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Gorbachev's Half-Measures

            Russia is a nation that has gone through many hardships and reformations to get where it is today. After the Tsarist regime over the country disintegrated, many leaders arose with plans that included radical reforms to change Russia from where it stands, as well as one that attempted to stabilize the current institutions in place and follow the path of Russian tradition. Mikhail Gorbachev was one of Russia's leaders that is very complex and challenging to understand. Gorbachev, having lived through part of the terror-consumed times of the 1930s, was very opposed to the types of reforms put in place by Stalin, such as collectivization--giving him natural sympathy to others in his place. Gorbachev grew up and studied in the time of Khrushchev's de-Stalinization era as well: a time of spirit and possibilities, one that leaders before him, such as Brezhnev, did not get to experience. Once Gorbachev came to be elected as General Secretary in 1985, he had already began his own vision of putting Russia on a path to righteousness. With most of Russia in partial ruin from former leaders, Gorbachev's mission seemed to be a distant mirage. Most of Gorbachev's reforms sounded better than how they actually played out. Such ambitious and strong reforms need a concrete and forthright leader behind them, which Gorbachev was not. His flaws as a leader and reformist were portrayed in Yevgeny Yevtushenko's poem, "Half-Measures". This poem explained how Gorbachev wanted to save Russia but that he was not strong enough to carry his plans from start to finish. We see this explicitly in his poem when Yevtushenko states, "saving the motherland halfway will fail" (Yevtushenko). Yevtushenko's strong remarks in this poem came to be true, but not everything Gorbachev did ended in half-measure. If it weren't for many of Gorbachev's reformation plans, Russia today could have and probably would have been very different in various aspects.

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