Excerpts from Gorbachev Speech With AM-Soviet-Party Bjt
MOSCOW (AP) _ Here are excerpts of a speech by Mikhail S. Gorbachev on Tuesday to the Communist Party Central Committee. The speech was translated into English by the official news agency Tass.
(On the Politburo and Central Committee):
One should also mention at this plenum mistakes in work with cadres, distortions in personnel policy that have occurred in recent years and resulted in major shortcomings in the activity of several links of the party, state and economic apparatus and in negative phenomena in society.
Many errors could have been avoided if party bodies had always pursued in a consistent way a principled, effective personnel policy and ensured the high efficiency of all links of the party leadership and economic management.
Of course, one should not limit oneself today to the mere admission of mistakes. In order to avoid such miscalculations in the future, we ought to draw lessons from the past. What are these lessons?
The first one is the need to resolve in good time personnel questions that accumulate within the party Central Committee, its Politburo - above all from the viewpoint of ensuring continuity in the leadership and its renewal.
The violation of this natural process resulted at a certain stage in the weakening of the capacity for work of the Politburo and the secretariat, and the CPSU Central Commmittee as a whole, its apparatus and also the government.
Indeed, comrades, following the April (1985) plenum, a large part of the secretariat and heads of departments in the CPSU Central Committee have been replaced, practically the entire composition of the presidium of the U.S.S.R. Council of Ministers has been renewed. This change was a forced one.
This cannot and should not be repeated.
In order to prevent the breaching of the process of renewal and the disruption of continuity, the CPSU Central Committee, the Politburo and the secretariat of the Central Committee, the government, the top echelons of party and state leadership should be open for the influx of fresh forces from various spheres of activity.
The existing election system ensures representation for all sections of the population in the elected organs of power. But, just like all political, economic and social institutions, the electoral system should not remain hard set and uninvolved in the reorganization and new processes developing in society.
Most proposals suggest that voters at meetings in work collectives and at the places of residence, as well as at election meetings, discuss, as a rule, several candidacies, that elections be held in larger electoral districts, and that several deputies be elected from each of them.
We should look anew at the way the elections themselves are organized and at the practice of nomination and discussion of candidacies for people’s deputies.
There is also a need to think of changing the procedure for the election of secretaries of district, area, city, regional and territorial committees of the party, and the central committees of the Communist parties of the union republics.
Here comrades suggest that secretaries, including first ones, could be elected by secret ballot at the plenary sessions of the respective party committees. In that case, the members of the party committee would have a right to enter any number of candidacies in the voting list.
Of course, the principle of the party rules, under which the decisions of higher bodies are compulsory for all lower party committees, including those on personnel matters, should remain unshakable in the party.
(On resistance to change):
There still is some misunderstanding in society and in the party of the complexity of the situation in which the country has found itself. Perhaps this also explains questions from some comrades about the measures that are being taken by the Politburo and the government in the course of reorganization. We are often asked if we are not maneuvering too sharp a turn.
There are quite a few people who are slow in throwing off the burden of the past, who are adopting a wait-and-see attitude and openly putting a spoke in the wheel, impeding the extensive development of the people’s political, public and labor activity.
(On past leaders):
At some point the country began to lose momentum. Difficulties and unresolved problems started to pile up, and there appeared elements of stagnation and other phenomena alien to socialism. All that badly affected the economy and social, cultural and intellectual life.
(On reorganization of the Soviet economy):
Standards have been going up, discipline and production organization improving, and more order introduced. The first steps in reorganizing cultural and intellectual life are especially important to us, comrades, because we cannot hope to succeed without decisively changing public mentality and remolding popular psychology, thinking and sentiment.
While thinking highly of the party’s course of reorganization, the working class, all Soviet people at the same time express concern about the course of the way it is being implemented in practice.
Since such concern exists in society it means that our efforts are still insufficient, it means that we are not yet acting with the necessary effectiveness and vigor everywhere and in everything.
Negative processes related to the degeneration of cadres and breaches of socialist laws manifested themselves in extremely ugly forms in ... (a series of regions) and in the systems of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
One thing is clear: We Communists, all Soviet people, cannot any longer put up with a situation when many enterprises for years are putting out products that are hopelessly obsolete and come under serious criticism of consumers and hold back the country’s scientific and technical progress.
(On the KGB):
The state security service, staffed by ideologically integral and professionally well trained personnel dedicated to the party and the people, stands vigilantly on guard over the fatherland’s interests. We are convinced that the Soviet security service will continue uncovering hostile intrigues against our country in good time and cutting them decisively short.
(On a party conference):
Possibly, it is advisable to convene an all-union party conference next year on the eve of the report-and-election campaign within the party, and extensively to review the course of implementation of the decisions of the 27th Congress of the CPSU and to sum up the results of the first half of the five-year period. It would also be right for the conference to discuss questions of further democratizing the life of the party and society as a whole.