Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine the nature and significance of economic perestroika during Mikhail Gorbachev's rule from 1985 to 1991. In particular, the focus is upon the importance of Gorbachev's role as leader in the process of reform, upon how he approached the Soviet state of systemic crisis, and, in broader terms, upon the nature of the debate concerning economic reform. It is argued that, in the wake of the attempted coup d'etat, the downfall of economic perestroika -- and, indeed, the downfall of the empire and of Gorbachev himself -- was the result of an intensifying state of economic, political, social, ideological, and nationalistic crises, crises which Gorbachev could neither stem nor mitigate. His vision of economic transformation, framed by his continued dedication to Marxism-Leninism and motivated by his enduring commitment to revitalize Soviet socialism and the Soviet state, is examined from the perspective of its three distinct, yet interrelated, elements: first, the process of de-Stalinization; second, the process of de-Brezhnevization; and third, the formulation of a new socialist economic model. Within this context, emphasis is placed upon Gorbachev's understanding of the interdependence between economics and politics or, more precisely, his intention to have political reform serve an economic function. Furthermore, particular attention is paid to the significance which Gorbachev accorded to the leading role of the Communist Party in both the process of reform and, more generally, the building of Soviet socialism. In order to consider the 'environment' which surrounded the formulation of Gorbachev's vision of economic transformation, the nature of the debate concerning economic reform is examined, specifically with a focus upon the post- 1988 period. There are two reasons for this focus: first, it marked the official drive toward systemic change; and second, it marked the emergence of far-reaching political conflict among elites regarding the nature, scope, and direction of economic transformation.
Ryfelj, Michele Janice, "Gorbachev and the Trials of Perestroika" (1993). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7104.
McMaster University Library