Mikhail Gorbachev and his supporters have directed many dramatic changes in the Soviet political system over the past few years. The cumulative effect of these reforms is the transfer of governing authority from the Communist Part of the Soviet Union (CPSU) to constitutionally mandated executive and legislative branches of government. The first step in the transfer of power was the reorganization and democratization of the Soviet legislature. In March 1989, the Soviet people had their first opportunity in more than 70 years to send the delegates of their choice to Moscow as their legislative representatives. In the first quarter of 1990, Gorbachev oversaw two additional steps in the reorganization of the Soviet political system: the creation of the Executive Presidency and the Presidential Council. The establishment of the presidency and its council is important for several reasons: it strengthens Gorbachev's official position against possible Party threats to his claim as leader of the Soviet Union; it provides Gorbachev with a body of advisers and experts independent of the Central Committee; and it should allow Gorbachev to effectively formulate and implement his political and economic reforms. However, it is unclear whether the Presidential Council will have any real authority, since it remains in its initial stages of development.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.