Why? To make use of the party apparatus one more time to guide the country into the market era, something the party has opposed for more than 70 years?
A young tiger-tamer once complained to his seasoned colleagues that the animals sitting all around him were watching him too attentively, which made him especially nervous. "Make their pedestals narrower," was the advice from the veterans. "The tigers will be so busy maintaining their balance that they will have no time to watch you." By taking away their perks and privileges, Gorbachev narrowed the pedestals of the party tigers, thereby forcing them to lose their balance and become vulnerable to attacks from the press and the public.
Well, all preparations are complete. All political forces are in the arena. The party tigers have jumped off their uncomfortable pedestals. The stillness of the scene is pregnant with action to come: On July 1, market forces are to be introduced formally; a day later, the 28th Party Congress convenes. Of course, free-market day could be postponed. But the essence of the political drama unfolding in Russia cannot be.
Although its outcome is confusing, the West, forming its views on the basis of cliches produced by the Soviet liberal media, has little understanding of these realities. Will Gorbachev have collected enough political credits to survive that moment when the people discover market prices? Will the Soviet president repeat the drama of America's first globalist President, who was defeated precisely because he was detached from the real problems of his country?