Switching Regimes of Publicity: How Nina Andreeva Facilitated the Transformation of Glasnost into Freedom of Speech

Author: Timur ATNASHEV

Abstract. This article examines the transformation of the Soviet public sphere triggered in particular by a letter written by Nina Andreeva known as a conservative manifesto I Cannot Compromise My Principles (1988). The article analyzes the context of this publication, which appeared when Gorbachev and his team were preparing a revolutionary political reform. The author examines the language, argumentation, and genre of this text, which, according to the conventions of the "letter to the editor" genre, was offered as a platform text launching a new Party line. The political struggle that unfolded after Yegor Ligachev's attempt to use the text to limit Aleksandr Yakovlev's influence on the press led to a number of unforeseen consequences, including two days of discussion in the Politburo and a transition from a regime of controlled Glasnost to freedom of speech-something no one on the Soviet political scene was prepared for.

Keywords: regimes of publicity, perestroika, Nina Andreeva, Aleksandr Prokhanov, Soviet political philosophy.

DOI: 10.31857/S013454860004086-2

We would like to trace mechanisms triggering changes in the regimes of publicity during the perestroika by looking at the discussions around Nina Andreeva's letter I Cannot Compromise My Principles [1] in March-April 1988. On the one hand, this well-known essay is noteworthy for combining archaic early Soviet rhetoric with reference to forbidden names and surprisingly straightforward description related to the ideological confrontation of the "two towers" that attack socialism. However, the argumentation and language of the essay are not


T. Atnashev, PhD, senior researcher at the School of Public Policy, RANEPA. E-mail: timur. atnashev@gmail.com. This article was first published in Russian in the journal Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie (New Literary Observer), No. 3, 2018.

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sufficient to comprehend the consequences that resulted from its publication. We would like to reconstruct the political context and actions taken by its key participants that influenced what each side did exactly hear in this statement. The letter ...

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