PERESTROIKA, GLASNOST AND GORBACHEV REFORMS

GORBACHEV REFORMS

In a 1984 speech, in which he outlined his goals as General Secretary, Gorbachev initiated liberal reform policies. Domestic policy in the Gorbachev era was conducted primarily under three programs, whose names became household words: perestroika (“rebuilding” or “restructing”), glasnost (“public voicing” or “openness”), and demokratizatsiya (democratization).

Demokratizatsiya (democratization) was the campaign initiated in the late 1980s by Gorbachev to expand the participation of a variety of interest groups in political processes. Glasnost is a Russian term for public discussion of issues and accessibility of information to the public. It was devised by Gorbachev to provoke public discussion, challenge government and party bureaucrats, and mobilize support for his policies through the media. Perestroika, literally rebuilding, was Gorbachev's campaign to revitalize the communist party, the Soviet economy, and Soviet society by reforming economic, political, and social mechanisms.

Gorbachev was amazing blunt and honest about the Soviet Union’s problem and the need to fix them. Under Gorbachev, political prisoners like Sarakov were freed and religion was allowed to operate openly. Laws were enacted to give people on a grassroots level more of a say in their own affairs.

Gorbachev allowed churches and monasteries to reopen and received the Orthodox patriarch to the Kremlin, for the first since 1943. In 1988, he ignored the wishes of party elders and announced plans to establish a new "parliament" called the Congress of People's Deputies, with two thirds of its members elected directly by the people. Elections were held and the Congress convened in 1989.

Gorbachev believed he could reform Communism to save it. He was able to make radical changes by exaggerating the threat of “conservative” appartchiki. He was able to dismantle the central command structure, the Party Secretariat, allowing him to rule through the revived elected soviets.

Gorbachev and the Soviet Economy

Before Gorbachev's arrival, Soviet leaders simply accepted rationing and the status quo instead of trying to improve things. The economy stagnated. Describing the Soviet economy, Gorbachev wrote: "Finances were in disarray, and the economy was out of balance and in deficit. There was a shortage not only of foodstuffs and industrial goods, but also of metals, fuel and building materials."

Gorbachev knew that something needed to be done about the economy but his moves toward economic reforms were uncertain and somewhat inept and based more on the policies of steering a course between hardliners and reforms than on economic realities. Gorbachev's biographer Martin McClauley, told the Los Angeles Times, Gorbachev "didn't understand economics and he didn't understand what he was doing."

Gorbachev economic reforms broke down the old system but failed to replace it with something that worked. Prices rose, supplies grew scarce, the lines got longer, crops rotted because the new economy could not handle the workload. The reforms only seemed to open up the black market and shadow economy while the official economy went broke and eventual collapse seemed inevitable.

Perestroika

Perestroika, literally “rebuilding” or “restructing”, was Gorbachev's campaign to revitalize the communist party, the Soviet economy, and Soviet society by reforming economic, political, and social mechanisms. Perestroika was aimed primarily to the economy, but it was meant to refer to society in general. It was an effort to move the Soviet Union away from the command economy. In many ways the reforms were not all that different from Lenin’s New Economic Policy and Deng’s economic liberalization in China. Gorbachev always said that his goal was to modernize Socialism not overthrow it and thus keep the Communist party in power.

Over the course of Soviet rule, society in the Soviet Union had grown more urbanized, better educated, and more complex. Old methods of exhortation and coercion were inappropriate, yet Brezhnev's government had denied change rather than mastered it. Despite Andropov's efforts to reintroduce some measure of discipline, the communist superpower remained stagnant. Once Gorbachev began to call for bolder reforms, the "acceleration" gave way to perestroika. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Throughout the early years of his rule, Gorbachev spoke of perestroika , but only in early 1987 did the slogan become a full-scale campaign and yield practical results. At that time, measures were adopted on the formation of cooperatives and joint ventures. At a plenum of the CPSU Central Committee in January 1987, Gorbachev explicitly applied the label to his program to devolve economic and political control. In economics, perestroika meant greater leeway in decision making for plant managers, allowance for a certain degree of individual initiative and the chance to make a profit. *

