Hough2 - 248 SOVIET FEDERALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF RUSSIA...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–15. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
Background image of page 9

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 10
Background image of page 11

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 12
Background image of page 13

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 14
Background image of page 15
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: 248 SOVIET FEDERALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF RUSSIA More immediately. as shall be discussed in chapter 12. the question of the autonomous republics of Russians was to become explosive in the Soviet political system in 1990 and 1991. In April 1990 Gorbachev was to have the autonomous republics and Unionrepublics changed into equal republics in a quite unconstitutional manner. When be reopened the Union Treaty for renegotiation in the spring of 1990, each autonomous republic hadrepresentation equal to that of a Union republis- When GOTbaCheV was : _ {~17- 4.- n:,1--,. l..- (h... ' t .t. .-_-.n at; generation wane" rate the most eowerfiil collective organ in the country, it was to have thirty-four members (and soon more as other units became republics) instead of fifteen, Most important of all. those in Russia who were emotionally claiming that “the center" had unlimited power and had no concern for the interests of Russia now had a perfect. outrageous example with which to argue their case. CHAPTER EIGHT I ._ _r_ ; _—.._.1 The End 0’1 Conuriuinst Party Rule A MAJOR TECHNIQUE of any revolutionary group is to try to create the impression that revolution is inevitable and events are out of control. This the radicals associated with Boris Yeltsin did brilliantly. They not Only persuaded the elite inside the Soviet Union but also most observers in the outside world. In retrospect the course of events from June 1988 to Decem- ber 1991 seems inexorable. Mikhail Gorbachev was often described in the West as a man riding a tiger he could not control. Privately he used a play on the popular Russian phrase poezdposhyal (the train has left the station) by saying protsess (the process) poshyol.l In the Russian idiom, when a train leaves the station, it cannot be turned back. Gorbachev was saying that a process under way could not be stopped. _ Policy, however. is not an irreversible train that must follow a predeterJ mined route. It is almost always ambiguous and subject to modification. Scholars may debate whether the processes unleashed by perestroika were uncontrollable, but there can be no definitiVe evidence one-way or an for a simple reason: Gorbachev never seriously tried to control the tiger._ Instead be continually urged it on. In the rare case when force was applied. it seemed very effective. '.1: Perevamt mnimyi t' nastoiasht'hilz'iMbscow'i Manuskript. 1. Aname Luk'ianov. the phrase as a Gorbachev favorite. 1993). p. 46. Aleksandr Rutsltoi also cites Kamomal 'skaiapravda, January 17. 1992. 249 other i 7 VO/QZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 9T=ZT lNHWNHHAOD—lfl room 250 THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE There wore many points at which different decisions could have been made. For example. serious inflationary pressures in the second half of the 1980s could easily have been avoided. Indeed, it is inexcusable that retail prices were not raised in 1986 or 1987 and that mechanisms to encourage savings were not created. The 1989 USSR elections could have been more . tightly ,conn'olledl and the sessions of the new Soviet Congress of People’s genetics could have been televised more selectively. But if Gorbachev’s miscalculations about the 1939 Congress understandable. the real mystery concerns his response to those elections and the collapse of communism in'Eastern Europe. The events in Eastern Europe obviously would encourage democrats and nationalists in the Soviet Union as the 1990 republican elections approached. Gorbachev seemed ‘"“* II‘e Soviet Union was not destabilized. likely to take special steps to ensure tun. u. Instead he acted in a way certain to destabilize it further. Then he recognized the illegitimacy of the Soviet Union by agreeing to renegotiate the Union Treaty. In the summer of 1990 he gave limited support to a SOD—Day Plan that deprived the central goverrunent of all power of taxation. achev failed because he lacked Yeltsin’s In late 1991 many said Gorb courage in destroying the power of the party apparatus. In fact. although for some reason Gorbachev thought it tactically unwise to boast about what he had done. he destroyed the power of the Communist party and its apparatus in the winter of 1989-90. After the Twenty-Eighth Party Congress in July 1990 the Politburo no longer included Gorbachev’s top political advisers. and it ceased to discuss policy questions. Gorbachev‘s personal assistants were no longer invited to Politburo meetings and no longer worked with it on its decisions.it When Yeltsin banned the party in August 1991 after the failed coup d'etat. he simply gave the coup de grace to an institution that was already moribund. At the time. it seemed Gor -s-..s.:m—_:. m ‘- 137:. twuuuo uIi'C‘. :lu - ._ bachev was deliberately fostering chaos to liberate himself from Politburo and Central Committee control and build support for a strong presidency with emergency powers. His behavior seemed deliberate. if Machiavellian. and it did achieve the hypothesized goals. Once he assumed the presidency. however. it seemed obvious he would use its powers to reestablish order, through martial law if necessary. But this did not occur and destabilization continued. leaving observers puzzled as to how to explain his behavior. 2. Georgy Shakhnazsrov. Teena svobcdy: Refannatriia Gorbachevnrginitdmirego pomashchnika (Moscow: Rossika. 1993). p. 252. 251 THE END OF COMMUNlST PARTY RULE Gorbachev’s Other Options If the flow of events from March 1989 (or even earlier) to 1991 was inevitable. there is little to be analyzed. Revolution by definition Was irresistably coming from below. and the leaders in the central government were powerless to prevent their overthrow. In reality, however. there were other options. and Gorbachev was making real choices. Gorbachev’s most obvious response to the surprising results in the 1989 USSR election would have been gradually to reduce media coverage of the new legislature and give his opponents little access to the state-contrblled media. This was Yeltsin's response to defeat in the 1993 parliamentary (Duma) election. The man who imposed controls as head of central televi- sion in 1994 was the same Aleksandr Yakovlev who had controlled radio and television for Khrushchev. Brezhnev, and Gorbachev. Similarly. Gorbachev could have instituted controls on the 1990 republi- can elections. When the first Duma elections after the Revolution of 1905 proved embarrassing for Tsar Nikolai II. he held new elections with tighter electoral rules. In Algeria in December 1991 the military responded to an electoral victory by Islamic fundamentalists in the first round of parliamentary elections by calling off the second round. After four years of struggle in which 40,000 persons died. a new election was held in 1995 and a moderate militarysbacked leader elected. These figures horrify us, but they pale in comparison with the millions killed by the collapse of the Soviet health system. It is not only Gorbachev who seeks deniability for events in Russia. Gorbachev could have easily insisted on republican election laws that were identical with USSR law (which would have prevented a victory by pro-Yeltsin forces in Russia) or tightened control over nominations. Totally free elections. he could have said. give populist demagogues a chance to stir up unrest. His supporters could have quietly told the foreign press that free elections would give too much power to conservative older people who had the most to lose by economic reform. This argument would have returned to Russia almost immediately on the foreign airways. Gorbachev could have moved quickly to make subsidies to the large industrial enterprises explicit and well-publicized and then threatened either to close doWn the e disruptive strikes enterprises or call on the police and military in cas broke out. 7 Similarly, Gorbachevnonlihavejéid it: at the integrated Soviet econ- omy made separatism impossible until market- \ I - - ofiéhtédr reforms héd'fake’n’ ' 1711/83/10 TQOITLV ZTS XVd LT=ZT lNElWNHElAOD—lfl 200 A ‘“ at?) , . i V - ---- -__ , effect.a lndiai democracy for fifty years with more large nationalities and language groups than the Soviet Union. As Paul Brass has commented. India's central government "developed a set of consistent rules that usly pursued. but that guided were not all written down or conscio . . . . .. its actions" in maintaining democracy in a mulnethnrc country. This made it possible for lasting. agreed on some highly solutions to be reached if 7 7 controVersial cultural issuesff . Those four rules. stated concisely, were first no seiner; - I . ‘ old he considered, that explicitly secessionist movements of a religious group we and would be suppressed by force whenevar necessary. ' would'not bé'tol'erated that no capricious concessions would be made to the political demands of any ther culturally defined group. linguistic, regional. or o and that no political con— cessions to culnnal groups in conflict would be made unless they had demonstra- -nnni:-r 4 ble support from both sides in the cum”... dence could be Gorbachev could also have said that political indepen considered once normal economic relations were established. but that the republics and the enterprises first had to be given freedom from the domi- nation of the Moscow ministries. He could have embraced Yegor Ligachev’s view that a ‘ 'multiparty system would mean the disintegration of the Soviet federation and . . . the Communist party is the only real political force that unites and consolidates all the peoples of the country.” ’5 He could have embraced Frontier Ryzhkov' 5 private advocacy of regional economic councils (sovnarkhozy) to administer industry. Boris Yeltsin's populist attack against the party apparatus and price increases should have strengthened Gorbachev‘s incentive to adopt a sonn- to appeal to authoritarian position. As Yeltsin demonstrated he knew how popular resentrnents. Gorbachev's logical strategy would have been to contend that Yeltsin and his program would permit the rise of separatist movements and parties in the non-Russian republics and would break up the Union. The argument could have been made with whatever degree of demagoguery was necessary. raised an improved defense industry and the If the military had been pro I young in all republics been given greater freedom and the opportunity to readmition lb 3. The regime en period. which was all Gorb would not be tolerated. 