In elections for the Congress of People’s Deputies in early 1989, around 300 reformist candidates were elected and many ‘old communists’ were removed from the government.
One of those to depart was Andrei Gromyko, who had served as the Soviet Union’s foreign minister for a staggering 38 years.
By 1987, Gorbachev had enough support to push through a law allowing factories and manufacturers to determine their own output, effectively ending production quotas.
These industries were now able to adopt some practices used by private businesses: setting production levels, sourcing materials, paying expenses and wages, even selling surplus goods.
Nominations for candidates became open and competitive, allowing Soviet citizens to select their own representatives rather than having them appointed by the party.
This marked the end of the one-party state, as other non-communist parties were allowed to stand candidates.
In early 1987, Gorbachev gave a fuller account of his ideas in a book titled .
He affirmed his commitment to communism but emphasised the need for greater trust in the people.
Identifying a need for capital investment, Gorbachev permitted foreign companies to invest in the Soviet economy (June 1987), so long as this investment took the form of joint ventures and majority ownership remained in Soviet hands.
More reforms in May 1988 legalised the private ownership of most businesses, as well as removing barriers to foreign trade.