Soviet Economic Crisis: The Most Immediate Stumbling Block and the Next Step

Teodor Shanin
1989 Monthly review  
By now the gap between the economic and the political advance of perestroika in the Soviet Union has reached a point where its most evident contradictions are clear to all: empty shelves and a parliament the like of which the country has never seen (and nobody could imagine), shortage of soap in the capital city of a superpower and open debates on the privileges of the party bureaucracy and on the Ribentrop-Molotov Pact. It is also clear that the future of an immense political effort will be
more » ... l effort will be decided by what happens next with the country's economy. This is therefore the time to look more closely at what is on the minds of those who try to work out the next steps in Soviet economic strategies. An opportunity to do so came at a recent meeting in Oxford devoted to "Gorbachev and the European Left." It was addressed by Otto Latsis-an economist, assistant editor of Kommunist (the Communist Party's main theoretical journal), and one of perestroika's major spokespeople. At the conference, the endless quibbling of petty factions of England's disjointed socialist movement made his message all but disappear. It should not have. Latsis began by saying that when he went to Moscow University to study economics, Stalin was still alive. Of the many authors the students of the day read, they consistently Teodor Shanin is professor of sociology at the University of Manchester.
doi:10.14452/mr-041-05-1989-09_2 fatcat:e5powfwppnbutkj27bjcrcqjte