4. Paul R. Brass. Ethnicity and Nationalism: Sage Publications. 1991). pp. 163-69. 5. Pravda.luly 21. 1939.13.15. Theory and Comparison (New Delhi: THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE. 253 enrich themselves. they would have seen Gorbachev’s determination to keep radical nationalists. the trade unions. and the conservative rniddle- aged under control as a benefit. After the 1990 election the Soviet military pleaded with him to reinstitute controls over the republics. Indeed, after 1992 the strongest proponents of the free market—people who called themselves democrats—applauded Yeltsin‘s effort to establish a presiden— tial dictatorship so he could push through economic reforms. The allegedly conservative Communist party apparatushad been de- lighted at Nikita Khrushchev's decentralization of economic power with the creation of regional economic councils it would have had the same attitude toward market reforms that decentralized economic power to the regions and gave individual party officials the chance to acquire property. At least the party apparatus would have been delighted if its position had not been undermined by democratic elections. The “demo- crats” would have supported a semidictatorship if Gorbachev had given them jobs. for that is what they did under Yeltsin. One group of Western analysts has recognized the effectiveness of force, but they have contended that Gorbachev could not afford to use it. that if he suppressed democracy and the non-Russian nationalities. he would have forfeited any economic relationship with the West. The West. however. was in no position to react if Gorbachev used moderate force and retained semidemocratic institutions. The West‘went ahead with detente toward East Germany in 1969—70. a time when the Soviet Union was sending weapons to Vietnam to kill American soldiers. and scarcely a year after Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia. The United States has tolerated the Indian government's use of force to control its ethnic and religious conflicts. It went to war in the Persian Gulf to liberate Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia, which is scarcely the embodiment of democracy and human rights. And it did not let the repression in Tiananmen Square affect the substance of its policy toward China. In 1993 the Clinton administration actively supported Boris Yeltsin in his power struggle witli' the Russian Supreme Soviet in March and again in September when administrations would have done no 1 be dissolved it.“ The Bush and Clinton ess for Gorbachev as long as his , 6. Richard I... Berke; "Clinton Defends Backing Yeltsin as Elected Chief." New York Times. March 13. 1993. p. Al'. Keith Bradsher. "Clinton Gives Yeltsin Support. Saying Summit Is On.“ New York Times. March 14. 1993, p. A13; and Elaine Sciolino. “Showdown in Moscow: U.S. Supports Move by Russian Leader to Break Deadloc ." New York Times. September 22. 1993. p. A l. VO/SZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd LT=ZT tLNEIWNHElAOB—lfl 900m 254 THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE foreign policy remained the s in his domestic repression. ' indeed. the Bush adminis ante and he exercised a modicum of decorum tration was publicly talking about stability in the SOviet Union in 1989. and in subtle ways it indicated its support for tightening control. On April 18, 1990. Gorbachev cut off oil supplies to Lithuania to reassert Moscow's authority. The Bush administration. of course. Criticized this move. buton April 21 it moved to expel the leader of the liberation the States as a terrorist and reversed America's nearly forty-year support for a plebiscite in Kashmir.7 The administration was signaling, that it sawa connection between the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the ethnic disintegration of third world multiethnic countries. The Clinton administration described Yeltsin’s consolidation of authoritarian power in 1993 as essentially demo- cratic and supported him in the 1996 presidential election despite his undemocratic control of the media and campaign finances. Together these arguments seem so compelling that it was hard for me to m.“ But instead he allowed believe Gorbachev would not be driven by the the emotional and confrontational speeches of the First Congress of People’s Deputies to be broadcast live on daytime television. The press was encouraged to exaggerate Soviet economic problems. (It is striking to .9 compare the hysteria over the minor economic problems of 1989 with the 3-, quiet response of television to the horrendous depression of the 19905.) Gorbachev did nothing to maintain control over the electoral process in any of the republics. Instead, except in the Russian Republic. he allowed repub- lican leaders to handle the process as they wanted. In Russia he pushed through a thoroughgoing liberalization of nomination mles. He ended the power of the Communist party and discredited the Union. He continued to appoint subordinates in their fifties and ignored the thirty- and forty-year— olds whom Yeltsin was courting and would appoint. Gorbachev’s actions seemed so bizarre that the sober. moderate Ryzhkov was to conclude there was a concerted plot to destroy the Communist party and the Soviet Union. It is easy to see how he might have gained such an. impression. anions Say Moscow Has Cut Main 1990. p. Al: and Robert ' New York Times. April 7. Esther B. Fein. "Evolution in Europe: Lithu Oil Pipeline; Growing Pressure.’I New York Times. April 18. Peer. “State Dept. Moves to Expel Top Kashmir Separatist.‘ 22, 1990. p. A17. ' _ 8. Indeed, I made this argument in Jerry F. Hough. "Gorbachev's Politics.” Foreign Afiairs. vol. 6% (Winter 1989-90). pp. 26—41. IIIIIIIIIIIIIEIIIII THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 255 The Communist Party and Economic Reform Without question. any serious changes in the Soviet economic and political system would have required serious changes in the way the Com- munist party functioned. Because the party was the central administrative agency in the country. any decentralization of power to the provincial level would first demand decentralization of power within the party. In addition. -.,, __ -nar n.-_. 7.2.; _.-. t {a 5—m- 9 an - ' n nnn'n n riv uro gunmen accret‘i‘uj S ess-e para-’5'; strata ur: in 1127' iv aye-«lut- :3— u secretaries in the republics and on their ability to control the delegations to the party congress. Any democratization that made the secretaries respon- sive to local political forces, let alone that resulted in the free election of delegates to the party congress. would destroy that base of power. There were also more technical points about the structure and power of the Communist party that would have to be addressed in the course of economic reform. The Soviet system was based on incentives that spurred talented people to rise in the administrative system and encouraged them to avoid political dissidence. Party membership came to be required for all those in politically sensitive professions—military. police. journalism. di- plomacy—and also for a wide range of administrative posts considered nonpolitical in the West. These included not only nearly all significant administrative civil service jobs in Moscow and the provinces but such posts as factory manager, farm manager. and usually shop head in large factories. Party members were obliged to carry out all party directives. This became the basis for administrative subordination in the system. Industrial plants. colleges. the secret police. railroads. scientific institutes. and trade unions were not subordinated to local governments. but the fact that all their leaders were party members meant they were subject to party discipline. Because all institutions were headed by Cormnunists and party rules sub— jected them to the decisions of the local party organs. these organs were turned by Stalin into the institutions that resolved many purely economic conflicts at the local level. even in such technical matters as procuring supplies. Thus the real line of command did not Ministers to the republican councils of ministers to go from the USSR Council of the executive commit- tees of the local soviets, but from the USSR Politburo to the republican party bureaus to the regional party bureaus. Indeed, because local govern- VO/SZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 8T=ZT lNElWNHElAOD—lfl room trails-a:- 256 THE END or COMMUNIST PARTY RULE .D W ment was not given authority. local party organs were theonly institutions that could provide regional political and economic coordination.g For this reason full-time party officials were usually chosen from among those with technical education and managerial experience in the economy. The lowest-level party organization was placed at work sites, and the party secretary in significant factories was always an engineer with administra— "tive experience. The party apparatchik in the regional party organs. other "‘-"" a“ in ideological was an engineer or agronomist who Luau uuu n. “.4..