MOSCOW — Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, triumphantly winding up the Communist Party Congress, buried the Kremlin's Old Guard with a mass turnover of the party's top policy-making body Friday but failed to halt an exodus of progressives that could rob Communists of their most popular politicians.
The Soviet leader, taking the floor in the final minutes of the often rowdy 28th Communist Party Congress, enthusiastically reassured its nearly 4,700 members that their 12 days of work had set the party "on the road to radical reform" and mocked people he said had already written its obituary.
But Gorbachev, who has forced his 18 million fellow Communists to compete for power by legalizing rival parties, recognized the new political realities emerging by expressing his party's willingness now to form a "broad coalition" with other groups to overcome the multifaceted crisis in Soviet society, which many here blame on his reforms.
"We are stretching out our hand to those who adhere to the positions of democracy and socialism, and call for consolidation," Gorbachev declared at the Kremlin meeting, acknowledging that even a refashioned Communist Party rallied around his person--the major result of the congress--will be forced to share power for the first time since the years following the 1917 Russian Revolution.
The congress earlier this week reelected Gorbachev as party general secretary and ratified his handpicked deputy, the former Ukrainian party chief Vladimir A. Ivashko. Delegates on Friday elected a new, enlarged Central Committee, sweeping out many members who had been fired or retired from the front-line positions in the party or state apparatus that entitled them to sit on the policy-making body.
Those "dead souls" had been considered an impediment to the more radical reforms, including introduction of elements of a market economy, that Gorbachev and his team now advocate, and the party congress, which originally was expected to be held next February, was moved up in part to replace them.
After delegates, on their feet, ended the proceedings by solemnly singing the socialist hymn "The Internationale," the new Central Committee, summoned by Gorbachev, went into closed-door session to choose new members for the Politburo and Secretariat, traditionally the party's most important institutions.
Editors at Tass, the Soviet news agency, said at 1 a.m. that the meeting was still going on.
Results of the voting were not expected before later today, but it is already known that at least half of the Politburo's present 12 members will be departing, including Yegor K. Ligachev, the pugnacious champion of Leninist orthodoxy; Alexander N. Yakovlev, the architect of Gorbachev's social and political reforms; and party ideologue Vadim A. Medvedev.
Stanislav S. Shatalin, an economist who serves on Gorbachev's Presidential Council, now the country's top policy-making body, termed the congress "a Gorbachev win, and by a knock-out," in part because a conservative tide in its early hours was stemmed and the Soviet leader was able to rally the center to his support despite strife on the left and right.
"Now the president has all the means he could want to execute his policies," Shatalin said.
But as pro-Gorbachev forces were declaring victory inside the party, the political landscape continued to change around them. One day after the populist leader of the Russian Federation, Boris N. Yeltsin, and members of the radical Democratic Platform group withdrew from the party, the mayors of Moscow and Leningrad announced they had quit, too.
The decisions by Gavriil K. Popov of Moscow and Anatoly A. Sobchak of Leningrad mean that the country's two biggest cities, as well as the leadership of the largest Soviet republic, are now in the hands of non-Communists--men who are among the country's most popular elected politicians.
In an evident effort at "spin" control, Gorbachev allies appeared Friday in the vast lobby of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses to downplay the importance of the division in Communist ranks and to speak enthusiastically of what was accomplished at the congress, the party's first since 1986.
"The most important thing was that the congress did not lead to a split in the party but rather its consolidation," Anatoly I. Lukyanov, chairman of the Supreme Soviet, or legislature, declared to Soviet and Western reporters.
Assessing the damage of the Democratic Platform break, Lukyanov said only a "few people" from the radical group has defected, and that the congress brought a "welding together of healthy forces" in favor of continuing \o7 perestroika\f7 , Gorbachev's reform program.
Like Shatalin, he ruled out the possibility of a "mass exit" from the party in response to the walkout by Yeltsin and the radicals.
Gorbachev, in his closing remarks, also scoffed at predictions of the party's demise: