5. The “Gensec” of the world
“As every revolution, the perestroika could hold between two limits of one state.” To appease the changes Gorbachov started to use his perestroika as an international campaign, without moving around at home. It is the time of the Chernobyl incident of which the biography doesn’t mention nearly anything. An exploring of the world outside starts. Gorbachov reminds that he didn’t know what a credit card looked like when the public opinion had noticed Raisa buy earrings. To export his ideas to the western world he publishes his book called perestroika.
But with this new more friendly face of the Soviet Union, a dilemma is raised: the health of the Soviet Union existence was partly based on its eternal enemy (the capitalist world outside). The problem was now: how to act against the liberty of choice that was granted in the east-European countries?
In the meantime he had to solve problem of “old-thinking” the war in Afghanistan and the Euro missiles that had provoked American missiles.
It is the time of the Star Wars and Gorbachov surprised the US by announcing a diminishing of the missiles by 50% in Reykjavik. A year later in Washington when Reagan said he missed Reykjavik, Raisa commemorates that the felt that “women were not welcomed there in reikjavik.”
But as the international activities expanded the interior problems remained to be solved…
6. The party is the only that will not betray me
“In spring 1988 the first cracks appear in the monolithic façade of the politburo.” Someone had discovered that Marx did oppose to private property, but how was g. to communicate this to the politburo? It was time that the Party was separated from the administrative and economic governance and had to find its own goals. Besides the party there we not yet other governing organs.
The party became split between red and white roses who supported different ideas.
“Change was not made impossible by the persons, but by the roles they executed.” And Gorbachov didn’t replace the old clan of Brezhnev.
When looking back, Gorbachov recognizes that Yeltsin was one of his biggest mistakes; one of the “gravediggers of 1991”. He should have sent him abroad as an ambassador of some country. But Yeltsin was an aspired politician. And the political reforms that were initiated couldn’t be stopped. It became unclear who betrayed who: the communist party (CPUS) with their lack of support to Gorbachov or Gorbachov by limiting the powers of the CPUS.
Than the event that changed all, the putsch of august 1991. Gorbachov resigns after he acknowledged that “the party didn’t condemn the putsch.
When Stalin was asked why the soviet constitution permitted a state to separate from the union, why inspire separatist’s ideas which could lead to a disintegration of the country? He replied, our party is unique and that’s why we have it, so that it will never happen.
7. Preserve or dissolve
It becomes more and more difficult to preserve and both in the north, the Baltic states starting with Lithuania and the south in the Caucasus region, “with different temperaments” but with similar goals: independence.
In June 1990 after a period where the popularity of Yeltsin has increased, which makes him decide to resign from the Party. Gorbachov acted with economic sanctions to the rebelling state, but also under the pressure of external world, never threaded to use power.
Grachov writes in this context: it is hard to question the convictions that someone build up along his life, but more difficult it is to let them go, like his unionist-conviction… “He could understand that the fall of the Berlin wall would bring serious cracks in the wall of the Kremlin. Gorbachov dreamt of a union of confederation of states that would benefit from the historic ties with Russia. Was he a “homo sovieticus” who wanted to reform his country like a European style of United States? Some say his dream could have been realized, but no one could tell what would be the course of events without the putsch in 1991.
8. “He is God, but I am a normal man”
This chapter is preliminary – most part of the book is in fact – to the next two chapters where the putsch is described in detail; this putsch offers a key in understanding the flow of events.
It is also a chapter where the personality behind Gorbachov is detailed. People more or less close to him portrait his character; he was “impulsive” to some, “hard working, always in the office until late” for others. Not a conceptual thinker, someone who moved the forces, not someone who had a fixed objective in mind. “Moving was more important than the goal.”
And the importance of words. Action was not the only that matters: “the vibration of words.” And that he often waited too long, just for the sake of patience things would go by themselves… And a returning fact about him was that he was a real federate (making sure people connected in the modern sense a networker). And also about “cherchez la femme.” The woman behind the man; was she the one moving him to idealism and unreachable goals?
These are a few contemplations in a chapter of which the meaning is borrowed from the bible; Jesus was also betrayed, by Judas… “but I’m a normal man, Gorbachov said…