As postulated by Tarasulo (73), Perestroika refers to the great political movement in Russia within the communist party of Soviet Union. The key player in the perestroika was the soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Basically, the essence of the perestroika was to restructure the soviet economic and political system. The concept of perestroika is greatly acknowledged for the end of the cold war as well as the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union. The significance of perestroika in historical and present politics of Russia is explicit. Initiation and progress of perestroika le to establish of more independent actions by various ministries as well as dismantling of soviet-era planned economy. The replacement of soviet era planned economy by the market economy was a vital development in Russia. Despite the various economic and social tensions brought about by the restructuring process, the entire phenomenon led to increased nationalism among the constituent republics alongside social fragmentation. This paper will profoundly discuss and analyze the concept of perestroika and its significance to Russia and the globe in general (Kushner 123).
Mikhail Gorbachev had all along had a deep compassion of bringing change to Russian political and economic systems. This quest for change and reforms is very evident at his entrance into the corridors of power in the year 1985. At this time, Mikhail Gorbachev took the office of general secretary of the communist party of the Soviet Union. Despite the opposition given to his reform agenda by well established members of the party, Mikhail didn’t give heart. The most significant move initiated by Mikhail was the introduction of democratization, which entailed the introduction of multi-candidate elections in the communist party. Based on this regard, Mikhail was very optimistic that progressive and dynamic personnel will take the vital positions in the party and government. His main focus was to ensure that, the right people enter into power and carryout his institutional and policy reforms (Cohen 54).
At the initial stages, the reforms being postulated by Gorbachev received mixed reactions. Fro instance, conservatives had a strong criticism for the reform agenda being advocated for by Gorbachev. Despite this opposition, overwhelming support was also thrown to the process by the liberals who were very optimistic about the newly anticipated changes. The issue of multiparty system also took course without prior anticipation thus reinforcing Gorbachev ideas of bringing change in Russia. The CPSU’s conference held in 1988 under the leadership of Gorbachev was an important development and progress in the realization of reforms. At this time, a radical reform was initiated by Gorbachev and his supporters which were aimed at reducing party control of government apparatus. The issue of multi-candidate for regional and local legislatures was also warmly welcomed (Mlynar 93).
Advantages of the Perestroika
The political and economic restructuring established in Russia under the leadership of Gorbachev had a lot of benefits to the nation, its people and the global community. To begin with, the concept of democratization which entailed multi-candidate had a lot of influence in the mode of governance in Russia. By adoption of multi-candidate in the regional and local legislatures, competent and focused personnel were given an opportunity to lead the people. This was a magnificent development and achievement to the people since a sense of democracy was established. Based on the concept of multi-candidate, a better watch and management of the national resources and national affairs was made more efficient (Cohen 54).
Another key achievement established by perestroika involved the concept of reducing party control over government apparatus. It is sad to note that; the communist party had all the powers and authority of all government apparatus there being able to manipulate government operations. The party officials and the different legislators had enormous influence over government apparatus thus leading to enhancing of their own interests. As stated by Kushner (123), the concept of separating the party from the government was a brilliant idea and led to more transparency and responsibility in the execution of national policies. The relationships of Russia and the global community was also enhanced through the adoption of the new changes. It has been noted that, a lot of misconducts were being performed as a result of the previous system of governance (Kushner 123).
The establishment of the congress of people’s deputies in December 1988 was also a key development in the government restructuring process. The new amendments led to establishment of a smaller soviet union’s legislative body which consisted of 542 members. From this situation, all public organizations were accommodated in the new system. With this regard, it is evident that, perestroika was very beneficial in fostering political development. The issue of poor decision making and dictatorship evident in the Soviet Union and the communist party were abolished through adoption of these changes.
