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DEMOKRATIZATSIYA


By 1987 Gorbachev had concluded that introducing his reforms required more than discrediting the old guard. He changed his strategy from trying to work through the CPSU as it existed and instead embraced a degree of political liberalization. In January 1987, he appealed over the heads of the party to the people and called for demokratizatsiya, the infusion of "democratic" elements into the Soviet Union's sterile, monolithic political process. For Gorbachev, demokratizatsiya meant the introduction of multicandidate -- not multiparty -- elections for local party and soviet offices. In this way, he hoped to rejuvenate the party with progressive personnel who would carry out his institutional and policy reforms. The CPSU would retain sole custody of the ballot box.

Despite Gorbachev's intentions, the elements of a multiparty system already were crystallizing. In contrast to previous Soviet rulers, Gorbachev had permitted the formation of unofficial organizations. In October 1987, the newspaper of the CPSU youth, Komsomol'skaya pravda, reported that informal groups, so-called neformaly, were "growing as fast as mushrooms in the rain." The concerns of these groups included the environment, sports, history, computers, philosophy, art, literature, and the preservation of historical landmarks. In August 1987, forty-seven neformaly held a conference in Moscow without interference from the authorities. In fact, one of the unofficial attendees was Yeltsin. In early 1988, some 30,000 neformaly existed in the Soviet Union. One year later, their number had more than doubled. These informal groups begot popular fronts, which in turn spawned political parties. The first of those parties was the Democratic Union, formed in May 1988.




Last Updated: July 1996


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Russia was first published in 1996. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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Section 83 of 384






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