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Collapse of the Soviet Union

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abuayisha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 June 2011 at 9:45am
In a 1989 interview, the "godfather of glasnost," Aleksandr Yakovlev, recalled that, returning to the Soviet Union in 1983 after 10 years as the ambassador to Canada, he felt the moment was at hand when people would declare, "Enough! We cannot live like this any longer. Everything must be done in a new way. We must reconsider our concepts, our approaches, our views of the past and our future. There has come an understanding that it is simply impossible to live as we lived before -- intolerably, humiliatingly."

To Gorbachev's prime minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, the "moral [nravstennoe] state of the society" in 1985 was its "most terrifying" feature:

[We] stole from ourselves, took and gave bribes, lied in the reports, in newspapers, from high podiums, wallowed in our lies, hung medals on one another. And all of this -- from top to bottom and from bottom to top.

Another member of Gorbachev's very small original coterie of liberalizers, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, was just as pained by ubiquitous lawlessness and corruption. He recalls telling Gorbachev in the winter of 1984-1985: "Everything is rotten. It has to be changed."

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