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Gorbachev's Glasnost'.pdf

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University of Ottawa
Corinne Gaudin

Gorbachev • Chosen as general secretary march 1985 • By his demeanour and the way he spoke it was a sign that something had changed • He wasn't as formal,he would meet people • It's logical that the very fact of his coming to power old change things in therms of demographics and history • This old leadership had been hanging on their positions until they died • So they all started dying quickly at once,so the replacements often skipped a generation,not a gradual transition,but people in late 70s 80s went to people in their 50s • Gorbachev's formative years weren't Stalin years,he was a child of the fifties • He was also the first person in the politburo to have a university education • The very fact of this education was important • He was widely read in philosophy,had red Marx,and that's sort of what turned him into a reformer • From his first speeches there is a signal that something is different • Said the party was of the toilers for the toilers,brought back reminisces of previous leaders that had been lost • Accordingly,Gorbachev's first measures were directed at reorganisation of the system • He never set out to destroy the soviet union,they were aimed at making the soviet system more modern, efficient,fair • Took measures to root out corruption,increasing police powers,launched a campaign against alcoholism • Other measures had to do with replacing people in the party • Bringing in newer,younger people willing to work and who seemed honest • Tried to get things going again,get out of the Brezhnev stagnation • Accordingly there was a huge turnover of personnel • In 1986 the new central committee and politburo were 50% changed • All 14 first party secretaries were replaced by early 1989 • 2/3 of the countries industrial managers had been changed • This sounds dramatic,where did these people come from? • They are all men and women of the 50s,not the 30s Glasnost • Means transparency,a policy to make transparent what had hither to been hidden • That was part and parcel to the revolution in our minds that had to happen according to Gorbachev • There had to be more public discussions of the economic problems of the soviet union • Censorship was relaxed,for speech,newspapers etc.which allowed discussion of economic problems, corruption problems,social problems,and some limited examination of history • The discussion was to be a healthy critique of the systems shortcomings • But when he just lifted the limits of censorship,talk exploded • When he tried to put the lid back down,it created frustration • So talk was great,but what was going to happen concretely to solve
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