Revolutions of 1989

Revolutions of 1989
Revolutions of 1989

Top left: Round Table in Warsaw. Top right: Fall of the Berlin Wall. Middle left: Romanian Revolution. Middle right: Velvet Revolution in Prague. Bottom: Baltic Way in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian SSR.
Other names Fall of Communism, Collapse of Communism, Collapse of Socialism, Fall of Socialism, Autumn of Nations
Participants Citizens of Communist countries
Location Europe (especialy Central Europe, then South-East and Eastern Europe)
Communist countries in other parts of the world
Date 9 March 1989 – 27 April 1992

The Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the Fall of Communism, the Collapse of Communism, the Revolutions of Eastern Europe and the Autumn of Nations[1]) were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.

The events began in Poland in 1989,[2][3] and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change.[4] Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its Communist regime violently.[5] The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 failed to stimulate major political changes in China. However, powerful images of courageous defiance during that protest helped to spark a precipitation of events in other parts of the globe. Among the famous anti-Communist revolutions was the fall of the Berlin Wall, which served as the symbolic gateway to German reunification in 1990.

The Soviet Union was dissolved by the end of 1991, resulting in Russia and 14 nations declaring their independence from the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Communism was abandoned in Albania and Yugoslavia between 1990 and 1992, the latter splitting into five successor states by 1992: Slovenia, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (comprising Serbia and Montenegro).[6] The impact was felt in dozens of Socialist countries. Communism was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Mongolia and South Yemen. The collapse of Communism led commentators to declare the end of the Cold War.

The adoption of varying forms of market economy generally resulted at first in decreasing living standards in post-Communist States, together with side effects including the rise of business oligarchs in countries such as Russia, and disproportional social and economic development. Political reforms were varied; in many countries Communist institutions were able to keep themselves in power, such as the People's Republic of China, while for other states various emerging political parties succeeded. Many Communist and Socialist organisations in the West turned their guiding principles over to social democracy. The European political landscape was drastically changed, with numerous Eastern Bloc countries joining NATO and stronger European economic and social integration entailed.



Rise of communist regimes

Ideas of Socialism had been gaining momentum among working class citizens of the world since the 19th century, these culminated in the early 20th century when several countries and subsequent nations formed their own Communist Parties. Many of the countries involved had monarchic governments and aristocratic social structures with an established nobility. Ordinarily, Socialism was undesirable within the circles of the ruling classes of the late 19th/early 20th century states; as such, Communist ideology was repressed - its champions suffered persecution while the nation on the whole was discouraged from adopting the mindset. This had been the practice even in the states which identified as exercising a multi-party system.

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 saw the multi-ethnic Soviets overturn a previously nationalist Russian state along with its monarchy. The Bolsheviks comprised ethnicities of all entities which would compose the Soviet Union throughout its phases.

During the interwar period, Communism had been on the rise in many parts of the world (e.g. in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it had grown popular in the urban areas throughout the 1920s). This led to a series of purges in many countries to stifle the movement.

Just as Communism had at some stage grown popular throughout the entities of Central and Eastern Europe, its image had also begun to tarnish at a later time all within the interwar period. As Socialist activists stepped up their campaigns against their oppressor regimes, they resorted to violence (including bombings and various other killings) to achieve their goal: this led large parts of the previously pro-Communist populace to lose interest in the ideology. A Communist presence forever remained in place however, but reduced from its earlier size.

After World War II, the Soviet Union had established a presence in a number of countries. There, they brought into power various Communist parties who were loyal to Moscow. The Soviets retained troops throughout the territories they had occupied. The Cold War saw these states, bound together by the Warsaw Pact, have continuing tensions with the capitalist west symbolized by NATO. Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China and his Communist regime in 1949.

Katyn massacre victims.

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide anti-authoritarian revolt, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to assert control. In 1968, the USSR repressed the Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Life under communist regimes

Queue waiting to enter a store, a typical view in Poland between the 1950s and 1980s

The Black Book of Communism, published in 1997, estimates that 94 million people were killed under Communist regimes.[7]

In the People's Republic of China, the Great Leap Forward in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries in the 1950s, and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people.[8][9]

The press throughout the Communist period was an organ of the state, completely reliant on and subservient to the Communist party. Media served as an important form of control over information and society.[10] The dissemination and portrayal of information were considered by authorities to be vital to Communism's survival by stifling alternative concepts and critiques.[10] However, Western countries began using powerful radio transmitters which enabled Western broadcasts to be heard in the Eastern Bloc, despite attempts by authorities to jam the air waves. Samizdat (reproducing censored publications by hand and passing them from reader to reader) was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet-bloc.

Indoctrination under Communist regimes has been criticized as leaving a legacy of apathy and indifference in their respective countries, as well as introducing widespread dishonesty and disdain of criticism.[11]

Environmental degradation was heavy in Socialist countries. The air pollution, groundwater contamination, Trabant, and the Chernobyl disaster became icons of Communism.