- worked for some five to ten years in production before moving into party work. Boris Yeltsin was typical in that he worked for thirteen years as a construction administrator before being named head of the construction department of the Sverdlovsk regional party committee. From there he became secretary of the Sverdlovsk Party Committee and then its first secretary. The potential flaw in this system was that people without the requisite intelligence, drive. and administrative ability might be admitted into the party because of ideological fervor or knowledge of Mantism—Leninism and would prove poor administrators. After the arid-1930s. however. this problem was solved by refusing to admit people into the party until they had proVen themselves on the job (or in World War II. at the front). People often did not become party members until they were in their late twenties; Yeltsin became a member at the age of thirty-one when he was already a construc- tion administrator. The deputies to the USSR Supreme Soviet from 1946 to 1970 had joined the partygat the ayerageage oftwentyvnine.l0 The postponement of the usual age of party admission was coupled with the policy of making membershiptalmost automatic for any ambitious’and high—performing person who did not engage in dissident political or reli- gious activity.-In practice the proportion of women who joined the party was relatively small; but party membership became widespread among men with high school and college diplomas. More thanSO percent of men older than age thirty who had}; college education became party members." til-l1. 9. See Jen-y F. Plough. The Sriviél'Pr'eféc ’W‘fiéal Porfy'Organs in Industrial Decision Making (Harvard University Press. 1969). I; = . t :X .- tux: ;.-: . 10. The de facto division of labor in the Sovifl family involved both spouses having full-time employment. with the woman combining her job'with child rearing and the man combining his with the committee and civic work associated with party member- ship. For a discussion of gender and party membership. see Jerry F. Hough. The Soviet Union and Social Science Theory (Harvard Unitiersity Press. 1977). pp. 123—33. 11. Hough. Soviet Union and Social Science Theory. pp. .126. THE END or COMMUNIST PARTY RULE ' 257 These de facto mics created a brilliantly structured set of incentives. Children were not punished for their parents‘ sins (Y eltsin‘s grandfather was a rich peasant and his father was imprisoned for criticism of the regime. but Yeltsin himself still was admitted'to college during Stalin's regime and later into the party and the party apparatus). The ambitious and intelligent could rise as far as their talents would take them if they avoided political dissidence. Not surprisingly, most did avoid it, for the costs of collective oppositional action were extraordinarily high. The threat of expulsion from faiinre to cart—s out orders gave administrative officials the 7 most powerful incentive not to challenge orders from above. 7 ' - This was a system that could not remain unchanged by marketization of the economy. Party membership could not be required of those in the private sector, and the state sector could not compete with the private sector for technical personnel if it required its personnel to assume the time consuming burdens of party membership. As party membership became less vital for success, the incentives to avord political dissidence would lessen. '_Similarly. the primary party organization could not have a major role in managing privatized enterprises. and the regional party organs could ‘ scarcely be the proper instrument of regional economic coordination in a market economy in which many important people were no longer party members. Other institutions would have to be established to replace the party. A well-functioning legal system was one part of the answer. but so was improving the authority and quality of local government personnel. There were several sensible lines of evolution for the Communist party. The party organizations could have gradually withdrawn from detailed production work. The party organization at the workplace could have retained an important managerial role if economic reform evolved in the direction of workers' self-management. but not otherwise.Local party or- gans could have remained the dominant political institution in the region—— becoming machines such as Tammany Hit} in New York City in the nineteenth century or Mayor Richard I. Daley’s in Chicago in the mid- twentieth century. The local party organs still could have been concerned with economic development and have continued to have real access to resources and influence at higher echelons of the political system. or even control of semigovemmental banks at the local level. But their close in- volvement in management would have disappeared. _ The Communist party could have been transformed into a parliamentary party. The focus of the lowest party. organizations could have been shifted VO/QZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 6T=ZT .LNEIWNHEIAOD—lfl 900m hb 253 THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE from the individual enterprise to the precinct. and party leaders could have been chosen from those who could appeal to consumers rather than from production-oriented managers. More and more decisions could have been made‘in government institutions rather than in the party bodies. The Com- munist leaders would have to learn to work more often within the govern- ment and perhaps even compete with other political parties for votes. If the 7 suitcases Cdfiii‘fiittee and the Politburo were to remain important insti- i g ._ ., - ,r I--.r- _‘ - 1.. .. .. 71': :1 up 553:. -1 @fig'nurrrnsuunuc" In tutions, they could have come to be dunurmte the legislatures and could have concentrated on coordinating party legisla- tive’ strategy at the various’lterritorial levels. (For example, after 1993 the Russian Communist party of Gennady Zyuganov had so little staff of its own that it relied on the staffs of the deputies in the Duma.) There were. of course, other ways the party could change that made no sense. The functions of the party organs might be transformed without changing the type of personnel selected to staff its chief positions. The coordinating functions of local party organs might be ended before other mechanisms were created to take over the functions. Party officials might be subjected to competitive elections and then be damned if they were responsive to citizens‘ and especially workers' complaints about the pain of economic reform. The party organs and the Communists in the legislature might fail to develop a close relationship. For inexplicable reasons Gorbachev managed to take all these steps. Gorbachev and the Communist Party Mikhail Gorbachev seemed an unlikely candidate to destroy the Com- munist party. His grandfather had been chairman of a collective (kolkhoz) farm in the 19305. and he himself had become a candidate member of the party at the unusually early age of nineteen and a full member at twenty- one.” He had worked in the party apparatus for thirty years, and in the early chapters of his memoirs he shows great respect for the men like himself in the post of regional first secretary. He had seen how the post had been used by different leaders and how it had been flexible enough to permit the rise of men such as Eduard Shevardnadze and himself. He certainly should have 12. He was admitted to the party because he earned a medal for his summer work as a combine driver and thus passed the work requirement for party membership. It is likely that he applied for membership in his home kolkhoz. to facilitate his admission to Moscow University. Mikhail Gorbachev. Zhizu' i reformy, vol. 1 (Moscow: Novosti. l995). pp. 56.‘ 59'. Memoirs (Doubleday. 1996). vol. 1. pp. 36. 41. THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 259 understood the vital economic functions the party performed. He seemed dedicated to socialism and the Union, although in more democratic for-m. Why would he want to dismantle the Communist party? Many said that the party was incapable of accepting radical reform or of being transformed. but it never mounted meaningful resistance to anything Gorbachev wanted. Even in July 1990 when he had accepted the disman~ fling of communism and Soviet hegemony in eastern Europe, taken all power the Politburo and Central Committee, introduced free elections " in Russia. and produced growing economic and political chaos. the party congress voted for him as general secretary 3.411 to 1,116 and voted against the more conservative Yegor Li gachev as deputy general secretary 3.642 to 776.13 The party secretaries were not damning Gorbachev for his reform policy but for having no consistent policy at all—for being passive. Even with hindsight and evidence from the memoirs of those participat- ing in the events, it is difficult to reconstruct Gorbachev’s attitude toward the Communist party. His attitude toward Lenin did seem to evolve, and this may have had a major impact on his thinking about the party as an institution. His assistant and speechwriter Valery Boldin found him strongly under Lenin's influence,.especially in 1986 and 1987, with Raise Gorbachev reenforcing his tendencies in a pro-Lenin direction. “By virtue of her education and experience as a university lecturer on Marxist-Leninist philosophy. Raisa’s views were those of a dedicated Communist, [and] she frequently upheld her convictions in private and in public.” As Gorbachev often said, “Raisa was the head of ‘our family party cell."‘|4 Gorbachev's advisers generally want to portray him as a man long committed to democracy, and within limits this was true. Behind the scenes he said that he was “near to social democracy in his convictions." but be convinced his closest associates that this meant democratic socialism rather than the disappearance of the Communist party or socialism.ls Radical advisers counseled him to split the party into two branches and lead the 13. Bill Keller, “Confronting Foes. Gorbachev Keeps Party Leadership," New York Times, July ll, l990, p. Al; and Pravda. July 13, l990. p. l. Pravda was embarrassed by the number of votes against Gorbachev and did not print the totals. l4. Valery Boldin. Ten Years That Shock the World: The Gorbachev Era as Wit- nesred by His Chiafomefi'. trans. Evelyn Rossiter (Basic Books, 1994), pp. 96, 85. is. Interview with Anatoly Luk'ianov. Soverskaia Rossiin, January 23, 1993. p. l. Luk'ianov talked about his own support for "socialist orientation." a phrase applied to radical socialist regimes such as that in Angola in the Brezhnev period. Luk’ianov originally believed that Gerbachev was thinking in these terms as well. “vd‘Qéz/ 0 tennis ars“'rvs‘""6'2 "at: lNEIWNHHAOD—lfl 900 F} Eb I? I I I I 260 a . THE END or COMMUNIST PARTY RULE more liberal one into electoral battle. He steadfastly refused. Georgy Shakhnazarov. who claimed to have been a social democrat since the 1960s and to have been one of many, has not said that Gorbachev was among their group at first.16 Shaldmazarov noted thatGorbachev was Very latein com- ing to a critical evaluation of Brezhnev's invasion of Czechoslovakia. One of Gorbachev's closest aides, Anatoly Chemiaev, speaks of the general secretary's "internal revolution?” Chemiaev consideredGorbachev’s reading of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’ S ' tin- .‘i’te Flu-e! iiwtp5 he saidi . 774,-. -__ ... .1, 77:14 -..— 1::U-_- a.- ins gag, gayest. eve H.» mm sun-v Lenin in Enrich Hi we. .. ._ ' 'l Gorbachev saw Lenm not only as a “person who could ‘ln general be mistaken (sometimes even a genius can make mistakes), but one who probably made a mistake on a ‘historic scale.” According to Cherniaev, Gorbachev thought that Lenin had not cared for Russia as such but had used the country as a testing ground for world revolution.“ Ivan Frolov, one of Gorbachev's advisers, had long ago turned against Marx's insistence that values only reflected class interests and. in general, that the superstructure (culture) was a product of the economic base. Frolov's position was widely held and advanced in many forms by the liberal intellectuals of the Brezhnev period.” By the autumn of 1988, Aleksandr Yakovlev was telling a new assistant, Aleksandr Tsipko, that Marx had not simply exaggerated his point nor was he being misinter- preted: he was fundamentally wrong .10 Gorbachev was originally attracted to the idea of human values that transcended class, but at some point he likely moved closer to Yakovlev’s conclusion. Tsipko was assigned the task of writing a criticism of Marx while working in the Central Committee apparatus. All the appropriate anti-Marxist literature was sent from the Lenin Library to the Central Conunittee building, and the librarians clearly knew what was being writ- 16. Shakhnazarov. Teena Nobody, pp. 171—12. 241—42. 17. Jonathan Steele. Eternal Russia: Yeltsin. Gorbachev, and the Mirage ofDemoc- racy (Harvard University Press. l994). p. 20. 18. A. S. Cherniaev._ Shest’ let 5 Garbachevym (Moscow: Progress. 1993). pp. 278—79. . V _ 19. Jerry F. Hough, The Struggle for the Third World: Soviet Debates and American Options (Brookings, l986), pp. 119—27. 20. See the foreword by Aleksandr Tsipko. in Aleksandr Yakovlev, Prediriovie, obvai. porlerlovie (Moscow: Novosti, 1992). p. 5. Tsipko has said privately that he does not know when Yakovlev came to this view. Ill-l..- rna END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 261 ten. Tsipko is certain that Yakovlev was too cautious to permit this without Gorbachev's authorization.2| ‘ Whatever Gorbachev thought about the Communist party as a general institution. however, he certainly understood the way power worked within it. He understood that the Central Committee could vote him out of office, as it had voted outNikita Khrushchev, and was acutely sensitive to the lack of power of lame ducks. He understood the importance of the circular flow of power (see chapter 2), and knew full well the dangers posed by the nrnniinn a? flu: “not nf' Puccini-r first segrgtarv grid subordination the yzuueauu us le yvur v- .u—uu-nn Russian provincial party apparatus to ' Gorbachev knew he had little choice but to democratize the party if he 7 were really going to democratize the country, for neither the various legislatures nor the republics could be democratic if they were tightly controlled by a centralized party hierarchy. Yet if lowerparty officials were subject to defeat in an election in which most voters were not party mem- bers, their first reaction would be that they could no longer depend on Moscow}1 If so. this would destroy the power base of the general secretary. .Once the circular flow of power was destroyed. there were few ad- ministrative solutions to the general secretary's loss of control of the party. As Lenin had understood, the worst alternative for a general secretary would have been to give pOWer to the Politburo. A better alternative. adopted at the party congress in July 1990 at Gorbachev’s suggestion, was to have the general secretary elected by the party congress rather than by the Central Committee. This would make it very difficult to remove him inthe five years between congresses. Yet it would eventually leave the general secretary subject to strong competition at the congress as other party leaders formed organized groups to compete for delegates. 7 Thus once it was decided to create a Russian party organization and permit free elections in the republics, Gorbachev needed to go beyond the circular flow of power in building his political base of support. His zchair-l . manship of the Supreme Soviet gave him alsecond credible basehas the success of his threats to resign as general secretary testified. A presidency would be even more durable. 21. Jerry F. Hough, interview with Aleksandr Tsipko, May 17. I995. 7‘ . ‘_ , 22. 'When the regional secretaries were told in 1988 that they should be chairmen of the regional sovrets (and, therefore. would have to run in competitive elections). their first reaction, Shakhnnzarov reported; was that they were no longer dependent on - Moscow. Shakhnazarov. Tram: .rvobody p. 244. VO/QZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd T2=ZT tLNEIWNHElAOD—lfl Loom “lb THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE led with “it‘s.” and they all 26?. Nevertheless. the preceding pages are fil I i I I seemed-to lead in the direction of keeping democratization limited—to control elections. have a weak legislature such as the Duma under Boris Yeltsin. and insist on obedience to central laws. If he had taken power away ‘ from regional party secretaries. he could have instituted appointed gover- nors. as Yeltsin did, and maintained tight financial controls on them.‘ln- deed. Gorbachev said in his memoirs that “tactically it was more expedient to transfer power to the Soviets not in a jerk. but smoomly.