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Gorbachev's export of Perestroika to Eastern EuropeDemocratisation reconsidered$
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Helen Hardman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079788

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079788.001.0001

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Purging Party Factions: The HSWP National Conference, May 1988

Purging Party Factions: The HSWP National Conference, May 1988

(p.148) 5 Purging Party Factions: The HSWP National Conference, May 1988
Gorbachev's export of Perestroika to Eastern Europe

Helen Hardman

Manchester University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the HSWP leadership's decision to convene a conference in 1988 equated with a specific policy choice, which was to align the HSWP with CPSU perestroika and purge HSWP hardline opposition to Gorbachev's policies. Analysis of previous conference outcomes indicates a pattern that conferences served to align Hungarian communists with the Russian Bolsheviks and later CPSU and purge members of the party who were considered opponents. As will be illustrated, in the case of May 1988, this entailed purging the party of hardline opposition and consolidating the centrist Gorbachevian line of perestroika while maintaining the status quo of the regime. The conference as an institution was perceived as a vehicle for Soviet ‘normalisation’ as is evident from the Central Committee's debate over the choice of institution in 1987 and then later in 1989. At the point when Károly Grósz tried to call another conference in 1989, this debate culminated in local party organizations signing a petition to object to the way in which the 1988 conference had been organised, and finally, in 1989, the reformists were victorious and secured instead an extraordinary congress.

Keywords:   Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party Conference, May 1988, János Kádár, Károly Grósz, Hungary foreign relations with the Soviet Union

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