News

City Manager Talks Cambridge Emergency Shelter, Discourages Street Closures in Council Meeting

News

On Leave Due to COVID-19 Concerns, Forty-Three Harvard Dining Workers Risk Going Without Pay

News

Harvard Prohibits Non-Essential University Travel Until May 31, International Travel Cancelled Until August 31

News

Ivy League Will Not Allow Athletes to Compete as Grad Students Despite Shortened Spring Season

News

‘There’s No Playbook’: Massachusetts Political Campaigns Navigate a New Coronavirus Reality

Gorbachev Criticized; Meetings Continue

Soviets Extend Talks on Party Structure

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

MOSCOW--Communist Party leaders added an unexpected third day to their pivotal meeting yesterday and sent President Mikhail S. Gorbachev back to the drawing board to fill in holes in his blueprint for ending the party's monopoly on power.

The extension of the party session, which was supposed to end yesterday, was a clear sign of the controversy generated by Gorbachev's proposals to revamp the country's political structure.

Central Committee sources said most speakers agreed with Gorbachev's proposal that the party's monopoly on power, enshrined in the Soviet constitution, must end.

"All unanimously think it has become obsolete. It has no meaning," Central Committee member Vladimir P. Anishchev told reporters who gathered outside the Kremlin's Spasky Gate to await news. The session was closed to journalists.

However, partial transcripts of two days of the session, in which 51 speakers took the floor, indicated that neither radical reformers nor hard-liners were satisfied with Gorbachev's proposal.

Delegates said last night's Central Committee session was suspended so a commission, headed by Gorbachev, could complete changes to his nearly 20-page platform. A Central Committee source quoted Gorbachev as saying that the 60-member commission was only half-finished, even though it met all night Monday.

He said the meeting would resume this morning.

Delegates interviewed in the last two days indicated a common objection: the platform contains few specifics.

"A lot of its points, and this is what has been said by many speakers, need major changes and reinforcement, especially in the direction of stepping up decisive action," Leonid A. Bibin, a non-voting Central Committee member, said in a Soviet TV interview yesterday.

Bibin said he and others want the platform to stress that the party must remain united.

Gorbachev has placed himself in the middletrying to forge compromises.

Still, the Soviet leader's platform has yieldedto the demands of political reformers--includingthe thousands of people who gathered near theKremlin wall Sunday--by removing the party'smonopoly and advancing to this summer a partycongress that will be empowered to clear outconservatives on the Central Committee.

Formally, the Central Committee has the powerto replace the party leader.

Indrek Toome, premier of the Baltic republic ofEstonia and a guest at the party meeting,emphasized the threat from hard-liners.

"I am worried about the wish of a fairly largeproportion of the people in this hall to reversethings, so as to clamp down on things and returnto the old order," Toome told Soviet TV.

Other speakers worried out loud aboutGorbachev's political standing. Y.A. Gankovsky, aSiberian party secretary, suggested Gorbachev'sposition was weakened because he had taken on toomany jobs.

"While you, Mikhail Sergeyevich, were only the[party] general secretary--absolutely withoutflattery I will say--we felt that new ideas wereborn in the party, that some kind of reformationwork was under way to break up the outlived andoutdated. Now you have four posts. One gets theimpression that someone wants the general not tobe successful at any of them, scattering powers,"Gankovsky said.

In addition to being party general secretary,Gorbachev is president, chairperson of the DefenseCouncil and a Politburo member.

Politburo member Yegor K. Ligachev, widelyidentified as its leading conservative, receivedwarm applause for a speech criticizing failings inperestroika, Gorbachev's reform program, theCentral Committee source said.

"After somewhat of an enlivening in the firsttwo years of perestroika, the economy began todecline, interethnic feuds reached bloodshed,people began to experience fear, and in someplaces there is practically dual power," Ligachevsaid in remarks reported by Tass.

He said the Politburo, led by Gorbachev, andthe government committed "serious oversights andmistakes." He cited monetary problems thatworsened consumer goods shortages, a lack ofsupervision of new economic forms and a "weaknessof government discipline."

"The gap between the word and deed isintolerable," he continued.

On political reform, Ligachev demanded theplatform include a clause emphasizing thesacredness of party unity, and he said he firmlyopposes allowing private property, a demand ofradical reformers.

Ligachev, 69, has generally taken a cautiousapproach to reforming the country and last weekcame under attack in a Soviet newspaper for hisconservative views. But in his speech yesterday,he said he wants reform quickly, denied he was aconservative, and said people who call him one aretrying to divert the people's attention

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags