A tired and angry President Mikhail S. Gorbachev condemned his Communist Party opponents Friday, the day after defeating their attempt to force him out of the party's top job.
"The party and the Central Committee took ill," he told the Soviet Supreme Soviet legislature. "They thought it was their duty to say . . . `What are you sitting there for? We'll show you!' . . . so they could go back to their local organizations and say, `We beat the hell out of him!"'With slurred words and bags under his eyes, he explained that he lost his temper during the two-day party meeting and said he could not continue working with such a Central Committee, and suggested he resign.
"Then, they began thinking about what was happening," he said, turning slightly red and nearly shouting. The Central Committee voted 322-13 on Thursday to support him, and Soviet newspapers on Friday emphasized he had outmaneuvered his hard-line opponents.
Gorbachev's continuing fury hinted of a break with the hard-liners. So did a plan for salvaging the Soviet Union that he hammered out this week with the leaders of nine of the 15 republics, who want more power now held by the party and the central government.
To hard-liners who want to reinstate the Communist Party monopoly on power, Gorbachev said, "Society would not accept that," according to a Tass transcript.
But he also promised firm action as soon as next week to halt strikes and restore plummeting production in basic industries and consumer goods.
On Friday evening, thousands of police and unarmed Interior Ministry troops closed off the center of Moscow surrounding the Kremlin, in preparation for the May Day parade and possible anti-government demonstrations. Dozens of water cannons and military vehicles were parked outside one end of the Kremlin.