March 1990 the body of deputies, gathered for the Third Congress of
People’s Deputies, elected Gorbachev president of the USSR.
Gorbachev garnered less than 60 percent of the deputies’ votes. The
chief “architect of
did not have the courage to run for the presidency in popular
The resultant lack of popular mandate compromised the legitimacy of
Gorbachev’s new post and was one of the main reasons for his growing
political weakness. Nevertheless, the structure of presidential
power began to take shape, signaling the curtailment of the
domination of the party’s central bodies.