Cold Peace. Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945-1953
Stalin's consistent and overriding goal after the war was to consolidate the Soviet Union's status as a superpower and, in the face of growing decrepitude, to maintain his own hold as leader of that power. To that end, he fashioned a system of leadership that was at once patrimonial-repressive and quite modern. While maintaining informal relations based on personal loyalty at the apex of the system, in the postwar period Stalin also vested authority in committees, elevated younger specialists, and initiated key institutional innovations with lasting consequences.