‘gradum»ly.;s: as not to lose the governability of the country.”25 it often is entrant: ac- jar-age from Gorbachev's memoirs whether he is reporting his thinking at the time orrnaking aneit post facto judgment. blit’this'particular statement seemsto be justifying his early limitations on democracy. The question 15 why he decided to change to an inexpedient policy that did. in fact. destroy the country’s govemabiiity. The Anxiety of the Summer and Fall of 1989 Of all the periods covered in this book. none has a stranger appearance in retrospect than the summer and fall of 1989. The Soviet public had elected a USSR Congress of People‘s Deputies that proved readily respon- sive to Gorbachev's desires. Although a number of regional party officrals had been defeated in the election, this seemed only to suggest. as Moscow party leader Lev Zaikov said at the time. that party secretaries like himself who had been plant managers often were not natural pohhcrans and had to be replaced by people with the skills needed in the new age. ' The first serious conflicts concerning nationality erupted in 1988 and continued in 1989. but they involved clashes between non-Russians and were not directed against Russians or Moscow. Surprisingly. the Illussmn security forces were used sparingly; it seemed that Moscow might be deliberately letting‘non-Russians fight each other to prove that the central organization was needed as an arbiter and protector of the peace. Yet Moscow intellectuals seemed near hysteria. In April 1989, when Georgians in Tbilisi organized a counterdemonstration against the Abkhazians who were demanding independence from Georgia. the army was used to disperse the crowds. Through some mistake. twenty persons 23. Gorbachev. Zhizn' i refnnny. vol. 1. p. 451'. Memoirs. vol. 1. p. 301. MI I II I THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 263 were either crushed or died from crowd control gas in the ensuing melee. The incident was unfortunate but insignificant in comparison with similar events that occur repeatedly in democratic India}4 There was no evidence the action would be the first in a series. Still. it became a cause celebre involving charges and countercharges among Politburo members and a symbol to non-Russians of Moscow’s repression. Economic performance remained reasonably good in 1989—especially socompared with any yearfrom 1990 through 1996. Industrial production , W ,, nizn 4,5,, , n ,,,,1,, ,7; ,,,L1,, ,,, n A,, ,,,, , ,, ,,,,,,, E'e'fié‘ ELEEA “Elna flit Eiifi fif £13 year EUEEEEHHEE: Eff-Slit; Uffidufr- . tion would be up 5.9 percent, non-food consumers” goods production up 7.7 percent, andretail trade up 78.4 percent.25 Although the growthrate of heavy industry was slowly dropping toward zero, industrial production did not drop precipitously. as it would in the Yeltsin years when this development was to be hailed as desirable in promoting a transition to a consumer— oriented services economy. There were economic problems to address. for economic growth at the end of the year was worse than at the beginning. Signs of inflationary pressure were starting to appear. A coal snike in the summer seemed to foreshadow more labor unrest. Yet in the fall of 1989 Gorbachev began talking more urgently about the need for economic reform. At the conclu- sion of a conference of economists in October he declared. “we are obliged to take the most radical. far-reaching measures" in economic reform?" It was at this time that Nikolai Sliun'kov, the Central Committee secretary for the economy who was said to lack an independent position and always to follow the Gorbachev line, became more radical. The new Nikolai Ryzhkov government confirmed by the USSR Con- gress was much younger than its predecessor and contained serious eca— nomic reformers. Leonid Abalkin. who became deputy premier in charge of economic reform. presented a plan in October that included price increases and that the Financial Times termed the most radical since 1985. The government seemed ready to address economic reform. and if Gorbachev was willing to stand behind radical reform, real change seemed in the 24. The general in charge. Yury Rodionov. became the symbol of repression—no 7 doubt unjustly. In July [996 Yeltsin named him minister of defense. 25. Leonid Abalkin. Ne ispal'zovannyi shuns: Poltora gods v provitel'srve (Mos- cow: Politizdat. 1991). p. 94. 26. Pravda. October 24. 1989. p. l; and October 30. 1989. p. 2. VO/QZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVrI 32=ZT lNEIWNHHAOD—lfl sob a A._,W mg... , the,winter,n,1heWestemPt¢§S Feflgcted lllllll’ll- THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 264 to insist the reform would be offing. Certainly, it was much too early unsuccessful. But at the end of the summer the Soviet press. encouraged by the political leaders. whipped up hysteria about the economy. The government was trying to get a ban on strikes through the Supreme Soviet. and it talked incessantly about the danger of insufficient fuel to get the country through the mood in Moscow. In October mm F icy-d the Financier! Times described GOrhache'v as "‘a man with a a zen-n?» . w... .m, "18 In November Esther Fein of the New Tori: Time. .. w... ruined economy. of the “dire economic backdrop."2g None of this had any relationship to the economic reality of the time. great deal of purchasing power and With the population possessing a. being told that price increases were in the offing at some ill-defined point. the press hysteria had very predictable economic effects. Given the lack of investment opportunities and a savings bank interest rate much lower than the rate of inflation, excess money could be used for little else but consump- tion. of course. severe retail shortages developed; even soap disappeared from the stores. although production was up 150 percent from the year before. All this deepened the sense of impending economic disaster. —D When Premier Ryzhkov presented the government‘s plan to the Con— ‘4 grass of People's Deputies 'on December 13. it included most major points of Abalkin‘s plan. but the“ two price increases were postponed by a year each.30 The discussion on economic reform in the Congress was basically sober. but attention soon turned to such issues as the suppression of demon- strations in Tbilisi. which brought emotions to a boil. If Ryzhltov and his plan were treated gingerly in the Congress. they Were denounced in the press for being conservative.'1‘he West was no different. It too had been deeply affected by the collapse ‘of communism in Eastern Europe. and everything seemedhpossibleL'Reform in the Soviet Union was now judged from that utopian'perspecfive.'The‘Financial Times had called Abalkin radical a few months earlier.i bdt‘now an editorial described the marginally more conservative‘SpeEChbuf Ryihk'ov in the direst of terms: 27. Quentin Peel. “Kremlinlooksifor Relief the Economic Heat." Financial I l- . Times. October 4. 1989. p. 2. ' _ . _.t i 28. John Lloyd. “The Many Roads'from Socialism." Financial Times. October 14. 1989, p. 9. 29. Esther B. Pein. " ‘Unpopular Measures' Urged for Soviet Economy. Times. November l4. 1989. p. A23. _ 3U. l‘zvestiin. December 14. 1989. pp. 2-4. " New York THE sun or COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 265 figfilfitofiflttfiyzhkfivbhas made a chilling speech on the Soviet economy. It is not the mega“: l co: e the beginning of the end of Soviet economic reform for h a” peno . . .. Mr. Ryzhkov 5 speech was a conservative one, possibly er mg a conservative reaction all along the line. with profound implications for the country's external relations. . . . If. . . the retreat goes on . . .the ghosts of the Sovret economic past. present. and yet to come will await the count: '5 leaders, more terrifyingly, more loaded with chains than before.3| y 2:315 adlrnost relmarkable judgment about a leadership that had just permit- e smantintt ofthe BerlinWall and the end ofc ' ' " " ' — o - out eastern Europe. ' mmumsm through R T1111}: Central Committee met on December 9, officially to discuss the Eyz Eov plan, but in fact it was absorbed with the political situation. The last_ uropean eommumst regimes were collapsing. The 1990 republican sections. would produce legislatures with very large numbers of anti- communist deputies in the Baltic republics, if nowhere e‘" T“ ‘9 "Hie its“ :Zcortltng to the first secretary of the Leningrad obkorn. “the reality of“ ye is a stormy politization, and with it a olariz ' ' ' ' and Opinions-"n p anon of positions, Views. 1 II: the Central Committee at least, the main concern seemed to be the ac of decrstveness of the leadership. At the December plenum the mem- bers of the comminee all expressed their confidence in Gorbachev, but ' eVerythtng they said betrayed their lack of confidence. An obkom first secretary 1n Kazakhstan expressed the mood most dramatically when he discussed a response of Viktor M. Chebrikov, former chairman of the KGB to a question from a Kazakh party official: ’ "Thereis a collapse of our federation. of our Union. . . . Don't you see this?" gczelirtkovivsatd. “Yes. we in Politburo see that there are many alarming gndpifoitpz. e are dotng everything to ensure that this collapse does not occur. “on of metfislpcbcur, Vilttor ivlikhatlovich stated. then we [the current composi- pmflyzed by 5:1:1'0] will resign. Ever-since this, my comrades and l have been Still can“: Sleep- l131.31.;est1t.\n--—ts therPolttburo confident about what it is doing? I fit the December 1989 plenum of the Central Committee (and periodiCally om then on) Gorbachev did threaten to resign. This did not mean he would step down as the country's leader. Rather. he was threatening to leave his 31. "Soviet Reform Deferred " Financt' ' - H . at Times. D 32. lzvesrtta TsK KPSS. no. 4 (April 1990), p. 40. camber 15' 1989' p. 18' 33. Izvesma TSK KPSS. no. 4 (April 1990). p. 47. TQOTTLV £19 XVd 172:31 170/83/10 lNHWNHHAOD—lfl room .9 9° HIIIII‘IIIHIIEII 266 THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE post as head of the Communist party and rule the country from the post of president. in fact. he had already decided to make this move. ‘ 7 The End of the Party's Leading Role 7 this; an of 1"98‘9’Gdrsaenev was keeping his intentions to himself. At “cc-“mi” reins-m changes the same time that he endorsed radical evuuuunv “new. , Politburo membership pointed toward a conservative position. On Septem- ber 19 several elderly arid ineffective Conservatives were removed from the Politburo but were replaced by Vladimir A. Kriuchkov. chairman of the KGB. and Yury D. Masliukov. chairman of Gosplan and first deputy “‘ f “c r‘cuncil of Ministers. Boris K. Page. chairman of the Party c' simian or the .. Control Commission. was elected a candidate member. in the same more cautious direction. but Ryzhkov' 5 plan pointed Ryzhkov was not the leader of the country. If Gorbachev had ever praised ss