Glasnost, Perestroika, and the Socialist Community

Glasnost, Perestroika, and the Socialist Community

Glasnost, Perestroika, and the Socialist Community

Glasnost, Perestroika, and the Socialist Community

Synopsis

Although there is an abundance of scholarly inquiry into the effects on the Soviet socialist system of the historic reforms under Gorbachev's administration, relatively little attention has been paid to the impact these reforms might have on socialism outside the Soviet Union. This book makes a preliminary assessment of the impact of glasnost, perestroika, and related Soviet reforms on selected socialist countries. The sampling of socialist countries studied are roughly representative of the types of socialist states in existence today. The countries studied include Poland, Czechoslovakia, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

Excerpt

The extraordinary changes that have been taking place in the Soviet Union since Gorbachev's ascent to power have not lacked in receiving attention in the West. Gorbachev's efforts to encourage openness in most areas of the Soviet system, and his attempts to restructure the Soviet bureaucracy, generally referred to as glasnost and perestroika, respectively, are potentially the most significant changes to take place in the Soviet Union since Lenin's time. The importance of these changes has not gone unnoticed by the Western community of scholars. Indeed, the amount of literature being written on glasnost and perestroika is nearly overwhelming, and the crush of material has been compounded by the abundance of information coming from the Soviets themselves. One Soviet scholar writes of "piles of file folders containing six-month-old newspaper clippings marked 'urgent' or 'critical' that have now been buried by more recent 'priority' articles."

The heightened degree of interest being paid to the Soviet Union is unquestionably commendable. The changes taking place in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev are historic. The acquisition of a better understanding of these changes is a fundamental responsibility of the scholarly community. However, the bulk of the attention from this community is focused on what Gorbachev's reforms mean for the future of the Soviet political, economic, and social systems. Relatively little attention has been paid to how glasnost, perestroika, and related programs might impact on socialism outside the Soviet Union. As the predominate socialist state in the world, events taking place in . . .

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