Very important changes took place in socio-political sphere. Stability and passivity of the main socio-ethnic groups in the country in the mid-80-s changed for activity, down to opposition. A characteristic feature of that time: downfall of CPSU influence, as well of the Communist Youth Union and of the Trade Unions.
Former leadership of the CPSU were blamed in subjectivism, voluntarism, in establishment of cult of the individual, divergence from the general line of the party and in other sins, but as the reality showed soon, that approach was insufficient to make the federal machinery work effectively. That is why another step to democracy was made.
That step was the January, 1987 Plenum of the CPSU Central Committee, after which mass media sphere of activity sharply broadened. The media began to blame not "separate drawbacks", as it was before, but started to criticise social illnesses.
In September, 1987 the CPSU Central Committee Political Bureau set up its own "Commission on additional investigation of materials, connected with the victimisation of 30-s, 40-s and of the early 50-s". Soviet leadership couldn't venture to touch mass repression, organised by the bolshevist party earlier, and blamed Stalin and his relationship. In 1990 and 1991 names of Lenin and his companions were taboo.
On the February 1988 Plenum of the CPSU central Committee it was first announced about "free competition of minds", about "socialist pluralism of opinions".
The years 1989-1990 were a period, when real power began step by step to go away from the hands of the top level leadership. The signs of that process were noticeable in strengthening of influence of non-formal movements, in formation opposition parties. Marksism-Leninism animadversion began. Once united CPSU split up into various groups and fractions.
In late 1990 and the first half of the 1991 part of the top leadership members repeatedly tried to reanimate the party, make mobile and active. In the Supreme Soviets of the USSR and other republics communists made active efforts to block the work of the bodies. In many respects that policy was successful. Culmination of this activity was an attempt of the overturn on August 19-21, 1991.
In 1989, actually for the first time in the USSR, an independent working movement appeared again. This was expressed through strikes in different branches of industry, first of all in coal mining. Trying to prevent downfall of its popularity, a number of Trade Unions supported the demands of the strikers and began to render them assistance.
In informal, that is in non-federal sphere of social movements considerable changes occurred. There appeared political forces and then entire parties standing in opposition to the CPSU. Since 1987 democratic movement began to gain force. Already in 1987 tens of informal organisations appeared, which gradually became politically oriented. It should be mentioned that those groups were rather weak and poorly organised. In 1987 meetings of opposition movements counted not more that some 30-50 participants, but in 1990, for the first time in Moscow, gigantic manifestations took place, up to a million people.
The first independent (that means non-official) newspapers and magazines appeared, as a rule half-legally, in 1987. In 1990, after passing the bill about press the number of independent newspapers and magazines sky-rocketed.
In 1990 again as it was in the 20-s, political parties aside from the CPSU appeared. These were: Democratic Party, Socio-democratic, Liberal, Liberal-Democratic, Chrictian-Democratic parties, Russian people's Front, people's fronts in different regions. Many of those parties were officially registered on republican level as social organisations. In 1991 first all-union parties were registered, the first of which was the CPSU, and the second one - Liberal-Democratic Party. Besides, organisations of different economic and cultural sort.