chapter  8
26 Pages

The struggle for power

We have seen that glasnost, economic reform, and political democratization unexpectedly led to the growth of a pro-capitalist coalition in the former Soviet Union. Glasnost placed members of the intelligentsia, who were undergoing a process of radicalization, in charge of much of the Soviet mass media. Economic reform began to create serious dislocations in 1988-89, and when leading Soviet economists were asked to propose solutions, they recommended rapid marketization and privatization of the economy which, they argued, offered the only path out of the crisis. Economic reform also legalized non-state business enterprises, leading to the emergence of a wealthy private business class. A major part of the party-state elite of the Soviet system itself began to abandon its allegiance to Soviet socialism, gravitating toward Western-style capitalism. Out of this process there emerged an opposition movement, the procapitalist coalition, drawing support from the intelligentsia, economists, private business owners, and a growing section of the party-state elite.