The death of a totalitarian leader in the communist world, such as Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao in China, can lead to a power struggle. North Korea's Kim Il Sung was a totalitarian ruler no less absolutist than any other socialist leader. Therefore, when Kim Il Sung died in July 1994 outside observers predicted an imminent power struggle. Surprisingly the demise of North Korea's "Great Leader," however, did not result in any particular changes in court politics. To all appearances, Pyongyang's power elite remained calm and stable, without any signs of factional infighting. Herein lies the mystery of contemporary North Korean politics.
Strategic Forum No.152