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Category: History

Informal associations in the USSR during the perestroika years



The history of formation of political parties is inseparably linked with the history of the informal social and political movement in the USSR of times of reorganization. Answers to many issues of modern party construction can be found in Russia in the history of activity of Soviet "nonconformists". Process of formation and development of this movement is a reason for consideration in this publication.

The history of political parties& formation is indissolubly connected with history of informal political movement in the USSR of times of reorganization. The answers for many questions of modern party construction in Russia can be found in history of activity of Soviet "informa^s". Process of becoming and development of this movement in the USSR is a subject of consideration of the given publication.

reorganization, informal associations, democratization, club, multi-party system, CPSU, opposition; reorganization, informal associations, democratization, club, multi-party system, CPSU, opposition.

An initial stage of emergence of multi-party system in Russia as well as in countries of Eastern Europe, it is connected with mass formation in 1986 — 1988 of various informal formations. Communication of their members among themselves was the main social function which was originally performed by informal associations. In this environment discussions practically on all questions of political and public life were conducted, various options of economic development of the country were discussed.

According to the Soviet sociologists, the share of the "politized nonconformists" politicizing out of the government, party, Komsomol and other formal institutions made a little more than 10% of total number of all nonconformists. However they to a great extent influenced development of a political situation in the country of existence of the Soviet Union in recent years. Emergence such not created from above and, as a rule, even officially not registered formations was caused by a variety of reasons. The process of democratization of society initiated by the new management of the CPSU led by M.S. Gorbachev and its core — glasnost1 was one of them. The possibility of considerable liberalization of life of society, cancellation in political and legal relations of a large number of restrictions for demonstration of amateur performance and spontaneous activity of citizens was created. At the same time formation of informal formations was promoted by existence of problems and contradictions in reorganization implementation, formation in consciousness of mass of a thought that there are forces interfering the process of reforms. Such understanding of a situation caused mass aspiration "to help reorganization from below" own informal initiative. Growth of informal political activity was promoted also by deterioration in economic and social situation in the country in process of deepening of processes of reorganization.

The first groups of "nonconformists" declared themselves in the summer of 1986 when "The provision on amateur association, club on interests" was accepted. According to official statistics, by 1990 in the Soviet Union it was created and 619 "informal" associations functioned, from them more than 230 belonged to the organizations of social and political and citizens' initiative.

1 Pushing R.G., Sokolov A.K. Istoriya of modern Russia: crisis of the communistic power in the USSR and birth of new Russia. The end of the 1970th — 1991 — M.: ROSSPEN, Fund of the First President of Russia B.N. Yeltsin, 2008, page 177.


Mikhaylovich —

associate professor


rights Russian



of G.V. Plekhanov


At the first stage "reorganizations" the nonconformists carried out the activity within the policy of the state and did not apply for a role of serious opposition. The fact of their emergence in the Soviet society was a call to the Soviet system. The created on an initiative "from below", amateur formations spontaneously were guided by support of policy of "reorganization", democratic socialism. The considerable number of members of the CPSU took part in their activity. By start of the informal movement oppositional to the Soviet mode, is recognized to consider arisen in the environment of party and state elite, and then and in all Soviet society counteraction to a course of the undertaken reforms. The opposing political forces from the very beginning criticized this course as from liberalism positions — for insufficiently resolute liberalization of all public life and omission in removal of obstacles to development of a private property on the earth and other, and from positions of orthodox communism — for the rates of liberalization capable to take away society from "the socialist choice and communistic prospect".

Thereof the informal movement ideologically developed in two directions. One was represented by the supporters of modernization of a political regime subdivided into "radical", the developed countries placing emphasis on the liberal values of the majority, and "moderate", seeking to keep socialist model of development of society, having democratized and having modernized it. Other direction was represented by conservative opposition of adherents of the socialist values demanding strengthening of command and administrative lines of the Soviet system and return to Stalinism.

Disengagement in the CPSU and its split on the currents which became the base of future independent political organizations was one of sources of emergence of informal formations. Emergence in the CPSU of various ideological currents had to cause if not organizational disengagement, then, at least, organizational execution of platforms. The Democratic platform became the first of them. Demplatforma's members stood at the origins of creation of clubs "Democratic Reorganization", "Reorganization-88", "National dace-

tvy", "Socialist initiative". The communists who were a part of participants of the listed associations, in the spring

1988 created interclub party group, and in a year — the Moscow party club ("Communists for reorganization"). Since the end of 1989 such clubs were created across all Russia: in Minsk, Tomsk, Sverdlovsk, Kharkiv and other cities. They also formed organizational base for creation of the Democratic platform in the CPSU in January, 1990

In the Declaration DP in the CPSU demands "transfers of powers of authority from exclusively ruling party to Councils" were made; cancellations of provisions of Article 6 of the Constitution of the USSR about the leading role of the CPSU; need of adoption of law on public organizations or political parties; refusal of "dogmatic interpretation of Marxism", recognition of responsibility of the CPSU for consequences of totalitarian regime, "condemnation of model of the state socialism".