In January 1988, the new Law on State Enterprises went into effect, allowing enterprises to set many of their own prices and wages. Results were disappointing, however, because workers demanded steep wage increases. As the government printed more money, products fetched higher prices outside the official economy. Thus, goods usually sold in state stores at fixed prices quickly disappeared as speculators snatched them up or producers ceased making deliveries. By September 1988, many staple products could not be found even in Moscow. During 1988-89 Gorbachev also issued orders to the oblast party committees to cease interfering in the economy, and he cut the staffs of state committees and ministries involved in the economy in order to prevent them from further tampering with it. Without the state and the party to hold it together and guide it, the economy went into free-fall. *

In the summer of 1990, Yeltsin, who had been elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic in May, backed a radical economic reform plan that would have spelled the end of many special interests within the party. Gorbachev in turn presented a much less extreme "Presidential Plan," which the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed. Yeltsin threatened that the Russian Republic would proceed with the initial radical plan, but shortly thereafter he suspended it. *

In January 1991, Gorbachev replaced Prime Minister Nikolay Ryzhkov, who had become identified with the regime's economic failures, with Valentin Pavlov, an opponent of radical reform. Pavlov immediately created a mass panic by withdrawing large-denomination banknotes from circulation and limiting the public's ability to convert them to lower-denomination notes. The move, designed to reduce the vast sums of money circulating and to punish "black marketeers" hoarding large banknotes, only intensified the people's mistrust of the Soviet government. The economy continued to spiral downward, and Gorbachev and Shevardnadze had to ask the West for financial aid in order to stave off collapse. Gorbachev's retreat marked the last time economic reform dominated the agenda of a Soviet government. *

Perestroika Reforms

Under perestroika, Gorbachev allowed limited private enterprise and private property. Businesses known as cooperatives were started and some deregulation took place. The Soviet economic reforms during Gorbachev's initial period (1985-86) were similar to the reforms of previous regimes: they modified the Stalinist system without making truly fundamental changes. The basic principles of central planning remained. The measures proved to be insufficient, as economic growth rates continued to decline and the economy faced severe shortages. Gorbachev and his team of economic advisers then introduced more fundamental reforms, which became known as perestroika (restructuring). At the June 1987 plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Gorbachev presented his "basic theses," which laid the political foundation of economic reform for the remainder of the decade. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

In July 1987, the Supreme Soviet passed the Law on State Enterprises. The law stipulated that state enterprises were free to determine output levels based on demand from consumers and other enterprises. Enterprises had to fulfill state orders, but they could dispose of the remaining output as they saw fit. Enterprises bought inputs from suppliers at negotiated contract prices. Under the law, enterprises became self-financing; that is, they had to cover expenses (wages, taxes, supplies, and debt service) through revenues. No longer was the government to rescue unprofitable enterprises that could face bankruptcy. Finally, the law shifted control over the enterprise operations from ministries to elected workers' collectives. Gosplan's responsibilities were to supply general guidelines and national investment priorities, not to formulate detailed production plans. *

The Law on Cooperatives, enacted in May 1987, was perhaps the most radical of the economic reforms during the early part of the Gorbachev regime. For the first time since Lenin's NEP, the law permitted private ownership of businesses in the services, manufacturing, and foreign-trade sectors. The law initially imposed high taxes and employment restrictions, but it later revised these to avoid discouraging private-sector activity. Under this provision, cooperative restaurants, shops, and manufacturers became part of the Soviet scene. *

Gorbachev brought perestroika to the Soviet Union's foreign economic sector with measures that Soviet economists considered bold at that time. His program virtually eliminated the monopoly that the Ministry of Foreign Trade had had on most trade operations. It permitted the ministries of the various industrial and agricultural branches to conduct foreign trade in sectors under their responsibility rather than having to operate indirectly through the bureaucracy of trade ministry organizations. In addition, regional and local organizations and individual state enterprises were permitted to conduct foreign trade. This change was an attempt to redress a major imperfection in the Soviet foreign trade regime: the lack of contact between Soviet end users and suppliers and their foreign partners. *

