Soviet Union the Reformers Lead the Way

Mikhail Gorbachev and his new generation hold their first party congress

For hours on end, the small army with ice picks chipped away, trying to undo the winter's work in Moscow. Thousands of men and women, ordered to turn out for subbotnik, a Saturday of so-called voluntary unpaid labor, cleared streets and sidewalks of slippery patches. At the same time, tons of special food consignments were flooding into the city for proud display in store windows. Convoys of black limousines snaked through the streets or lolled at curbside. And everywhere throughout the country, from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, red banners and billboards appeared bearing the Roman numerals XXVII.

The Communist Party of the...

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