Is The Soviet Union Next to Explode?

Gorbachev insists he will not deep-six the party, but he may have no choice

End the official monopoly of power of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, proud inheritor of Lenin's mantle, vanguard of world revolution?

Of the many unthinkable ideas floated in perestroika's wake, this reform ranked among the most wildly farfetched. But last week the prospect of abolishing the party's "leading role" in the U.S.S.R. gained momentum when the Lithuanian legislature voted 243 to 1 in favor of a constitutional amendment legalizing rivals to the Communist Party. While Lithuania thus became the first Soviet republic to do so, in neighboring Estonia the Communist Party Central Committee approved a similar proposal that should...

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