chapter  11
17 Pages

The Background to Perestroika: Political Undercurrents reconsidered in the light of recent events

InhisspeechtotheCentralCommitteeplenuminJune1987Gorbachevannouncedthatcommodity-moneyrelationsor,inotherwords, themarket,werebecominganorganicpartofthesocialistsystem. 1 TheLawontheStateEnterprise,acceptedbythatmeeting,anticipatedthatduring1988-9allenterpriseswouldbecomesubjecttothe disciplinesoffullcost-accountingandself-financing.2Aganbegyan, oneofGorbachev'sprincipaleconomicadvisers,subsequentlymade itclearthatenterpriseswhichpersistentlyfailedtosupportthemselveswould,ineffect,beconsideredbankruptandclosed.3Atthe JuneplenumGorbachevleftnodoubtthat,inhisestimation,the causesofthepresentdifficulties,whichheidentifiedasapre-crisis situation,fundamentallyarosefromadheringtothecommandadministrativemethodsdevelopedunderStalin,alternativestowhich hadbeenspurnedbyBrezhnev.4Duringthecourseof1988,Bukharin,theleadingproponentofmarketsocialisminthe1920s,was rehabilitatedasincreasingpublicattentionwasdirectedtoscrutinisingtheimpactandlegacyofStalinism.5ItappearedasifSoviet economicpolicyhadcomefullcircle,acircumnavigationthathad takensixtyarduousyears.