Thursday, April 4, 2013
The new Executive was designed
The new Executive was designed to be a powerful position to guide the spiraling reform process, and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and Congress of People's Deputies had already given Gorbachev increasingly presidential powers in February. This would be again a source of criticism from reformers. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery Despite the apparent increase in Gorbachev's power, he was unable to stop the process of nationalistic assertion. Further embarrassing facts about Soviet history were revealed in April, when the government admitted that the NKVD had carried out the infamous Katyn Massacre of Polish army officers during World War II; Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery previously, the USSR had blamedNazi Germany. More significantly for Gorbachev's position, Boris Yeltsin was reaching a new level of prominence, as he was elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR in May, effectively making him the de jure leader of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery Problems for Gorbachev would once more come from the Russian parliament in June, when it declared the precedence of Russian laws over All-Union level legislation. Gorbachev's personal position continued changing. At the 28th CPSU Congress in July, Gorbachev was re-elected General Secretary but this position was now completely independent of Soviet government, Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery and the Politburo had no say in the ruling of the country. Gorbachev further reduced Party power in the same month, when he issued a decree abolishing Party control of all areas of the media and broadcasting. At the same time, Gorbachev was working to consolidate his presidential position, Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery culminating in the Supreme Soviet granting him special powers to rule by decree in September in order to pass a much-needed plan for transition to a market economy. However, the Supreme Soviet could not agree on which program to adopt. Gorbachev pressed on with political reform, his proposal for setting up a new Soviet government, Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery with a Soviet of the Federation consisting of representatives from all 15 republics, was passed through the Supreme Soviet in November. In December, Gorbachev was once more granted increased executive power by the Supreme Soviet, arguing that such moves were necessary to counter "the dark forces of nationalism". Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery Such moves led to Eduard Shevardnadze's resignation; Gorbachev's former ally warned of an impending dictatorship. This move was a serious blow to Gorbachev personally and to his efforts for reform. Meanwhile, Gorbachev was losing further ground to nationalists. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery October 1990 saw the founding of DemRossiya, the Russian pro-reform coalition; a few days later, both Ukraine and Russia declared their laws completely sovereign over Soviet level laws. The 'war of laws' had become an open battle, with the Supreme Soviet refusing to recognise the actions of the two republics. Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery Gorbachev would publish the draft of a new union treaty in November, which envisioned a continued union called the Union of Sovereign Soviet Republics, but, going into 1991, the actions of Gorbachev were steadily being overtaken by the centrifugal secessionist forces. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery January and February would see a new level of turmoil in the Baltic republics. On 10 January 1991 Gorbachev issued an ultimatum-like request addressing the Lithuanian Supreme Council demanding the restoration of the validity of the constitution of the Soviet Union in Lithuania and the revoking of all anti-constitutional laws. Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery In his Memoirs, Gorbachev asserts that, on 12 January, he convened the Council of the Federation and political measures to prevent bloodshed were agreed, including sending representatives of the Council of the Federation on a "fact-finding mission" to Vilnius. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery However, before the delegation arrived, the local branches of the KGB and armed forces had worked together to seize the TV tower in Vilnius; Gorbachev asked the heads of the KGB and military if they had approved such action, and there is no evidence that they, or Gorbachev, ever approved this move. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery Gorbachev cites documents found in the RSFSR Prokuratura after the August coup, which only mentioned that "some 'authorities'" had sanctioned the actions. A book called Alpha – the KGB's Top Secret Unit also suggests that a "KGB operation co-ordinated with the military" was undertaken by the KGB Alpha Group. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery Archie Brown, in The Gorbachev Factor, uses the memoirs of many people around Gorbachev and in the upper echelons of the Soviet political landscape, to implicate General Valentin Varennikov, a member of the August coup plotters, and General Viktor Achalov, another August coup conspirator. