggression") into a positive one ("struggle") and correlate it with another positive term ("peace"). The structure of the offensive argument is also derived from the tetrad: to converse a positive term ("peacefulness") into negative one ("pacifism," "appeasement") and correlate it with another negative term ("aggression," "militarism"). Thus the opponent may be categorized simultaneously as a pacifist and warmonger.

Tetradic thinking surpasses two-elemental formal logic and three-elemental dialectical logic in the quantity of its functional elements as well as the relationships possible between these elements. At the same time, tetradic logic can be distinguished from the amorphous structures of relativist logic, which have an indefinite quantity of elements. The diversity of relationships within the tetrad and their integrity as a unit make the tetrad an effective means of subordinating the interpretation of reality to the will of one person or organization.






Ideology is a powerful instrument for working with the fundamental oppositions which have determined the evolution of philosophical thought throughout the ages. While ideology and philosophy both deal with the same basic concepts--ideas and matter, freedom and necessity, unity and diversity--they do so in very different ways.

For instance, the relationship between reality and ideas, or the material and the ideal, is a basic question of philosophy, the starting point for many of its divergent theories. Some philosophers proceed on the assumption that matter (or being, or reality) are primary; others give the priority to the idea, the spirit, or consciousness. Another group considers that both material and spiritual principles are combined in a dualistic structure of the world. Yet another group believes that it is impossible to establish some universal principle from which all existing phenomena can be deduced. The problem of the real and the ideal, as solved by philosophers, gives birth to such schools as materialism, idealism, dualism, agnosticism, etc. In spite of their disagreements, all philosophies try to reveal the truth as it exists in the nature of things; it is this common goal which makes all the different "schools" branches of philosophical thinking.

Ideology, on the other hand, is not interested in understanding the world; rather, it seeks to change the world by organizing ideas to gain the greatest number of followers. Marx himself unconsciously formulated the difference between philosophy and ideology in his famous thesis: "the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it." Soviet Marxist ideology interprets the problem of the real and the ideal in non-philosophic terms by using "double dialectics," or tetralectics. The "ideal" and the "material" are conceived not as constituent parts of the universe, but as flexible components within the framework of changing historical conditions. Either component can acquire "primary" meaning in this framework; in some circumstances, "material" interests dominate, in others, "spiritual" elements have the upper hand. Economic forms of class struggle are combined with ideological forms; the "ideological superstructure" becomes of equal or even greater importance than the "material basis" from which it springs. Hence, Lenin's theory of the "decisive link" (teoriia reshaiushchego zvena) which changes depending on the situation. Grasping this link enables Marxist-Leninists to control the whole chain, master the situation, and gain victory over opponents.

If Marxist philosophy firmly holds that matter is primary and that consciousness is secondary, then Marxist ideology solves this basic question in accordance with concrete political goals, which often dictate that consciousness be given priority over matter. In most cases Soviet ideology, as opposed to Marxist philosophy, proclaims that ideas ("progressive," "revolutionary," "socialist," "communist," etc.) are the moving force of all historical transformations. Ideology thus appeals to the Soviet people's high level of consciousness, rather than their low level of material life, which remains as poor as ever.

Like any binary opposition, "materialism" versus "idealism" is only the starting point for further ideological formulations created by the complicated permutation of the original binary pair. Accordingly, ideologems are established which give tactical political advantage to both principles: good materialism versus bad idealism, and good ideinost' ("commitment to ideas") versus bad bezydeinost' ("indifference to ideas"). Both "good" principles can then be combined, forming the incredible idiom "materialisticheskaia ideinost'" ("commitment to the ideas of materialism"). In the same manner, combining both "bad" principles creates the postulate that bezydeinost' (or indifference to ideas) may bring an "unstable" person to the swamp of idealism. In Soviet Marxist ideology, "material" and "ideal" principles can be used separately, simultaneously, or sequentially to give a political actor tactical flexibility in a changing situation.

In its early stages, Soviet Marxist ideology as a rule used only contratives in strong opposition to one another: "labor" versus "capital," the "proletariat" versus the "bourgeoisie," "internationalism" versus "nationalism," "collectivism" versus "individualism," and so on. However, as the ideology matured, it introduced new oppositions which transformed the initial dyads into complete tetradic structures. Thus, to the contrative dyad "materialism - idealism," the opposing contrative dyad "ideinost' - bezydeinost'" (or "spirituality - nonspirituality"), was added. To the dyad "internationalism - nationalism," was added the complementary dyad "patriotism - cosmopolitanism." Thus, Soviet Marxism argued that internationalism was the goal of the proletarian movement--its highest achievement--and condemned narrow-minded, "bourgeois" nationalism and chauvinism. At the same time, however, the ideology ardently praised patriotism and demanded that citizens love the "socialist fatherland" more than their own fathers, ridiculing "bourgeois" cosmopolitanism and "Ivans" who did not remember their origin and kin. The question arises, should one regard Soviet ideology as "internationalist" or "chauvinist?"

Conditionally speaking, we can distinguish two types of ideologies: fighting ideology and governing ideology, or the ideology of opposition and the ideology of domination. The first is dyadic--no matter how radical or conservative in essence--because it is opposed to another ideology. The second is tetradic; it combines elements of opposing ideologies to maintain its power over the whole society and the various political factions of the ruling group. Marxist ideology originally had a leftist orientation, but as it was transformed into Soviet governing ideology it incorporated many conservative elements (such as civil obedience and patriotic duty) without abandoning its radical roots. On its path to maturity, Soviet Marxist ideology moved from the dyad to the tetrad. Throughout Soviet history, traditional Marxist dyads have been complemented by new Leninist, Stalinist, Brezhnevist, etc., dyads and have developed into full-fledged tetrads.

It is during this process of transition from dyadic to tetradic structure that ideology meets its severest test: the challenge of the so-called "deviations." Each deviation singles out one particular relationship from the tetradic whole and tries to absolutize it as the only truth. In Soviet Marxist ideology, the "left" deviation of the twenties associated with Trotsky singled out the contrative dyad "internationalism - nationalism," ignoring the correlative and contrative dyads, "proletarian internationalism - socialist patriotism" and "socialist patriotism - bourgeois cosmopolitanism," respectively. The "left" also chose to exaggerate the importance of the "class struggle" at the expense of "peaceful coexistence." The "right" deviation associated with Bukharin emphasized an opposing set of dyads, advocating the "peaceful growing of kulaks in socialism" in place of the "class struggle against kulaks."

Though Stalin had already defeated his main political opponents Trotsky and Bukharin by 1927-28, the idea of "ideological struggle" took especially fierce forms in the late twenties and thirties. These "deviations" were not, for the most part, real forces, but inventions of the ruling ideology, which was rapidly passing from the "dyadic" to the "tetradic" stage precisely at this time. During the 1920s and 1930s, Soviet Marxist ideology needed to portray right and left deviations as one-sided ideological structures in order to distinguish the new, governing ideology from the old, "naive" fighting ideology.

If the Party constantly battled against deviations of both the left and the right, what was its true political identity? The answer is obvious: since it corrected the leftist deviation from the right and corrected the rightist deviation from the left, it was simultaneously a right-wing party and a left-wing party. As the great Russian writer Andrei Platonov noted, the Party line did not admit the slightest creeping toward either the right or the left from the sharpness of the distinct line. Indeed, the Party line was as sharp as a razor, one could not stand on it without being bloodied. Only Stalin managed to stand on it firmly with both feet.

Stalin's public statements illustrate the pendulum effect of Party politics. On January 21, 1930, Stalin published the seminal article "Concerning the Policy of Eliminating the Kulaks as a Class." In this article he insisted:


"In order to oust the kulaks as a class, the resistance of this class must be smashed in open battle and it must be deprived of the productive sources of its existence and development (free use of land, instruments of production, land-renting, right to hire labor, etc.). That is a turn towards eliminating the Kulaks as a class....Without it, talk about ousting the kulaks as a class is empty prattle, acceptable and profitable only to the Right deviators. Without it, no substantial, let alone complete, collectivization of the countryside is conceivable."


Here, Stalin justified a turn to the left, or as he described it, "a turn away from the old policy of restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the countryside towards the new policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class." Playing with the words "restricting" and "eliminating," Stalin found in the difference of their meanings an illusory possibility for the existence of a right deviation, which allegedly tried to represent the new policy of collectivization as a continuation of the old, meeker policy of restricting the kulaks. By stressing the need "to eliminate the kulaks as a class," Stalin attacked those "Right deviationists" who were not willing to support such a radical turn to the left.

On March 2, 1930, however, just forty days after the publication of the article cited above, Stalin published another, even more important work, "Dizzy With Success." In this article, he excoriated the "Left deviation" with the same characteristic vigor:


"Collective farms must not be established by force. That would be foolish and reactionary...

We know that in a number of areas of Turkestan there have already been attempts to `overtake and outstrip' the advanced areas of the U.S.S.R. by threatening to use armed force, by threatening that peasants who are not yet ready to join the collective farms will be deprived of irrigation water and manufactured goods.

What can there be in common between this Sergeant Prishibeev `policy' and the Party's policy of relying on the voluntary principle... Who benefits by these distortions, this bureaucratic decreeing of the collective-farm movement, these unworthy threats against the peasants? Nobody, except our enemies!...

