personalities and patronage


Senior Member
Chinese - China
“Ideology must be our foundation as it was for the Bolsheviks, but the new archives show that the personalities and patronage of a minuscule oligarchy were the essence of politics under Lenin and Stalin, as they were under the Romanov emperors—and just as they are today under the “managed democracy” of twenty-first-century Russia.” (Young Stalin)

Hi. What does "personalities and patronage" mean here?
Thank you.
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    It means that the personalities of members of the oligarchy and the patronage (support) that those members extended to certain others were the essence of politics in those times, and those circumstances still obtain.


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I suggest that it's important to think of "personality" in this context with the meaning set out in the WR dictionary personality - Random House Unabridged:
    7. a famous, notable, or prominent person; celebrity.
    8. application or reference to a particular person or particular persons, often in disparagement or hostility.
    9. a disparaging or offensive statement referring to a particular person: The political debate deteriorated into personalities.​

    So the personalities of the oligarchy would be particular individuals with the greatest influence in the group.
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