In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2009. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, S. 211–227
The author focuses on the role of the CPSU and its leadership in the process of reforming the Soviet Union between the death of Konstantin Chernenko in 1985 and the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. The article contends that reform initially aimed at economic modernization under the slogan of “uskorenie” (acceleration) of economic development – with particular stress on the introduction and application of new methods of scientific and technical progress, such as computerization and digitalization. This was a field in which the U.S.S.R. seriously lagged behind. The attempt to gain the population’s support for this process, under the slogan of “glasnost” (transparency), turned it into a movement for participation and democratisation that did not only divide the party leadership but also the population – first along political convictions, then ever more strongly along ethnical and national criteria which in the end led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and – in a less noticed development – to the dissolution of the All-Union Communist Party.