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery These persons were characterised as individuals "who were prepared to remove Gorbachev from his presidential office unconstitutionally" and "were more than capable of using unauthorised violence against nationalist separatists some months earlier". Brown criticises Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery Gorbachev for "a conscious tilt in the direction of the conservative forces he was trying to keep within an increasingly fragile coalition" who would later betray him; he also criticises Gorbachev "for his tougher line and heightened rhetoric against the Lithuanians in the days preceding the attack and for his slowness in condemning the killings" Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery but notes that Gorbachev did not approve any action and was seeking political solutions. As a result of continued violence, at least 14 civilians were killed and more than 600 injured from 11–13 January 1991 in Vilnius, Lithuania. The strong Western reaction and the actions of Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery Russian democratic forces put the president and government of the Soviet Union into an awkward situation, as news of support for Lithuanians from Western democracies started to appear. Further problems surfaced in Riga, Latvia, on 20 and 21 January, where OMON (special Ministry of the Interior) troops killed 4 people. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery Archie Brown suggests that Gorbachev's response this time was better, condemning the rogue action, sending his condolences and suggesting that secession could take place if it went through the procedures outlined in the Soviet constitution. According to Gorbachev's aide, Shakhnazarov (quoted by Archie Brown), Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery Gorbachev was finally beginning to accept the inevitability of "losing" the Baltic republics, although he would try all political means to preserve the Union. Brown believes that this put him in "imminent danger" of being overthrown by hard-liners against the secession. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery Gorbachev thus continued to draw up a new treaty of union which would have created a truly voluntary federation in an increasingly democratised Soviet Union. The new treaty was strongly supported by the Central Asian republics, who needed the economic power and markets of the Soviet Union to prosper. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery However, the more radical reformists, such as Russian SFSR President Boris Yeltsin, were increasingly convinced that a rapid transition to a market economy was required and were more than happy to contemplate the disintegration of the Soviet Union if that was required to achieve their aims. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery Nevertheless, a referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held in March (with a referendum in Russia on the creation of a presidency), which returned an average of 76.4% in the nine republics where it was taken, with a turn-out of 80% of the adult population. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova did not participate. Following this, an April meeting at Novo-Ogarevo between Gorbachev and the heads of the nine republics issued a statement on speeding up the creation of a new Union treaty. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery In May, a hardline newspaper published “Architect amidst the Ruins”, an open letter criticizing Yakovlev (often referred to as the Architect of Perestroika) which was signed by Gennady Zyuganov. Many also saw this publication as the start of a campaign to oust Gorbachev. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery Meanwhile, on 12 June 1991 Boris Yeltsin was elected President of the Russian Federation by 57.3% of the vote (with a turnout of 74%). In contrast to the reformers' moderate approach to the new treaty, the hard-line apparatchiks, still strong within the CPSU and military establishment, were completely opposed to anything which might lead to the break-up of the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery On the eve of the treaty's signing, hardliners in the Soviet leadership, calling themselves the 'State Emergency Committee', launched the August coup in 1991 in an attempt to remove Gorbachev from power and prevent the signing of the new union treaty. During this time, Gorbachev spent three days (19, 20 and 21 August) Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery under house arrest at a dacha in the Crimea before being freed and restored to power. However, upon his return, Gorbachev found that neither union nor Russian power structures heeded his commands as support had swung over to Yeltsin, whose defiance had led to the coup's collapse. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery Furthermore, Gorbachev was forced to fire large numbers of his Politburo and, in several cases, arrest them. Those arrested for high treason included the "Gang of Eight" that had led the coup, including Kryuchkov, Yazov, Pavlov and Yanayev. Pugo was found shot; and Akhromeyev, Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery who had offered his assistance but was never implicated, was found hanging in his Kremlin office. Most of these men had been former allies of Gorbachev's or promoted by him, which drew fresh criticism. For all intents and purposes, the coup was the end politically for Gorbachev. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery On 24 August, he advised the Central Committee to dissolve, resigned as General Secretary and disbanded all party units within the government. Shortly afterward, the Supreme Soviet suspended all Party activities on Soviet territory. In effect, Communist rule in the Soviet Union had ended—thus eliminating the only unifying force left in the country. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery Gorbachev's hopes of a new Union were further hit when the Congress of People's Deputies dissolved itself on 5 September. Though Gorbachev and the representatives of eight republics (excluding Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) signed an agreement on forming a new economic community on 18 October, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery events were overtaking Gorbachev. The Soviet Union collapsed with dramatic speed during the fall of 1991, as one republic after another declared independence. By the start of fall, Gorbachev could no longer influence events outside of Moscow, and he was challenged even there by Yeltsin. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery Following the coup, Yeltsin suspended all CPSU activities on Russian territory and closed the Central Committee building at Staraya Square. He also ordered the Russian flag raised alongside the Soviet flag at the Kremlin. As the fall of 1991 wore on, Russia began taking over what remained of the Soviet government, including the Kremlin. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CYS Battery With the country in a rapid state of deterioration, the final blow to Gorbachev's vision was effectively dealt by a Ukrainian referendum on 1 December, where the Ukrainian people voted for independence. Ukraine had been the second most powerful republic in the Soviet Union after Russia, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92DS Battery and its secession ended any realistic chance of the Soviet Union staying united even on a limited scale. The presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus met in Belovezh Forest, near Brest, Belarus, on 8 December, founding the Commonwealth of Independent States and declaring the end of the Soviet Union in the Belavezha Accords. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92JS Battery Gorbachev initially denounced this move as illegal. However, on 17 December, he accepted the fait accompli and reluctantly agreed with Yeltsin to dissolve the Soviet Union. Gorbachev resigned on 25 December and the Soviet Union was formally dissolved the following day. Two days after Gorbachev left office, on 27 December, Yeltsin moved into Gorbachev's old office. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92YS Battery Gorbachev had aimed to maintain the CPSU as a united party but move it in the direction of social democracy. But when the CPSU was proscribed after the August coup, Gorbachev was left with no effective power base beyond the armed forces. In the aftermath of the coup, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93FS Battery his rival Yeltsin quickly worked to consolidate his hold on the Russian government as well as the remants of the Soviet armed forces, paving the way for Gorbachev's downfall. Following his resignation and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev remained active in Russian politics. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93GS Battery During the early years of the post-Soviet era, he expressed criticism at the reforms carried out by Russian president Boris Yeltsin. When Yeltsin called a referendum for 25 April 1993 in an attempt to achieve even greater powers as president, Gorbachev did not vote and instead called for new presidential elections. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93HS Battery Following a failed run for the presidency in 1996, Gorbachev established the Social Democratic Party of Russia, a union between several Russian social democratic parties. He resigned as party leader in May 2004 following a disagreement with the party's chairman over the direction taken in the 2003 election campaign. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZFS Battery The party was later banned in 2007 by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation due to its failure to establish local offices with at least 500 members in the majority of Russian regions, which is required by Russian law for a political organization to be listed as a party. Later that year, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZGS Battery Gorbachev founded a new political party, called the Union of Social-Democrats. In June 2004, he represented Russia at thefuneral of Ronald Reagan. Gorbachev has also appeared in numerous media channels since his resignation from office. In 1993, he appeared as himself in the Wim Wenders film Faraway, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZHS Battery So Close!, the sequel to Wings of Desire. In 1997, Gorbachev appeared with his granddaughter Anastasia in an internationally screened television commercial for Pizza Hut. The U.S. corporation's payment for the 60-second ad went to Gorbachev's not-for-profit Gorbachev Foundation. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11EN Battery In 2007, French luxury brand Louis Vuitton announced that Gorbachev would be shown in an ad campaign for their signature luggage. Following Boris Yeltsin's death on 23 April 2007, Gorbachev released a eulogy for him, stating that Yeltsin was to be commended for assuming the "difficult task of leading the nation into the post-Soviet era",Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11MN Battery and "on whose shoulders are both great deeds for the country and serious errors." On 16 June 2009, Gorbachev announced that he had recorded an album of old Russian romantic ballads entitled Songs for Raisa to raise money for a charity dedicated to his late wife. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11XN Battery On the album, he sings the songs himself accompanied by Russian musician Andrei Makarevich. Since his resignation, Gorbachev has remained involved in world affairs. He founded the Gorbachev Foundation in 1992, headquartered in San Francisco. He later founded Green Cross International, with which he was one of three major sponsors of the Earth Charter. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12VN Battery He also became a member of the Club of Rome and the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries. In the decade that followed the Cold War, Gorbachev opposed both the U.S.