Gorbachev's Political Reforms

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Gorbachev came to power as the head of the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, and during his time in office he introduced a series of reforms which were seen to contribute to the communist bloc’s disillusion. His primary reforms were economic and political, but the policies associated with Gorbachev were glasnost (publicity, openness), perestroika (restructuring), uskorenie (acceleration) and demokratizatsaiia (democratisation). The reforms were so destabilising as the economic reforms were unsuccessful and necessitated political reform, the political reforms gave way for criticism and dismantled the power of the Communist Party, whilst the communist bloc took the opportunity to begin acting as independent states. The reforms severely weakened …show more content…
The changes Gorbachev made undermined the party and drastically changed the system of Soviet power permanently. Gorbachev reorganised the party to his own satisfaction and to ensure the passing of his planned reforms, he strengthened his control of party and the government, filling senior positions with his own appointments; by the end of 1988 all but two of the deputy defence ministers and all the direct commanders had been replaced and in October Gorbachev had been made President of the USSR, granting himself additional power. Having weakened the party apparent’s power, Gorbachev retained control over the governing backbone of the Soviet State; the Soviet army, the KGB and the MVD. However, these were ineffective replacements for everyday political dealings, as demonstrated in April 1989 when a small protest in Georgia was violently dispersed, resulting in the death of six people, his reforms were futile. The political reforms diminished the role of the Soviet Party. At the 19th Party Conference in 1988 Gorbachev won backing to create a new Supreme legislative base; the Congress of the People’s Deputies. This was introduced as a result of Gorbachev’s frustration by old party members’ resistance to his attempts to liberalise, Gorbachev introduced constitutional changes to separate the party and state. The firm grip the party held over the Soviet Union was loosened. Gorbachev destabilized the Soviet party base from the inside and this was worsened by the introduction of elections; the election held in March 1989 led to the embarrassing defeat of a number of leading party members, dismantling old Soviet society control and making way for a new political group, many of whom would later be directly accountable for the ending of the Soviet Union. The reform introduced a much wider range of views and

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