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POL354Y5 (11)
Schwartz (11)
Lecture

GORBACHEV MODERNIZATION STRATEGY

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL354Y5
Professor
Schwartz
Semester
Fall

Description
GORBACHEV’S STRATEGY OF MODERNIZATION WAYS OF VIEWING GORBACHEV’S LEADERSHIP 1. Radical Reformer 2. Misguided Reformer ( Collapse of Soviet Union) 3. Initiator of Post-Communist Transition: Liberalization (Delegitimization, Dismantling). GORBACHEV’S IDENTIFICATION OF CHALLENGES: “A Pre-Crisis Situation / Stagnation” Limits on Modernization arising from inheritance of Brezhnev era:  Economic: o Low growth rates; o Low productivity; o Poor Management; o Low morale Blame: Command-Administrative System  Political o Leadership (gerontocracy, vested interests, limited thinking). o Party & other political organizations  Social o Resistance to change; o Informal relations; o Privatization of values Solution: Perestroika, i.e., a basic shift in the rules by which compliance was generated in the economic sphere. MAJOR COMPONENTS OF GORBACHEV’S MODERNIZATION STRATEGY 1. Uskorenie (Intensification / Acceleration)  Anti-alcohol campaign;  Campaigns for improved labor productivity 2. Perestroika (Restructuring) 3. Glasnost’ (Openness) 4. Demokratizatsiia (Democratization) 5. Socialist Pluralism (of Opinions). GORBACHEV’S POLICY INITIATIVES 1. ECONOMIC POLICY (Perestroika) (primary, overriding set of goals, Gor initially tries to achieve without other changes) Economic Problems Confronting Gorbachev  Structural problems  Brezhnev’s approach to economic policy Gorbachev’s strategy of Economic Modernization  Reorganization of “Command-Administrative” System  Reorganization of Decision-Making & Distribution Criteria  Labour Contract: fire workers / pay differentials  Private Enterprise: Cooperatives  Agriculture: Cooperatives & Collective Contracts  Conversion of Military to Civilian Production  Foreign Trade  Socialist Market: balance between state and private sector (cf NEP) Critical Juncture: 1990 debate over Nature & Direction of Economic Reform (Shatalin Plan vs Ryzhkov / Abalkin Plan). 500 days of rapid transformation to market socialism vs gradual, evolutionary transformation based on stability. Gorbachev opts for slow approach. Assessment of Gorbachev’s Economic Reforms • Potential for radical transformation; • Subverted by resistance, opposition & Gorbachev’s hesitation. 2. POLITICAL REFORM (Glasnost’, Demokratizatsiia, Socialist Pluralism) (adjunct, subsidiary, a tactic to enhance potential for achieving Perestroika. However result in major, unintended consequences that capture agenda)) Glasnost’ (openness) o Allow for limited, constructive grass-roots criticism of resistance to perestroika o Quickly expands to criticism of specific policies, criticism of basic policies, criticism of foundations of regime, criticism of regime, polity & country Demokratizatsiia Initially intended as reform of political institutions & processes deemed necessary to facilitate perestroika. However, quickly develops into major institutional changes that result in power vacuum:  Communist Party of the Soviet Union (reform, lose monopoly, fragmentation)  Legislature: Congress of Peoples’ Deputies (shift power from party, reform state legis capacities, elec competition, le
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