Gorbachev: The Path to Power; Gorbachev

In This Review

Gorbachev: The Path to Power

By Christian Schmidt-Häuer
Salem House, 1986
218 pp. $15.95


By Zhores A. Medvedev
Norton, 1986
272 pp. $15.95

With the change in leadership in Moscow and fresh winds blowing, the biography business is picking up. Schmidt-Haüer is a West German correspondent stationed for years in Moscow, Medvedev a noted Soviet scientist now resident in London. Neither can unearth much about Gorbachev the man as he made his way up through the system, but both can and do say a good deal about the system itself and the rivalries and maneuvers of those contending for power. The portrait of Gorbachev is much the same as that drawn by others: a man of intelligence, toughness, confidence and charisma, consolidating power in his first year and charting a course for the Soviet future. A change in style, a new spirit, but no promise of basic policy shifts. To Medvedev the new party program of February 1986 is a disappointment; it shows a leadership losing time in not launching active ideological or political initiatives.

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