The most significant of Gorbachev's reforms in the foreign economic sector allowed foreigners to invest in the Soviet Union in the form of joint ventures with Soviet ministries, state enterprises, and cooperatives. The original version of the Soviet Joint Venture Law, which went into effect in June 1987, limited foreign shares of a Soviet venture to 49 percent and required that Soviet citizens occupy the positions of chairman and general manager. After potential Western partners complained, the government revised the regulations to allow majority foreign ownership and control. Under the terms of the Joint Venture Law, the Soviet partner supplied labor, infrastructure, and a potentially large domestic market. The foreign partner supplied capital, technology, entrepreneurial expertise, and, in many cases, products and services of world competitive quality. *

Problems with Perestroika

Although they were bold in the context of Soviet history, Gorbachev's attempts at economic reform were not radical enough to restart the country's chronically sluggish economy in the late 1980s. The reforms made some inroads in decentralization, but Gorbachev and his team left intact most of the fundamental elements of the Stalinist system--price controls, inconvertibility of the ruble, exclusion of private property ownership, and the government monopoly over most means of production. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

By 1990 the government had virtually lost control over economic conditions. Government spending increased sharply as an increasing number of unprofitable enterprises required state support and consumer price subsidies continued. Tax revenues declined because revenues from the sales of vodka plummeted during the anti-alcohol campaign and because republic and local governments withheld tax revenues from the central government under the growing spirit of regional autonomy. The elimination of central control over production decisions, especially in the consumer goods sector, led to the breakdown in traditional supplier-producer relationships without contributing to the formation of new ones. Thus, instead of streamlining the system, Gorbachev's decentralization caused new production bottlenecks. *

Glasnost

Glasnost is a Russian term for public discussion of issues and accessibility of information to the public. It was devised by Gorbachev to provoke public discussion, challenge government and party bureaucrats, and mobilize support for his policies through the media.

Gorbachev's glasnost (“openness”) campaign included a reduction in censorship and allowing the press to print articles that were critical of poor economic management and failing of the Communist party in the past. Under Gorbachev, television news shows broadcast the first unslanted reports of the Stalin era, the war in Afghanistan and organized crime.

Gorbachev and his aide Aleksandr Yakovlev introduced glasnost to mobilize the populace in support of perestroika. It was a policy of liberalized information flow aimed at publicizing the corruption and inefficiency of Brezhnev's policies and colleagues--qualities that the Russian public long had recognized and accepted in its leadership but that had never been acknowledged by the Kremlin.

The officially controlled phase of glasnost began the examination of "blank pages" in Soviet history. Literary journals filled up with long-suppressed works by writers such as Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, and Andrey Platonov. Newspapers and magazines carried stories of Stalin-era acts of repression, concentration camps, and mass graves. The works of Marxist theoretician Nikolay Bukharin, shot in 1938 for alleged rightist deviation, appeared. By revealing communist party crimes against the Soviet peoples, and the peasants in particular, glasnost further undermined Soviet federalism and contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

One of the most important elements of glasnost was the reassessment and revaluations of Soviet history by Soviet and Western historian and White Russian emigres. History was news and what was revealed was not always flattering. The limits of this policy was tested with “Forever Grossman,” a novel by Vassily Grossman that compared Lenin's brutality with that of Hitler.

Perhaps the greatest indication of how far glasnost was able to go was when the government was fairly forthcoming about what happened during the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986. The details didn't emerge until 18 days after of the disaster and a lot of information was left put bit it was still progress.

Unintended Consequences of Glasnost

Glasnost was an effort to move away from the Big Lie. Some scholars believe the concept had its roots in the Khrushchev de-Stalinization program—in other word the concept that socialism could be reformed. Towards the end of his tenure Gorbachev came to the conclusion that socialism could not be reformed and hat it must be replaced with democracy.

As perestroika was failing, the two policies designed to promote it, glasnost and demokratizatsiya, were moving out of control. Like perestroika, glasnost had unintended results. Gorbachev had meant to shape the new information emanating from his government in a way that would encourage political participation in support of his economic and social programs. Instead, the process of calling into question the whole Stalinist system inevitably led to questions about the wisdom of Lenin, the man who had allowed Stalin to rise in the first place. Because Lenin was the undisputed founder of the Soviet Union, the process then moved even farther as open questioning signified that somehow the Soviet Union, supposedly immune to such doubts, had lost its raison d'être. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

The official announcement of glasnost , scheduled for mid-1986, was overtaken by an event that lent new meaning to the term. In April 1986, a reactor explosion at the Chernobyl' Nuclear Power Station, located in northern Ukraine, covered Belorussia, the Baltics, parts of Russia, and Scandinavia with a cloud of radioactive dust. The efforts to contain the accident and its attendant publicity were handled with exceptional ineptitude, setting glasnost back by six months as official news sources scrambled to control the flow of information to the public.

