If the average average person who survived the second half of the eighties at a conscious age today is asked to briefly characterize this time, then in response in most cases one can hear something like "perestroika is a horror and a shame". Naturally, the young man who was born (or not yet) in those years needs a more detailed story.
History in Gorbachev's style
The restructuring of Gorbachev (namely, he introduced the term, although it may not have been invented by him), started in early 1987. What happened earlier, after his election to the post of General Secretary, was called acceleration. And before that, there was stagnation in the country. And even earlier there was voluntarism. And before him is the cult of personality. Here before Stalinism was a stain, represented against the backdrop of all abuses of the subsequent decades of light. This is NEP.
This is how the Soviet people in the majority imagined the history of the USSR from the end of the eighties. Many articles contributed to this vision were published in popular publications (Ogonek, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Argumenty i Fakty, and many others). On the shelves appeared previously banned literary works, for the possession of which a few years ago you could get a lot of trouble, and they were swept away in no time. Our country was the most reading in the world before, and after 1987 the popularity of books and newspapers completely beat all the world records of the past (alas, perhaps, that of the future).
Vestiges of the past
Of course, all the sources of knowledge about the history of our native country, with its enormous exposing power, should not have shaken the firm belief of Soviet people into the highest justice of socialist society and its ultimate goal - communism. MS Gorbachev and his associates in the Politburo were aware of the deplorable fact that - due to low efficiency - agriculture and industry require substantial restructuring. The economy skidded, many enterprises were not profitable, but rather costly, the number of "millionaire collective farms" (by the amount of debt to the state) multiplied, the simplest household items became scarce, the situation with food products was also not happy. The young secretary-general realized that he had a certain credit of trust, because for so many decades everything was going wrong, so you need to wait for some time. As it turned out later, the years of perestroika were somewhat delayed. Then no one could foresee this.
Acceleration and cooperatives
By itself, the upgrade course, of course, was needed. The first couple of years it was believed that the direction was taken right, and "there is no alternative, comrades," you just need to move on it faster. This is what determined the name of the first stage, from which perestroika began. The history of the NEP suggested that if some spheres of management were transferred to private hands, then the shifts were virtually guaranteed. In the twenties, the country quickly defeated the devastation and famine, helped from somewhere undertaking enterprising and active masters. The attempt to repeat these achievements in sixty years has led to a not quite the same result. Co-operators became a "touchstone" when creating a new class of Soviet capitalists. They filled certain segments of the domestic market, and the most successful and on the outside swung, but the economy could not move from the dead point. Therefore, the assertion that perestroika - this repetition of the new economic policy is not justified. Growth of GNP did not happen. Quite the contrary.
In 1986, almost no one remembered about the acceleration (about which they joked that before it was simply "tyap-lyap", and now "tyap-tyap-bloop-bloop"). New measures of a structural nature were required, and this leadership of the country began to feel even earlier. There were new faces in place of retired party mastodons, but also from old cadres with the reputation of "advanced intellectuals", Gorbachev did not refuse. Eduard Shevardnadze took the chairmanship of the Supreme Soviet, N. Ryzhkov took the presidium seat, the Moscow city committee of the party was run by Boris Yeltsin, little known at that time, but rapidly gaining popularity. A. Lukyanov and A. Yakovlev entered the Politburo, having made a dizzying career. It seemed that success was ensured with such a team ...
In what way did you see the output
So, the main problems seemed to be revealed. You need to move forward more resolutely, more boldly. MS Gorbachev himself, with his characteristic eloquence, explained to the "common people" crowding around him that perestroika is when everyone does his job. There was a natural question: what did everyone do before 1985? But the experienced Soviet citizens did not ask him.
As in the days before industrialization, the USSR felt a lack of development of machine building. The Plenum of 1985 set the task of increasing industrial production by 70%. By the nineties, a breakthrough was planned to the world level, quantitative and qualitative. Personnel and resources for this were. Why did not this happen?
XXVII Congress and its correct decisions
In 1986, the XXVII Congress of the CPSU passed, for the work of which - in fact, and not only through the newspaper propaganda stamp - was followed by the whole country. The delegates supported the adoption of a revolutionary law that broadens the rights of work collectives, who now could elect directors, regulate salaries and decide which products to produce in order to receive the greatest benefits. These were such reforms of perestroika, which the working people could not have dreamed of quite recently. Based on social changes, it was planned to effectively use the state potential to increase the productivity of the economy by 150%. It was proclaimed that by 2000 all Soviet families will live in separate apartments. The people rejoiced, but ... it is premature. The system still did not work.