would have approved. the Abalkin plan. Ryzhkov and the Congre Ryzhkov had always favored the price increases in the Abailtin plan that he had been forced to postpone. The postponement showed the hand of the general secretary at work. Many members of the Central Committee were not convinced of Gorbachev's resolve for reform. but in fact he had reason to postpone difficult economic decisions in the winter of 1989—90. He was preparing to abolish Article 6 of the USSR Constitution that established the "leading" role of the Communist party and to create an elected presidency from which to rule. It made sense to postpone economic decisions until after he com- pleted the consolidation of his power. Indeed. both at the time and in retrospect, it was easy to see the panic of late 1989 as the result of a deliberate campaign on the part or Gorbachev and his lieutenants in charge of the media to set the stage for abolishing Article 6, to extend extraordinary powers to Gorbachev as president1 to legitimize radical economic reform that would be introduced after Gorbachev became president. Through the decades Article 6 of the USSR Constitution had come to be seen as legitimizing the role played by the Communist party in the Soviet Union. but if read literally. it was vaguer titan was commonly perceived: “The leading and guiding force of Soviet society and the nucleus of its political system, of all state organizations. is the Communist Party of the Soviet Unidn. . . . The Communist Party. armed with Marxism-Leninism. determines the general policy of the USSR [and] directs the great construc- THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 267 tive worlt of the Soviet people." Article 6 did not outlaw other patties although it certainly implied that they did not have the right to rule Eveii more important, it did not specify how the Communist party would rule that is, through a ruling party Politburo and general secretary rather thati through party leaders who sat on the Council of Ministers. ' Moreover. Article 6 did not demand tight discipline within the Commu- nist party or the suppression of dissent within it. Given that all significant government and administrative officials were members of the party its leading role could have meant no more than that certain important pbsts were reserved for party members. (The fact that the top officials of ' the Clinton administration were all Democrats does not mean that the Demo- cratic National Committee became the ruling organ of the country in 1993 or that the chairman of the Democratic National Committee became the country’s leader.) The leading role of the Communist party was also cot"- patible With competitive primaries within the party or the competitivle $81631;ng of the two branches of the party favored by Aleksandr Yakovlev _ Once it became clear that the republican elections in the most radical republics would be free. it seemed likely that non-Communists would win in at least a few. Either Soviet forces would have to intervene to maintain Communist party supremacy or Article 6 would have to be ignored or rempved. If the Soviet leaders Were willing to use Soviet forces to overturn figgpitézrégpsult. they should have intervened earlier to keep the elections The logic of the situation was clear. and when the Congress of People’s Deputies reopened on December 11. a number of deputies proposed putting the issue of Article 6 on the agenda. Gorbachev was “wary.” “testy " and temperamental" as he fought against the proposal}1 He won. bui by a surprisingly narrow margin of 1.139 to 839. Various Western correspon— dents discerned hints in Gorbachev's statements that he was going to yield 0n Article 6; it is likely that his aides were making the point privately to the correspondents in background briefings}s Indeed. one deputy who was a party official declared the party was only postponing the decision;16 34. Francis X. Clines “Soviet Con _ _ ’ . gress Reconvenes Toda th ' thgisedlt: may; New York Times. December 12. 1989 1) Al? 6 Joy Of Spnng ' ‘ ' II ' H I I II 1939’ P. A] lines. Signals from Gorbachev, New York Times. December 15. 36. Vraroi (vrieacheredmi) s”ezd narodrt _ ykh dc utarov RSFSR 27 ' ' — dekabrm genial.- Stenagraflcheskh‘ niche! (Moscow: Rispublika. 1992i. "mama [5 w- in 93:3T VO/SZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd tLNEIWNHEIAOD—lfl 200 F} .3 \9 January 1990. In 1993 they told a push him to the decision. as he was wavering in pub codes from party committees to governmen Article 6 had long been urged by the group of adviser Yakovlev. .and,,fi9[b%°h9l’ may for his 1989 decision to permit fre THE END or COMMUNIST PARTY aura was agitated about this decision as late as Canadian correspondent that they had to 37 In fact. he had already made up his mind. Even lic. he was taking steps to transfer property and t committees.3a The abolition of s headed by Aleksandr have been reasonably certain as early as .1383 that he would choose this optionL'lt' is probable that a primary reason e republican elections was a to 6 from the USSR Constitution virtually inevi- 6. especially as interpreted by Gorbachev. was olitburo. and Gorbachev was maneuvering inevitable before he could be accused of make the removal of Article table. The removal of Article deeply controversial within the P to ensure that the decision was approving it. _ On January 22 Gorbachev presented the Politburo with his program of political reform. which was drafted by AleksandrYakovlev. On the basis of leaks from Gorbachev‘ s adVisers. the Western press reported that the Polit- because of conservative resista buro did not reach consensus removal of Article 6.3“ In fact. memoirs indicate that the really contentious issue was the nature of economic reform and price adjustments. with Ryzhkov and his deputy premiers unsuccessfully trying to push Gorbachev to attack the problem of financial stabilization. On January 30 Steve Hurst. head of CNN's Moscow bureau, reported on the basis of a leak that Gorbachev was thinking of resigning as general secretary and retaining only his state job. On February 4 Gorbachev permitted-wand surely helped stimulate—a demonstration :of 100.000 to 300.000 people in Moscow against Article 6. p . . . i It is not clear‘whether this-orchestration was necessary. Premier Ryzhkov not unreasonably'sai'd that amultipany system was already a fait accompli. On Februat'yj.=atter a stormy session..the Central Committee agreed to Deputies passed the _ ‘ . ' Ii . _ 37. Donald Murray. A II) .v- $9 1995LPP. 32-87. . , v . f~ . . 38. Cherniaev. Shert' let .r Goi-bachevym} p. 33 I lily-“tr: .‘i: 1.7 It? i' I! 39. Quentin Peel. “Gorbachev Threatened by Split in Soviet undership." Finan- cial Times. January 24. 1990. p. 26; ' _ 40. For the changes see Izvestt't'a. March 16. 1990. pp. 2-3. - “ Marches 199mm Congress °f Pwpleis THE END on COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 269 The Creation of a Presidency and the Destruction of the Party At the same time that he abolished Article 6. Gorbachev decided to transform the structure of government and introduce a presidency. The structure be had introduced in 1989 was a strange form of parliamentary system with all power vested in the legislature but without a strong prime minister. In a normal parliamentary system the leader of the dominant party, Mum.“ warn—z...a .—.= t - mus 4m -—- '- ' :— ’ . _.... .‘ggrgffi? 1gp: _ .nria nfii'lh‘fi‘ r 4“A: T- “a _ H V5,“? Ernieggu: figure. its Hi5 vcvuuiun ulu yruiiu nin- 93-5.. an... _..a Sr cm.-- Soviet Union Gorbachev occupied the post of Speaker of the parliament. Officially he had to consult with the forty—two members of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet to take such an action as introducing troops to quell riots in Azerbaichthan.41 This was a satisfactory arrangement if the Commu- msts in the parliament were subject to party discipline. but it left the leader With few effective levers of executive power if party discipline weakened. When Gorbachev decided to replace the parliamentary system with a presidential one. he chose one closer to the French system than to the American. The post of chairman of the C0uncil of Ministers was retained and like the post of French premier, its incumbent was responsible both td the president and the legislature. Ryzhkov remained chairman of the Coun- crl of Ministers until December 1990. Like the American president's cabi- net. that of the USSR president had to be confirmed by the legislature. But in one respect he was less powerful than the American president: the Congress of People's Deputies was still “the supreme organ" of the govern- ment and had the exclusive right to change the constitution:12 When the system was replicated in independent Russia with an even stronger president who had the power to appoint cabinet ministers without confirmation by the Congress. Boris Yeltsin found the powers of the office too liirnted. When the Russian Congress disagreed with his choice of premier and with his policy. he did not adopt the policy of cohabitation with the legislature that was implied in the System and that Francois Minerrand accepted in France. Instead. he dissolved the Congress. Limited power was a potential problem at the USSR level as well. but Gorbachev retained strong majority support within the USSR Congress until the Soviet Union was dissolved. ‘ runny. Democracy ofDespars. p. 85. _ . or a good discussion of the strength of the Con ress see the def f th preSidency by Anatoly Luk'ianov. Izvestt't‘a. March 331990.. pp. Vl—-2. an“ o 3 new VO/SZ/TO routtiv erg XVd 