Despite the clumsy reaction of the Soviet government to the Chernobyl' episode, Gorbachev turned the accident in his favor by citing it as an example of the need for economic perestroika . Taking their cue from Gorbachev, throughout the Soviet Union the news media reported numerous examples of mismanagement of resources, waste, ecological damage, and the effects of this damage on public health. In the Soviet republics, these revelations had the unintended effect of accelerating the formation of popular fronts pushing for autonomy or independence.

Demokratizatsiya

By 1987 Gorbachev had concluded that introducing his reforms required more than discrediting the old guard. He changed his strategy from trying to work through the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) as it existed and instead embraced a degree of political liberalization. In January 1987, he appealed over the heads of the party to the people and called for demokratizatsiya , the infusion of "democratic" elements into the Soviet Union's sterile, monolithic political process. For Gorbachev, demokratizatsiya meant the introduction of multicandidate--not multiparty--elections for local party and soviet offices. In this way, he hoped to rejuvenate the party with progressive personnel who would carry out his institutional and policy reforms. The CPSU would retain sole custody of the ballot box. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Despite Gorbachev's intentions, the elements of a multiparty system already were crystallizing. In contrast to previous Soviet rulers, Gorbachev had permitted the formation of unofficial organizations. In October 1987, the newspaper of the CPSU youth, Komsomol'skaya pravda , reported that informal groups, so-called neformaly , were "growing as fast as mushrooms in the rain." The concerns of these groups included the environment, sports, history, computers, philosophy, art, literature, and the preservation of historical landmarks. In August 1987, forty-seven neformaly held a conference in Moscow without interference from the authorities. In fact, one of the unofficial attendees was Yeltsin. In early 1988, some 30,000 neformaly existed in the Soviet Union. One year later, their number had more than doubled. These informal groups begot popular fronts, which in turn spawned political parties. The first of those parties was the Democratic Union, formed in May 1988. *

Meaningful changes also occurred in governmental structures. In December 1988, the Supreme Soviet approved formation of a Congress of People's Deputies, which constitutional amendments had established as the Soviet Union's new legislative body. The Supreme Soviet then dissolved itself. The amendments called for a smaller working body of 542 members, also called the Supreme Soviet, to be elected from the 2,250-member Congress of People's Deputies. To ensure a communist majority in the new parliament, Gorbachev reserved one-third of the seats for the CPSU and other public organizations. *

The March 1989 election of the Congress of People's Deputies marked the first time that voters of the Soviet Union ever chose the membership of a national legislative body. The results of the election stunned the ruling elite. Throughout the country, voters crossed off the ballot unopposed communist candidates, many of them prominent party officials, taking advantage of the nominal privilege of withholding approval of the listed candidates. However, the Congress of People's Deputies that emerged still contained 87 percent CPSU members. Genuine reformists won only some 300 seats. *

Gorbachev's Reform Dilemma

Gorbachev increasingly found himself caught between criticism by conservatives who wanted to stop reform and liberals who wanted to accelerate it. When one of these groups pressed too hard, Gorbachev resorted to political methods from the Brezhnev era. For example, when Yeltsin spoke out in 1987 against the slow pace of reform, he was stripped of his Politburo and Moscow CPSU posts. At the party meeting where Yeltsin was removed from his post, Gorbachev personally subjected him to verbal abuse reminiscent of the Stalin era.[Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Despite some setbacks, reform efforts continued. In June 1988, at the CPSU's Nineteenth Party Conference, the first held since 1941, Gorbachev launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. He again called for multicandidate elections for regional and local legislatures and party first secretaries and insisted on the separation of the government apparatus from party bodies at the regional level as well. In the face of an overwhelming majority of conservatives, Gorbachev still was able to rely on party discipline to force through acceptance of his reform proposals. Experts called the conference a successful step in promoting party-directed change from above. *

