A complex and tense relationship of «dissenting assent» between the various strata of the population of the USSR on the one hand, and the country's party-state regime on the other is hidden under the monolithic surface of Soviet society. Its evolution spans the sixty odd years of the Soviet regime's continuing struggle against dissent. The future of the USSR and thus of the entire world will be affected by the course of this hidden confrontation. The effect of this situation on political change in the USSR is considered from a historical, sociological, and political perspective. Some general problems of political theory emerge from the discussion. Attempts are made at developing a general concept of political change. Models of such change are formulated and applied in consideration of future developments in the Soviet Union.