Gorby’s out­dated vi­sion

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

eco­nomic con­se­quences of shock ther­apy, the de­cline in democ­racy and the rise of the oli­garchs.

The sec­ond asks: whither Rus­sia? The an­swer prof­fered is that Rus­sia must have an­other per­e­stroika, a root-and-branch trans­for­ma­tion of the sys­tem.

In the past few years Gor­bachev has re­peat­edly called for free and fair elections as the mech­a­nism to in­sti­gate change. Yet, as he does con­cede, such demo­cratic re­form is the last thing the present elite would ini­ti­ate: ‘‘in Rus­sia today the ex­ec­u­tive branch lords it over so­ci­ety, be­holden to no one”.

The third part of the book is called Today’s Un­easy World. It launches into a pro­mo­tion of New Think­ing: ‘‘the ideas and prin­ci­ples that I and my col­leagues had of­fered the world in the lat­ter half of the 1980s … it was New Think­ing that made pos­si­ble putting an end to the Cold War. I be­lieve the world still very much needs it today.’’ New Think­ing is ba­si­cally ‘‘mod­ern hu­man­ism, its pur­pose to move us to­ward a more sta­ble, safe, more just and hu­man so­ci­ety’’.

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