Having an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev Theme



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Having an interview with Mikhail Gorbachev

Theme:

The reforms and the effort of Gorbachev in democratizing and maintaining peace in Soviet (End of the Cold War)


Objective:

By learning the story of Gorbachev, readers will be able to understand the importance of democracy, the cause of the collapse of Soviet and the efforts of Gorbachev in changing the Soviet’s conservative systems.


Background information:

Since the End of Second World War, America and Soviet Union began the Cold War. (1945-1990)Although their fight was not so hot, they only competed in the stand point of economy, politics, culture and social areas etc. However, the Cold War really affected the development of both of the countries, especially in trade.

The fate of Soviet was changed till Gorbachev became the new general secretary. Gorbachev was a great politician. He had a good relationship with many foreign countries, including America. He knew that the development of Soviet would be hindered if Cold War still continued. Therefore, he strove on ending the Cold War for maintaining peace. For this contribution, Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in1990.

In 1980s, Soviet still had a lot of internal and external problems, the preceding successors could not make any changes in solving these problems.

Gorbachev then carried out Perestroika (re-structuring) and Glasnost (openness) reforms. The reforms encouraged the states to be Independent and free. However, the conservative communist disliked the reforms. They thought that Gorbachev dissolved their country. Owing to this, Gorbachev has been under house-arrest by the communists and also lost the people’s support.
Mikhail Gorbachev

His Background:

Gorbachev was born into a peasant family in the village of Privolnoye in 1931.He was the son of a Russian agriculture mechanic, Alexi Gorbachov and Maria Pantelyeva.

He had a very hard childhood since Starlin took the totalitarian rule at that time.

His tough childhood inspired his democratic concepts later on.

He was intelligent in studying law at the Moscow University, where he met her wife Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko.

He fully joined Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in1985.


A Chorology of what he has done:

1952: Joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in and acted as First Secretary of Stavropol City Committee of Komsomol (1955-1958)

June 1955: Graduated at the Moscow University

1970: Become Stavropol party leader and was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR

1978: Joined the Communist party secretariat as agriculture secretary

1980: Joined the politburo (Political Bureau) as the protégé of Yuri Andropov (Soviet Leader)

March 1985: Was appointed as the general secretary of the party and the youngest member of the politburo.

February 1986: Launched a comprehensive program of political, economic, and social liberalization under the slogans of glasnost (“openness”), perestroika (“restructuring”) and and uskoreniye ("acceleration", of economic development)

July 28,1986 : Began the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Mongolia

1987: Improved relations with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, with whom he signed an Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) arms limitation treaty

1988 :Introduced glasnost, which gave new freedoms to the people, such as a greater freedom of speech

Announced that the Soviet Union would abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine, and allow the Eastern bloc nations to determine their own internal affairs

1989:Took an official visit to China during the demonstrations in Tiananmen Square

March 15, 1990: Was elected Gorbachev executive president by Congress of People's

Deputies and ended the Communist party's control over the government

October 15, 1990: Was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize owing to the contribution for ending the Cold War *talking with President Reagan

August 19 to 21,1991:Spent three days under house arrest

December 25, 1991: Resigned as president

May 2004:Resigned as party leader

Interview script:

Reporter: Why would you carry out reforms in 1980s?

Gorbachev: At that time, I faced many problems. There were internal problems which were caused by the inefficiency of communist rule. For example, there was shortage of goods, serious inflation. Also, Food subsidies were costing too much and industrial production was falling. There were external problems which were caused by the continuation of Cold War, too. For example, the cost of arm race was too heavy, the cost of maintaining the communist control over satellites in Eastern Europe was too great and the war in Afghanistan had no sign of victory in sight, etc.

If the problems kept unsolved, it would seriously hinder the development in Soviet. Then, it would no longer have enough money to pay for the improved technology in agriculture and industry. People’s life would be hard.

Therefore, I want to carry out reforms in order to improve Soviet’s situation.
Reporter: Why would you strive for ending the Cold War?

Gorbachev: First of all, the relationship between America and us was improving year by year. We had the common consensus that Cold War hindered the economic growth.

Therefore, I cooperated with President Reagan and Bush and tried to end the Cold War period.

Moreover, President Reagan and I signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty; we agreed to reduce our stock of nuclear weapons. I think “the world had become a safer place” since then.

Apart from these, the cost of arm race was too heavy to bear.

Therefore, I think that ending Cold War was a reasonable decision for Soviet.
Reporter: What is your attitude towards the foreign affairs and the independent movements of the satellites?

Gorbachev: I would keep friendliness and willingness to meet world leaders in the west. I called it “New Thinking Abroad”. And I would respect and give certain extent of democracy and autonomy to our Satellites. For example, Polish has required economic and political reforms since 1945. I met their requirement. I allowed opposing political parties to be formed and planed for free election. I also ended in agreement to lift the ban on the union. Poland was no longer under one-party ruling.

I believed that a liberal attitude was good to deal with these.


Reporter: The conservatives think that the Openness reforms you suggested led Soviet to be collapsed. What do you think about that?

Gorbachev: First of all I don’t believe that both the reform and I have the ability to lead the collapse of Soviet.

Let’s say independent has been a growing trend since Second World War. It was reasonable for the satellites to seek for independent and freedom. And I agree them to do so. Although I am the general secretary of the country, I should respect their wills.

And I would not use “collapsed” to describe our situation. Our country was just separated into several republics. I am also very sad with the communists’ action .They put all the responsibility on me. They even take violent response. I do everything for my people.And I believe that time could prove the truth.
Reporter: Do you agree that the collapse of Soviet caused the downturn of the economy of Soviet? Many people were blaming for this. What should be done for improving?

Gorbachev: yes, I have to admit that Russia faced a great economic problem after the dissolving of Soviet. And Once I was the general secretary of the country, I should take the responsibility in solving the economic problems.

Also, the states who wanted to be independent should bear the consequences of independence. They may face many problems afterwards; however it was their price for exchanging freedom and independence. And I think people should not blame for changing.



We should pay more effort on improving the technology in agriculture and industry. We should work together to promote international trade. It is the only way to recover the economy downturn of Soviet.


Reporter: Cheung Wing Yiu 5A (9)


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