The Year of People

A CATALYST FOR REFORM FROM MOSCOW TO BUCHAREST, GORBACHEV HAS TRANSFORMED THE WORLD

The Gorbachev phenomenon is the result of Soviet pride and Soviet shame. For more than a generation, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. have lived with that contradiction. They have had the satisfaction of knowing their country was a superpower -- and the frustration of living in a backward economy. They made their homes in crowded, decrepit dwellings. Shopping for necessities was a daily despair. Citizenship itself was often an insult and sometimes an injury. Their government would not let them express their thoughts or travel abroad. For years they could explain it all away: the hardship was the aftermath of the...