Reforms of Mikhail Gorbechev
The revolutionary policies of Michael Gorbachev changed the course of the history of Soviet Union. Gorbachev assumed the leadership of Soviet Union when he was elected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1985. Gorbachev was a man of vision and in 1985 he started a movement against corruption and alcoholism. His policies in the domestic and foreign front transformed the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev understood the need for market economy as the country was reeling under severe economic crisis. The domestic policy of Gorbachev was based mainly under three programs. They were Perestroika or rebuilding, Glasnost or public voicing, and demokratizatsiya or democratizations . Perestroika was adopted to restructure the soviet government and economy while glasnost was aimed to create an open atmosphere in the national and international affairs. Demokratizatsiya was meant for political liberalization. He called upon the party leaders to include democratic elements in the Soviet political process. Gorbachev encouraged private ownership of the industry and agriculture. Inspite of his efforts to introduce liberalization and market economy, the conservatives did not allow the reforms to introduce effectively. There were great shortages of food stuffs in the shops.
Gorbachev also shifted the traditional policy of confrontation towards the west. The defensive organization of Warsaw pact was changed to a political organization and he introduced democracy in the political process. In 1987, he had signed with Ronald Reagan Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) eliminating all intermediate and short range missiles from Europe. In February 1989, on the basis of an accord between Pakistan and Afghanistan, Soviet Union decided to withdraw her troops from Afghanistan. Gorbachev also kept a sound relation with China. In 1991, Bush and Gorbachev met in Moscow to sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). Gorbachev also established diplomatic relations with many countries. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace in 1990 for trying to reduce the cold war tensions between the super powers.
There is no doubt that Gorbachev was a patriot. The conservatives of the time did not like his policies and turned against him. The policy of confrontation with the west came to an end and there started an era of peace with the United States, which led to the end of cold war. His relentless efforts for peace and acceptance of the right of the soviet republics for independence, won him Nobel Prize for peace in 1990. In 1991, he survived a coup from the hardliners, but he did not relent from his work of democratization of Soviet society. He underlined the need for the proper management of the resources. The oppressive policies of the Communist regimes were bare opened before the soviet people. The soviet policy of censorship, violent crimes by Stalin, and the various atrocities committed against the people and peasants were revealed. The people were convinced of the need for a democratic government and openness. His policies of perestroika and glasnost led to the breakup of Soviet Union, but it resulted in the building up of a democratic society and nation.