Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Did Gorbachev’s perestroika have an alternative?

Did Gorbachev’s perestroika have an alternative?

Igor Siletsky
14.12.2011, 14:38
By the end of 1980s the Russian word “perestroika” had become known all over the world. It was pronounced with English and French accents, written in hieroglyphs and Arabic script. It was associated with the name of Mikhail Gorbachev, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold war.
But for the people in the USSR Gorbachev’s reforms ended not only with the collapse of the Communist regime, the economic breakdown and the break- up of the Soviet Union. Today, 20 years after the break-up of the USSR the question of whether the country had an alternative way of development still haunts the minds of political analysts.  In the mid 1980-s the USSR faced a serious social, economic and political crisis. In 1985, after the death of aged Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (the CPSU) Konstantin Chernenko, Mikhail Gorbachev was elected Secretary General. Gorbachev managed to bring his supporters to the government, who also understood that changes were needed. At the same time they believed that socialism still had potential and the situation could be improved by conducting reforms from the top-down. A year later the terms “perestroika”, “uskorenie” and “glasnost” emerged. The last two implied more efficient economic development and freedom of speech.

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