92:21 lNEIWNHHAOD—lfl S00 FF} 270 THE END or COMMUNIST PARTY RULE The new president was supposed to be elected, but Gorbachev refused to submit to a popular election and demanded that the Congress of People's first five years. It was a fatal mistake Deputies elect him president fer the When he had to face a Yeltsin who did run in an election in Russia in 1991 and could claim a legitimacy that Gorbachev had been afraid-to seek. The double-aagedyisthatGorbachevwould have won in 1990- Yeltsin. his only Upyunotu or ....._, was unlikely to run against him because he was unlikely to win. Gorbachev would have done very well outside the largest cities of Russia, andhalf th Russian electorate lived in villages and towns with a population smaller than 80,000 people. Moreover. half the votes were cast outside of Russia. Gorbachev was certain to run extremely well against the Russian nationalist Yeltsin in the populous republics of Belorus— --—“‘r' have received 90 sia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and in Central Asia. He woo... ..... to 95 percent of the vote in KazakhStau and Central Asia.43 The real problem may have been the mechanism of the election. In drafts of the Union Treaty a president needed both a majority of republics and a majority of the popular vote to be elected. The decision, mentioned at the end of the last chapter. to equate the autonomous and Union republics may have been motivated by the thought that it would be easier to get a majority use of the generally conservative g of thirty—four republics than of fifteen beca ublics. But an immediate pres- and compliant nature of the autonomous rep e constitutional issues to a boil identia] election would have brought all thes at a time when, wisely or not, Gorbachev wanted them dealt with in negotiations of a new Union Treaty. The monumental event that occurred in the abolition of Article 6, but ever, was not the creation of a presidency or the destruction of the power of the Communist party. Abolishing Article 6 meant only that other parties could compete and win in elections. The leadership had long recognized that the Baltic republics might have a much looser relationship with Moscow. perhaps analogous to that of Finland under the tsarist regime, and thus it did not matter that other parties might win in them. In Russia. eastern and central Ukraine, Belorussia, Kazakhstan. and Central Asia, the Communist party retained a solid core of support and the enormous political and economic resources to keep most -4___..=.n a? nail? giggdififit , . V. the first months of 1990, how- 43. At the time of the March 1991 referendum, the Central Asian republics and electors of the three Slavic republics, Kazakhstan had ill percent of the number of the but 21.5 percent of the actual votes the three republics cast in the election and 28 percent of the votes they cast in favor-of the referendum. Izvestiia, March 27. l99l. p. 3. ‘7 I THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE . 271 amb. . . . . . . the 1:33:15a322téiliil11: the party. Those areas included 90 percent of [h It kwa: easy to Imagine the Communist party in the Soviet Union serving e n. of function the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PR1) served in Menco, the Christian Democrats in the first four decades of postwar Italy, and the Liberal Democrats in the first four and a half decades I of postwarllaparrt. It might lose some provincial and even big city elections I can political system would loosen ever the years hutihere was no reason to believe this had to happen during Gorbachev’ s lifetime Although Article 6 said nothing about the relationship between the organs and officials on the one hand and the members of the party oi: th: other, Gorbachev's revolution in 1990 dealt with that very relationshi Successful perestroika no doubt required that the party organs graduali’l loosen party discipline, transfer more power to Communists working in Lil: state organs, and concentrate more on electoral strategy. Nevertheless party disc1plme within the British parliament or the Chicago political ma: chine under Mayor Daley showed that parties could remain fairly central- ized 1n a democratic political system with a free market. Gorbachev, however, was able to force through his interpretation that the end of the leading role of the party meant the end of the leading role of party organs and the party first secretaries at each level. For himself this meant the end of the power of the Central Committee and Politburo to make polic decrsrons that had authority over him in his new presidential office. Indeed, even as the decision was being made, Gorbachev was bypassing the Polit: buro on the crucial matters of the future of eastern Europe and German umficatton.“ In the fall of 1989 the plan proposed by the Ryzhkov govern- ment to the Congress of People’s Deputies was not submitted to the Polit- buro beforehand for approval—an unprecedented act.” Even. more important in the short run was the end of the authority of provmcial party organs over local institutions. The Communist party had been skillfully organized to perform vital functions in the existing political and econoan system. Movement toward market reform would end the need for many of those functions and change the character of the party, but 44. For Germany. see Hannes Adomeit. “Gorbachev. German Unification. and the Collapse of Empire." Past-SavierAflairs, vol. ID (July—September 1994). pp. 2l7—l9. 4S. Mikhail Nenashev Poslednee ' ' ' I I I , pravrtel srvo SSSR: Lichnarrr', Sviderel’r‘r a gluing: (Moscow. Krom, 1993). pp. 40-41; and Valentin Pavlov. Upashchen It“ shanvr; mansovyl Much I: rynku (Moscow: Term. 1995). p. 152. ' VO/QZ/TO TQOTTLV 309 XVd L2=ZT J. lNHWNHHAOB—lfl room Q as was done in France). They could 272 the party organs were dis factors in the increasing econ Eighteen Havana power'to mended before new institutions were created to rform their functions. As in the case of economic reform, Gorbachev seemed to give very little thought to the problems of the transition. The consequences Were disastrous: the absence of an adrninistr economic coordination in the provinces was ative organ that could provide one of the main unrecognized omic disintegration in 1990 and 1991. Committee or the British Conservative party obligate government officials to carry out 7 their decisions. and it is understandable that want to turn the Central Committee into an institution analogous to them and create the type of subservient cabinet found in the United States. The truly surprising aspect of his decisions in early 1990 was that although he remained general secretary of the Communist party as well as president, be essentially aban— cloned the party as an instrument of his own rule. First. Gorbachev seemed insensitive to the economic implications of the destruction of the power of the local party organs. The growing indepen- dence of the republics made the problem difficult to resolve. but there were interim solutions. The top government officials of provinces. cities. and counties could be appointed by the president. as was to occur in Georgia almost immediately and in Russia from the fall of 1991 through 1995 (and be given the authority of the old first The party first secretaries could use their old powers and functions. as and Kazakhstan. If the central The Democratic National secretaries. as was done in Russia. control of local soviets to retain most of was to occur in Ukraine. Central Asia. resources. it would also have government retained significant financial retained enormous influence with local officials. This became the main instrument of control of the Yeltsin government in 1996.“l The most serious problem occurred in Russia. especially once Boris Yeltsin became its leader. If the Russian government were to _appoint the provincial leaders and they were to be loyal to a Yeltsin determined to break away from central control. Gorbachev would have great difficulty main- taining administrative control. If the new Russian Communist party were to oppose Gorbachev. it would only partially help him if the first secretaries retained de facto power. Yet the events in Russia were not inevitable. The Russian Communist party was to be headed by Ivan Polozkov. who had worked closely with 46. Richard Saltwa. Russian Politics and Society (Routledge. 