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Excerpts From Mikhail Gorbachev’s Speech to the Central Committee With AM-Soviet-Plenum, Bjt

February 18, 1988

MOSCOW (AP) _ Here are excerpts from the text of Thursday’s address to the Communist Party Central Committee by Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, as translated into English by Tass, the official Soviet news agency:

(Education)

There is absolutely no doubt that everything that concerns school, education and upbringing is directly linked to the development of socialism, to perestroika. Moreover, it is its major direction.

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The teacher is a major protagonist of perestroika. Should he support us with conviction, sense and passion, perestroika will gain many new sincere advocates and fighters, successors to the revolutionary socialist cause.

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He must be relieved of petty patronage, suspicion towards his pursuits and findings must be lifted. He should be relieved of duties other than teaching, his time and strengyh must be released for the main thing.

All obstacles and barriers in the way of innovation in pedagogics must be removed, decent material conditions must be created for the teacher’s creative endeavor.

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(Socialism and past mistakes)

Over 70 years our party and people have been inspired by the ideas of socialism and have been building it. But because of external and internal causes we have been unable to fully realize the Leninist principles of the new social system.

This was seriously hampered by the cult of personality, the system of management by command and administration that formed in the thirties, bureaucratic, dogmatic and voluntarist aberration, arbitrariness, and late in the seventies - early in the eighties - lack of initiative and hindrances that have led to stagnation.

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These phenomena and what has remained of them and come down to the present should become things of the past.

In this lies the answer to those who express their doubt if we are not retreating from socialism, from its foundations laid down by generations of Soviet people.

No, we do not retreat if only a step from socialism, from Marxism-Leninism, from everything that has been gained and created by the people. But we decisively reject dogmatic, bureaucratic and voluntarist legacy as it has nothing in common either with Marxism-Leninsim or with genuine socialism.

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Free competition of minds is needed. Our social thinking stands to gain from this. Its prognosticating capacity will be enhanced and, hence, its ability to serve as a reliable basis for working out the party’s policy will increase.

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(Nationalities)

True internationalism, true friendship of peoples are possible only if there is deep respect for dignity, honor, culture, language and history of every people, extensive relations among them. We ought to facilitate in all ways the further broadening of contacts between national cultures, their mutual enrichment, their development and flourishing.

Soviet patriotism is the greatest of our values, any manifestations of nationalism and chauvinism are incompatible with it. Nationalism in any form is blind, attempts at self-isolation lead only to a spiritual blind alley. The knowledge and understanding of the scope, grandeur and human specifics of socialist revolution, the struggle of the party and the people, full of truth and heroic spirit, and defense of socialist motherland feed the roots of Soviet patriotism. Here we approach a very important issue - unification through revolution and Soviet power of national honor and national heritage of every people and internationalism of socialist society.

In short we should set to thoroughly tackle nationalities policy at the present stage - in all areas, including theory and practice. This is the most fundamental, vital issue of our society. I think that one of the plenums of the central committee should be devoted to problems of nationalities policy.

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(Politics)

We should firmly pursue the line of reinforcing the legal levers of perestroika, first of all to prevent the law on state enterprises and other legal instruments for economic reform from being diluted with all manner of departmental instructions and directives.

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The main problem in developing our political system is to create a mechanism of power and government with precisely regulated effective democratic control and corresponding legal procedures which would drastically diminish and even reduce to naught the element of chance in handling major political, state issues and preclude the possibility of subjectivity at all floors of our political system.

It is necessary to achieve that decisions of principled importance be worked out and adopted with the people’s active participation. This will correspond to our socialist democracy.

Priority should be given to cardinally changing the role of the soviets (governing councils) as the core of the political system of our society and its embodiment in state bodies.

It is in the way the soviets are formed and function that the democratic principles of socialism must be realized in the first place.

In a sense, we are talking today about the need to revive the Soviet system of government in Lenin’s interpretation. We should make the soviets at all levels agencies of state authority and administration that will be really working, demonstrating initiative and enjoying full rights.

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We should take account in the soviets of the entire diversity of our country, including national features.

And, of course, we should not bypass the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. We are to re-think its role so as to increase the effectiveness of its activites, starting from the presidium and full-scale parliamentary sessions and ending with the work of the commissions and individual deputies.

The key issue of reform in the political system concerns delimiting the functions of party and state bodies.

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