I was relatively young, the youngest of the lot, actually, and I was a man with a modern education who already had a great deal of experience  working independently.  At the beginning, that was important, that was significant.  Also, the fact that… I was given the post of General Secretary, tantamount to being a Tsar, and did not get drunk on my own power, but instead began to transform it. That already was the result of my democratic convictions.  I had had them ever since I was young, and they became my defining characteristic, my credo: devotion to democracy, respect for the worth of the individual.  But the system had suppressed all that; it did not allow an individual the freedom to actualize himself. I did not accept this.