The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

By Alexander Dallin; Gail W. Lapidus | Go to book overview
67.
For a full list of the leadership personnel changes made at the September 30, 1988 plenary session of the Central Committee, see ibid., p. 3.
68.
Izvestiya TsK KPSS, Vol. i, No. 5 (May 1989), pp. 45-46.
69.
Ibid., p. 47.
70.
Fedoseev's valedictory speech damned "socialist pluralism" with faint praise and called for the ideological unity of the party. See Pravda, April 27, 1989, p. 4.

11 State and Society: Toward
the Emergence of Civil
Society in the Soviet Union

GAIL W. LAPIDUS

There is a difference between reform and quasi-reform. If quasi-reform is a reorganization at the top, purely a reorganization of the apparatus, reform is a more serious matter. Reform vitally changes the organizational relationships between the state apparatus and members of the society, collectively and individually, and this is what its main substance lies in. 1

—B. P. Kurashvili

Western analyses of the contemporary Soviet scene frequently portray Mikhail Gorbachev as but the latest in a long line of reforming tsar-autocrats, from Peter the Great to Iosif Stalin, who have sought to impose radical and coercive programs of modernization on a passive, backward, and recalcitrant society. Although this analogy is not entirely off the mark, it fails to capture the extent to which the process of reform now under way in the Soviet Union is also a long-delayed response by the leadership to fundamental social changes that are altering the relationship of state and society. The current attempt at reform is only in part a renewed effort at mobilization from above; this process of reform is also a far-reaching and highly controversial effort to adapt a set of anachronistic economic and political arrangements to the needs of an increasingly complex modern society.


THE ROOTS OF GORBACHEV'S REFORMS

Gorbachev's initial reform strategy was animated by the need for serious and comprehensive economic reform to arrest the deterioration of Soviet economic

-125-

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