MOSCOW — Kremlin leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, in extracts published on Wednesday from a forthcoming book, praised Josef Stalin's collectivization of farms in the 1930s as essential to Soviet progress.
Gorbachev's remarks were his most detailed public comments on an era in which millions of peasants were deported to labor camps and died from famine, and they appear to fall short of calls by reformist Soviet historians for a sweeping review of the period.
Gorbachev also said that Westerners would be disappointed if they thought the Soviet Union was in such dire straits that it would borrow Western methods of economic development.
"We are seeking the answers to questions posed by life within the bounds of socialism, and not outside them. He who hopes that we will diverge from the socialist path will be bitterly disillusioned," he said.
The extracts, carried by the weekly Moscow News, are from a Gorbachev book called "Perestroika: Our Hopes for Our Country and the World," which will be published shortly in the West, as well as in the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev's remarks on history were distinctly orthodox and gave the impression a major speech that he is due to deliver Monday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution will contain few surprises.