Farewell Perestroika: A Soviet Chronicle

By Boris Kagarlitsky; Rick Simon | Go to book overview

8
The Spring Whirlpool: The Elections, Yeltsin and the Popular Front

In any country elections are the culmination of a political struggle. For Soviet society, the chance to elect deputies from several candidates for the first time in approximately sixty years was in itself unique. To the authorities, the elections were proof of the reality of democratization, and to the liberal intelligentsia they were a test of the civil maturity of the people. Although the elections were held in accordance with an extremely muddled and patently undemocratic electoral law, they opened up significant opportunities for unofficial political groups to make themselves known. They put to the test both those official candidates -- representatives of the Party or managerial bureaucracy -- who risked proposing themselves to the electors, and representatives of unofficial political groupings and currents who had to demonstrate their capacity for practical work with the masses, competence and flexibility. The latter, who had striven over the previous two years to speak in the name of society (as, indeed, had the Party-state bureaucracy) now had to subject themselves to a serious examination: did society, or at least part of it, indeed have confidence in them and see them as a viable alternative?

Meanwhile, events did not initially evolve too dramatically. After the Moscow PF and the movement for a Popular Front in some other cities had been able, despite the mass of legal restrictions, to nominate their own candidates, the time for district electoral assemblies arrived. No one had any doubts that this superfluous stage between the nomination

-111-

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Farewell Perestroika: A Soviet Chronicle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • 1 - The Hot Summer of 1988 1
  • Notes 29
  • 2 - The Popular Front Movement in Crisis? 31
  • Notes 38
  • 3 - Popular Front or National Front? 39
  • Notes 50
  • 4 - The Restless Borderlands 51
  • Notes 78
  • 5 - A Constitutional Crisis 81
  • Notes 88
  • 6 - Election Fever 89
  • Notes 97
  • A Difficult Hegemony 99
  • Notes 109
  • 8 - The Spring Whirlpool: The Elections, Yeltsin and the Popular Front 111
  • Notes 143
  • 9 - The Congress and Around the Congress 145
  • Notes 162
  • 10 - Onward, Onward, Onward . . . 165
  • Notes 175
  • 11 - Yet Another Hot Summer 177
  • Notes 192
  • 12 - Farewell, Perestroika? 195
  • Index 211
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