17 May 2023

What is Perestroika? – Causes and consequences of this political organization

By Donald

perestroika was a reform was carried out in the Soviet Union during the 1980s. It aimed to modernize the economy and restructure the nation’s political system to make it more efficient.

In this article we will talk to you about Perestroika and we will answer questions like: Who promoted it? What were its causes? What did it consist of? and many more interesting facts. Keep reading with us!

What does Perestroika mean in history?

It was an economic reform implemented in the government of the Soviet Union (Russia, today) in the 1980s. The word ‘perestroika’ in Russian means “reconstruction” or “reorganization”.

It was started by the leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, with the aim of modernizing and restructuring the market to make it more efficient and competitive. Gorbachev believed that the Soviet economy was stagnant and that he needed significant changes to revitalize it.

perestroika it included measures such as the decentralization of the economy. In addition to the introduction of market elements and the liberalization of foreign trade. They also tried to reduce corruption and improve transparency in government.

However, perestroika had a very limited impact on the Soviet economy, and ultimately failed to prevent the collapse of the communist system in 1991. Despite this, Perestroika has been seen as a turning point in the history of the Soviet Union and the world, as it represented an attempt at reform within the communist system and marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

What is economic perestroika?

It was a series of financial modifications implemented in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It was a response to the economic crisis and politics facing the USSR at that time. It focused on modernizing and liberalizing the centrally planned market that had dominated the country’s financial life for decades.

Economic Perestroika implied a series of important changes in the system Soviet market. These included economic decentralization, the removal of restrictions on private property and foreign trade. In addition to the introduction of market elements in the Soviet economy.

Also, implemented measures to reduce bureaucracy and corruption. Industrial restructuring programs and investment in technology and training were also established. This in order to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the Soviet economy.

Although perestroika was seen as an attempt at radical reform in the USSR, did not get the desired results. The economy failed to adapt to the rapid changes and faced a supply crisis, leading to widespread shortages of basic goods and services.

Ultimately, Perestroika could not prevent the collapse of the communist system in the Soviet Union in 1991. However, it has been seen as a watershed moment in the nation’s financial and political history. Since it laid the foundations for the transition from the centrally planned economy to a market economy in the countries that emerged from the disintegration of the Soviet Union such as Ukraine for example.

What are the causes of Perestroika?

The origin was due to a combination of political factors, economic and social losses that had accumulated over decades of communist rule in the country. Among the main causes of the origin of Perestroika are:

  1. The economic crisis: The economy was stagnant and faced a series of problems. Including a lack of technological innovation, low productivity and an inefficient bureaucratic system. This limited the ability of the economy to adapt to rapid changes in the world market.
  2. The exhaustion of the communist model: The planning that had dominated the political and economic life of the USSR for decades had begun to lose credibility and legitimacy among the population. Especially after the riots in Poland and Hungary in the 1980s.
  3. The need for political reform: The bureaucracy in the Soviet Union was extensive and it was very centralized. This limited the ability of citizens to participate in the political life of the nation. In addition, corruption and political oppression were serious widespread problems in the country.
  4. International pressure: This was also an important factor that prompted the need for change in the Soviet Union. Competition with Western countries, particularly with the United States. It had led to a costly arms race and had aggravated the country’s economic problems.

What is it that characterizes Perestroika?

Next, Some of the features are presented that defined Perestroika:

  1. Economic decentralization: One of the main objectives was the decentralization of the economy. It sought to give more autonomy to companies and factories in making financial decisions and allow the creation of private cooperatives.
  2. Introduction of market elements: Some measures were introduced into the Soviet economy. For example, the elimination of fixed prices and the possibility for companies to compete with each other.
  3. Reduction of bureaucracy: Perestroika tried to reduce the bureaucracy of the Soviet state. Trying to eliminate some administrative charges and decreasing political centralization.
  4. Political reform: An attempt was made to democratize the political system of the Soviet Union. Trying to increase citizen participation and government transparency.
  5. Opening to the outside world: Perestroika iIt implied a greater reception of the Soviet Union to the outside world. Allowing greater contact with the West and promoting international trade and cooperation.

Who promoted Perestroika?

It was promoted by Mikhail Gorbachev, who was the last leader of the USSR. Gorbachev took over as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in March 1985, at a time when the country was experiencing a serious economic and political crisis.

From the beginning of his term, Gorbachev advocated for reforms that would allow modernizing and revitalize the Soviet economy. In addition to improving the living conditions of the population. To do this, he introduced Perestroika, a reform program aimed at restructuring the country’s economy and political system.

Gorbachev believed that it was necessary to introduce a series of deep and structural changes in the USSR. This to adapt to the new political realities and economics of the world. In his opinion, the Soviet economy needed to be more efficient and productive in order to compete with Western economies. Likewise, the country’s political system had to be more democratic and participatory in order to respond to the demands of an increasingly critical and globalized society.

gorbachev He was a charismatic and visionary leader, which inspired hope and enthusiasm among the Soviet population and the whole world. His legacy remains the subject of controversy, but his role in the history of the Soviet Union and the world has undoubtedly been significant and influential.

What is the relationship between Perestroika and Glasnost?

They are two concepts that are linked and They arose in the USSR during the government of Mikhail Gorbachev. Perestroika focused on the economic and political restructuring of the Soviet Union, while Glasnost focused on transparency and the beginning of the country’s new system.

the glasnost translates as “clarity” or “openness” in Russian, and refers to Gorbachev’s policy of promoting freedom of speech and of the press, as well as reducing censorship and repression in the Soviet Union. Through Glasnost, greater freedom of expression was allowed and civil society was encouraged to participate in the political life of the country.

the glasnost was one of the most radical and transformative measures from the Gorbachev era. It allowed open discussion of previously taboo topics, such as corruption, abuse of power and human rights, and also opened up spaces for political criticism and debate.

Glasnost and Perestroika were related, since openness and transparency allowed a better flow of information and greater public control over political and economic decision-making. Through Glasnost, civil society was allowed to participate more in the reforms of the Soviet Union, which in turn contributed to the success and failure of Perestroika.

What were the consequences of Perestroika?

It had a number of repercussions. significant in the Soviet Union and in the world in general. Below are some of the main consequences of Perestroika:

  1. Collapse of the communist regime: Perestroika and Glasnost triggered a series of changes that contributed to the collapse of the communist regime in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Political liberalization and the opening of the system allowed the expression of opposition and dissent, which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of Germany.
  2. Disintegration of the Soviet Union: Perestroika could not prevent the separation of the USSR in 1991, although some argue that the process of economic and political reform was one of the direct causes of the country’s disappearance. Perestroika also allowed greater autonomy for the Soviet republics, which in turn fostered the emergence of independence movements and the disintegration of the country.
  3. Transition to a market economy: Perestroika included a series of economic reforms aimed at modernizing the Soviet economy. This led to the introduction of market elements and the privatization of some state companies. However, the transition process was uneven and painful, the Soviet economy experienced a prolonged recession and runaway inflation.
  4. Political and social legacy: Perestroika and Glasnost left a lasting political and social heritage in the Soviet Union and in the world in general. Political liberalization and the opening of the system allowed the appearance of new voices and perspectives in society. They also contributed to the creation of a more pluralistic and democratic political culture.

In summary, had significant consequences in the USSR and in the world, his legacy remains the subject of debate and controversy. Although Perestroika could not prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, it laid the foundations for the transition to a market economy and for the creation of a more open and pluralistic political system.