By the 1980s, nearly all the economies of the Eastern Bloc had stagnated, falling behind the technological advances of the West.[12] The systems, which required party-state planning at all levels, ended up collapsing under the weight of accumulated economic inefficiencies, with various attempts at reform merely contributing to the acceleration of crisis-generating tendencies.[13]

In Poland, more than 60% of population lived in poverty, and inflation, measured by black-market rate of the U.S. dollar, was 1,500% in the period 1982 – 1987.[14]

Pressure from the West

Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. In 1980, Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter in the US presidential election, vowing to increase military spending and confront the Soviets everywhere.[15] Both Reagan and Thatcher denounced the Soviet Union and its ideology. Reagan labeled the Soviet Union an "evil empire" and predicted that Communism would be left on the "ash heap of history".[16] The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to oppose the global influence of the Soviet Union.

Emergence of Solidarity

Labour turmoil in Poland during 1980 had led to the formation of the independent trade union, Solidarity, led by Lech Wałęsa, which over time became a political force. On 13 December 1981, Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski started a crack-down on Solidarity, declaring martial law in Poland, suspending the union, and temporarily imprisoning all of its leaders.

Changes in Beijing

New Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping developed the concept of Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Growing KGB role in Moscow

Meanwhile in the Soviet Union, the KGB chief Yuri Andropov successfully joined the Party Secretariat in May 1982 and became General Secretary. According to former Securitate general Ion Mihai Pacepa,

"In the West, if Andropov is remembered at all, it is for his brutal suppression of political dissidence at home and for his role in planning the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. By contrast, the leaders of the former Warsaw Pact intelligence community, when I was one of them, looked up to Andropov as the man who substituted the KGB for the Communist party in governing the Soviet Union, and who was the godfather of Russia's new era of deception operations aimed at improving the badly damaged image of Soviet rulers in the West."[17]

Mikhail Gorbachev

Although several Eastern bloc countries had attempted some abortive, limited economic and political reform since the 1950s (Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Prague Spring of 1968), the advent of reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 signaled the trend toward greater liberalization. During the mid 1980s, a younger generation of Soviet apparatchiks, led by Gorbachev, began advocating fundamental reform in order to reverse years of Brezhnev stagnation. The Soviet Union was facing a period of severe economic decline and needed Western technology and credits to make up for its increasing backwardness. The costs of maintaining its so-called "empire" – the military, KGB, subsidies to foreign client states – further strained the moribund Soviet economy.

The first signs of major reform came in 1986 when Gorbachev launched a policy of glasnost (openness) in the Soviet Union, and emphasized the need for perestroika (economic restructuring). By the spring of 1989, the Soviet Union had not only experienced lively media debate, but had also held its first multi-candidate elections in the newly established Congress of People's Deputies. Though glasnost advocated openness and political criticism, at the time, it was only permitted in accordance with the political views of the Communists. The general public in the Eastern bloc were still threatened by secret police and political repression.

Moscow's largest obstacle to improved political and economic relations with the Western powers remained the Iron Curtain that existed between East and West. As long as the specter of Soviet military intervention loomed over Central, South-East and Eastern Europe, it seemed unlikely that Moscow could attract the Western economic support needed to finance the country's restructuring. Gorbachev urged his Central and South-East European counterparts to imitate perestroika and glasnost in their own countries. However, while reformists in Hungary and Poland were emboldened by the force of liberalization spreading from East to West, other Eastern bloc countries remained openly skeptical and demonstrated aversion to reform. Past experiences had demonstrated that although reform in the Soviet Union was manageable, the pressure for change in Central and South-East Europe had the potential to become uncontrollable. These regimes owed their creation and continued survival to Soviet-style authoritarianism, backed by Soviet military power and subsidies. Believing Gorbachev's reform initiatives would be short-lived, orthodox Communist rulers like East Germany's Erich Honecker, Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov, Czechoslovakia's Gustáv Husák, and Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu obstinately ignored the calls for change.[18] "When your neighbor puts up new wallpaper, it doesn't mean you have to too," declared one East German politburo member.[19]

Solidarity's impact grows

Throughout the mid-1980s, Solidarity persisted solely as an underground organization, supported by the Catholic Church. However, by the late 1980s, Solidarity became sufficiently strong to frustrate Jaruzelski's attempts at reform, and nationwide strikes in 1988 forced the government to open a dialogue with Solidarity. On 9 March 1989, both sides agreed to a bicameral legislature called the National Assembly. The already existing Sejm would become the lower house. The Senate would be elected by the people. Traditionally a ceremonial office, the presidency was given more powers[20] (Polish Round Table Agreement).

