Gorbachev Blast at Yeltsin in ‘87 Dispute Is Told

From Reuters

President Mikhail S. Gorbachev joined with Soviet conservatives to crush former Moscow Communist Party chief Boris N. Yeltsin’s challenge to his reform program, once-secret papers showed Monday.

The papers reveal that leading reformers in the Soviet leadership united with old-time figures, including Politburo conservative Yegor K. Ligachev, at the height of a Kremlin dispute 18 months ago.

At the time, Gorbachev hailed Ligachev as a dedicated backer of reform and attacked Yeltsin, accusing him of putting personal ambition above the party, according to a report on a stormy meeting of the party’s policy-making Central Committee in October, 1987.

Copies of the report, published in the February edition of Central Committee News, circulated among Soviet officials and journalists Monday.

Yeltsin, once identified as closely in tune with Gorbachev’s reforming spirit and now campaigning for a political comeback as a candidate in new-style Soviet elections for a democratized legislature to be held March 26, says reform is not going ahead fast enough.


The 1987 meeting followed a speech at the session by Yeltsin arguing that Ligachev was acting dictatorially, that too much praise was being heaped on Gorbachev and that perestroika --restructuring--was lagging.