Ligachev on Glasnost and Perestroika

Jonathan Harris


General Secretary MikhaiJ S. Gorbachev's bold program of economic and political reform makes it difficult for Western students of the USSR to conceptualize the rapidly changing regime with much assurance. Gorbachev's initial program seemed relatively easy to understand; his overriding stress on economic modernization seemed to be the logical extension of the program begun by General Secretary Andropov in 1982- 1984. However, Gorbachev subsequently launched a series of fundamental political reforms which cannot be easily explained with the formulations designed to analyze the USSR in the past. Gorbachev's vigorous support for more open discussion of virtually all aspects of public policy, both past and present, his efforts to restore internal democracy in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), to revive the CPSU's dynamism by recasting the relationship between its full-time officials and its rank and file, his attempt to extend the authority of soviets at both the central and local level and simultaneously broaden his own authority as an indirectly elected President of the Supreme Soviet can hardly be integrated under a single formula.

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