Why the Cold War Ended: A Range of Interpretations

By Ralph Summy; Michael E. Salla | Go to book overview

4
Gorbachev, the Peace Movement, and the Death of Lenin

Jennifer Turpin

The Cold War ended as a result of the intersection of complex social forces: the influence of intellectuals, the international peace movement, Soviet mass media, and Gorbachev. These forces converged, allowing Mikhail Gorbachev to subvert both Marxism-Leninism and the Cold War paradigm in favor of "new thinking."


'NEW THINKING"

"New thinking" was not so new. Perestroika was rooted in Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP), which advocated a combined socialist and market economy. It also stemmed from the reforms initiated by Nikita Khrushchev from 1953 to 1964 and from the generation of reformists spawned during Khrushchev's "thaw." These members of the intelligentsia called themselves the "children of the Twentieth Party Congress"--the historical event where Khrushchev revealed Stalin's legacy of crimes. Later they became members of Gorbachev's progressive team.

In addition, "new thinking" should be in part credited to Yuri Andropov. Andropov was known to be a reform-oriented statesman, with ties to younger members of the party. 1 Although his tenure in office was brief, he was responsible for bringing Alexander Yakovlev, the architect of glasnost, back from diplomatic exile in Canada, where he was being punished for offending Brezhnev and his conservative allies. Yakovlev was appointed head of the prestigious Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), and was later appointed by Gorbachev to head the Department

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