Posted 31 августа 2022,, 17:25
Published 31 августа 2022,, 17:25
Modified 25 декабря 2022,, 20:54
Updated 25 декабря 2022,, 20:54
Alexey Makarkin, political analyst
In Russian history, the authorities only twice voluntarily decided on self-restraint in relations with society. The first time was with the Great Reforms of Alexander II, when an independent court was introduced. The second time was with Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika, when glasnost quickly grew into freedom of the press, and liberalization into democratization. Alexander II was killed by the impatience of society - and the country took the path of reaction, which provoked a revolutionary explosion a quarter of a century later, during which belated forced concessions followed.
Gorbachev, at the end of his presidency, found himself almost alone - he was betrayed by his closest associates who became conspirators, and the elites of the Union republics began to arrange life according to their own ideas about what should be. Gorbachev had to accept the legacy of his squandered fathers, the country's leaders, who did not dare to undertake the necessary economic reforms (missing the opportunity of the Chinese path, which under Gorbachev was already unrealistic) and froze it politically no worse than Pobedonostsev. He conscientiously tried to save the country, not having the experience of anti-crisis management (no one in the USSR had it at that time) and trying different ways of such salvation in the conditions of an extreme shortage of time and effort. As a result, for some decisions, he was hated by the reactionaries, because of others, progressives turned away from him.
And yet, it was thanks to Gorbachev that several unworn generations appeared. People for whom self-expression values are absolutely normal and natural. Accustomed to the fact that you can read those books, listen to those songs and watch those films that the person himself chooses, and not the state, which decides what is useful and what is harmful. That you can go (or not go) to any temple. That you can do business in a variety of areas - under Gorbachev, the concept of private property returned.
And, by the way, under Gorbachev, the independent labor movement also revived, which for a time led to illusions about the possibility of a Russian “Solidarity”. And Gorbachev tried to look at the empire as an ordinary country, which should not be overextended, constantly going into the last mortal battle. Numerous haters of Gorbachev can offer in those specific historical conditions, in fact, only one alternative to his actions - the barracks. You can decorate it with portraits of Lenin and Stalin, you can - Nicholas II and Stolypin, you can all at once, but the essence of this will not change. Gorbachev, who had just given free rein, did not want to sit on bayonets.