POL354 Lecture 11 - Transition
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Different layers of identity have emerged in Moscow and throughout Russia.
Recall Transformational Leadership
The course of the transition was not inevitable, the course of development, degree of
success, and limitations, were based on the idea that most of the major leaders (Gorbachev,
Elstin, Putin) played a crucial role in determining the course of events and the outcomes of
the transition process. What existed in the 1990s was not inevitable or predetermined.
Gorbachev saw perestroika as a major factor in moving the country forward. Gorbachev also
reintroduced private entrepreneurial system, also scrapped the contract between the state
and the work force.
When opposition from both sides emerged to what were deemed to be radical changed.
Gorbachev responded to this by making the changes faster than he had originally intended
do. By 1986/87 recognizes the need to make perestroika work better. Introduces glasnost
as an attempt to generate support from the lower levels of society. Glasnost worked only in
a limited fashion.
Furthermore, Gorbachev believes democratization (demokratizatisiia). For Gorbachev
democracy was an instrument for achieving economic change. It was not deemed to be a pat
of the overall vision for Russia. It was a tactic introduced one it Gorbachev recognized the
level of resistance to his other reforms.
July 1988 – Party conference called. People are objecting to Gorbachev’s slowness or is
speed. Elstin has fallen out of favour with Gorbachev. Calls for democratization of the party
and of the state. Calls for more openness of party discussion, real elections of officials, calls
for a change in the party’s role with regards to the state.
Recognition of the need to incorporate autonomy and independence into the regime for
groups of the Soviet Union society.
What exists in the mid-1980s is in fact a form of terrorism.
Problem of Russian constitution – needs to lead to real federalism.
Congress of people’s deputies is set up. Supposed to be elected through fair, open, elections.
250 people elected to the congress of people’s deputies These people constantly challenged
Gorbachev. Gorbachev had created an institution where people could freely make fun of
Yelstin becomes the first popularly elected in history Russia.
Gorbachev unintended consequence, created a group that was able to establish control in
the country. Gorbachev attempts to revitalize Russia. He is met with resistance every day.
By early 1990 Gorbachev opens the door for the creation of other parties. The communist
party is no longer a able source of authority and is no longer an instrument. Gorbachev greatly changed the nature of the soviet presidency. Until Gorbachev came into
office, the position of secretary general was symbolic., no power as head of state.
Laws on freedom of the media – recognizes the need to remove censorship – gave the media
an enormous scope to report.
Passes law on the freedom of religion – recognizes the church as an economic unit
Law on parties and elections – gave complete freedom for individuals to organize
themselves into parties and compete.
Gorbachev is giving power to the institutions that (1) weaken his government and (2)
provide institutional frameworks in which both liberal and conservative opposition can
By 1989 a radically transformed, highly fragmented Soviet Union emerges
By the summer of 1991 critical point is reached. It is reached in part because of
Gorbachev’s lack of understanding over what he is doing:
1. Debate over economic reform reaches a crisis in late 1990. The liberals were calling
for the putting in place of a socialist market, and want rapid and decisive transition.
The conservatives held a position that radically introducing Gorbachev’s proposals
will be too shocking to society and there will be social unrest. Gorbachev sides with
the conservatives. Gorbachev understood that perestroika would undermi