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Lecture

1403E - Lecture 41.docx

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Department
History
Course
History 2145A/B
Professor
David Norton
Semester
Winter

Description
Hist1403E March 28, 2012 Lecture 41 TOPIC Collapse of Communism (USSR) Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991)  Had a bachelor of science in environmental science. He knew the trouble in Russia was a trouble for food. Hungry citizens are not happy citizens. He also received a degree in law.  Organized, determined, and aware of what he wants to do.  Becomes well known for o Perestroika  Means restructuring and new beginnings.  Claims that certain things have to be changed:  No more decentralizing. The country needs to be unified in its decisions. He wants to restructure economically.  Citizens could take part in the capitalist society. The economy was not going to be controlled.  Politically, he wants to restructure (not everything controlled out of Moscow). Everything was to be decided at the local level.  Difficulty: How do you deal with a party set on totalitarianism? He needed to make the party see the wisdom that he had in his plans. o Glasnost  Means openness.  No more secrecy and no more secret police (no controlling of free speech, etc.). How do you have no secrets and have a totalitarian regime? Impossible.  E.g. Chernobyl  A test of his theories.  Chemicals were spilled in the meltdown of a nuclear facility (imploded). Tremendous radiation leaks spread through the soil, air, and water.  Should he tell the world what happened and apologize? His colleagues said no (keep it in secret), because no one will have any respect for Russia. Gorbachev disagreed, and said that the world would probably help. Ultimately Gorbachev overruled his men, and did not hide the fact.  Allowed for freedom of press, debate, and discussion (of policies).  The Jewish people and their children were allowed to return to Russia and be treated as Russian citizens.  Removed all essences of Stalin (finished was Kruschav started).  Economic Reforms o Desperate attempt to bring in North American money to re-establish industry. o Gorbachev encourages the building of commodities (cars, trains, buses, etc.) and continued to work to modernize the country. New factories were built as well – nothing was military-related. o Market Economy  Similar to capitalism. It was still communist politically, but economically it was capitalist. This is difficult, because communism promotes economic equality, but capitalism promotes individual, financial success.  Political Reforms o Elected Congress of Peoples’ Deputies  An attempt to usher in democracy.  This creates a huge organization: 2250 seats.  Felt that the only way to keep the country positive and unified was through voting (still not full democracy by any means).  Relations with the West o Very good. The Western nations are all willing to let Gorbachev do good for his
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