US embassy cable - 90MOSCOW4292

RADICAL POLITICAL REFORM ON TAP AT CENTRAL COMMITTEE PLENUM

Identifier: 90MOSCOW4292
Wikileaks: View 90MOSCOW4292 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Moscow
Created: 1990-02-05 10:16:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINR UR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 051016Z FEB 90
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5925
INFO AMCONSUL LENINGRAD
MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 04292 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, UR 
SUBJECT:  RADICAL POLITICAL REFORM ON TAP AT CENTRAL COMMITTEE PLENUM 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  WE ASSUME ADDRESSEES HAVE SEEN THE FBIS TEXT OF 
GORBACHEV'S MEETING WITH MINERS AT THE CENTRAL 
COMMITTEE FEBRUARY 2.  THE TEXT WAS CARRIED IN THE 
CENTRAL PRESS FEBRUARY 5.  EMBASSY PRELIMINARY 
ANALYSIS FOLLOWS. 
 
2.  A SEEMINGLY CONFIDENT GORBACHEV TOLD THE MINERS 
THAT THE PLENUM WOULD ADOPT A SET OF RADICAL 
POLITICAL REFORMS, HINTING THAT APPROVAL OF A 
MULTIPARTY SYSTEM AND DRASTIC REVISION, PERHAPS 
REPEAL, OF ARTICLE SIX OF THE USSR CONSTITUTION (ON 
THE PARTY'S PRIMACY) WERE IN THE OFFING.  ALTHOUGH HE 
ARGUED THAT THE POSTS OF PARTY AND STATE LEADER 
SHOULD BE COMBINED DURING THE "TRANSITION PERIOD," HE 
SAID HE SUPPORTED THEIR ULTIMATE SEPARATION.  THE 
PARTY CONGRESS WOULD DECIDE THE ISSUE, HE NOTED.  HE 
CALLED FOR DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS TO THE 28TH PARTY 
CONGRESS, PREDICTING THE PLENUM WOULD APPROVE AN 
EXCEPTION TO EXISTING PARTY RULES TO PERMIT THAT. 
GORBACHEV, HOWEVER, WAS SILENT ON WHETHER THE 
CONGRESS WOULD BE ADVANCED TO THIS SPRING, AS MANY 
PARTY MEMBERS HAVE DEMANDED, BUT NOTED THAT THE 
CONGRESS WAS NECESSARY TO "RENEW" BOTH THE POLITBURO 
AND THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE. 
 
3.  AFTER A WEEK IN WHICH THE CENTRAL PRESS WAS 
FILLED WITH ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS OF INTELLECTUALS 
CALLING FOR ENHANCING THE POWER OF THE CHAIRMAN OF 
THE SUPREME SOVIET (I.E., GORBACHEV), THE MEETING 
WITH MINERS WAS CLEARLY INTENDED TO DEMONSTRATE 
GORBACHEV HAS SUBSTANTIAL SUPPORT FROM THE WORKING 
CLASS AS WELL.  AT THE MEETING, GORBACHEV EXTENDED AN 
INVITATION TO THE MINERS TO SEND A TEN-MAN DELEGATION 
TO THE PLENUM ITSELF AND SUGGESTED ITS MEMBERS MIGHT 
BE ALLOWED TO SPEAK.  THAT TOO WAS AN OBVIOUS PLOY TO 
WIN FAVOR WITH WORKERS AND TO GIVE THE IMPRESSION 
THAT THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE WOULD BE HEARD AT THE 
PLENUM.  OVERALL, MEDIA REPORTING OF THE PAST WEEK 
AND THE HUGE DEMONSTRATION IN MOSCOW IN SUPPORT OF 
RADICAL POLITICAL REFORM FEBRUARY 4 (REPORTED SEPTEL) 
HAVE CREATED THAT IMPRESSION THAT GORBACHEV IS IN 
CHARGE AND PREPARED TO PUSH THROUGH A SET OF RADICAL 
PARTY REFORMS THAT WOULD HAVE SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE JUST 
A FEW MONTHS AGO. 
 
 
LAST RUMORS 
/---------- 
 
4.  ACCORDING TO A DEPARTMENT HEAD AT THE INSTITUTE 
OF STATE AND LAW (STRICTLY PROTECT), TWO KEY ITEMS ON 
THE PLENUM AGENDA WILL BE THE TIMING OF THE 28TH 
PARTY CONGRESS AND THE METHOD OF SELECTING DELEGATES 
TO IT.  OUR SOURCE SAID THE PLENUM WOULD DECIDE TO 
ADVANCE THE DATE OF THE CONGRESS FROM OCTOBER TO 
PERHAPS AS EARLY AS APRIL OR MAY.  HE BELIEVED THE 
PLENUM WOULD APPROVE DIRECT SELECTION OF DELEGATES BY 
THE PARTY RANK AND FILE. 
 
5.  ACCORDING TO A BRITISH DIPLOMAT CITING A 
CONVERSATION LATE LAST WEEK WITH ARKADIY VAKSBERG 
(PROTECT), A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR FOR "LITERATURNAYA 
GAZETA," LIGACHEV AND VOROTNIKOV WILL RETIRE AT THE 
PLENUM AND CENTRAL COMMITTEE SECRETARY MANAYENKOV 
WILL BE ELEVATED TO THE POLITBURO. 
 
6.  LENINGRAD MINIMIZE CONSIDERED. 
 
MATLOCK 

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