Glasnost About Building Socialism in Ethiopia

Analysis of a Critical Soviet Article

by Paul B. Henze

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Abstract

An article in the Soviet journal Narody Azii i Afriki (Peoples of Asia and Africa), No. 1, 1989, contains the strongest criticism seen to date of Ethiopia's Marxist-Leninist regime. Ostensibly the work of a graduate student, Galina Krylova, the article is said to be the work of a group of Soviet officials who have been pressing for basic changes in Soviet policy toward the Third World. The article condemns Ethiopia's revolutionary leaders for attempting to turn the country into a communist state without having or creating any of the prerequisites for sustainable socialist development. It simultaneously acknowledges that the Ethiopians have been the victims of unrealistic Soviet advice. It ridicules Ethiopia's Marxists for pretending to base their rule on an almost nonexistent industrial proletariat while brutalizing the peasantry and enforcing measures that have curtailed agricultural production and contributed to famine. The article is nevertheless noteworthy for failing to mention Soviet military aid and downplaying Soviet economic assistance. Though Gorbachevian in spirit and tone, the article makes no mention of Gorbachev. This Note includes a full translation of the article.

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