Comrade chat 11-2
10. Gorbachev concludes this speech on a hopeful note. Read the last paragraph carefully. How does this shape our understanding of Gorbachev as a political reformer? Do you think it was possible, after 14 years of Brezhnev and stagnation to achieve the goal he sets out here? Do you think Gorbachev believes it, or is he trying to convince himself, too?
The first thing I noticed about his passage is his use of grandiose phrases and sweeping generalizations. Even the beginning, “we want to transform our country…” is a pretty lofty goal (Gorbachev, 13). As a political reformer, we could just look at this one line to get a sense of what kind of leader Gorbachev is. He’s an idealist to the max. One thing Gorbachev does well in this conclusion is use the word we. This shows that he is at least smart enough to make his ideas seem like the Soviet Union’s ideas.
In my opinion I think he set his goals a little too high. If he had maybe focused on one aspect of Soviet society at a time he might have been able to slowly change the stagnation. Trying to do too much too fast just overwhelmed the Soviet Union.
To have such extreme ideals one would have to wholeheartedly believe in them. He says, “yes socialism is a system that serves man, his social and economical interests and his spiritual needs” and you have to have faith in your ideals if you are going to give a broad sweeping statement like this (Gorbachev,13). Gorbachev is trying to convince whoever is listening that his crazy laundry list of reforms is attainable.