-led NATO Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12XN Battery bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the U.S.-led Iraq War in 2003. On 27 July 2007, Gorbachev criticized U.S. foreign policy: “What has followed are unilateral actions, what has followed are wars, what has followed is ignoring the UN Security Council, ignoring international law and ignoring the will of the people, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31VT Battery even the American people,” he said. That same year, he visited New Orleans, a city hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina, and promised he would return in 2011 to personally lead a local revolution if the U.S. government had not repaired the levees by that time. He said that revolutionary action should be a last resort. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31XT Battery Concerning the 2008 South Ossetia war, in a 12 August 2008 op-ed essay in The Washington Post, Gorbachev criticized the U.S. support for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and for moving to bring the Caucasus into the sphere of its national interest. He later said the following: Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560 Battery Russia did not want this crisis. The Russian leadership is in a strong enough position domestically; it did not need a little victorious war. Russia was dragged into the fray by the recklessness of the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili.... The decision by the Russian president, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N24 Battery Dmitri Medvedev, to now cease hostilities was the right move by a responsible leader. The Russian president acted calmly, confidently and firmly... The planners of this campaign clearly wanted to make sure that, whatever the outcome, Russia would be blamed for worsening the situation. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N30 Battery The West then mounted a propaganda attack against Russia, with the American news media leading the way."In September 2008 Gorbachev announced he would make a comeback to Russian politics along with a former KGB officer, Alexander Lebedev.Their party is known as the Independent Democratic Party of Russia. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P Battery He also is part owner of the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. On 20 March 2009, Gorbachev met with United States President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in efforts to "reset" strained relations between Russia and the United States. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P20 Battery On 27 March 2009, Gorbachev visited Eureka College, Illinois, which is the alma mater of former U.S. president Ronald W. Reagan with whom he negotiated historic nuclear arms reduction treaties. Gorbachev toured the Reagan Museum on campus, met with students, and spoke at a convocation in the Reagan Center; Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P22 Battery he then traveled to the nearby Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois as the keynote speaker at the combined George Washington/Ronald Reagan Day Dinner where college president Dr. J. David Arnold named him an Honorary Reagan Fellow of Eureka College. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P28 Battery To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev accompanied former Polish leader Lech Wałęsa and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a celebration in Berlin on 9 November 2009. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P30 Battery On 7 June 2010, Gorbachev gave an interview before an "almost an annual pilgrimage" to London for a summer gala to raise money for the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation, which funds cancer care for children. The clinic in St. Petersburg can house 80 child patients. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P34 Battery From the interview: "Her death, after several years of ill-health, left Gorbachev bereft. He lives in Moscow, has not remarried and finds solace with his daughter and grand-daughters. He would not be coaxed to talk about Raisa, except fleetingly in the context of the charity. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561 Battery" Although he has credited Vladimir Putin for stabilizing Russia in the aftermath of the initial and turbulent years of the post-Soviet era, Gorbachev has become critical of both Putin and his successor (and predecessor) Dmitry Medvedev since at least March 2011. His main grievances about the "tandem" are backsliding on democracy, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561N20 Battery corruption and the dominance of security officers. Gorbachev is also dissatisfied by the fact that he has not been allowed to register his social democratic party. When being interviewed by the BBC to reflect on the 20th anniversary of the August Coup, Gorbachev again announced his dissatisfaction with the policies and rule of Putin. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561P20 Battery Speaking of the status of democracy in the Russian Federation, he proclaimed: "The electoral system we had was nothing remarkable but they have literally castrated it." Gorbachev also stated that he believed that Putin should not have sought a third term as the Russian president in 2012. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ562P Battery In response to the 2011 Russian protests as a result of United Russia's controversial victory in the Russian legislative election, 2011, he called on the authorities to hold a new election, citing electoral irregularities and ballot box stuffing.