A Letter From the Publisher: Jun. 27, 1988

There were no news conferences, no gleaming press centers, no ever helpful government spokesmen when James O. Jackson began reporting from Moscow for United Press International in 1969. "We spent a great deal of time covering dissidents," recalls Jackson, TIME's Moscow bureau chief since 1985, "partly because no one else would talk to us." In that grim, pre-glasnost era, scraps of information could be hard to obtain.

Times change, even in the Soviet Union. Jackson wrote this week's lead story in the World section on the special Communist Party conference that begins June 28. At that meeting, liberal reforms undreamed of...

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