Soviet Union Moscow's Man in a Hurry

The Central Committee gives Gorbachev more clout for reform

Like a man running out of time, Mikhail Gorbachev did not dwell on niceties. Instead, he faced the 307-member Central Committee of the Communist Party and cut straight to the heart of his concern: the Soviet Union's bureaucracy- burdened economy. With characteristic candor, the Soviet leader faulted his predecessors for entrenching a system that promoted inefficiency, hampered industrial growth and destroyed national morale. Only "radical reform," he insisted, could put the economy back on its feet. In a challenge to his conservative critics, Gorbachev declared, "The possibilities of socialism . . . will be judged precisely by the progress and results...