中國能出葉利欽嗎?
◎ 金 鐘

 

俄羅斯首任民選總統葉利欽四月二十三日因心臟病去世,終年七十六歲。對這位從蘇聯到俄國的跨世紀人物的身後評價,出現有趣的分歧,西方領袖與中國的民主派,幾乎都以共產帝國的終結者的角度作正面的肯定,而以港台的親共與統派媒體為代言的不少人,以葉利欽執政的經改失敗,國民生活大幅下降為由,對他三七開,三分功七分過。中國官方則只肯定他對中俄關係發展的貢獻,閉口不談其他。 ??? 在我們看來,葉利欽當然是一位改寫俄國歷史的大人物,正是在他手上完成了從赫魯曉夫到戈爾巴喬夫的俄國社會轉型,使專制極權和計畫經濟一去不返,開始了俄羅斯自由民主的新時代。他執政十年以休克療法改革經濟,適得其反,五次撤換總理,顯示他不是烏托邦,不是不可救藥。尤其是他在上世紀最後的除夕之夜,主動宣佈辭職,把權力交給比他年輕二十歲的普京,表示俄羅斯應該在精力充沛的新一代領導下邁進新世紀。那年他六十八歲,任期未滿。凸顯葉利欽是一位富於前瞻性的氣度非凡的政治家。他那篇千餘字的告別辭,是二十世紀最優美感人的文獻之一。

 

??? 中國的社會轉型也開始了三十年,誠然經濟已取得可觀的成就,但是政治制度及社會道德,不進反退,除了一些騙外國人的面子功夫,官僚們巧取豪奪、貪污腐敗,在龐大軍警特務統治下,政府為所欲為,人民悲苦無告、忍辱偷生;虛偽不義之風有增無減。知識界多麼希望中國的戈爾巴喬夫、葉利欽出來改變現實,可是年年呼喚,年年失望。中南海的回答,如羅幹宣稱,要「三個不惜」地以鐵腕手段維持安定,即維持共產黨的獨裁權力與利益。 ??? 中國能不能出葉利欽式的人物?不妨看看葉氏的背景,他出身農家(父親在古拉格勞改過三年),工學院建築系畢業,一九六一年入黨,從州委書記升到莫斯科市委書記。在戈爾巴喬夫改革時期是一名激進的反對派領袖,蘇共二十八大上因與戈氏分歧而退黨。在一九九一年「八一九」政變中,他作為俄羅斯的總統在民眾支持下,登高一呼,粉碎保守派的政變,隨即和戈氏一起宣佈解散蘇共,其他加盟共和國相繼獨立,蘇聯解體。

 

??? 由此可見,像葉利欽這樣的家庭出身、技術官僚背景的幹部,中共體制中不在少數。但是,中蘇兩國在獨裁者斯大林、毛澤東死後的改革存在一個重大分歧:中共第一代留下的鄧小平等元老反對政治改革,反對批判獨裁者,蘇共卻沒有。葉利欽正是蘇共二十大改革以來的結晶,是一個漸進系列的結果。中國除了八十年代胡、趙當權政治改革曇花一現外,沉悶已久,而沉玨祪n愈重。因此,在這樣一個歷史傳統、人文素質和俄羅斯相差很大的國家,尋找一個突破性的人物,重啟政改之門,其難之深,可以想見。


Can China Produce a Yeltsin?
By Jin Zhong

Boris Yeltsin, the first popularly elected president of Russia, died of a heart attack on April 23. He was 76. The appraisal of this giant figure, who spanned two centuries and the transition from the Soviet Union to Russia, exhibits an interesting divergence of opinions. Western leaders and Chinese democrats almost all spoke highly of him for bringing a communist empire to an end, while many who voiced their opinions through pro-communist and pro-reunification media in Hong Kong and Taiwan gave him a Chinese communist-type “three vs seven” assessment; that is, three portions of pros as against seven portions of cons, with the rational that Yeltsin failed in economic reform and caused a drastic drop in people’s living standards. China’s official comment affirmed his contributions in furthering Sino-Russian relations, but remained silent on other matters.
For Open Magazine, Yeltsin was undoubtedly a giant figure who rewrote Russian history. It is he who completed Russia’s social transition from Khrushchev to Gorbachev, putting a decisive end to its tyranny and planned economy, and initiating Russia’s new era of freedom and democracy. During his 10 years in power, he reformed the economy with shock therapy. Contrary to what leftists claim, the fact that Yeltsin changed premiers five times showed that he was neither a dreamer nor a defeatist. It is especially remarkable that he resigned voluntarily on the last day of the last century, transferring power to Putin, a man 20 years younger than he, proclaiming to the world that Russia should enter the new century under the leadership of a new and vital generation. He was only 68 and still had time left in his term. This clearly shows that Yeltsin was a statesman who took a magnanimous view of the future. His 1,000-word farewell speech is one of the most beautiful and touching literary works of the 20th century.
China’s social transformation started almost 30 years ago. Although there has been significant progress in the economy, the political system and social ethics are worse than before. Apart from some window dressing to fool foreigners, the swindling and plundering of corrupt bureaucrats has become a way of life. Under the reign of a huge military-police force, the government stops at nothing. With no channel to address their miseries, the people can only survive in humiliation while hypocrisy and injustice in society keeps growing.
Chinese intellectuals have hoped that a Chinese-type Gorbachev or Yeltsin would emerge to change the situation, but year after year, they cry out in vain. The response from Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Kremlin, is exemplified by the words of politburo member Luo Gan: we must use iron hands to maintain stability with the “three no-matter-whats,” or in plain language, to preserve the dictatorship and interests of the Communist Party.
Is it possible for a Yeltsin to emerge in China? Let us take a look at his background. He was born to a farming family. (His father was sent off to hard labor in the Soviet gulag for three years.) After graduating from an engineering institute with a degree in architecture, he joined the Communist Party in 1961, and gradually rose from his position as a regional Party secretary to Party secretary of Moscow, the national capital. During the Gorbachev’s reforms, Yeltsin was a radical leader of the opposition, and he resigned from the party after a dispute with Gorbachev during the 28th Party plenum. During the coup launched by Party hardliners on August 19, 1991, Yeltsin, as president of the Russian Republic, stood atop a tank and gave his historic speech that, with the support of the people, brought the coup to an end. He then joined Gorbachev in announcing the dissolution of the Soviet Communist Party. Most of the republics under the Soviet Union chose independence, and the Soviet empire was relegated to history.
There is no shortage of cadres with similar family backgrounds and engineering training in the Chinese Communist system. However, the Soviet Union and China took widely divergent paths following the deaths of their respective dictators, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong: Deng Xiaoping and the rest of the first generation of Chinese Communist patriarchs were opposed to political reform and prohibited criticism of their predecessor, but the Soviets did not refrain from either. Yeltsin was a product of the gradual reforms launched after the 20th Party plenum. China, however, apart from a brief period of political reform under Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang in the 1980s, has lapsed into a prolonged malaise that has become even more profound with time. In a country with historic and human factors so different from Russia’s, the difficulty of identifying an era-setting person to launch new political reforms can only be imagined. (End)