Two years passed after perestroika began. Gorbachev, obviously, began to torment doubts about the correctness of the direction in which the country is moving. After many years, already in 1999, speaking in Turkey at a seminar hosted by the American University, he would call himself a convinced anti-communist who fought his whole life for the triumph of democracy. In a sense, he may be right, but today it is difficult to assess the appropriateness of his actions in 1987. Then he spoke about something else, accusing the mysterious representatives of the "command-administrative system" and no less mysterious mechanisms that all are holding back. Nevertheless, it was in the second (and last) period of perestroika that a crown of impeccability was removed from socialism and systemic vices were discovered (quite unexpectedly). It turns out that everything was planned well (Lenin), but in the thirties, it was badly distorted. The concept of economic socialism arose, as opposed to a stupid party administration. Theoretical justification was provided by articles of professors and academicians L. Abalkin, G. Popov, N. Shmelev and P. Bunich. On paper again everything went smoothly, and in actual fact the usual socialist self-financing was preached.
Nineteenth Party Conference
In 1988, the last line of defense of party-nomenklatura all-power was surrendered. Civil society and limiting the influence of the CPSU on state and economic processes, giving councils independence in making a decision, were declared the goal to be pursued. There were discussions, and with all the revolutionary approach it turned out that these tasks again had to be decided under the leadership of the party. Just because there was no other driving force. The delegates decided on this and supported Gorbachev wholeheartedly. It seemed that the previous years of perestroika were spent uselessly, but this is not so. The consequences were, they concerned the composition of the Soviets, in which one third of the deputies were now represented by public organizations.
Crisis material, spiritual crisis
After the conference, something happened, reminiscent of the split of the RSDLP. The party has its own democrats and radicals, representing irreconcilable ideological trends. Meanwhile, the country, accustomed to peace and stability, became agitated. The representatives of the older generation, educated on communist ideas, painfully perceived the collapse of their ideas about a just society. Mature people, accustomed to social guarantees and respect for their labor achievements, experienced material difficulties, exacerbated by the apparent financial superiority of co-operators - people often ignorant and rude. Young people during perestroika also felt a spiritual crisis, seeing that education received by parents does not guarantee a dignified life. The foundations collapsed.
Someone loses, but someone finds
The destruction of the dominant ideology, no matter how close it is to universal values, is always accompanied by large-scale incidental phenomena, most often extremely hard-tolerated by the majority of the population. Strikes of workers of industrial enterprises and miners began. Food and consumer crises arose unpredictably, tea, cigarettes with cigarettes, then sugar, then soap disappeared from the counters ... At the same time, the owners of some posts gave the opportunity to get rich in large quantities, namely, perestroika in the USSR. In short, it can be characterized as a period of initial accumulation. The state monopoly on foreign trade activities became a victim of democratic reforms, people who had experience working in foreign markets and who had the necessary connections, immediately used their potentials. An excellent opportunity to give loans. Soviet banknotes rapidly lost their useful qualities, it was not difficult to repay debts, investing the received amounts in almost any commodity. Credited, however, not all. And not for nothing. But these are trifles ...
On the national question
Not only impoverishment, but also bloody events marked the period of perestroika. The USSR was bursting at the seams from serious international conflicts in the Baltic, Fergana Valley, Sumgait, Baku, Nagorno-Karabakh, Osh, Chisinau, Tbilisi and other geographical locations of the still friendly Union. Massively created "people's fronts," called in different ways, but having one nationalistic root. Demonstrations, rallies and other acts of civil disobedience flooded the country, the authorities' actions were tough, but they were also guilty of the weakness of the authority of the leadership, and its inability for a long-term power confrontation. The restructuring of 1985-1991 caused the collapse of the Union into separate national state entities, often hostile to each other.
Five hundred days ... or more?
By 1990, the economic horizon was dominated by two basic concepts for further development. The first, one of the authors of which was G. Yavlinsky, presupposed an almost instant (in five hundred days) privatization and transition to capitalism, which, as it seemed at that time, was much more progressive than the socialism that had outlived itself. The second option was proposed by the less radical Pavlov and Ryzhkov, and provided for a smooth movement towards the market with the gradual release of administrative state restrictors. So, gradually increasing prices, and the leadership of the country began to act. However, it turned out that such a slow movement has a destructive effect.
Patch - unexpected and inevitable
In the same 1990, the Soviet citizens suddenly appeared president. Such in the history of the state - both royal and Soviet - was not yet. And in June, Russia announced its independence, and now Gorbachev could lead anywhere in the USSR, but not in Moscow, where Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, chairman of the Supreme Council, became the owner. Mikhail Sergeevich, of course, did not move out of the Kremlin, but the conflict arose, and lasted until the very end of the USSR.
The referendum held in March 1991 demonstrated two important things. First, it became clear that the majority of Soviet citizens (over 76%) want to live in one big country. Secondly, it's easy to persuade them to change their minds, but it turned out a little later.
After the actual disintegration of the union state (which means the USSR without Russia?), New subjects of international law began to prepare the association, for which the committee was assembled in Novo-Ogarevo. In June Yeltsin won the election, becoming the first Russian president. He was supposed to sign the Union Treaty on August 20. But then there was a putsch, just a day earlier. Then there were three days full of excitement, the release of Gorbachev, who was tormented in Foros, and many other things, different and not always pleasant.
Thus, perestroika ended. It was inevitable.