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36 Probs. Communism 99 (1987)
Gorbachev, Yazov, and the Military

handle is hein.journals/probscmu36 and id is 385 raw text is: 




Onc Perestreyka:




Gorbachev, Yazov, and the Nilitary





Dale  R. Herspring


THE SELECT  ON  of Dmitr y Yazov to replace the aging
Sergey Sokoov  as USSR defense minster on May 30,
1987, though perhaps a surpr se to Western observers.
was probabiy no shock to those inside the Soviet military
establishment. Not ony ydd Yazov have an excellent mi I
tary record, but also severa years before M khai Gor
bachevs  accession to power, he had taken a pub ic
stance in favor of a number of the factors that were to
become  key elements in the General Secretary's po cy
of perestroyka (restructuring). Beginn ng in mid-1986,
Yazov's support of peresfoyka caused him to be sin
gled out for specia attention in the military press
Indeed, by January 1987 he was being he d up as a
model commander
  Yazov's se ection came at a time when the military s
stance was generay less than enthus astic about pere
stroyka, No doubt, Gorbachev would have preferred to
allow Yazov more t me to season, but the anding of a
sma  private West German a rpane n Red Square on
May 28 of this year left Gorbachev with no alternat ve,
The military had to be held accountabe for its actions or
shortcom ngs just ke every other segiment of Soviet so-
ciety. The immediate impact of the Yazov appo ntment
has been to intensify the restructuring process within
the miltary. Over the ong run, assum ng Yazov is suc-
cessfu, perestroyka cou d produce a far more efficient
and formidable Soviet m itary machine
  To understand the context of Yazov's appointment,
it s essentia to trace the emergence of Gorbachev's


Dale R. Hersprig, a Foreign Service OSfer with the US
Department of State, is the author of numerous works on
communist military affairs. He is currently working on a
book to be entitled The Sov et M tary: F rem Grechko to
Yazov. The views expressed in this article are those of
the author and do not necessarily represent the official
position of the US Government.


proposals for perestroyka, the r mplicat o
tary, and the nature of the military's initia
these demands.

Pcr-?c,? tn)vka-ni il RiI1eactiIioe


the rr


  Gorbachev  outlined the key elements o his policy of
perestroyka, or uskoreniye (acce eration) as it was
ca led atthetime, rihis speechtothe Penurmof the Cen
tra Committee of the Communist  Party of the Soviet
Union (CPSU) in Apr 1985, shortly after becoming gen
era secretaryI n this address Gorbachev cr ticized
the Soviet economic system-and especialy the party-
o  t cal apparatus-for fa ng to keep  up with the
demands  of the times. Ho called for acceleration of
soc al arid economic progress by mak og use of the
achievements  of the sc entific-techno ocica revolu-


tion arid by making the forms of soc a st ci
marnagement accord with con temporary con d tic
demands  .   
  His appea focused on the need for more effect
of both human and mater al resources: a more c
approach to management; the acceleration of ft
poet work; and the revitaizat on of the party app
He a so stressed that ideo ogica-po it ca od
should errphas ze accelerat inn of the count ry's
economic development   With regard to the hum
tor, Gorbachev spoke of the need to reinforce ordn
discipline, to he d workers responsible for the r a
and to develop a more creative leadership sty <


aratus
ucat oi
soc o
an tac
ear aix
ct on


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99

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