Was Perestroika Doomed From The Outset?

1091 words - 4 pages

Lisa KealyWas Perestroika Doomed from the Outset?The theory that perestroika was doomed from the outset is a convincing one. Thequestion explicitly denotes that that there were factors that would have made it inevitablethat perestroika was doomed from the beginning. Although, it can be said that a multitudeof consequent events may have led to its failure, rather than it being a failed programbefore it was even implemented. Perestroika or restructuring was an initiative, in whichthe fundamental pillars of its being were glasnost and democratisation, two things theUSSR had relatively no experience of. The newly introduced lack of censorship throughglasnost was a major factor in perhaps why perestroika was doomed to fail. It introducedclarity and openness to a system, which thrived upon secrecy. "The Soviet system thrivedon three pillars, ideology, the CPSU and a strong state. Gorbachev proceeded toundermine them all."Gorbachev's perestroika may have indeed been doomed to fail from the outset. Toexamine this question it is necessary to illustrate the reasons why. Were the aims of theproject too high? Was Gorbachev trying to reform a system that essentially could not bereformed? Were the communist party and the Soviet Union on borrowed time and didperestroika and glasnost, in fact just hasten the inevitable? All of these questions illustratehow it is possible that perestroika was doomed from the outset.The aims of perestroika were indeed sweeping changes to the former rigid andpredictable Communist way of thinking. Perestroika in its initial phase was "largely aneconomic program. Gorbachev had recognized that the economy was not performingwell." It was clear to the leader of the CPSU that the economy needed to be restored.The way in which Gorbachev attempted to do this may have lead to the idea that theinitiative was doomed from the beginning. Gorbachev's economic reforms in somerespects were both naïve and not comprehensive enough. The state that the nationaleconomy was in, it is true to say that any major reforms would have been severelyimpeded. "Investment funds were limited and were inadequate for major reforms in theconsumer sector and for technological innovation in the industrial sector." Streamliningwas a fundamental part of the reform process, for example the cut in state spending,especially militarily. The state needed to increase its output of goods. It can be said therequired productivity level increase was not possible within socialism, it went against thebasic tenets of Soviet political economy. This is perhaps a reason as to why perestroikawas doomed from the outset; Gorbachev's vision was almost utopian, whereas thepolitical and economic reality was somewhat different.Gorbachev's inconsistent nature can be clearly seen with his vision of perestroika. "Hewas too often unclear about the direction and purpose of reform process. Gorbachev'sreform proposals were ill thought out, incoherent and inconsistent." Gorbachevineptitude itself...

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