Death of dualism?

Featured in

  • Published 20030902
  • ISBN: 9780733313318
  • Extent: 160 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

BACK IN 1988, I was working on the Soviet Union in Australia’s national intelligence-analysis organisation, the Office of National Assessments (ONA). After a decade-long caravan of the comatose and the incompetent through the Kremlin’s key positions, the field of Sovietology had been glavanised by the emergence three years earlier of Mikhail Gorbachev, with his policies of glasnost andperestroika (openness and reform). Like all Soviet analysts at the time, I was preoccupied by the question: ‘What does Gorbachev mean?’ Clearly something new was happening but what was it exactly? A genuine internal reform of the Soviet system? A sneaky ploy designed to lull the West into a false sense of security? A sign of a fatal systemic weakness? Many people had views, but no one could be sure.

In November that year I was due to visit Washington for a meeting about the subject with our American intelligence partners. I had discovered, to my pleasure, that the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies – the umbrella group covering United States scholars working on these matters – was holding its annual three-day conference in Honolulu that year. (The organisers had a keen sense of how to attract Slavic specialists during the northern winter.) I persuaded my boss of the importance of my attending this conference and checked into the vast Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel where hundreds of academics, government officials and intelligence analysts milled around for three days of intense panel discussions. The political future of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was earnestly debated.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

More from author

Paradise revised

EssayONE WINTER'S DAY at the end of the '50s, in the Melbourne suburbs of my childhood, I received in the mail an official-looking certificate...

More from this edition

A ride in a taxi

Essay'These incompatible misfits who were smuggled into Australia should all be kicked out ... Thank God for the Howard Government. Better you show some...

What rough beast

EssayBEN BUCKLER IS one of those secret places you can find in any large city, a space within a space, with its own microclimate...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.