Delegates to a nationwide Communist Party conference Wednesday clashed over the pace of economic reforms in the Soviet Union, with local managers saying the reforms had not gone far enough to help the stagnant economy.
The conference, the party's first in 47 years, also ordered an investigation into a Soviet magazine's charge that some delegates from the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan were involved in corruption.Reports in the official media on the second day of the conference indicated debate was shifting from political questions to the economy, with the opening day's presentation by economist Leonid Abalkin at the center of the debate.
Abalkin, head of the Soviet Academy of Sciences' Economics Institute and a top adviser to Mikhail S. Gorbachev, told the 5,000 delegates that the Soviet economy is not improving because it still measures its progress by quantity rather than quality of products.
But Georgy Arbatov, head of the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada and a member of the policy-making Central Committee, said he "totally disagreed" with Abalkin, Tass reported.
The conference, the 19th in party history, was convened by Gorbachev to review changes he has made since rising to power in March 1985 and to consider further steps he said are needed to modernize the country. The delegates are meeting behind closed doors in the Kremlin, and only official Soviet media are permitted to cover the proceedings.
The official Tass news agency said Arbatov told delegates the Soviet Union had made great prog-ress in "creating the political, spiritual and moral preconditions for the economic reform."
But Y.A. Smirnov, manager of a chemical factory in the Ural Mountain city of Nizhnitagilsk, complained that he had heard nothing that would help him improve the work of his factory.
"I generally expected to hear much more - how to transform it, what kinds of tactics to use, what stages, what frontiers," he said in an interview with Soviet television.
Addressing Abalkin in his television interview, Smirnov said: "You are the economic institute. You should map this strategy. Abalkin said it's necessary, but did not say how to do it. The fate of perestroika depends on it."
V.A. Yarin, a senior machine operator at a metallurgy factory in Nizhnitagilsk, said government ministers should get out of the "fashionable halls" of the Kremlin to make their reports in working-class districts.
Abalkin said rigid central planning of production quotas made it impossible to "solve the problems of a radical improvement in the quality of output, technical re-equipment of the national economy, enhancing its efficiency, making the economy face the consumer."
F. V. Popov, party leader in the Siberian Altai region, drew his fellow delegates' attention to the latest issue of the weekly Ogonyok magazine, which accused some Uzbek delegates of involvement in corruption.
Ogonyok said several "bribetakers" had been elected to the conference from the republic.
The delegates asked the credentials commission, which previously had certified all delegates, to investigate the charge.
Tass said that Georgy Razumovsky, chairman of the conference's credentials commission, opened today's session with a report that some delegates were elected by their party organizations without popular support.
But he said established procedures were followed and the commission had certified the election of all delegates, Tass reported.
During the election campaign to select the delegates, prominent advocates of Gorbachev's reforms charged that middle-level party bureaucrats were naming conservative allies as delegates at the expense of the reformers.
On Tuesday, delegates moved to restrict their debate after one speaker was hounded for straying from the subject at hand.