1993). pp. 179—200. THE‘END d'h'COMmrs'r' and? i is: Gorbachev in southern Russia. Gorbachev did not take all power from the Russran. party apparatus because it had moved into opposition; ratirer. it moved into opposition because he took all power from it. He seemed obsessed that the Russian first secretary would gain control of the circular flow of power. And he seemed not to realize that once the establishment of a presidency broke the circular flow of power. he could afford to give the Russran first secretary and the regional party officials the kind of power :hey had in Ukraine so long as they remained obligated to enforce central aw. ' I Similarly. as will be seen. the victory of Yeltsin in Russia was far from inevitable. Gorbachev acted in a way that maximized Yeltsin's chances of becoming leader of Russia. He seemed to believe that Yeltsin could be useful to him on the one hand in giving Russians a more territorialiy based sense of national identity and on the other providing a Russian nationalist arrest that conid be new in balancing Russia and the other renublics. He certainly could have arrested Yeltsin or removed him fromrpower ior insubordination if Yeltsin continued to violate central laws. (Think what would happen if an American state governor began acting as Yeltsin did.) Gorbachev’s political calculatiOns were flawed for reasons to be discussed later. but at a minimum it was certain that he was thinking in pelitical terms and neglecting the administrative implications of what he was doing. He seemed totally unaware of the political problems that would be created by administrative disorder. The Failure of the Communists as a Parliamentary Party Whatever the consequences of the destruction of the Communist party apparatus as an administrative organization. the Communists seemed well placed to be an effective parliamentary party. By espousing nationalism limited to the republican level. Yeltsin was allowing Gorbachev and the Communists to support the necessity of a unified decentralized USSR for both security and economic reasons. By calling increasingly for radical economic reform. Yeltsin was allowing Gorbachev and the Communists to support a managed economic transition of the Chinese type that preserved economic growth and a social safety net. The appeals that Gennady Zyuganov used for the Russian Communist party in 1996 could easily and effectively have been used by Gorbachev in 1990~indeed. much more easily because he had the good will and support of the West. VO/QZ/TO r TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 82=ZT lNHWNHHAOD—lfl 900m 7 1 Party, batman carefully considered r--. D THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE 274 In short. the Communists as a party were far better positioned than was d or even a responsible social Yeltsin to take a' convincing populist start democratic one. The party needed to defend itself vigorously against the charge that it embodied the nomenklatura. but it could have proudly pro- claimed its abandonment of its administrative role instead of remaining largely silent about it. It could have boasted that it remained a transforming theinterests of the workers and the “scrip-M 3? convincingly security of the country in new cu.............. -. claimed that it alone had the ability to carry through a coordinated legisla- tive program in the USSR: republican. and local legislatures. A number of local Communist politicians did take such a position. but they were then denounced by the general secretary‘s men and the state media as being m"canteens; unacceptable was Gorbachev never seriously tried to transform the Communist party into a collection of politicians who would work effectively in the new condi- e regional party secretaries. and he was tions. He did conduct a purge of th helped in this by the defeats many of them suffered in the 1989 election. Yet the obvious implication of the election defeats and the abandonment of the 'party‘ 5 administrative role was that party officials should be recruited from people with the skills of modern politicians rather than of plant managers. A key Ligachev aide advocated this in two articles in Pravda in May 1989.41 It did not occur. Obkorn first secretaries were changed in 59 percent of the oblasts be- tween January 1. 1989. and July 1990. almost all of them after the March 1989 election. The biographies of the new first secretaries gave all the appearance of centralized selection or at least selection according to central guidelines. An astonishing 82 percent had been born between 1935 and 1941. 94 percent between 1933 and 1941. When a new obkom first secre- tary was elected in Leningrad. Gorbachev attended the plenum and every- one made it clear that Boris V. Gidaspov was his man. The head of the local writers' union thanked Gorbachev for not sending in a variag [a Varangian. or outsider]. and Gidaspov himself thanked Gorbachev for his election.“ It was remarkable how little changed in the biographies of the obkom lies that younger men were being selected. first secretaries. Table 8-1 imp but in this respect it is misleading. The first secretaries of January 1989 47. V. Legostaev. “lntellektual'nOe dostoinstvo panii," Pravda. May 2. 1989. p. ‘2'. and May 3. 1989. p. 2. 48. Leningradslmia pravda. July 14. 1989. pp. 1—3. THE END or cosmums'r PARTY RULE 275 Table 8-1. Characteristics 0 0b - . . _ lirepmmI [985—91 f kom F trSt Secretaries m the Russmn Percent unless otherwise specified AWN Average age Five years or Year year at admrsston Engineering ‘ Agronomy more work in of mil to party education education production March I98I 1923 25 54 (N = 56) 30 57 March 1985 (named [are-83) 1924 (N = 40) 25 57 27 60 March I985 (named 1983-84) 1931 (N = 16) 26 69 31 50 January I. 1989 I913 (N = 56) 26 55 36 04 New secretaries I989—June I990 1938 (N = 33) 25 64 36 70 Source: The bioglaphies of the ' _ party ulflfllll con: from man score The ‘ ' :2: gfhatboolu or the Hui strain errkaia entrildapedirh. 1L moraines wflerELh‘e‘dap be fem m the 19'5'1 at us“ mum“ In] [9“. pa 3 m the jfllll'llll I'zvuma included people in place for some years. The new first secretaries averaged tfifty-one years of age on January 1. 1998: the first secretaries appointed rogth‘laiifgwtiwtw were fifty-two at the time of their selection. II'S secretaries were on ineers and a ' ' ' the same proportions as before. Thge party was fgfzfltfigmrzfigng: nocratic pfficials to compete in the new elections but men with even more managenal expenence in production. The proportion of first secretaries that had at least five years of production experience rose to 70 percent for the first secretaries chosen in 1989 and the first half of 1990. In only two respects did the experiences of the new first secretaries differ from those of their predecessors. First, in the past Gorbachev had often selected them from outside the oblast to solidify his control over it After January 1. 1989. however. none of the new obkom first secretaries was an outsider. Second, the oblast formerly was dominated by its capital. and this dominance both reflected and was reflected in the fact that the top obkom officrals usually had long worked in oblast-level institutions. In 1981 for exatnple. the obkom first secretaries had worked in the capital in the oblast apparattls for an average seventeen years. not counting any previous work in the crty. Although the new first secretaries of 1989-90 were insiders and came to their posts directly from oblast-level posts. they often had worked I I' I' n I' - __.——-pu VO/QZ/TO TQOITLV 3T9 XVd 62=ZT ILNEIWNHEIAODiLfl 900m 276 THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE only a short time at the ohlast level and came from smaller cities and county seats outside the oblast center. In one sense the new pattern of personnel selection corresponded to the geographical locus of support of the Communist party. The party had done better in the small towns and countryside in the 1989 election than it had in the larger cities. The new first secretaries no doubt reflected better the mood wofthe. average Communist voter than did people from the large cities. But the new i. cians most likely to arrest the erosion of support in the iatge cities. party of the advanced industrial proletariat was to become the party of the old, the peasant, and the small town worker. it was in deep political difficulty. 7 . Finally. no attempt was made to turn the Communist party into an effective parliamentary pan-y. Those officials who voted with Mikhail Gorbachev dominated the USSR Congress of People's Deputies. Gorbachev. however. worked as a chairman of the Supreme Soviet who stood above parties. not as an American Speaker of the House who leads the majority party. Deputies with voting records very similar to Gorbachev‘s fret secretaries from small towns scarcely were the kind of politi-w S on were damned as conserv atives. Gorbachev made no effort to build a centrist coalition. He did not use the Politburo to hammer out party legislative strategy, but abandoned it altogether. The same problem was to occur when the Russian Congress of People's Deputies assembled. One of the largest blocs in the Congress called itself the Communists of Russia. It seemed to have no meaningful contact with the new Russian Communist party or Gorbachev's all-Union Communi st party. The founding congress of the Russian Communist party began just as the First Congress of People's Deputies ended. and the party leaders failed to elect most of the legislative leaders to the party Central Committee. There seemed to be little interaction between. for example. the Central Committee secretary for agrarian policy and the relatively conservative agramiki (agrarian) faction in the Congress. There was little contact be- tween Communist faction in the USSR Congress and the Communists of Russia in the Russian Congress. But if the Communist party was not to become a parliamentary party and was not to be a leading organ. what role would it have? If regional party secretaries deprived of administrative duties were to be chosen from among small town officials with engineering and managerial experience. what were they supposed to do? If any responsiveness on their part to public fears THE END OF COMMUNIST PARTY RULE “277 labout market forces 'was to be denounced as unacceptable conservatism s:w'were Cormnunists to compete with other patties that were more nsmve to public opinion? It was difficult to avoid the sense that Gorbachev had no more feeh'n . . . g for democrac . for ma market. Y as an institution than he dld VO/QZ/TO F TQOTTLV ng‘ XVd 62=ZT tLNEIWNHElAOD—lfl Loom ...
View Full Document

Page1 / 15

Hough2 - 248 SOVIET FEDERALISM AND THE PROBLEM OF RUSSIA...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 15. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online