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487 VLADIMIR G. BARANOVSKY AND BORIS A. SHMELYOV TRANSFORMATION PROCESSES IN POLAND AND RUSSIA IN THE MID-1980S, the Soviet Union entered the era of perestroika, or reform. It began as an attempt to provide momentum to national and international policy changes, as well as to develop social relationships with Soviet satellite nations in Eastern Europe. The logic driving perestroika became counterintuitive to reform. The consequences quickly escalated on an ever-increasing scale. This chapter traces the emergence of the political and social reform efforts and discusses the disastrous results of the reform policies . In particular, the chapter addresses the Soviet policy toward and social relationship with Poland. Events emerging from the Soviet Union’s international relationships were paramount throughout perestroika. The “Polish component” was only one element of the problems that emanated from dramatic changes that occurred within and around the Soviet Union. The General Dynamics of the Soviet Bloc By the mid-1980s, relationships between the Soviet Union and other socialist nations in Eastern Europe faced multiple issues. The issues derived from growing social and economic unrest. The existing economic and political systems required radical reforms to overcome impending crises. The existing socialist community models required drastic changes. In particular, the underpinnings of the “Comecon operation” needed review. The Comecon model, derived from an integration of scientific and technical development, became a hindrance to progress rather than a positive, driving force. The Institute of Global Socialists Economic System at the Soviet Union’s Academy of Sciences grew aware of the model’s inadequacies and apprised the Soviet government of the problem. The institute emphasized that the mechanistic managerial approaches utilized by Comecon did not accommodate input from smaller economic influences within the Soviet network. 488 VLADIMIR G. BARANOVSKY AND BORIS A. SHMELYOV Government agencies at higher levels excluded satellite nations’ input from the decision-making process. Economic suggestions from internal nations were ignored. Instead, higher-level agencies within the Soviet system merely imposed policy measures. The Soviets failed to consider either the sociological and sociocultural interests of the bloc nations or their manufacturing abilities. Consequently, the approach resulted in long-term inefficiency. Commodity instruments were also inadequate. The instruments failed to promote mutual cooperation, adequate supplies of products, or economic import /export gains. Nations experienced either economic gains or losses. The economic system was unbalanced, and the lack of balance was unjustifiable. Higher government levels dominated decision making. Even minor economic issues were micromanaged. This persistent pattern created political discontent among national leaders. Socialist economic research scientists proposed comprehensively restructuring the existing economic models. Their proposed model would be more open, would be implemented multilaterally as well as bilaterally, and would coordinate managerial planning and credit, monetary, and financial instruments . The new model would be implemented among collective international institutions,includingjointundertakingsamongsatellitenationsandComecon projects. In addition, the model would be implemented within the legal system and be used to regulate international communication procedures, determining, for example, how scientific and technical documents would be released. The premise of the new model was grounded in assumptions that effective, cooperative, functioning systems could indeed be established among socialist nations. Although the assumption can no longer be verified, it is noteworthy that the scientists emphasized within their proposal that economic and social reform within the bloc’s nations was crucial. Furthermore, scientists asserted that “the success of restructuring is primarily dependent on creation of adequate prerequisites in [the] internal processes of fraternal countries.” The restructuring of the entire economic system across the socialist countries could not be expected to take place without encountering some resistance . Entering into new degrees of cooperation required profound reform in each nation. Because of conditions in the mid-1980s, Soviet leaders reasoned that restructuring satellite nations could be accomplished only within the framework of the Soviet system. Leaders reasoned that the Soviet Union had to take a proactive role in initiating reform. They believed that it was essential that the Soviet Union assume the role of the primary builder of a “socialistic commonwealth.” Mikhail Gorbachev provided two essential political and ideological prerequisites for reforming relationships between the Soviet Union and its allies . He would have to initiate policies to modify the existing socialism, then create policies to stimulate “new political thinking.” In either circumstance, 489 TRANSFORMATION PROCESSES IN POLAND AND RUSSIA the existing relationship would undergo a complete transformation. Conceivably , throughout each stage of the transformation process, debates and controversies could unfold. Gorbachev’s formula involved two essential components: maintaining continuity and addressing the need for change. His premise...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780822980957
Related ISBN
9780822944409
MARC Record
OCLC
914230098
Pages
704
Launched on MUSE
2015-08-17
Language
English
Open Access
No
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