At the heart of the work stands Otto Kuusinen´s (1881-1964) "reform platform": it is composed of private memoranda he drafted for Nikita Khrushchev in 1957-1961. Preceeding Mikhail Gorbachev´s perestroika by some thirty years, the former Social Democrat-turned-Communist and veteran Comintern functionary wished to reform the Soviet system by replacing "Stalinist" hypercentralisation and arbitrariness by a system of "socialist democracy", hence making the regime more popular and predictable both domestically and internationally. Kuusinen approached the issue from a theoretical perspective. To his mind permanent, concrete political changes in the character and methods of communist rule could only be achieved by first legitimising them ideologically. Here his main instrument was the state concept.