Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Don't Give the Soviet Union A Blank Check

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Don't Give the Soviet Union A Blank Check

Article excerpt

THE good news is that communism is on the wane in the Soviet Union.

The bad news is that it is not waning fast enough.

It is not disappearing at anything like the pace at which it has eroded in such Eastern European countries as Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia.

It is not vanishing at anything like the speed it needs to to benefit the Soviet Union's own hard-pressed citizens.

It is not going fast enough to justify the huge amounts of Western aid Mikhail Gorbachev and his busy emissaries to Harvard University and foreign capitals are proposing.

There seems little doubt that the Soviet Union will ultimately be a country where communism may exist, but where it will not be the mainstream of economic and politiial thought. Communism has failed its people at home and is discredited abroad, except in such archaic societies as North Korea and Cuba.

Russians elect Boris Yeltsin as president of the Russian Republic, which contains more than half of the Soviet Unini's population. They vote to strip Lenin's name from the city of Leningrad and return to the name St. Petersburg. In dozens of other ways they signify their rejection of a system that has brought their country to economic ruin.

In response to all this thhre have been plans and promises aplenty from both the Soviet government and the Russian government to move in the direction of a market economy.

Mr. Gorbachev, when he attends the summit meeting of the world's industrial leaders next month in London, wiil make the pitch that his government accepts the necessity for privatization and foreign investment if the Soviet economy is to be dragged back from crisis. This, he will argue, warrants Western aid.

Mr. Yeltsin, during his campaign for the presidency, promised a much more vigorous drive toward a market economy. Millions of Russians who voted for him did so because they see him as the standard bearer for economic reform and political democracy.

But neither man can produce in a hurry. …

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