MOSCOW -- A published report said yesterday that Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev appears ready to dump the Marxist-Leninist ideology that has reigned here as Communism for 73 years.
The liberal Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Independent Newspaper) reported that Mr. Gorbachev will advocate replacing Communist doctrine with a hazily defined form of "social democracy" when he meets the policy-making Central Committee of the Communist Party Thursday.
Such a proposal probably would spark a stormy debate with hard-liners that could jeopardize the future of the party. The newspaper said Mr. Gorbachev has the backing of about 100 of the Central Committee's 412 members.
The report appeared to be a trial balloon to measure the strength of opposition to it. The newspaper supports the democratic trend that Mr. Gorbachev, who is a Communist Party leader as well as president, has seemed to favor since spring.
The joint ideology of Karl Marx and Communist Party founder Vladimir I. Lenin has been sacred for Soviets. For Mr. Gorbachev to reject it, even indirectly, would represent a revolution in itself.
If Mr. Gorbachev does abandon Marxist-Leninist ideology soon, it would come as he is pleading for Western money and technology.
In London last week at the annual economic summit of the world's seven leading industrialized nations, leaders told Mr. Gorbachev he must show he is committed to a free-market economy before they pledge the massive aid he says he needs.
Mr. Gorbachev is likely to hear that message again from President Bush when they hold their own summit in Moscow July 30-31.
The newspaper said Mr. Gorbachev's planned denunciation of Marxism-Leninism also contains a nod of approval for private ownership of property.