New Soviet Aide Says Capitalism Offers Lessons

Times Staff Writer

Vadim A. Medvedev, who became the Soviet Communist Party’s new chief ideologist in the realignment of the Kremlin leadership last week, called in a speech published here on Wednesday for “a new conception of socialism.”

Medvedev, breaking sharply with his predecessor, Yegor K. Ligachev, said that other political and economic systems, including capitalism, hold valuable lessons for the Soviet Union.

The idea--long held by orthodox Communist theoreticians here--that capitalist and socialist systems are mutually exclusive is outdated, Medvedev said. “The systems,” he declared, “will inevitably intersect.”

Plan for Radical Change


Point by point, Medvedev laid out a program of radical political, economic and social change that made clear the determination of the Soviet leadership to broaden and accelerate the reforms begun three years ago by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

Medvedev said the law of supply and demand “is an essential condition for effective management of the economy” and that ways must be found to incorporate the dynamics of the market more actively in the Soviet economy.

Cooperative forms of management, which operate on the basis of market principles rather than centralized state planning, have been introduced on a limited basis on farms and small businesses, but Medvedev said that they should be extended to heavy industry.

The experience of Western countries could help in expanding the reforms here, as could the different systems developed in other socialist countries, Medvedev said, underlining the new Soviet willingness to break out of past orthodoxy to experiment.


Medvedev also asserted that a new “pluralistic socialist system must take into account . . . the real structure of society” outside the old, class-based frameworks that the party used to apply.

No Opposition Parties

But he upheld the Communist Party’s opposition to the establishment of opposition parties. Since the Communist Party is now “open for internal debate” and discussions with non-party members, he contended that the “artificial” creation of other parties “made no sense.”

And he reaffirmed that “common human values” should take precedence over class interests in international relations. Peaceful coexistence was “a long-term process” extending far into the foreseeable future, Medvedev said.

Medvedev, speaking to a conference of political scientists, economists and party theoreticians from other socialist countries, bluntly rejected Ligachev’s frequent warnings that aspects of the reform drive would undermine the country’s socialist principles.

Those who contended that Gorbachev’s glasnost (openness) policies had “let the genie out of the bottle” should realize, Medvedev said, that open discussion of public issues “is a sword that heals the wounds it makes.”

The speech, his first since he was appointed to head the Communist Party’s new ideological commission in the Kremlin shake-up last week, clearly marked Medvedev, a 59-year-old political economist, as a close ally of Gorbachev.

Medvedev’s speech, which was published in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda, also left little doubt that the influence of Ligachev, 67, still formally No. 2 in the ruling Politburo, is now dramatically reduced in the key area of formulating ideological policy.


In last week’s shake-up, Ligachev was appointed chairman of a new party commission on agriculture amid widespread suggestions from Soviet sources that his publicly-expressed doubts on reform during the summer had helped spark the changes.

In a speech while Gorbachev was on leave in August, Ligachev suggested that the now free-wheeling Soviet press was getting out of hand, that the new foreign policy was “sowing doubt among our people . . . and our friends” and that too much emphasis was being placed on market factors in reforming the economy.

With his rapid rise from a party secretary to a full member of the 12-man Politburo last week, Medvedev now ranks with Eduard A. Shevardnadze, the foreign minister, and Alexander N. Yakovlev, the chairman of the party commission on international relations, as a key Gorbachev loyalist.

In another move that dramatizes Gorbachev’s intention to open political life here, the Politburo said it will end its tradition of secrecy with the regular publication of a new journal, to be called “Information from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”