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The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia$
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Robert V. Daniels

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300106497

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300106497.001.0001

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Gorbachev and the Reversal of History

Gorbachev and the Reversal of History

(p.361) Chapter 31 Gorbachev and the Reversal of History
The Rise and Fall of Communism in Russia

Robert Daniels

Yale University Press

The reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev represented an attempt to change fundamentally what had obviously become an obsolete Soviet system, politically and economically. The reform unfolded gradually, step-by-step, in response to events and problems as they emerged. For a time, perestroika was little more than a restatement of Yuri Andropov's program of discipline and incentives and aimed at accelerating economic development within the framework of the old system. Gorbachev then centered his reform effort on the concept of glasnost. To overcome the political and economic difficulties standing in the way, Gorbachev turned to the intelligentsia as a social base for reform. In foreign policy, he trained his sights on some of the most fundamental ideological postulates, including the tension with capitalism. His revisions of Stalinism and even Leninism also led to the dismantling of the structure and the psychology of totalitarianism. Gorbachev urged “democratization” and “mass participation” in industrial administration. In politics, he called into question the role and structure of the Communist Party.

Keywords:   reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, perestroika, glasnost, intelligentsia, foreign policy, democratization, mass participation, Communist Party

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