Facebook Twitter

PARTY DISPLAYED EXTREMES OF FEELINGS FOR GORBACHEV

SHARE PARTY DISPLAYED EXTREMES OF FEELINGS FOR GORBACHEV

Highlights of the 28th Communist Party congress, which closed Friday after meeting for 11 days:

GORBACHEV VICTORIES: Mikhail S. Gorbachev was easily re-elected party leader, succeeded in getting his protege, Vladimir Ivashko of the Ukraine, elected as his deputy, and pushed through a proposal to revamp and decentralize the party's Politburo to include as members the first secretaries of the 15 Soviet republics.BIGGEST LOSER: Yegor K. Ligachev, the traditionalist standard-bearer and most-vocal Gorbachev critic on the Politburo, was resoundingly defeated in his bid to become the deputy party leader. He also lost his seat on the Politburo and Central Committee. Ligachev, 69, said he plans to go back to his village in Siberia and write a book.

CONSERVATIVE CRITICISM: Conservative delegates, led by Ligachev, launched fierce attacks on Gorbachev throughout the congress and accused his leadership of cowardice and indecision in the economy, politics, the military and foreign policy. Yet, the speakers themselves displayed no new ideas and no alternative to Gorbachev.

REFORMERS WALK: Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin and members of Democratic Platform, the party's reform bloc, announced in the waning days of the congress that they were leaving the party. The exodus shattered the unity among reformers that Gorbachev said is necessary for the success of perestroika.

PUBLIC REACTION: Hundreds of thousands of anti-Communist coal miners went on strike July 11, ignoring an appeal from the congress to stay on the job. At two Moscow rallies, demonstrators shouted for the end of communism, with a protester at one of the rallies spitting at a delegate leaving Red Square. Muscovite Igor Smirnov said on Day 3: "I don't care about this congress. I'm sick of hearing about it. They talk, talk, and there are no changes."

HIGH DRAMA: There were two dramatic moments: on Day 1, when coal miner Vladimir Bludov stood up nine minutes into the congress and called for the party leadership to resign; and on Day 10, when Boris Yeltsin strode into the Palace of Congresses and stunned a hushed crowd by saying he was quitting the party. The speech drew derisive whistles and shouts of "Shame!"

LIGHT MOMENT: On Day 9, a relaxed, smiling Gorbachev read out a brief note congratulating delegate Anatoly D. Kravchenko on the birth of his son. The Soviet leader then asked playfully: "Are we going to discuss what to call the son or not? And then vote on it?"

KEY QUOTES:

"I think that in two years, if there are no changes, this leadership must go." - Mikhail S. Gorbachev, on Day 3 of the congress, answering reporters' questions on what should happen if there are no improvements in the lives of Soviet citizens.

"We are witnessing a congress of living corpses. The people are afraid of many things, but the party is not one of them." - Mikhail Malyutin, member of the Democratic Platform, in an interview with the independent Postfactum news agency on Day 8 of the congress.