Discursos de Mikhail Gorbachev: Perestroika

Mikhail GorbachevBuenas tardes, camaradas. Me dirijo a ustedes para hablar de los temas de actualidad. La situación en el país no es sencilla. Todos lo sabemos y lo sentimos. Todo se ha enredado en un apretado nudo.

De esta forma empezaba Mikhail Gorbachev su discurso acerca de la Perestroika el 11 de septiembre de 1989.

Este es uno de los varios discursos de Gorbachev que con el tiempo he ido coleccionando y que iré posteando.

En este artículo puedes leer el discurso completo (en inglés).

Good evening, comrades, I am here to talk to you about our current affairs. The situation in the country is not simple. We all know and feel this. Everything has become entangled in a tight knot: scarcity on the consumer goods market, conflicts in ethnic relations, and difficult and sometimes painful processes in the public consciousness, resulting from the overcoming of distortions and from the renewal of socialism. People are trying to understand where we have found ourselves at the moment, evaluating the pluses and minuses of the path we have covered during the last four-plus years, the development of democracy and the pace of the economic and political reforms.

It is only natural that people want to know the real causes of our weaknesses and failures in carrying out specific programs for perestroika and in tackling urgent problems and to find out why the situation in some areas has deteriorated rather than improved.

In short, political life today is characterized by intense debate But the main thing I want to emphasize is that the mass of people have become involved in this movement and they play an ever growing role in discussing and accomplishing social, economic, and political tasks.

Comrades, this is a fact of fundamental importance because it gives perestroika the elements of constructive and business-like effort and helps overcome people’s alienation from power.

Yet one cannot fail to see a different trend. Against the background of heated debate and a rapid succession of events things are happening that must not be ignored or left unaccounted for. Efforts are being made to discredit perestroika from conservative, leftist and sometimes unmistakably anti-socialist positions. One can hear in this discordant choir voices predicting an imminent chaos and speculation about the threat of a coup and even civil war. It is a fact that some people would like to create an atmosphere of anxiety, despair and uncertainty in society.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that someone stands to gain from the fact that certain forces would like to lead people astray and to make them commit ill-conceived actions.

In effect, the conservative forces are trying to impose on u such evaluations of the situation that would provoke resistance to perestroika and mold in people’s mind the view that the process of change begun in society should be halted or at least slowed down; these forces demand that the old command methods of government should be restored. Otherwise, the say, chaos will set in. Meanwhile, the leftist elements suggest tackling extremely difficult problems in one go, without taking into account our actual possibilities or the interests of society. Such demands are presented as concern for the people and its well-being.

Recommendations have also been made lately from which one can assume that our only “salvation” is renouncing the values of socialism and conducting perestroika in the capitalist manner. Such views do exist.

Needless to say, such ideas go against the grain of perestroika, which implies socialist renewal of society.

I don’t want you to understand me in the sense that diversity of opinion is now an obstacle or that no one among those wit whom I take issue cares for the development of the situation in this country. This is not the point. The important thing is how this concern is transformed.

Some are ready to give up perestroika and return to the past. Others, who consider themselves “active reformers.” want to head perestroika onto the path of rash decisions and hasty projects, prompted by ambition rather than concern for real progress.

Comrades, this is all a very serious matter and I want to express my position on it in no uncertain terms.

True, perestroika is meeting with many difficulties. But it radical change, a revolution in the economy and in policy, in the ways of thinking and in people’s consciousness, in the entire pattern of our life. Besides, we have not been able to avoid mistakes in our practical actions in the course of perestroika

But perestroika has opened up realistic opportunities for society’s renewal, for giving society a new quality and for creating truly humane and democratic socialism. It has returned to the great nation a sense of dignity and given the Soviet people a sense of freedom. It is a powerful source of social, spiritual, and, I should say, patriotic energy for decades to come.

That is why we must do everything to continue perestroika on the basis of the ideas and principles proclaimed by the party. And we must not allow those who are using the difficulties we have met to impose on society doubts about the correctness of the path we have chosen.

We must not stop. We must continue along the way of changes we have embarked upon.

Our community feels the crucial importance of this time. Throughout the country, work collectives are getting to see that it’s no use wasting strength on bickering and that attempts to raise barriers in society and turn people against one another are inadmissible. The demand to pool efforts and improve practical work in every sphere or perestroika is ever more urgent. In this connection, we can’t but greet the high demands that the working people are putting on economic managers and state and party functionaries of all levels. The public expects them to be more resolute in their perestroika policy, to organize work along new lines, and to improve the situation countrywide.

The community is casting off its illusions. It no longer believes that there are simple solutions to be brought ready-made from above for all our problems.

We live the way we work, no better and no worse — it is said more and more often. I want to add only one thing that tomorrow, too, we will live exactly the way we work.

I think it very important that the community is coming to better understand the primary link between perestroika and labor — dedicated, creative, efficient work fully implementing every worker’s knowledge and abilities. This is essential because until recently, we concentrated not so much on labor as on the distribution of benefits. One could think that redistribution of fictitious wealth was all perestroika was about.

We have at last begun to shed this delusion. This is a difficult process, but it’s good that it has started, that the community grows to see better with the days the link between the implementation of the principles of social justice and the practical contribution of every worker — that it now has no use for the notorious egalitarian patterns.

