In Aleksandr Buzgalin, Russia, USSR

Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev (R) pictured with future Russia president Boris Yeltsin


Published by A Socialist in Canada, Sept 11, 2022:

This hour long interview with Russian scholar Aleksandr Buzgalin was originally broadcast on the YouTube channel of The, with host Paul Jay, with an introductory note by A Socialist In Canada. Buzgalin explains that then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev “paved the way” for the rise of a new class of capitalists in the Soviet Union as the Soviet economy and society experienced terminal decline during the course of the 1980s.

Gorbachev sincerely wanted democratic reform in the Soviet Union, says Buzgalin. But he naively believed that a Western imperialist-style of social democracy could eventually develop in the Soviet Union–provided the governing Communist Party changed its ways and encouraged new and higher forms of socialist democracy. Professor Buzgalin’s eyewitness account explains that the Marxists of the day in Russia and elsewhere in the Soviet Union, including himself in Soviet Russia, fought for socialist democracy in enterprises and broader society. But such changes were explicitly opposed and refused each step of the way by the government led by Gorbachev. It was much more interested in developing a lasting accomodation with the Western imperialist countries.

Towards the end of the interview, Buzgalin explains that he has opposed the Russian military intervention in Ukraine from the beginning. His explanation in the interview is very partial, something to do with the development of new and novel forms of non-imperialist capitalism in recent decades. These new forms of capitalism retain the imperative of war that marks the global capitalist system as a whole, says Buzgalin. He refers to NATO expansionism as one causeof the present conflict, but does not explain further. All this comes at the very end of the interview with no time to explain further.


Aleksandr Buzgalin is a professor at Moscow State University.


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