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Soviet Law and Perestroika Revisited

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Chapter Summary

Gorbachev spoke of restructuring the ailing economy (perestroika) and eventually of more openness (glasnost) in society and even democratization (demokratizatsiia). This chapter purports to track early perestroika, by scrutinizing both the Gorbachev approach and Western reactions to it. The unprecedented interaction between Western and Soviet scholars at an international conference was the first instance in which Soviet legal scholars participated. This chronicle of scholarly interaction in the past, undeniably anecdotal and unabashedly subjective, seems a crucial link to this volume. The chapter discusses the Gorbachev roadmap for modernizing Soviet society and the resolution of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and the USSR. That the Soviet Union would actually disappear at the end of 1991 was an outcome unforeseen by attendees, non-Soviet and Soviet alike, at the Bridgeport conference in 1987. We know that the Soviet Union reached a turning point; yet, in critical respects, it failed to turn.

Keywords:Gorbachev; legislation; perestroika; Presidium; Socialist Democracy; Soviet Union; USSR Supreme Soviet

10.1163/9789004203334_004
/content/books/b9789004203334s004
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