Another indication of positive change has lately emerged: the fact that the community is debating the issues it has posed very acutely — issues of discipline, order and thrift. I support these debates in every way possible, and I want to point out that we can no longer put up with violations of state, labor and production discipline. These are rampant everywhere, and enterprises, republics, territories, and regions abuse the terms of their mutual contracts.

The national economy is feverish because of inadequate transportation. We can no longer put up with it.

I also want to say a few words about strikes. If we take this road to the solution of our problems, this will bring bitter fruit to the whole community. We have to find other ways to tackle our problems — and tackle them in time, while they have not yet reached a dangerous scope. We can’t put up with the tremendous waste of the fruit of our labor, fruit that has cost us great material and financial resources.

I think that those who demand resolute improvement of discipline and higher responsibility at all levels are right.

Perestroika can’t go together with irresponsible attitudes — the two are antipodal.

As I describe the current situation in our community, I can’t pass crime in silence. This is one of the acutest social issues of the day. When deputies debated it at the first session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, they were unanimous on one point: that resolute action is urgent, especially to combat organized crime, bribery, profiteering, and all crimes against property and person.

All urban and rural settlements need order of the strictest kind. On the basis of the law, the Supreme Soviet deemed it necessary to give the militia and all other law-enforcement bodies extended rights to combat crime, improve their equipment, increase troops of the interior and improve the material situation in the law-enforcement bodies. This goes together with the increased responsibilities of all who protect the socialist law and order.

All this has to be done. But we will never reach a rapid improvement unless the whole community joins the effort. As I know from the press and other sources, workers’ detachments and other units helping the law-enforcement bodies have been set up in several industrial centers. The young people are active in this drive, and this activity is especially welcome. We count on their dynamism and resolution.

In a word, we have to step up practical efforts for perestroika and tackle all our problems in the center, locally, and in every work collective.

Within these few months, the central bodies will have to make cardinal decisions on our urgent problems and long-term issues. This is what accounts for the epoch-making role of the Second Congress of People’s Deputies of the U.S.S.R. and the next session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet. Both are approaching.

The Government of the U.S.S.R. is elaborating a program of extraordinary measures to improve the economy and, above all, to normalize the consumer market. The program is to be submitted to the Congress of People’s Deputies. We believe that this program will give clear answers to the questions of how and when the most urgent social and economic problems will be solved. I think society will not accept it if the program does not determine clear and concrete measures, stages, and time limits as well as the responsibility of the republic and local bodies and labor collectives. I presume that this package may include unpopular, probably tough and even painful measures. This will be justified, however, only if they are prompted by the need to get out of the present situation.

Shortages, which arouse the sharpest criticisms and discontent of the people, are a special issue. The government is to give an explanation on this urgent social problem and come up with practical measures shortly.

The session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet is to adopt major decisions on further deepening the economic and political reforms. The point at issue is, first and foremost, a fundamental law on ownership. Its adoption will make it possible to overcome the alienation of the individual from the means of production and encourage independent creative endeavor. Closely connected with it is a law on land, land use, and lease arrangements.

Thus, a principled step is being made toward the development of the relations of production in all sectors of the economy and the assertion of a multitude of forms of socialist property.

A new law on socialist enterprise will be passed on the basis of the experience that has been accumulated. It will open up vast possibilities for economic independence, initiative, and enterprise, and create equal conditions for the activities of state-run and cooperative enterprises.

Of major political importance will he the laws on republic and regional cost-accounting and self-government. They are an important step toward realistically strengthening the sovereignty of the republics and expanding the rights of the local Soviets.

We are to adopt principled decisions toward transforming the Soviet federation.
The shaping of the nationalities policy to accord with the principles and demands of perestroika will be soon discussed at a plenum of the Communist Party Central Committee. The party’s platform, we hope, will prove to be a good base for the solution of the questions of the Soviet federation and problems in interethnic relations.

Other questions will also be considered and solved.

In a word, we have entered a responsible period in the development of our society and the implementation of the policy of perestroika that has been worked out by the Communist Party. The changes that we have initiated and are building up and deepening will undoubtedly yield results. I am convinced of this. But for this, we all should act resolutely and in concord.

Today, we need a consolidation of all progressive forces more than ever before.

The party, which is society’s consolidating and vanguard force, has a unique role to play in this process. Those who strive to use the difficulties of the transition period for certain unseemly purposes and try to undermine the influence of the party should know that they will not succeed. We are sure that with all the critical sentiments concerning the activities of some or other party committee or communists, the working people realize perfectly well the importance of the party of Lenin for the fate of socialism, which today is inseparable from the success of perestroika. On the other hand, it is clear that the new tasks call for a deep renewal of the party.

By restructuring itself, getting rid of all that hinders its activities, overcoming dogmatism and conservatism, mastering a new style and new methods of work, renewing its personnel, and working side by side with the working people, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union will be able to fulfill its role of the political vanguard of society. The party will firmly pursue the policy of perestroika, heading the revolutionary transformation of society. We should realistically assess all processes and phenomena of the present-day situation, show restraint, see clearly where we are and not become confused. On this basis we should draw conclusions for our action at the given moment and in the future. We must act responsibly and prudently, without deviating from the course of perestroika in society.

Dear comrades, I wish you success in work, determination and firm spirit.

Soy el artífice de que este sitio web funcione. Me fascina la historia de la Unión Soviética y Rusia, su cultura, sus tradiciones, su idioma (aunque con este último mantenga una relación de amor-odio). Me quedo con momentos históricos: todo lo que sucedió en el Frente Oriental de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la Perestroika.

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