At an unprecedented emergency Central Committee plenum called by Gorbachev in September 1988, three stalwart old-guard members left the Politburo or lost positions of power. Andrey Gromyko retired from the Politburo, Yegor Ligachev was relieved of the ideology portfolio within the Secretariat, and Boris Pugo replaced Politburo member Mikhail Solomentsev as chairman of the powerful Party Control Committee. The Supreme Soviet then elected Gorbachev chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. These changes meant that the Secretariat, until that time solely responsible for the development and implementation of party policies, had lost much of its power. *

Final Stage of Perestroika: Undermining the USSR

Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer wrote: “Radicalisation of reforms ultimately reduced Gorbachev’s power base and alienated all major elites in Soviet society. The second and final stage of perestroika included the following measures in the political realm: 1) liberalisation of formal political institutions; 2) democratisation of public expression and public association; 3) withdrawal of the party’s key regulatory functions; and 4) weakening of the state’s coercive mechanisms. [Source: “Tajikistan” by Kirill Nourzhanov and Christian Bleuer, Australia National University, 2013 ><]

“The communist apparat eventually began to realise that its very existence was under threat, but it was too late: the dismantling of the mono-organisational order was out of control. In January 1987, secret ballot and multi-candidate elections were introduced in all party organisations. Following the nineteenth CPSU conference in June 1988, party committees at all levels were stripped of the ability to oversee economic agencies, the bulk of administrative powers was transferred to the Soviets and contested elections to a new legislature were announced. In October 1988, Gorbachev was elected chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet, signifying a shift of the loci of power from party structures. ><

“In spring 1989, the new Soviet parliament was convened, which elected Gorbachev president of the USSR. In February 1990, the CPSU formally renounced its monopoly on power. The role of the military in national decision-making decreased; withdrawal from Afghanistan, unilateral concessions to the West and usage of troops in police operations contributed to the decay of the armed forces. The KGB, an erstwhile tool of social control, was exposed to public criticism and lost, to an extent, its coercive edge.” ><

Democracy in the Supreme Soviet

October 28, 1988 was an important day in Soviet political history. It was the first time in the history of the Supreme Soviet that anyone voted "nyet" on proposed legislation. Thirteen delegates raised their hands to vote "no" against anti-demonstration regulations.

The Soviet Union got its first real Parliament in August 1989. At the first session of the First Congress of People's Deputies (the Supreme Soviet) to include democratically-elected non-Communists, Soviets watched in almost stunned silence as legislators, one after another, expressed their displeasure with the Communist government. So many people watched the 13-day proceedings on television that industrial factory output dropped by 20 percent.

Describing the history-making event, Bill Keller wrote in the New York Times, "Watching the Supreme Soviet reinvent itself is little like speed-reading the "The Federalist Papers." Profound questions about the nature of government, mixed with questions about the nature of government mixed with nuts-and-bolts novelties of parliamentary procedure, hurtle past, driven by an urgent sense of the country's proliferating emergencies.”

"Many deputies have pored over books on comparative government, studying British, Swedish and French parliamentary experience, scavenging for ideas." Keller wrote. "How do you write a law? How do you amend it?...How much staff does a legislature need? Where does the information come from."

Rise of an Opposition in the Soviet Union

In May 1989, the initial session of the Congress of People's Deputies electrified the country. For two weeks on live television, deputies from around the country railed against every scandal and shortcoming of the Soviet system that could be identified. Speakers spared neither Gorbachev, the KGB, nor the military. Nevertheless, a conservative majority maintained control of the congress. Gorbachev was elected without opposition to the chairmanship of the new Supreme Soviet; then the Congress of People's Deputies elected a large majority of old-style party apparatchiks to fill the membership of its new legislative body. Outspoken party critic Yeltsin obtained a seat in the Supreme Soviet only when another deputy relinquished his position. The first Congress of People's Deputies was the last moment of real control for Gorbachev over the political life of the Soviet Union. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

