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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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The Rhetoric of Reform or a Consolidation of Power? Gorbachev's Defeat of Left and Right at the Nineteenth CPSU Conference, June 1988

The Rhetoric of Reform or a Consolidation of Power? Gorbachev's Defeat of Left and Right at the Nineteenth CPSU Conference, June 1988

Chapter:
(p.72) 3 The Rhetoric of Reform or a Consolidation of Power? Gorbachev's Defeat of Left and Right at the Nineteenth CPSU Conference, June 1988
Source:
Gorbachev's export of Perestroika to Eastern Europe
Author(s):

Helen Hardman

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719079788.003.0004

This chapter analyses how Gorbachev stage-managed the Nineteenth party conference to create the illusion that the CPSU was unified in its support of perestroika. Gorbachev's apparent defeat at the conference of left and right factions of the party conveyed the impression that Gorbachev was in control. As this chapter illustrates, those delegates invited to speak at the conference were not representative of the CPSU and textual analysis and interviews brought evidence of scripting of speeches and dialogue. While the constitutional reforms adopted at the conference were adopted almost unanimously, some of these had still not been implemented by 1991. For the purpose of securing the execution of his policies, his own position in the CPSU, and to salvage the increasingly fragile Union Treaty negotiations, Gorbachev attempted to reconvene the conference in 1991. This supports the theory that the conference signalled a particular policy choice, aimed at purging opponents and consolidating the General Secretary's position. Opposition to this proposal indicated Gorbachev's dwindling support, but moreover suggests others’ awareness that, as an institution, the conference favoured the General Secretary's preferred outcome.

Keywords:   Nineteenth Party Conference, 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Yegor Ligachev, Leonid Abalkin

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