In many ways, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is the "Lee Iacocca of Soviet politics," embodying the pragmatism of the American carmaker, a University of Utah political science professor says.
But Gorbachev's Westernizing economic reforms are leading his country away from some of its people's most deeply held values, Slava Lubo-mudrov, U. associate dean of liberal education, told members of the United Nations Association of Utah Tuesday.Although they criticize their bureaucracy and consumer goods shortages, many Soviets feel as deeply about such socialist ideals as full employment, equal pay and a social safety net as Americans do about free enterprise and democracy, he said.
And as Gorbachev's promotion of competition and other reforms threatens these principles, "It comes up again and again. People are saying, `What are we doing to socialism?"'
Lubomudrov said on a recent trip to Moscow, he asked people what they thought of the 350 cooperative restaurants in that city that now operate on free-enterprise principles.
Many Muscovites refuse to patronize them. At first, he said, people would say the food was no good or the prices were too high.
"But the bottom line they say, `They're speculators. I can't support speculators. It's immoral.' "
The professor said Soviet citizens like American blue jeans, "but inside those jeans you find very non-Western people" who will go only so far in adopting Western ways.