The Gulf: Gorbachev's Home Remedy

Facing a restive nation and a populist rival, the Soviet President prepares to unveil a 500-Day Plan aimed at transforming the economy

Even for someone as optimistic as Mikhail Gorbachev, the news from the front lines of perestroika these days has been decidedly bleak. The patience of Soviet consumers has become completely shopworn, oil-industry workers are threatening to go on strike, and even army officers grumble publicly about low living standards. While a record harvest lies rotting in the fields, bread -- that staple of Russian life -- has joined the growing list of scarce goods. Meanwhile, pressure mounts for the government of Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov to resign. Most worrisome of all for the Kremlin, the once monolithic Union of Soviet Socialist...

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