even Yugoslavia is, in the words of ThenNew York Times, endangering then”process of gradual change in EasternnEurope.”nBut are expectations of “gradualnchange” in the Communist world realistic?nIn Yugoslavia, for long a showcasenof the US State Departmentn(“nudging towards change”), 40 yearsnof glasnost and perestroika havenbrought no lessening in CommunistnParty control over the lives of ordinarynYugoslavs. Between Milan Kucan, then”liberal” Communist leader of thennorthern Yugoslav republic of Slovenia,nand Slobodan Milosevic, the “Stalinist”nSerbian strongman, the onlyndifferences are in how to make Communismnwork. In Slovenia’s case, theneconomy has been made to functionnwell (on a Western European level),nbut Slovenes like Janez Janca, IvannBorstner, and Franci Zavrl were sentencednto prison for having demandedna democratic Yugoslavia.nYet Corbachev seems to be expected,nby the CIA no less than by othernUS policymakers, to miraculouslyntransform the USSR from an internationalnbully into a mercantile partner.nEven Slobodan Milosevic is seen, bynsome Western reporters, as a “Gorbachevian”nliberal, because of his announcedndesire to make the Yugoslavneconomy more free.nOne Yugoslav dissident, however,nputs these maneuvers in perspective:n”They [the Communists] want tonmake Yugoslavia something Hke SouthnKorea — a dictatorship with a powerhouseneconomy.” Unfortunately,nGorbachev (who spent his Marchn1988 visit to Yugoslavia mostly in Slovenia)nseems merely to want the USSRnto be able to deliver microchips andnbutter, as well as AK-47’s andnICBM’s.nBut are the 70 years of Soviet imperialnaggression an outcome of the lack ofnoranges in Moscow, or does the problemnlie deeper? Are Armenians, Poles,nLetts, or Serbs to be sacrificed forevernto the fleeting goodwill of a worldnpower that has “restructured” itselfnfrom a tsarist hegemony into a socialistnone? Helping democracy in the USSRn— which involves not hindering itsnmovements for ethnic self-determination—nmay not look entirelyn”safe,” but it is, in the long run, muchnsafer than facing a transmogrified, ex­npansionist empire, often less than willingnto hide its true designs. (MS)nVIKTOR TROSTNIKOV, a scientistnand philosopher from Moscow,nrecently paid a visit to Washington,nDC. A decade ago he was fired fromnhis job as professor of higher mathematicsnat the Moscow Institute of RailwaynEngineering, for participation innthe almanac Metropol, and he currentlynearns a living as a mason. He is thenauthor of Thoughts Before Dawn (Paris,n1980), an extremely interesting critiquenof some of the fundamental tenetsnof positivism and Marxism in lightnof the latest discoveries in quantumnphysics. Thanks to the spirit oiglasnostnand perestroika, Trostnikov wasnallowed to come to the US for a fewndays to take part in the celebration ofnthe millennium of Russian Christianity.nHere is his assessment of whatnconstitutes the totalitarian disease ofnSoviet society.n”The patient must be treated for hisnailment, not for its symptoms. Andnsince we fell ill at the spiritual level, thentreatment should be administered atnthat same level. If the authorities arenreally eager to save the nation, theynmust above all recognize the divinenorigins of man. Until they do, whatevernthey undertake is doomed to be annexercise in futility . . . Today, our mostnpressing need is neither free enterprise,nnor the broadening of glasnost, norneven human rights, but an officialnadmission that Marxism was a pack ofnlies and Stalinism a cruel hoax . . .nThe rest will follow automatically . . .nToday, we must not concentrate onnderivative things, but on the fundamentalsnfrom which they spring forth.”n— Mihajlo MihajlovnI RECENTLY RETURNED fromna visit to Moscow, Leningrad, andnKiev, and there is no question aboutnthere being more freedom to expressnideas. But reports of change are exaggerated.nThere are still no nongovernmentalnpublishing houses. Two of thenmore popular journals, Ogonyok andnLiteraturnaya Gazeta, are sold outnquickly and there is a waiting list fornsubscribers. More are not printed becausenof a supposed “paper shortage,”nthough every kiosk in Moscow is well-nnnsupplied with Lenin’s works. And nonpublication, no matter now adventuresome,nattacks Gorbachev.nI could purchase Russian languageneditions of dead literary greats likenAkhmatova, Tsvetayeva, or Bulgakovnin the state-run shops open only fornforeigners with foreign currency.nThese same books were unavailable tonthe Soviets at their own bookstores. Allnof these books would sell on the streetnfor at least ten times their shop price.nBibles on the street would sell for aboutnone-fifth of an average monthly salary.nI stayed at major Intourist hotels, butnnone of them had European editionsnof American or even European papers.nI could not find them at airports, trainnstations, or major newsstands.nWhen I returned home I read annAP story of a visiting Soviet officialnwho said his country is “as open as thenWild West once was” and how then”USSR now has limitless opportunities.”nThat’s ridiculous. Soviet consumersnstill stand in long lines. I wentnto an expensive private cooperativenrestaurant in Leningrad where, thoughnthe food was good, the waiter apologizednprofusely because they were notnallowed to sell any alcoholic beverages.nThis was not the case at the state-runnhard currency Intourist restaurants.nClothes are shoddy and expensive. Insaw a suit at GUM (“the world’s largestndepartment store”) that cost 200 rublesn($350 at the official exchange rate) thatnmight sell for $125 in America. Theirncheapest car, the Lada, sells for 10,000nrubles ($16,500 at the official rate),nwhile the average worker makes 2,700nrubles a year. In the larger cities therenare state shops that sell better-qualityngoods at cheaper prices, but only fornforeign currency. In effect, the Sovietsnrun their own black market, thoughnpeople on the street continually offernto snap up foreign currency at two ornthree times the official rates. (If thenSoviets allowed the ruble to be boughtnand sold internationally, the exchangenrate in relation to the dollar mightnincrease from $1.65 to the ruble to atnleast 3 to 4 rubles per dollar.)nThe Soviet Union is not the WildnWest, or the Wild East, and there arenno indicators it will become so.n—Michael WardernJANUARY 1989/7n