Complicated foreign policy and domestic political tasks of the USSR, the overall level of development of society (escalation of the rocket doctrine, the Afghan war, social apathy, ideological crisis, bureaucratization, stagnation in technology, etc.) required radical reforms that only unreformable leadership held back.
The changes that occurred in 1985 led to the elimination of this obstacle. In March 1985, M. S. Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU. His election was associated with the support of Foreign Minister A. A. Gromyko, as well as with the desire of Politburo members to end the so-called "five-year deaths."
From the very beginning, Gorbachev showed himself as an experienced politician, justifying the description given to him by Gromyko at the March Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU: "He has a pleasant smile, but iron teeth." At the April Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU of 1985, the followers of Gorbachev became the full members of the Politburo: the secretaries of the Central Committee E. K. Ligachev and N. I. Ryzhkov, the head of the KGB V. M. Chebrikov; the candidate member of the Politburo is the Marshal of the Soviet Union, the Minister of Defense S. L. Sokolov. In July 1985, A. A. Gromyko held the post of Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, and E. Shevardnadze became Minister of Foreign Affairs and at the same time became a member of the Politburo. The Gorbachev majority is forming in the Politburo. Gorbachev's opponents are gradually withdrawn from the Politburo: G. V. Romanov (July 1985), N. A. Tikhonov (October 1985), V. V, Grishin (December 1985), D. A. Kunaev ( January 1987), G.A. Aliev (October 1987), and others. They are replaced by the appointees of the new General Secretary: B.N. Yeltsin, A.N. Yakovlev, A.I. Lukyanov, V.A. Medvedev. Personnel changes sometimes led to serious local conflicts, as happened in 1986 in Kazakhstan, when, after the removal of Kunaev, the local national elite did not accept the candidacy of Gorbachev - Kolbin. The riots in Alma-Ata prompted Moscow to choose a new, compromise candidate.
In general, in the years 1985-1988. Gorbachev succeeded in completing the personnel clean-up begun by Andropov. In three years, 85% of the composition of the Central Committee was renewed, which was much higher than the figures of 1934-1939, when they were about 77%. The 19th party conference of 1988 became the apotheosis of personnel reshuffles when, after its completion, representatives of the “Kremlin elders”, including Gromyko, Solomentsev, Dolgikh, were removed from the Politburo and the CPSU Central Committee.
Simultaneously with personnel changes, a political renewal of society began, which you developed primarily in the fight against corruption and the nomenclature. Boris N. Yeltsin, who replaced Grishin as the first secretary of the Moscow Regional Committee of the CPSU, became the conductor of Gorbachev’s ideas in Moscow. Of the 33 district secretaries in Moscow, 23 were displaced, some a few times. During the stay of Yeltsin at the head of the Moscow organization of the CPSU, more than 800 trade workers were imprisoned for various crimes. The renewal of society was primarily seen in the fight against corruption, while the methods of managing and implementing the reforms remained still directive. In fact, it was a question of party reform from above through the system of party state organs.
However, the apparent resistance to these reforms by a significant part of the party functionaries, already noticeable in 1986, led Gorbachev to realize the need to expand the social base by attracting intellectuals to participate in the perestroika process. The impetus to the publicity policy was the events of April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which revealed the moral flaws of the former party control over information. In May, the congresses of the Union of Kinema-Tografists and the Union of Theater Workers were held, where a change of leadership was made, and the Unions were respectively headed by E. Klimov and M. Shatrov. Appointments to central magazines and newspapers were also made: the editorial board of Novy Mir was headed by S. Zalygin, Banner by G. Baklanov, Ogonka by V. Korotich, Moskovsky Komsomolets by E. Yakovlev, Argumenty i Fakty - V. Starkov. Personnel changes in the leadership of the creative unions and the editorial boards of periodicals were aimed at neutralizing the planned party opposition to the Gorbachev reforms. The tragic circumstances of the death in the summer of 1966 of the Admiral Nakhimov motor ship and in October of the same year of the Komsomolets nuclear submarine convinced Gorbachev of the need for publicity. At the January plenum of 1987, the policy of publicity was formalized as the basis of the ongoing political reforms.
1987-1989 previously unpublished and forbidden works are published: "Requiem" by A. Ah-matova, "Sofia Petrovna" by L. Chukovskaya, "Doctor Zhivago" by B. Pasternak and other books. The books of A. Rybakov "Children of the Arbat", V. Dudintsev "White clothes", D. Granin "Bison", V. Grossman "Life and destiny", A. Pristavkin "A golden cloud spent the night", etc. are published. in the country in 1987-1988 Numerous political associations and societies are formed: popular fronts in Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, in the large cities of Russia, the Lithuanian Sajudis, the Ukrainian Ruch, Svobodnaya Georgia and other organizations. The established stereotypes regarding the historical past of the USSR are revised, the rehabilitation process, which was interrupted during the Brezhnev period, is resumed. In February 1988, the Commission for additional study of materials related to repressions that took place in the period of the 30s-40s and the beginning of the 50s, concludes that the cases were falsified in relation to N. I. Bukharina, A. I. Rykov and other defendants at the third Moscow trial in 1938
The publicity policy, which sometimes took on a sharply negative character with respect to the entire historical past of the USSR, led to the consolidation of conservative-minded individuals within the Politburo, who did not accept the majority of the adjustment materials in periodical press. The formation of opposition to reforms in the Politburo was also facilitated by the command-administrative methods of carrying out transformations in the initial period of restructuring, as well as the affected party and nomenclature interests. Also, the ongoing economic reforms in which they saw surrender to the capitalist system were critically perceived as opponents of Gorbachev.
Ligachev became the leader of the Conservatives in the Politburo. It was he who achieved the removal in 1987 from the post of the first secretary of the Moscow Communist Party Committee B. N. Yeltsin, as well as the publication on March 13, 1988 in "Soviet Russia" of the article by N. Andreeva "I can not sacrifice principles", where I was criticized publicity policy. The more than three-week silence of the intelligentsia, a stunned article placed in the central organ of the CPSU, proved Gorbachev’s precarious position in a clash with the party leadership. Gorbachev’s bet on Communist reformers and intellectuals was not enough. A new expansion of the social base of restructuring was required, both to continue the reform and to strengthen the position of Gorbachev himself