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THE FINAL CURTAIN : Reflections : 'The Future Is Not Very Promising'

December 31, 1991| Marshall Goldman, associate director of the Russian Research Center and professor of economics at Wellesley College: and

"This was a society that was held together by force, not only under the Communists but in the days of the Russian Empire as well. Once the totalitarian pressures were relaxed, ethnic groups and individuals were beginning to move out in a way that the society was not equipped to handle.

"Even if the economic reforms had been successful, there would have been pressures to pull away, but when the economic reforms began to fail, the pressures became irresistible. Gorbachev was very popular a few years ago because he promised a breath of fresh air. He fully expected to see these changes work, but when they did not the enthusiasm wore off. . . . Gorbachev did not think enough about improving the daily life of the people. . . . I think the future is not very promising. It will be better now that this Commonwealth (of Independent States) has been created, but enormous problems remain--a bad harvest, economic gridlock, a supply-side depression, coping with inflation. . . .

"Nobody wants to work for rubles--their value went from $1.60 each a few years ago to less than a cent today. . . . To get that economy going again will be very difficult. . . .

"The breakup (of the Soviet Union) promises to bring with it anarchy, ethnic violence, a flood of refugees, primarily to Western Europe. . . . The dream (of winning the Cold War) may turn out to be a nightmare."

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