The death of Mikhail Gorbachev has led to a great unfolding of information in the international press. In several headlines he is highlighted as the last Soviet leader; strictly speaking, he was not, since he led the final stage of capitalist restoration in the former USSR, an aspect totally contrary to Sovietism.
Gorbachev assumed the functions of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, CPSU, in March 1985 and shortly thereafter was named President of the USSR. It was a time when economic, political, social and moral problems took on great dimensions in that country. In the 1970s, the growth rate of national income fell by more than 50% and in the early 1980s it almost reached zero. Corruption could not be stopped; there was talk of a “second economy” to designate what is known as the “black market,” in which officials at the highest level of the State and leaders of the party were involved. The health system was practically in ruins; housing was overcrowded; the rates of alcoholism in the population were high; people’s life expectancy was reduced and mortality was on the rise. There were many more problems.
The bases of capitalism resurfaced in the former USSR with the coup d’état carried out by Nikita Khrushchev and his clique in 1956, after the death of Joseph Stalin (1953). Over the years, the successes achieved by socialism in all fields while Lenin and Stalin were at the head of the state were undermined and capitalist laws and forms of production were imposed. So much so that Leonid Brezhnev (who succeeded Khrushchev) said that “no one lives on their salary alone,” referring to the existence of the “black market” and the social strata that depended on private economic activity for their income.
Gorbachev, when he assumed the leadership of the party and state, obviously did not present himself as an open promoter of capitalist re-establishment; he said that his purpose was to establish an “efficient, productive and democratic socialism,” and thus led to the disintegration of the USSR.
The economic and political reforms that brought the anti-socialist process initiated by revisionism four decades earlier to the highest point, were made official in July 1987. A year earlier they were approved at a Party congress, but as early as 1984, in a speech to the ideological working group of the Central Committee of the Party, Gorbachev raised the need for an information opening (glasnost) and the restructuring of the economic system (perestroika).
Gorbachev’s plan sought to establish a capitalist market economy, eliminate control over state enterprises, which could now determine what to produce, how much to produce and the prices in the market based on consumer demands; a new law on cooperatives restored private ownership to companies in services, manufactures and sectors linked to foreign trade; foreign trade was liberalized. This led to deindustrialization and the privatization of state-owned enterprises. In 1994, when the USSR no longer existed, 70% of the assets in Russia came from the private sector.
Hand in hand with the pro-capitalist reforms was glasnost (transparency), which supposedly had the purpose of democratizing information, but in reality it was a means to open the floodgates to an open and furious anti-communist propaganda, driven by the most degenerate and pro-restoration sectors. The historical distortion of the process of building socialism in the USSR was one of the targets and, particularly, the unfounded attacks against Stalin were accentuated.
Gorbachev defined perestroika as a revolution within the revolution, aimed at achieving more socialism and more democracy; in reality it was a counter-revolution within the counter-revolution. The economic and social problems deepened, the USSR fell into political chaos, the demands of the workers and the people were lit up on all sides, and some Soviet republics demanded to secede.
On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev broadcast a live message on television, announcing his resignation from the presidency of the Republic. It was a formality; in fact he had no control over the situation in the country; days earlier the Washington Post called him the leader of a kingdom in the air.
The international bourgeoisie loudly applauded what Gorbachev did. None other than George Bush Sr. said that “the revolutionary transformation of a totalitarian dictatorship and the liberation of its people from its suffocating embrace” had taken place. If the most powerful imperialist head of state on the planet said that, it is because Gorbachev’s services to world capitalism were enormous.