Soviet Union All Power to the President

As parliament deadlocks over economic policy, an indecisive Gorbachev asks for the right to decide

It was a classic Gorbachev performance. After allowing the national parliament to wrangle all week long over the merits of various plans to renovate the economy, the Soviet President decided he had heard enough debate from the toilworn legislators. Late on Friday afternoon Deputy Yuri Golik, a close Gorbachev ally, proposed, without prior discussion, a resolution that would give the President almost total power to overhaul the enfeebled economy by decree.

After several liberals rose to condemn the plan as dictatorial, Gorbachev took to the podium. Banging the lectern with his palm, his face scarlet with determination, he expressed his exasperation...

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