Significantly, democracy and human freedom was adequately established through the restructuring process initiated by Gorbachev. An overwhelming support of the new systems of election was witnessed in the 1989 when the people expressed their democratic right to choose members for national legislative body. This was the beginning of democracy and human freedom as people were given the powers and freedom to choose their favorite candidates. Importantly, it was noted that the results of the election stunned the ruling elite. The glory and victory of a new era of governance ran throughout the country. The earlier lot of communist candidates who had been enjoying the privileges of unopposed candidature was astonished by the results of the election (Herrera 123).
With regard to economic system, the perestroika had a lot of significance in overcoming the economic stagnation. This was achieved through a more efficient method of creating dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social development. The principles and core values of Gorbachev was to establish utmost respect to humanity as well as a considerable personal dignity. Based on these principles, the essence of economic crimes and corruption in the government was highly criticized and abolished. As a result fairness in distribution and allocation of national resources was enhanced. The previous scenario of excessive party influence to government apparatus was done away with. It had been made clear that, the communist party had been managing the government as its own affair; hence leading to excessive exploitation of national resources (Mlynar 93).
Additionally, the abolishment of the soviet era planned economy and replacement by the market economy was a key achievement of perestroika. The soviet era planned economy had a lot of negative impacts on the economy of Russia thus leading to a very pathetic situation. Gorbachev advocated for a fast-paced technological modernization which was aimed at increasing the economic status. Industrial and agricultural productivity was also accelerated thus ensuring a favorable economic environment. A key strategy adopted by Gorbachev in fostering economic reforms was the improvement of the soviet bureaucracy so as to ensure efficiency and prosperity. A point worth of consideration is that, the economic restructuring was made possible through the reforming of the social and political structures (Kushner 123).
One of the most celebrated strategies influencing the success of the economic reforms was on the concept of anti-alcohol campaign. The issue of alcoholism had grown to alarming levels thus calling for the need of change. To affect this policy, the prices of Vodka, beer and wine were raised as well restriction of their sales. The anti-alcohol campaign was very vigorous and significantly led to the decline in alcohol sales. The concept of alcoholism abolishment led to magnificent developments in the economy. Specifically people were more involved in productive activities thus leading to improvement in the economy. The concept of anti-alcohol campaign was warmly received and led to magnificent developments in the social and economic spectrums (Herrera 123).
Perestroika led to significant developments in the economy and distribution of national resources. Basically, the vague and inefficient economic policies established by the communist party had a lot of negative impacts to the economy. In relation to this phenomenon, the soviet-era planned economy led to stagnation of economic developments. It is also sad to note that, the levels of poverty in the country were also high alongside very pathetic business environment. With the new political, social and economic reforms, the business environment was made more favorable. It is noted that, increased government support for the business processes was enhanced as well as the stipulation of better policies to counter the effects of uncontrolled business operations (Gorbachev 89).
Another key achievement brought forward by the perestroika on the aspect of management of state enterprises. This was a great development which ensured that state enterprises operated freely so as to determine their out put as well as determining the expectation of the consumers. By so doing, the previous inefficiencies which accrued due to government’s influence on the management of state corporations was countered. The dictatorship of government on the operations of the state enterprises led to numerous problems and losses to the enterprises. The concept of accountability and transparency in the management of state enterprises was established. This phenomenon led to increased profitability and improvement in quality of services and products offered by these enterprises. Additionally, the restructuring of the management of the state corporations led to recruitment of more competent and expertise personnel thus leading to efficiencies in the whole process. In addition, the issues of fraud and corruption in state enterprises was significantly reduced (Tarasulo 62).
The benefits of perestroika were also felt in the global spectrum; whereby Gorbachev was very conscious in establishing and enhancing foreign affairs. Trade and relations with the west were enhanced alongside reduction in the tensions of the cold war. The contributions of perestroika in building global relationships are remarkable. In this case, the new political, social and economic structures led to more interactions of the soviets and western leaders. For instance, the relationship of Russia with Germany was improved thus making the two states to improve their business relations. British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is quoted saying that, she like Mr. Gorbachev and they can smoothly do business together (Herrera 123).
