Gorbachev, the Generals and the "Turn to the Right"
Corrigan, Michael J.
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This thesis attempts to guage the effects, on Soviet Western relations and East European stability, of the conservative turn taken by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in late 1990, early 1991. The signs of this move include: the repression in the Baltics, Foreign Minister Schevardnadze's resignation, the removal of other reformist leaders from Gorbachev's retinue, and the growth of military influence. While apparently being negative for prospects of continued good relations and stability, this conservative turn was taken as a result of internal political dynamics and not specifically as a reaction against the West or against East European developments. Gorbachev, the new thinkers, and the foreign policy conservatives are involved in a power struggle. The conservatives, the generals, have gained influence and are now in a position to slow down but not derail the new thinking diplomacy. The Turn to the Right signals an end to the dramatic breakthrough diplomacy of 1989 and 1990 but is not a harbinger of a return to old relations. There is a power struggle going on in the USSR. Earlier, with Gorbachev on their side, the reformists were at the helm. As a result of their policies Eastern Europe was freed, the Cold War thawed, and East and West came closer together. Gorbachev has seemingly switched sides in the power struggle. The aim here is, by examining Soviet political maneuvering, to understand whether the influence of the conservatives has increased, and how this might affect the foreign policy achievements of the reformists.
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