By Luis Covas
30 August 2022. The last president of the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) died at the Central Hospital in Moscow at 91. Gorbachev headed the former USSR as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee (1985-1991). On 25 December 1991, he resigned from office and dissolved the USSR. He was the last head of the treacherous bureaucracy started by Stalin in the 1920s.
Gorbachev pushed forward the process of capitalist restoration, starting in the 1980s. He launched “glasnost” (transparency) and “perestroika” (reforms), with which he began to privatise the economy.
Between 1989 and 1991 in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, workers’ and popular mobilisations defeated the bureaucratic one-party dictatorships, which called themselves “real socialism”. The symbol of which was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. These were great triumphs of the masses, who threw off the repressive “communist” regimes. In the USSR this dictatorship had been imposed since the 1920s, when the bureaucracy headed by Stalin crushed the revolutionary and oppositionist sector headed by Leon Trotsky. these victories because of the lack of a revolutionary socialist leadership did not prevent the advance and consolidation of capitalist restoration, set in motion by the same defeated bureaucracy, with Gorbachev at its head.
From the 1930s, Leon Trotsky warned of the inevitable turn to restoration and the surrender of the bureaucrats to imperialism if they remained in power for a prolonged period. He called for the overthrow of this caste headed by Stalin and the return to the revolutionary road as the only way out to save the USSR.
“The political prognosis has an alternative character: either the bureaucracy, becoming ever more the organ of the world bourgeoisie in the workers’ state, will overthrow the alternative forms of property and plunge the country back to capitalism; or the working class will crush the bureaucracy and open the way to socialism.” https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/tia38.htm
The capitalist restoration in Russia and the former USSR has only sharpened the sufferings of the masses. Under Putin’s command, present imperialist Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Russian working class, the peoples of the former USSR, and the entire world have the task of promoting workers’ and popular mobilisation to carry out a social revolution to liquidate the capitalist states and impose workers’ governments to build real socialism on new foundations and with workers’ and popular democracy.