Supporters of democratization in the CPSU were opposed by orthodox Marxists. They opposed a course towards social democratization of the Communist Party and initiated creation of the Marxist platform issued in April, 1990. Founders of the Marxist platform stood up for "return to classical Marxism" which assumes the critical relation to theoretical heritage of the founders and their followers; for establishment of original democracy. In the field of the economic relations of MT agreed with existence of non-state property ("during a transition period in a limited framework under strict control"), supported progressive taxation. Unlike the Democratic platform, "Marxists" did not ask about a break with the CPSU. Her supporters at the XXVIII congress were elected to the Central Committee.

While emergence of Democratic and Marxist platforms showed aspiration of members of the CPSU to democratization of party life, emergence of society "Unity

— for Leninism and communistic ideals", the Bolshevist platform in the CPSU, the Integrated front of workers was an example of traditionalist orientation. All-Union society "Unity

— for Leninism and communistic ideals" it was founded in May, 1989. In July


of 1991 founded the Bolshevist platform in the CPSU. Not only members of the CPSU, but also non-parties were accepted as a member of society "Unity — for Leninism and Communistic Ideals". BP was formed for confrontation with "opportunists, revisionists, neomensheviks, social traitors" in the ranks of the Communist Party.

The purpose of the Integrated front of workers created in July, 1989 was fight for "communistic reference points of reorganization" and counteraction to "anti-Soviet, anti-socialist, nationalist forces" and also promotion of "the private-capitalist property and other bourgeois values and ideals".

Other source of "construction" of political parties, along with fragmentation and split of the CPSU, was the informal social movement which formation began in the second half of the 1950th, and blossoming happened at the time of reorganization. It were clubs of adherents which social base was made by the intellectuals acting as the middle class of the Soviet society. In the atmosphere created by reorganization such informal clubs and associations as the Moscow clubs "Perestroyka", "Obshchina" and "Fond sotsialnykh initsiativ", the Leningrad club "Dialektik", the Krasnoyarsk "Union in support of reorganization" and other formations became more active.

More and more actively during this historical period groups and associations of nonsocialist and natsio-cash-patriotic orientation prove. On their background the society "Pamyat" which arose initially as association of bibliophiles was allocated with the pronounced nationalist orientation.

Politicization of "informal" associations began to be shown at the end of 1987 — the first half of 1988 in the form of popular fronts, the unions, committees in support of reorganization, democratic forums and blocks. The integrated fronts of workers arose in the first half of 1989. From the second half of 1988 the amateur ("informal") organizations of party type will be organized

— protoparties. One of the most striking and successful examples of such association in RSFSR was "The democratic union". The largest centers of this type of the "informal" movement

in RSFSR there were Moscow, Leningrad, Gorky, Krasnodar, Sverdlovsk, Kazan, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kuibyshev, Tomsk1.

Elections of People's Deputies of the USSR in

1989 promoted final politicization of the informal movement. During an election campaign and after its end there were protoparty structures created as constantly functioning support groups of People's Deputies of democratic orientation and which became organizers of populous meetings. On the basis of associations of Committee of 19, Club of voters of Academy of Sciences, Coordination council of MNF, club of voters "Memorial", "Democratic elections" and some other in the summer of 1989 the Moscow association of voters was founded.

Since the end of 1988 — the beginnings of 1989 in the ranks of the political "informal" movement are found the crisis phenomena. Opportunities "club kruzhkovoy" works at this historical stage were exhausted, there was a need of formation of the office of the released workers. It became a harbinger of transformation of political "informality" in mnogopartiynost2.

Summing up the results of a research of history of the informal movement in the USSR during the perestroika years it is possible to tell the following. Emergence of public organizations was the natural phenomenon of the period of democratization of the existing political system. Process of party construction in society which had no experience of democratic development and mature democratic traditions could not be one-stage. Nonconformists became a link between the dissident movement and the future multi-party system, having made civil society a reality of public life of the country. The informal movement as an important factor of public processes in the country was recognized and legalized by the state in a number of regulations. In 1986 — 1987 the informal associations turned into the engine of liberation movement in the USSR.

1 A.S. Barsenkov, A.I. Vdovin, S.V. Voronkova. History XX of Russia — the beginning of the 21st century / under the editorship of L.V. Milov. - M.: Eksmo, 2007, page 777-781.
2 A.V. Choubin. Devoted democracy. USSR and nonconformists (1986-1989). - M.: Europe, 2006, page 234.
Manuela Sylvia
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