By 1989, the Soviet Union had repealed the Brezhnev Doctrine in favor of non-intervention in the internal affairs of its Warsaw Pact allies, termed the Sinatra Doctrine in a joking reference to the Frank Sinatra song "My Way". Poland became the first Warsaw Pact state country to break free of Soviet domination. Taking notice from Poland, Hungary was next to follow.

Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

In December 1986, Chinese student demonstrators, taking advantage of the loosening political atmosphere, staged protests against the slow pace of reform. Students called for campus elections, the chance to study abroad, and greater availability of western pop culture. Hu Yaobang, a protégé of Deng Xiaoping and a leading advocate of reform, was blamed for the protests and forced to resign as the CCP General Secretary in January 1987. In the "Anti Bourgeois Liberalization Campaign", Hu would be further denounced.

The protests were sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang on 15 April. By the eve of Hu's funeral, one million people[citation needed] had gathered at Tiananmen square.

Gorbachev's visit to the People's Republic of China on 15 May during the protests brought many foreign news agencies to Beijing, and their sympathetic portrayals of the protesters helped galvanize a spirit of liberation among the Central, South-East and Eastern Europeans who were watching. The Chinese leadership, particularly Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, having begun earlier than the Soviets to radically reform the economy, was open to political reform, but not at the cost of a potential return to the disorder of the Cultural Revolution.

The movement lasted seven weeks, from Hu's death on 15 April until tanks cleared Tiananmen Square on 4 June. In Beijing, the resulting military response to the protesters by the PRC government left many civilians and military personnel charged with clearing the square of the dead or severely injured. The number of deaths is not known and many different estimates exist.

Revolutions of 1989

Territory of former Eastern Bloc states with the dates that Communist rule ended. Dates of declaring independence for former USSR states.


In April 1989, Solidarity was again legalized and allowed to participate in parliamentary elections on 4 June 1989 (incidentally, the day following the midnight crackdown on Chinese protesters in Tiananmen Square). A political earthquake followed. The victory of Solidarity surpassed all predictions. Solidarity candidates captured all the seats they were allowed to compete for in the Sejm, while in the Senate they captured 99 out of the 100 available seats (with the one remaining seat taken by an independent candidate). At the same time, many prominent Communist candidates failed to gain even the minimum number of votes required to capture the seats that were reserved for them.

Shortly afterward, the Communists' two longtime coalition partners broke off to support Solidarity. This virtually assured that a Solidarity member would become prime minister. A new non-Communist government, the first of its kind in the former Eastern Bloc, was sworn into office in September 1989.


Following Poland's lead, Hungary was next to revert to a non-Communist government. Although Hungary had achieved some lasting economic reforms and limited political liberalization during the 1980s, major reforms only occurred following the replacement of János Kádár as General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1988. That same year, the Parliament adopted a "democracy package", which included trade union pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the constitution, among others.

In October 1989, the Communist Party convened its last congress and re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party. In a historic session from 16 October to 20 October, the parliament adopted legislation providing for multi-party parliamentary elections and a direct presidential election. The legislation transformed Hungary from a People's Republic into the Republic of Hungary, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensured separation of powers among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. Hungarians suggested that Soviet troops "go home."

East Germany

Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate, 10 November 1989

After a reformed border was opened from Hungary, a growing number of East Germans began emigrating to West Germany via Hungary's border with Austria. By the end of September 1989, more than 30,000 East Germans had escaped to the West before the GDR (German Democratic Republic) denied travel to Hungary, leaving the CSSR (Czechoslovakia) as the only neighboring state where East Germans could travel. Thousands of East Germans tried to reach the West by occupying the West German diplomatic facilities in Central European capitals, notably the Prague Embassy where thousands camped in the muddy garden from August to November. The GDR closed the border to the CSSR in early October, thereby isolating itself from all neighbors. Having been shut off from their last chance for escape, East Germans began Monday demonstrations. Hundreds of thousands of people in several cities – particularly Leipzig – eventually took part.

After the 2 October demonstration, Socialist Unity Party (SED) leader Erich Honecker issued a shoot and kill order to the military.[21] Communists prepared a huge police, militia, Stasi, and work-combat troop presence and there were rumors of a Tiananmen Square-style massacre.[22]

On 6 and 7 October, Gorbachev visited East Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, and urged the East German leadership to accept reform. A famous quote of his speaker Gennadi Gerassimow is rendered in German as "Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben" ('He who is too late is punished by life').[23] However, the elderly Erich Honecker remained opposed to internal reform, with his regime even going so far as forbidding the circulation of Soviet publications that it viewed as subversive.

