If there is any single issue likely to determine the success or failure of Gorbachev’s reform programme, it is not going to be opposition from entrenched bureaucrats (they can be fired); it will not be the inherently authoritarian nature of Russian political culture (cultures change); nor will it be ethnic unrest (this can be suppressed). It is the economic ‘base’ of central planning which will determine the outcome of attempts to change the political ‘superstructure’. Unluckily for Gorbachev, the economic system created by Stalin has shown itself incredibly resistant to attempts at reform, and has brought the USSR to the brink of economic disaster.
KeywordsForeign Trade Consumer Good Economic Reform Central Planning Economic Management
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