It is important to note that; perestroika had a great advantage on boosting the relationship of Russia and other nations. The issue of nuclear weapons in the global scene was very sensitive and required swift actions. It is evident that, Gorbachev leadership led to increased negotiations and consultations in the international scene thus facilitating understanding among the warring countries. This is a big achievement of Gorbachev leadership and is acknowledged for his role in enhancing global peace and reduction of the tensions of the cold war. From these insights, perestroika stands to be acknowledged for its numerous benefits to the Soviet Union as well as the global community. Basically, the improvement in economy, social setup and the political systems are the key advantages of the perestroika (Gorbachev 89).
Disadvantages of perestroika
Alongside the numerous advantages and benefits of perestroika to the social, political, and economic systems, the phenomenon has also been criticized for different catastrophes. To begin with, there has been overwhelming criticism on perestroika regarding the turmoil which impacted on the economy. Basically, the anti-alcohol campaign impacted negatively on the economy. From the concept of government increasing the prices of vodka, wine and beer alongside restricting the sale of these products impacted negatively on the economy. The revenues of government were drastically reduced thus leading to a budgetary crisis. From the analysis of the situation, it was evident that the government lost a lot of revenues following the abolishment of alcohol sale. Significantly, the employment rates and job opportunities provided by the alcohol industry were cut down. The government lost a lot of taxes both in the form of direct and indirect taxes. The alcohol industry was employing a large number of people and as a result of the new laws, all these groups were rendered jobless (Tarasulo 62).
On the other hand, illegalization and increasing of the prices of alcohol products led to increase in illegal activities. There was a rise of smuggling of alcohol products across the borders as well as illegal production of alcohol in the urban and rural areas. Based on this phenomenon, the security status of the nation was compromised. This is because illegal production and distribution of alcohol products led to low quality of the products. With regard to this situation, the health of the citizens was posed to a very high risk. The concept of beer and wines being manufactured at home or in the slums led to avoidance of adhering to hygiene standards; thus posing a very high health risk. Additionally, increase in price of alcohol products as well as restriction on the sale of alcohol led to increase in crime. This is because the alcohol dependants had no option rather than involving into crime so as to get cash to purchase the products (Gorbachev 89).
Additionally, perestroika was also disastrous process which posed the nation at a great risk. For instance, the concept of increased international relationships led to dependency on foreign countries. Soviet Union had an increased trade with Germany, America and British among other countries following the concept of perestroika. In regard to this scenario, any misunderstanding which may occur between these countries may cause severe consequences to the country. For instance a lot of industrial assistance and cooperation was established between Soviet Union and other western countries. The countries began to exchange a lot of resources used in the industrial fields. Specialization among the countries was also established due to the influence of trade. This phenomenon is a potential catastrophe to the countries economy and more so in ties of war or in cases of misunderstanding (Prem 126).
On the other hand, the political restructuring of the soviet society had a lot of impacts on the nation’s stability. With the concept of democratization, the people were given more freedom to participate in political issues. As evident in the 1989 elections, the whole process was very vigorous. Despite the benefits of political freedoms and rights, increased political participation is not always good for the stability of the country. For instances, the issues of ethnicity and bribery are potential phenomenon in the events of political campaigns. Additionally, political differences and tensions are more easily to occur thus jeopardizing the national stability and peace. This phenomenon has happened in different countries and Russia is not exempted from the phenomenon (Cohen 54).
From the discussion and analysis of perestroika, it is evident that it had a lot of significance in the social, political and economic setup in the Soviet Union. The concept of perestroika is greatly acknowledged for the end of the cold war as well as the fall of socialism in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union. The significance of perestroika in historical and present politics of Russia is explicit. Initiation and progress of perestroika led to establishment of more independent actions by various ministries as well as dismantling of soviet-era planned economy. The replacement of soviet-era planned economy by the market economy was a vital development in Russia. Despite the various economic and social tensions brought about by the restructuring process, the entire phenomenon led to increased nationalism among the constituent republics alongside social fragmentation.