Soviet Union The First Hurrah

Gorbachev prepares for a lively political convention Moscow-style that will shape the fate of his revolution

As Ronald Reagan and other recent Western visitors to Moscow have noticed, Mikhail Gorbachev has achieved something that only three years ago would have seemed impossible. He has made the Soviet Union appear almost normal, a place with problems and foibles much like any other nation, a country that has ethnic protests, rock concerts, train wrecks, church services, strikes, scandals and beauty contests, not to mention pizza, pollution, late-night television talk shows and a First Lady. After the congenial Reagan-Gorbachev summit, the country paused for the millennium celebrations of the Russian Orthodox Church. Unthinkable under the old order.

Now Gorbachev is...

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