The Soviet Communist Party's fall from power, just short of its 74th anniversary as the ruling force in the Soviet Union, is strangely like its rise to dominance in the October Revolution of 1917. It comes about in a tumultuous atmosphere of popular revulsion against the old order and euphoric expectations of the new. There is a near-certainty of upheaval, hardship and struggle in days to come.
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev's resignation as secretary general of the party, his dissolution of its ruling committee, his confiscation of its vast properties and his denial of any essential party role in the future governance of the country has a finality akin to the Bolshevik seizure of ultimate authority from the czarist system in 1917.
Mr. Gorbachev's abandonment of the party he was still defending even after its top officials had betrayed him was an attempt to deny Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin complete control over the headlong march of events. His appointment of the Russian prime minister, Ivan Silayev, a Yeltsin ally, to push for fast reform of the economy shows how much his political clout is on the wane. Nevertheless, Mr. Gorbachev may yet be useful to Mr. Yeltsin as a respected world figure who can deal with foreign governments and as a symbol for reassuring other republics that Russian domination is not still to be their fate.