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New Left Review I/189, September-October 1991


Roy Medvedev

Politics after the Coup

How would you assess Gorbachev as a historical figure? What were the major turning-points in his policies during the past six years, and were the policies he chose to pursue correct or not?

In my view it is still too early to make any definitive assessment. As a historian, I have to take a long-term view, and with Gorbachev that is not yet possible. When you make such an assessment, you have to ask: what did the person in question leave behind? We might, for example, take Khrushchev. Although many of Khrushchev’s reforms were unsuccessful, nonetheless a great deal of what he did remained. On the other hand, however much Brezhnev wanted to rehabilitate Stalin, and to restore certain of Stalin’s policies, he had only limited success.

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