Is it not clear that the authors of these distortions, who imagine themselves to be `Lefts,' are in reality bringing grist to the mill of Right opportunism?"


Stalin's second article clearly indicates a sharp turn to the right. The leftists are now accused of violating the sacred "voluntary" principles of collectivization.

In essence, both articles comprise a single political maneuver of Stalin: the destruction of all rivals on both the left and the right. It is impossible to ascertain the "true position" of Stalin vis-"-vis these "deviations." On the one hand, Stalin claims that the resistance of kulaks must be smashed in open battle (nado slomit' v otkrytom boiu soprotivlenie etogo klassa). On the other hand, Stalin insists that collective farms must not be established by force (nel'zia nasazhdat' kolkhozy siloi). How can these two opposing statements, "nado" and "nel'zia" ("must" and "must not"), be reconciled? How can one demand that "non-collectivized" peasants be "deprived of the productive sources of their existence and development" (lishit' proizvodstvennyx istochnikov sushchestvovaniia), if the threat "to deprive them of irrigation water and manufactured goods" (ugrozy lishit' polivnoi vody i promtovarov) is condemned as a severe political mistake? No rational position exists in between these two approaches to collectivization, yet both are branded as "deviations."

One would suppose that, given this "struggle on two fronts," Stalin identified himself as "centrist." Interestingly enough, however, he did not forget to fight centrism as a "rotten compromise" between right and left deviations. In a 1931 article, "On Some Questions of the History of Bolshevism," he wrote:


"Underestimation of centrism is, as a matter of fact, a refusal to engage in all-out struggle against opportunism... Everyone knows that Leninism was born, grew up, and got stronger in the merciless struggle against opportunism of every stripe, including centrism in the West (Kautsky) and in our country (Trotsky and others). Even direct enemies of Bolshevism cannot deny it. This is an axiom."


It is instructive to trace the logic of Stalin's successive political maneuvers. First, he identified himself with the left against the right, then he swung right in order to fight the left, and finally, he attacked the center itself. We can find here two overlapping tetradic structures. In the first tetrad the "centrist" position is praised as the so-called "party line" and is opposed to "perilous deviations;" at the same time, sharp political demarcation and "the struggle on both fronts" is opposed to "rotten centrism" and "unprincipled compromise."


+ center - extremes

General Party line Right and Left deviations


+ extremes - center

Demarcation, a fight on two fronts Centrism, compromise


The second tetrad concerns the "extremes" themselves. On the one hand, the officially approved leftist slogan calling for the elimination of the kulaks as a class, is opposed to the distinctly rightist call for "ousting" (or "restricting") the kulaks and to the call of the "far right" for the peaceful incorporation of kulaks into socialist society. On the other hand, the rightist principle of voluntary collectivization is distinctly positive when opposed to the "inadmissable" leftist threat to use the Army and conduct a "Sergeant Prishibeev" policy.


+ left - right

("smash," "battle," "elimination") ("opportunism," "half-measures")


+ right - left

("the voluntary principle," ("threat," "force," "bureaucratic

"contact with the masses") decreeing")

Here we see how tetrads overlap and proliferate in ideological thinking. In the first tetrad "extremes" are opposed to the "center," in the second tetrad, the "left" extreme is opposed to the "right" extreme. Tetralectics constantly works through different conceptual levels, further dissecting those concepts which have already been split into binary oppositions on a more abstract level. The "center" can be both positive and negative in contrast to "extremes," whose evaluation also changes depending on the situation:


+ center - extreme

- right - left



+ extreme - center

+ left + right


One secret of Stalin's influence was his lack of specific political positions; hence, his brilliant mastery of tetralectics. Trotsky and Bukharin had definite positions which made them easy to attack. They were naive from the point of view of totalitarian thinking: in spite of their other tactical skills, both tried to adhere to certain stable principles. While Stalin understood the "x" variable in Soviet Marxist political algebra, Trotsky and Bukharin used a more "classic Marxist" political arithmetic in which all expressions were constants. Alexander Herzen's famous definition of dialectics as the "algebra of revolution" was perhaps a prophetic vision of Stalin's manipulation of the "x" factor.

Karl Marx first described this concept of political mathematics in 1881: "What should be done spontaneously in any specific moment in the future of course depends completely on the given historical conditions in which one will have to act. We cannot solve an equation which does not include the elements of its solution among its data." Marx believed that the information necessary to pin down the unknown variable, the "x" of the equation, would become available at the appropriate moment. Stalin, however, found it advantageous to keep the value of "x" undefined, a variable which could not be reduced to any specific meaning.

