Adrift in Turbulent Seas: The Political and Ideological Struggles of Ivan Kuz'mich Polozkov

Jonathan Harris


In the winter of 1989-90 the unintended consequences of Mikhail S. Gorbachev's program of political and economic refonn had become obvious to all but his most optimistic spokesmen. The General Secretary's attempt to create a new ideology of perestroika by grafting "bourgeois" and "social democratic" concepts onto the conventional ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) had divided the party, created immense ideological confusion, and led to the formation of non-Communist and anti-Communist political organizations. The attempt to shift authority from party officials to elected soviets on the union and republican levels had led to the emergence of separatist and nationalist movements in many of the USSR's republics, including the RSFSR. The decentralization of the state's administration of the economy and the encouragement of both private and cooperative economic activity had failed to reverse the deterioration of economic conditions. As anxiety swept through the CPSU, orthodox party leaders called for the establishment of an autonomous Communist Party for the RSFSR to counter Gorbachev's policies and to "save Soviet Russia" from destruction.

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