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Issue № 67. April 2018

Perestroika of Gorbachev and Yeltsin: Differences and Similarities

Evgeny I. Volgin

Ph.D., Associate Professor, Faculty of History, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.
E-mail: plytony@yandex.ru

The article is devoted to the comparative analysis of two different eras of modern Russian history: Gorbachev’s “perestroika” of the 1980s and Yeltsin’s “revolution” of the 1990s. The author considers these two different periods as a single transformation process. The author considers the conceptual basis of the reform activities of these two leaders. If Gorbachev’s “perestroika” did not have a consistent scenario, the Yeltsin’s reformation had not only general strategic guidelines, but also a clear tactical plan. The author does not consider the reforms of 1985–1991 as a real “perestroika”, a qualitative improvement of the socialist system. The real perestroika began only in post-Soviet Russia and meant a radical breakdown of the previous system and establishment of a new capitalist paradigm. One of the main factors that led Gorbachev to defeat was the conflict within the elite, provoked by the General Secretary of the CPSU at the beginning of the political reform. Yeltsin managed to unite the regional elite by signing a federal treaty and delegating a significant authority to the regions. The article also considers a political coup as an epiphenomenon of radical transformations. Political conspiracies, which took place during the years of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, played a diametrically opposite role in the fate of their reforms.

Keywords

Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Perestroika, Reform, Elite, CPSU, President.

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