In the summer of 1989, the first opposition bloc in the Congress of People's Deputies formed under the name of the Interregional Group. The members of this body included almost all of the liberal members of the opposition. Its cochairmen were Yeltsin, Andrey Sakharov, historian Yuriy Afanas'yev, economist Gavriil Popov, and academician Viktor Pal'm. Afanas'yev summed up the importance of this event, saying, "It is difficult for Gorbachev to get used to the thought that he is no longer the sole leader of perestroika . Other forces are already fulfilling that role." Afanas'yev had in mind not only the Interregional Group. He also was referring to the miners striking in Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Siberia, and the popular fronts in the Baltics, which were agitating for independence. In January 1990, a group of reformist CPSU members announced the formation of Democratic Platform, the first such CPSU faction since Lenin banned opposition groups in the 1920s. *

A primary issue for the opposition was the repeal of Article 6 of the constitution, which prescribed the supremacy of the CPSU over all the institutions in society. Faced with opposition pressure for the repeal of Article 6 and needing allies against hard-liners in the CPSU, Gorbachev obtained the repeal of Article 6 by the February 1990 Central Committee plenum. Later that month, before the Supreme Soviet, he proposed the creation of a new office of president of the Soviet Union, to be elected by the Congress of People's Deputies rather than the people. Accordingly, in March 1990 Gorbachev was elected for the third time in eighteen months to a position equivalent to Soviet head of state. Former first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet Anatoliy Luk'yanov became chairman of the Supreme Soviet. *

By the time of the Twenty-Eighth Party Congress in July 1990, the CPSU was regarded by liberals, intellectuals, and the general public as anachronistic and unable to lead the country. The CPSU branches in many of the fifteen Soviet republics began to split into large pro-sovereignty and pro-union factions, further weakening central party control. In a series of humiliations, the CPSU had been separated from the government and stripped of its leading role in society and its function in overseeing the national economy. For seventy years, it had been the cohesive force that kept the union together; without the authority of the party in the Soviet center, the nationalities of the constituent republics pulled harder than ever to break away from the union. *

Failure of Gorbachev’s Reform Effort

Perestroika ultimately failed because Gorbachev did not have a firm vision of what the Soviet system was to be replaced with. Perestroika and Glasnost opened the floodgates of change and are credited with starting the chain of events that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The Communist party under Gorbachev didn't have the clear lines of authority and the irrefutable ideological dogma that had maintained discipline and held the party together in the past. Among Gorbachev's problems were his "inability to tolerate strong figures around him, his reliance on the KGB, which eventually betrayed him; his longstanding failure to grasp the realities of economic reform." When Gorbachev was losing his popularity a popular cry was "Gorbachev to Chernobyl!"

Gorbachev's efforts to introduce democracy and free market reforms were thwarted by Communist party bosses and appartchniks who didn't want to give up their perks. Intellectuals acting under glasnost discredited the system and robbed its of it legitimizing ideology. At the same time, no liberal institutions or legal framework—necessary for making a market democracy function—were instituted. On thing that happened when the Soviet Union collapsed was that industries and regions controlled by party loyalists ended up being run by the same loyalists only after the collapse they became concerned with enriching themselves rather than supporting the state.

Gorbachev's new system bore the characteristics of neither central planning nor a market economy. Instead, the Soviet economy went from stagnation to deterioration. At the end of 1991, when the union officially dissolved, the national economy was in a virtual tailspin. In 1991 the Soviet GDP had declined 17 percent and was declining at an accelerating rate. Overt inflation was becoming a major problem. Between 1990 and 1991, retail prices in the Soviet Union increased 140 percent. [Source: Library of Congress, July 1996 *]

Under these conditions, the general quality of life for Soviet consumers deteriorated. Consumers traditionally faced shortages of durable goods, but under Gorbachev, food, wearing apparel, and other basic necessities were in short supply. Fueled by the liberalized atmosphere of Gorbachev's glasnost (literally, public voicing) and by the general improvement in information access in the late 1980s, public dissatisfaction with economic conditions was much more overt than ever before in the Soviet period. The foreign-trade sector of the Soviet economy also showed signs of deterioration. The total Soviet hard-currency debt increased appreciably, and the Soviet Union, which had established an impeccable record for debt repayment in earlier decades, had accumulated sizable arrearages by 1990.

Image Sources:

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, U.S. government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Page Top

© 2008 Jeffrey Hays

Last updated May 2016

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of country or topic discussed in the article. This constitutes 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are the copyright owner and would like this content removed from factsanddetails.com, please contact me.