In varying historical conditions "x" could mean: to attack the left from the right, to assault the right from the left, or to trample the centrists on their own middle ground. In each case, it is the absence of position which struggles and prevails. The introduction of variables, or blank cards, into the ideological scrabble game increases the stakes, as all positions of one's rivals and opponents can then be utilized. In his fight against rightists, Stalin was more left than Trotsky himself, while in his fight against leftists, Stalin was no less right than Bukharin. Stalin used his enemies' own ideas against them, in the same flexible manner that Lenin used "extreme leftist" slogans of the Socialist Revolutionaries in 1917-1918 and "definitely rightist" bourgeois slogans in 1921-1922 (NEP).

Having defeated both the right and the left, the ideology of Soviet Marxism could assert itself as being a qualitatively new, "left-right" ideology. No political deviation is capable of creating a constructive alternative to such a totalitarian ideology. All deviations--so plentiful in the history of Soviet Marxism--cannot help but speak the native language of the single, "correct" ideology. Deviations thus have a severe "speech impediment:" they are only small, individual parts of the overall ideological structure and, as such, are not able to threaten the ideology's existence. In fact, the one-sidedness of deviations only serves to demonstrate the advantages and correctness of the ruling left-right ideology.

A latest example of tetradic left-right discourse elaborating the opposition of liberty and organization may be found in Mikhail Gorbachev's Report on the First Congress of the People's Deputies of the U.S.S.R. (May 30, 1989).

Here is a fragment of his speech where we have emphasized the key concepts comprising the tetrad and marked them with corresponding "+" and "-" signs: "Our Congress can not depart from the issue which is the source of increasing anxiety in the society. I have in mind the current state of discipline and order (+A). To speak frankly, this state does not satisfy us and demands decisive improvements. We have suffered large losses, both economic and moral, because of poor discipline (-B) and bad implementation of official duties, primarily in the sphere of labor.

This has extremely negative consequences for all of society; irresponsibility and disorder cause disorganization (-B) in the daily lives of people, add unnecessary stress, drive people crazy, and evoke dissatisfaction. In spite of all this, for some reason it became shameful to demand discipline and order (+A). Some people identify such timid attempts as the undermining of democracy (+B), the intention to revive the command system, and the slave psychology (-A) in people.

Certainly for some people, this talk about discipline is nothing but nostalgia for the old times. Indeed, comrades, this is true for some people. One speaks about discipline while thinking about the 'iron hand' (-A) and a return to the old order (-A): "it is said, just do it without any discussion." Probably such nostalgia has a place.

However, comrades, today the main point is different. From our own experience, each of us feels where poor discipline (-B) leads and thus we must take a firm position at this Congress: without discipline (+A), without order (+A), the cause of perestroika (+B) will not move ahead. (applause.)

Democratization (+B) needs an increase in discipline (+A) proceeding from the growth of people's social activity. To all disorder (-B), we must oppose the criteria of high responsibility for all entrusted tasks. We shouldn't be ashamed to increase our requirements for discipline and order (+A)."

Definitely the main point of this passage is the call for improved discipline. However, this idea is formulated in the typical tetradic mode. The first ideological argument is expressed with a contrative opposition: discipline must be decisively supported against disorder and irresponsibility (+A against -B).

Then the conversive relationships in the tetrad are clearly introduced: discipline may be identified with such negative phenomena as the "iron hand," nostalgia for the command system, and a slave mentality (+A mistaken for -A). These relapses may be opposed to democracy under the pretext of strengthening discipline.

Gorbachev proceeds to confirm his commitment to democracy and distaste for the command system (+B against -A). Taking a conversive path, he reverses the pattern of the first dyad consisting of discipline and disorder (+A and - B) and creates an opposite dyad of democracy and the "iron hand" (+B and - A).

Then he elegantly completes the circle by emphasizing the correlative relationship of the two positive terms, democracy and discipline (+B and + A). "Democratization needs the improvement of discipline..." This juxtaposition of two ideologems, opposite in their denotative meanings, typically comprises the most rhetorical and ultimately dialectical component of Soviet ideological disocurse.

These (ideo)logical operations may be presented in the following scheme:

1. The main point, or initial contrative dyad:

discipline - disorder (+A -B)

2. Reservations involving the conversive elements: opponents are identifying discipline with

discipline - "iron hand" (+A -A)

democracy - disorder (+B -B)

3. The parallel argument, referring to the opposite contrative dyad:

democracy - "iron hand" (+B - A)

4. The conclusion, juxtaposing correlative elements:

discipline - democracy (+A +B)

Thus all range of relationships in the tetrad is coherently introduced in Gorbachev's speech:

discipline - disorder (+ A - B)

democracy - "iron hand" (+ B -A)