Program instituted in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-1980s to restructure Soviet political and economic policy. Gorbachev proposed reducing the direct involvement of the Communist Party leadership in the country's governance and increasing the local governments' authority. Seeking to bring the Soviet Union up to economic par with capitalist countries such as Germany, Japan, and the U.S., he decentralized economic controls and encouraged enterprises to become self-financing. The economic bureaucracy, fearing loss of its power and privileges, obstructed much of his program.
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