One Soviet's sober assessment of conference

While some Western observers are abuzz with excitement over this week's Communist Party conference, Soviet observers are taking a more low-key approach. Here are the views of one longtime Soviet observer of the political scene after the first day's proceedings.

On Gorbachev's speech:

``It was a decent performance. Though of course there were some crazy ideas - like the proposal to make party first secretaries the heads of the local soviets [representative bodies]. Where did an intelligent man like Gorbachev get that idea from?

Fortunately Abalkin [Leonid Abalkin, a leading economist who was one of the first to speak after Gorbachev] jumped on that idea pretty quickly.''

On the presidential system: ``Of course Gorbachev has designed it for himself. But I just don't see it happening - I can't see a new system being put in place from top to bottom.''

On what the conference might achieve:

``I don't think we're going to see any concrete results. One thing it should try to do is push ahead on glasnost [openness]. We have to resolve the issue of censorship once and for all.

I want to have a list of things on my desk when I am writing that are defined as state secrets. We don't have that yet.

When I go to the archives to consult documents, I am told `get permission first from the Central Committee.' We need a law on glasnost. The conference can at least push that subject along.''

But ``if we want to become a civilized society'' the main thing is to keep moving forward, he commented. ``Right now we're in a transitional period.''

Isn't it a long transition, he was asked.

``What do you want, we're not Luxembourg. If we were, we could move faster. If we were, perhaps even [second-ranking Yegor] Ligachev could handle things.''

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK