Soviet Union Revolution Down Below

Down Below Striking miners take Gorbachev's call to action seriously

Coal miners walking off their jobs from the Ukraine to the Arctic Circle. Ethnic gangs battling in Georgia. Thousands of other dissatisfied workers threatening strikes. "The situation," said Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev last week as he surveyed the turmoil rocking his vast country, "is fraught with dangerous political and economic consequences." The question for Gorbachev: Will the "revolution from below," which he has been urging on his laggard countrymen, help accelerate his ambitious plans for reform -- or tear the U.S.S.R. apart?

At a meeting of national and regional party leaders last week, he proposed his own partial answer. If the...

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