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After NewspeakLanguage Culture and Politics in Russia from Gorbachev to Putin$
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Michael S. Gorham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452628

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452628.001.0001

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Glasnost Unleashed

Glasnost Unleashed

Language Ideologies in the Gorbachev Revolution

(p.48) 2 Glasnost Unleashed
After Newspeak

Michael S. Gorham

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the concept of “glasnost” in the Gorbachev era, noting how its ambiguity both ensured the success of the policy and served as a rhetorical flash point in the battle between reform-minded democrats and members of the Soviet bureaucracy, or apparatchiks. In his original use of the term, Mikhail Gorbachev viewed glasnost as a mechanism that, through the more open publicity of various state-related facts and information, would disturb the entrenched party–state bureaucracy, beat back the growing economic stagnation, and give rise to a new form of what he repeatedly called “democratic socialism”—a concept that still envisioned a single-party state run by the Communist Party. Thus, glasnost served as a new party–state ideology that promoted criticism and self-criticism as a means of reviving a stagnant party apparatus and giving a new sense of empowerment to the people—a heightened sense of interest in a restructured socialism.

Keywords:   glasnost, Gorbachev era, Soviet bureaucracy, apparatchiks, Mikhail Gorbachev, party-state bureaucracy, democratic socialism, Communist Party

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