chapter  Chapter 7
The 19th All-Union Party Conference
WithBaruch A. Hazan
Pages 46

Frustrated by the slow pace of implementation of his reforms and unable either to effectively combat the opposition within the party, especially in the Central Committee and the party apparatus, or to transform his economic and political reforms from mere words into tangible results, Mikhail Gorbachev, at the beginning of 1987, decided to revive a long-forgotten party forum—the All-Union Party Conference. Gorbachev's main speech was a skillful balancing act that reflected both his desire to press ahead with change and the constrictions imposed on him by his opponents. The main theme of Gorbachev's speech was the transfer of political power. The driving force behind this theme was Gorbachev's disappointment with the Soviet economy. Gorbachev's proposals for political reform were also aimed at intensifying the political activity of the Soviet citizens, mostly through the local soviets, in an attempt to stimulate the political involvement of the largely passive Soviet population.