President Mik-hail Gorbachev has hinted strongly that he is willing to work with the opposition non-Communist political groupings emerging in the Soviet Union.
Although Gorbachev refrained from using the term "round-table talks" that Russian republic leader Boris Yeltsin has proposed, he made it plain in his closing speech to a Communist Party plenum Thursday that the party must live in a new multiparty society.Gorbachev, who faced down a challenge at the plenum to oust him as party leader, told the Communist hierarchy that their guaranteed monopoly on political power ended in March 1990 when the Congress of People's Deputies changed the Constitution's Article 6.
"The party intentionally gave up its monopoly for power which existed for decades," he said in the speech published Sunday in the party newspaper Pravda.
"And I see that it is very hard for many to take this, not everybody accepts this easily.
"Several years ago, when addressing the plenum in this hall, I said: 'Comrades, all of us and our party should learn to work in the conditions of the growing democracy.' And now I say straight, now the most difficult stage has come.
"Now in the country there exist not only a pluralism of opinions but also a political pluralism. . . . Many new forces entered the political arena. All this changed entirely the political climate. And we should realize this and find a role of our own that would be adequate to this new stage in the development of our society."
In the most vivid change of his position, Gorbachev said that not all of the new democratic forces are destructive. Gorbachev had previously branded all the democratic forces around Yeltsin "pseudo-democrats" using democracy for their own "selfish aims."
"Nostalgia for old times does not leave us, the party workers, and many refuse to see that among various forces who call themselves democrats there are very many who care about the fatherland, about our common land," Gorbachev said.
"There are, of course extremists, who failed sometime in something and who therefore are striving for power. But I shall never agree with that all of those seeking, coming out for democracy must be regarded as the opponents who are at the opposite side of the barricades."