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Officials' Manifesto Urges Overhaul of Soviet Society : Underground Manifesto Condemns Soviet System

July 22, 1986|United Press International

LONDON — A group of senior Soviet Communist Party and government officials has issued an underground manifesto in Moscow indicting the Soviet system and calling for a loosening of party monopoly and freedom of speech and press, the Guardian newspaper said today.

The criticisms mentioned the flagging Soviet economy and the "hopeless war" in Afghanistan.

The 17-page manifesto's key reform was said to be the creation "of different political organizations, all with the ultimate aim of building a socialist society" that would give the people a freedom of choice of rival programs as in the Western democracies.

Officials of Senior Rank

The newspaper said the group, calling itself the Movement for Socialist Renewal, comprises "party and government officials of senior rank, stretching up to the Central Committee."

It said they took the "dangerous step" of leaking the manifesto to some Western correspondents apparently because the Soviet media failed to publish or discuss it.

The newspaper published what it said was an edited version of the manifesto dated Leningrad, Nov. 21, 1985.

Among its points was that after 70 years of Communist rule, the Soviet Union "is now on the path to becoming one of the underdeveloped nations" trailing 10 to 15 years behind the West--"and this lag is growing."

Authority Lowest Ever

Because of economic waste and mismanagement, it said, Soviet authority over its Eastern Bloc allies "is lower than it has ever been in all its history." East Germany, Hungary and Poland remained loyal to Moscow only because of "the presence of Soviet troops on their territories," it said.

At home, the manifesto called for freedom of speech and press, citing the Watergate scandal in the United States, the Lockheed scandal in Japan and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior as examples of how a campaigning media can expose official wrongdoing.

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