Was Perestroika Doomed from the Outset?
The theory that perestroika was doomed from the outset is a convincing one. The
question explicitly denotes that that there were factors that would have made it inevitable
that perestroika was doomed from the beginning. Although, it can be said that a multitude
of consequent events may have led to its failure, rather than it being a failed program
before it was even implemented. Perestroika or restructuring was an initiative, in which
the fundamental pillars of its being were glasnost and democratisation, two things the
USSR had relatively no experience of. The newly introduced lack of censorship through
glasnost was a major factor in perhaps why perestroika was doomed to fail. It introduced
clarity and openness to a system, which thrived upon secrecy. "The Soviet system thrived
on three pillars, ideology, the CPSU and a strong state. Gorbachev proceeded to
undermine them all."
Gorbachev's perestroika may have indeed been doomed to fail from the outset. To
examine this question it is necessary to illustrate the reasons why. Were the aims of the
project too high? Was Gorbachev trying to reform a system that essentially could not be
reformed? Were the communist party and the Soviet Union on borrowed time and did
perestroika and glasnost, in fact just hasten the inevitable? All of these questions illustrate
how it is possible that perestroika was doomed from the outset.
The aims of perestroika were indeed sweeping changes to the former rigid and
predictable Communist way of thinking. Perestroika in its initial phase was "largely an
economic program. Gorbachev had recognized that the economy was not performing
well." It was clear to the leader of the CPSU that the economy needed to be restored.
The way in which Gorbachev attempted to do this may have...