News of the elder statesman's replacement marks the end of a remarkable political career
North Korea's history is woven into its political system -- and makes real reform seem unlikely
Pyongyang deftly exploited Moscow's weakness in securing its independence
Reforms to management incentives have increased efficiency in recent years, though impediments to real growth remain
The DPRK leader's death could lead to a major power vacuum, though stability would likely prevail
The Rodong highlighted how much people missed the leader — and put a positive spin on the outcome
Pyongyang's historians largely borrowed from Soviet accounts — with a few noteworthy differences
Former members of the 88 brigade came to form much of the DPRK's top brass
Despite some reforms, government control of food production remains strict
Many believed the explosion represented an attempt on Kim Jong Il's life
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