Social Scientist. v 16, no. 185 (Oct 1988) p. 3.


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B.P.R. VITHAL*

Perestroika: The Revolution Resumed

INTRODUCTION

The most important documents available so far which would help us understand perestroika (using this word in the sense of a revolution, as defined by Gorbachev, and not in its narrow sense of re-structuring) are:

1. The book, Peresiroika, by Mikhail Gorbachev, published in the West (Collins) (referred to hereafter as the Book);

2. The report by Gorbachev to the Festive meeting on the 70th anniversary of the Great October Revolution on November 2, 1987 (referred to hereafter as the 87 Report);

3. The report by Gorbachev to the 19th All Union Conference of the CPSU in June 88 (referred to hereafter as the 88 Report);

and

4. The Challenge: Economics of Perestroika, Abel Aganbegyan, (Paperback, Hutchinson).

That Gorbachev's book has obviously been written for a western audience is evident both from the manner in which the subject is treated and from the fact that, for the first time, we have a Russian publication which is extremely well written and is a pleasure to read. Indeed it makes one wonder whether it is a translation from a Russian original or was, in fact, written in English itself. On the other hand the more important formulations of different theoretical positions are contained in the other two documents. A comparison of the three is interesting in some cases to show the nuances that Gorbachev adopts to make his position attractive to a western audience, as also to show the evolution of some ideas. Aganbegyan's book has been referred to only with reference to certain issues of economic restructuring.

This paper is intended to serve three purposes. One is to give the more important ideas and policies that are the basi6 of perestroika. For this purpose somewhat extensive quotations are given from all the sources mentioned above so that the paper can be read without immedi-

* Former Finance Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Government



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