Perestroika, glasnost, democratization “…when four great transformations - even … revolutions - were begun under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev: attempts to transform the authoritarian political system into some kind of democracy, the state command economy into a market-based one, the Moscow dominated “union” into an authentic federation, and the country’s forty-year Cold War with the West into a ‘strategic partnership’.” (Stephen F. Cohen) Eduard Shevardnadze becomes Foreign Minister, proclaims the “Sinatra doctrine” 1985 December Gorbachev brings Eltsin to Moscow to head the party apparatus for the city 1987 Eltsin criticizes Gorbachev openly in Committee, divested of power "Struggle against alcoholism” May 1985-1990 Clumsy program of destroying vineyards, increasing cost of vodka, closing beer halls Government Loss propaganda created resentment of 10 billion Rubles of state income Huge growth in production of samogon February – March First mention of perestroika at Party Congress April: Chernobyl disaster December: Sakharov brought back from exile in Gorky February 1986 27th Party Congress Objective: “acceleration” of the economy, overcome stagnation Restructuring of the economy, injecting reality into targets and prices, allowing enterprises to make their own decisions, keep the profits from new enterprises and production Central planning and control remained: half-way solution January at Plenum of Politburo economic and political reforms announced Rehabilitation of victims of Stalin announced Eltsin attacks Gorbachev, resigns from Politburo The year of glasnost March: Nina Andreyeva’s letter in Sovetskaya Rossiya May: Law on cooperatives, allowing private business June: Gorbachev proposes a new Congress of People’s deputies December Armenian Earthquake, 45,000 killed. Inspired by the NEP (Lenin’s New Economic Policy) of the 1920s May 1988 Law on cooperatives - essentially private businesses - approved Private banks began to be allowed Russian businesses permitted to deal with foreign partners directly No rules to govern private economy: laws, contract enforcement Criminals quickly learned to exploit system: take-overs of businesses, protection rackets Prices not decontrolled; budget had huge deficit, money printed to cover deficit led to huge increase in real price inflation Profits syphoned into offshores Shortages continued: perestroika discredited Theory: Open discussion of problems as a means to achieve real efficiencies By 1988 censorship lifted from literature, film, the arts. Now Soviet citizens can read anything… Led to questions about “blind spots” of history: Katyn execution of Polish officers, the hidden protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of 1939, the Gulags and Stalin’s show trials, esp. Nikolai Bukharin Approved by 19th Party Conference in July 1988 Objective: Transfer of control of state from Party to semi-elected Congress of People’s Deputies and Supreme Soviet elected by it 750 members from districts, 750 from territories, 750 from “public organizations” including 100 from Communist Party: First meeting 1989. 15 March 1990 Congress elected President of the USSR. January – February withdrawal from Afghanistan March-April Elections to Congress June Tianan Men Square incident in China: dissidence suppressed 9 November Berlin Wall comes down November – December Communists ousted throughout Soviet bloc: GDR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania. December 14: Sakharov dies Open discussion of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact As central power was loosened, republics begin to demand their languages be given prime status over Russian: Ukrainian, Georgian, etc. Baltic Republics Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and also Moldova (formerly Bessarabia) demand and start to declare their independence Germany is being reunited Other Soviet bloc members “do it their way” Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace Gorbachev chosen president of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR BUT crisis looms in Soviet leadership: Yakovlev, Shevardnadze forced out in December. Is another Tiananmen looming? September 9 Alexander Men murdered September: Battle over 500 Days reform program for economy Ended Cold War Brought the USSR out of Afghanistan Moved USSR towards elected democracy and free economy Nearly USSR succeeded in saving a reformed Was he a “dissident” or a “Menshevik”? Many reforms resembled those proposed by Sakharov Remained Economic wedded to Communist Party difficulties created by gradual reforms made him deeply unpopular.