Marx and Lenin suffered another blow Friday with the announcement that Soviet children will start learning that capitalism is the wave of the future. Spearheading the drive will be Junior Achievement, the pro-business program familiar to millions of American students.
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said he hoped the program to teach free enterprise economics in 1,000 Soviet schools "will open the world of business to our children and help them to learn how to live in the world of the market economy."Gorbachev's endorsement of the plan was read by Ambassador Victor Komplektov at a news conference in the Soviet Embassy.
For more than 70 years the economic theories of Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin were the gospel for Soviet students who learned that communism would inevitably triumph and capitalism was dying.
Friday's announcement, made within a few yards of the grim gaze of a huge portrait of Lenin, was the latest evidence of a rush to free enterprise within the Soviet Union.
Arkady Volsky, one of Gorbachev's leading economic advisers, said in a statement, "It is not only desirable, but necessary to immerse ourselves in concepts we once rejected." Komplektov read the statement after Volsky accepted a last-minute invitation to the White House to confer with Brent Scowcroft, President Bush's national security adviser.
James B. Hayes, publisher of Fortune magazine and chairman of Junior Achievement, said the program will "impact the lives and the thinking of nearly 100,000 Russian students at the outset." He said the program would reach students in high school and early college years.
Later it will be expanded to elementary schools. "This is just a start," said Hayes.