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Russia's Stillborn Democracy?From Gorbachev to Yeltsin$
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Graeme Gill and Roger D. Markwick

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199240418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199240418.001.0001

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The Attempt at Liberalization

The Attempt at Liberalization

(p.24) 2 The Attempt at Liberalization
Russia's Stillborn Democracy?

Graeme Gill (Contributor Webpage)

Roger D. Markwick (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

On achieving power, Gorbachev initially sought to introduce a range of political and economic measures that would remedy the system's problems without fundamentally changing its structure. However, this process of reform became radicalized in the second half of 1986. The notions of perestroika, glasnost and democratisation signalled the attempted liberalization of political life. This radicalization of the programme provoked more determined resistance on the part of conservative opponents, which in turn stimulated further radicalization of the measures Gorbachev sought to introduce. This dynamic led to the adoption at the XIX Conference of the Communist Party in mid‐1988 of measures designed to revolutionize the political system. The programme of liberal reform had become a programme of systemic transformation, which paradoxically undercut the authority of the party and unleashed new political forces.

Keywords:   Communist Party, democratization, glasnost, Gorbachev, Mikhail, liberalization, opposition, perestroika, radicalization, reform, systemic transformation

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