Stephen Bittner is a Title-VIII Supported Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
After Josef Stalin's death in 1953, Russia embarked on an ambitious program of de-Stalinization. The thrust of this effort was to grant much more authority to community level organizations throughout the country. Officials were surprised, however, when these organizations rapidly expanded their powers and influence. Stephen Bittner describes the unintended consequences that helped pave the way for eventual democratization.