Without being an apologist for the coercive methods used in the past to capitalize the U.S.S.R. by means of Socialism, Mr. Braverman marshals the statistics to show the great progress made in large areas of Soviet economy and society since Stalin's demise, and the bases for further achievements. He attributes the advances in living standards and cultural freedom to popular demand and near-completion of the first stages of industrialization, rather than to humanitarian impulses on Khrushchev's part. The author also posits the continuation of this process of liberalization, within a socialistic pattern, despite the ""temporary"" retrogressions which persist in the arts; this is if the habits of paternalistic totalitarianism have not become ossified in Russian leaders during the struggle to achieve the present affluence. Another set of ifs--international affairs--apparently presented so many problems that the author has chosen to leave them entirely out os his considerations. However, this is an authoritative analysis of internal affairs which should help to resolve many Americans' doubts about Russian motives, present and future. The presentation is lucid enough, but rather dull.