Thursday, September 1, 2022, 00:01
Aleksandr Dubcek, leader of a powerful communist party deeply rooted in Czechoslovak society – let’s not forget that in the 1946 elections, which were incontestable, he received 38% of the vote – attempted to breathe life into the frayed vision of socialism. He realized the impasse that had been created in the illiberal regime and tried to change it from within. To create socialism with a human face. It is known that A. Dubcek and his colleagues did not seek the overthrow of the socialist regime, but its democratization and humanization. To expel barbarism from the body of Czechoslovak society.
The outcome of the venture is known. The leadership of the CPSU had diagnosed that the smallest holes in the socialist edifice can quickly become a big breach that will overturn everything. In illiberal regimes, the dynamic of their transformation also carries the seed of their overthrow. Controlled reforms release forces which with their momentum cancel out their controlled character.
It was obvious that the collapse of the people’s democracies presupposed the collapse of the Soviet Union. As long as the metropolis held out, any transformation of its satellites would be impossible. This was seen in the 1950s in Poland, East Germany in Hungary and in 1968 in Czechoslovakia.
Mikhail Gorbachev undoubtedly tried with perestroika and glasnost to give life to the ossified Soviet society. It was obvious that the system was reaching its limits, and the first to realize it was Yuri Andropov, who made sure to highlight executives with a technocratic-renewing spirit.
What M. Gorbachev deserves a place next to the greats of the 20th century is the fact that he left the satellite states free to decide their own fate. In the first crucial days of November 1989 he might as well heed Honecker’s suggestion and take the Warsaw Pact tanks out into the streets of East Berlin. He didn’t and History took its course.
By giving freedom to the citizens of the Curtain, M. Gorbachev demolished the entire socialist edifice, part of which – undoubtedly the most basic – was the Soviet Union. But she could not survive, in her totalitarian form, without her satellites. It was a unified whole.
Gorbachev believed that his will could be imposed on the dynamics of history. He believed he could turn the ship to the course he wanted. It proved once again that socialism with a human face could not exist. Dubcek failed the first time, Gorbachev failed the second time.