Inside Gorbachev's Kremlin
The Memoirs of Yegor Ligachev
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Inside Gorbachev's Kremlin by Yegor Ligachev
Book DescriptionThis memoir by the second most powerful Communist Party leader during the early Gorbachev years provides an important alternative view of the USSR's transformation--a view that is gaining ground in Russian politics today. In a substantial new piece for this edition, Mr. Ligachev outlines the political agenda of today's communist coalition--the establishment of a new Soviet Union, with strong economic and political integration of its member-states.Yegor Ligachev, a seasoned Party boss from Siberia, made a solid career for himself in the capital during the Khrushchev era, but, following Khrushchev's ouster, chose to retreat to the provinces. In 1985, his political patrons brought him back to Moscow to help them build a dynamic new leadership team under Mikhail Gorbachev. The two reform-minded communists launched an effort to inject life and energy into the Party, economy, and society through a series of liberalizing measures. But when Ligachev saw the reforms moving into a revolutionary phase that could result in the Party's loss of control over the helm of state, he found himself increasingly siding with the opposition.In this gripping book, Ligachev describes the evolving confrontation between opposing forces at high-level Party meetings and sessions of the Politburo as well as in less formal conversations. Along the way, he gives revealing glimpses not only of Gorbachev but also of Yuri Andropov, Andrei Gromyko, Alexander Yakovlev, Eduard Shevardnadze, Boris Yeltsin, and other top leaders. Notorious events such as the 1989 massacre in Tbilisi and the Gdlyan/Ivanov affair--in which, Ligachev argues, he was unjustly implicated--are also highlighted.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780813328874
(235mm x 156mm x 31mm)
Imprint: Westview Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 5-Apr-1996
Country of Publication: United States
US Kirkus Review » Fascinating and unusually (though not completely) frank insider's account of Kremlin politics during the Gorbachev era. Ligachev, Gorbachev's former deputy, comes off here as both more interesting and more complicated than the conventional picture of him as the "arch villain" of the democratization process. As Stephen Cohen says in his valuable introduction, even political figures loyal to Gorbachev have characterized Ligachev as being "deeply sincere, proudly incorruptible, and habitually straightforward in his political relations." One indication of this was Ligachev's relegation for 17 years to the Party organization in Siberia. He was recalled to Moscow in 1983 by Andropov and seems sincerely to have shared Gorbachev's vision of a reformed Communism, in part because his own and his wife's families suffered severely under Stalin. Ligachev testifies to the general acceptance by the bureaucracy of the need for reform. He was deeply impressed by Gorbachev, he says, but at some fairly early stage, Gorbachev went further than Ligachev thought appropriate. Time and again, Ligachev returns to the question of what caused Gorbachev's downfall. Was it the Soviet premier's attraction to the aura of the "enlightened monarch"? Was it a lack of practicality, or was it that Gorbachev was surrounded by those who, in Ligachev's view, deliberately led him astray? Ligachev says that he repeatedly tried to persuade Gorbachev of the coming debacle, sometimes with biting humor. Of one of his letters to Gorbachev, he says here that "under Stalin, you would have lost your head for a letter like that. Under Khrushchev, you would have been fired. Under Brezhnev, you would have been made an Ambassador to Africa. And under Gorbachev, you were simply ignored." Ligachev doesn't go into the history of the attempted coup, and he often seems trapped by rhetoric - e.g., attacking "slander" against the Party. Still: a valuable contribution to the history of the period, and an absorbing self-portrait. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Yegor Ligachev
Yegor Ligachev now in his mid-seventies, still resides in Moscow, where he remains an influential figure in the reemerging communist reform movement.
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