Faced with ongoing civil unrest, the ruling SED deposed Honecker in mid-October, and replaced him with Egon Krenz. Also, the border to Czechoslovakia was opened again, but the Czechoslovak authorities soon let all East Germans travel directly to West Germany without further bureaucratic ado, thus lifting their part of the Iron Curtain on 3 November. Unable to stem the ensuing flow of refugees to the West through Czechoslovakia, the East German authorities eventually caved in to public pressure by allowing East German citizens to enter West Berlin and West Germany directly, via existing border points, on 9 November, without having properly briefed the border guards.

Triggered by the erratic words of Günter Schabowski in a TV press conference, stating that the planned changes were "in effect immediately", hundreds of thousands of people took advantage of the opportunity; soon new crossing points were opened in the Berlin Wall and along the border with West Germany. By December, Krenz had been replaced, and the SED had abandoned power and changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism. This led to the acceleration of the process of reforms in East Germany that ended with the eventual reunification of East and West Germany that came into force on 3 October 1990.

The Kremlin's willingness to abandon such a strategically vital ally marked a dramatic shift by the Soviet superpower and a fundamental paradigm change in international relations, which until 1989 had been dominated by the East-West divide running through Berlin itself.[citation needed]


The "Velvet Revolution" was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Communist government. On 17 November 1989 (Friday), riot police suppressed a peaceful student demonstration in Prague. That event sparked a series of popular demonstrations from 19 November to late December. By 20 November the number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague had swelled from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated half-million. A two-hour general strike, involving all citizens of Czechoslovakia, was successfully held on 27 November.

With the collapse of other Communist governments, and increasing street protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced on 28 November that it would relinquish power and dismantle the single-party state. Barbed wire and other obstructions were removed from the border with West Germany and Austria in early December. On 10 December, President Gustáv Husák appointed the first largely non-Communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubček was elected speaker of the federal parliament on 28 December and Václav Havel the President of Czechoslovakia on 29 December 1989.

In June 1990 Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections since 1946.


In November 1989 demonstrations on ecological issues were staged in Sofia, and these soon broadened into a general campaign for political reform. On 10 November 1989 – the day after the Berlin Wall was breached – Bulgaria's long-serving leader Todor Zhivkov was ousted by his Politburo. He was succeeded by a considerably more liberal Communist, former foreign minister Petar Mladenov. Moscow apparently approved the leadership change, despite Zhivkov's reputation as a slavish Soviet ally. Yet, Zhivkov's departure was not enough to satisfy the growing pro-democracy movement. By the time the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program in the Soviet Union was felt in Bulgaria in the late 1980s, the Communists, like their leader, had grown too feeble to resist the demand for change for long.

As it turned out, this palace coup gained the Bulgarian Communists only a short respite. By December, amid escalating street protests, Mladenov announced the party was abandoning power, which it formally did in February 1990 the Communist Party. In June 1990 the first free elections since 1931 were held, won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (the new name of the Communist Party). Although Zhivkov eventually faced trial in 1991, he escaped the violent fate of his northern comrade, Romanian President Nicolae Ceauşescu.

The Malta Summit consisted of a meeting between U.S. President George H. W. Bush and U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev, taking place between 2–3 December 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, during which the two officially ended the Cold War[citation needed] partially as a result of the broader pro-democracy movement. It was their second meeting following a meeting that included then President Ronald Reagan, in New York in December 1988. News reports of the time[citation needed] referred to the Malta Summit as the most important since 1945, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed on a post-war plan for Europe at the Yalta Conference.


Revolutionaries on the streets during the Romanian Revolution of 1989.

Unlike other Eastern bloc countries, Romania had never undergone even limited de-Stalinization[citation needed], yet had adopted a course independent of Soviet domination since the 1960s. Nonetheless, since the death of longtime Albanian leader Enver Hoxha, Romania had been reckoned as the most rigidly Stalinist state in Europe. In November 1989, Nicolae Ceauşescu, then aged 71, was re-elected for another five years as leader of the Romanian Communist Party, signalling that he intended to ride out the anti-Communist uprisings sweeping the rest of Europe. As Ceauşescu prepared to go on a state visit to Iran, his Securitate ordered the arrest and exile of a local Hungarian Calvinist minister, László Tőkés, on 16 December, for sermons offending the regime. Tőkés was seized, but only after serious rioting erupted. Timişoara was the first city to react, on 16 December, and civil unrest continued for 5 days.

Returning from Iran, Ceauşescu ordered a mass rally in his support outside Communist Party headquarters in Bucharest on December 21. However, to his shock, the crowd booed as he spoke. After learning about the incidents (both from Timişoara and from Bucharest) from Western radio stations[citation needed], years of repressed dissatisfaction boiled to the surface throughout the Romanian populace and even among elements in Ceauşescu's own government, and the demonstrations spread throughout the country.

At first the security forces obeyed Ceauşescu's orders to shoot protesters, but on the morning of 22 December, the Romanian military suddenly changed sides. Army tanks began moving towards the Central Committee building with crowds swarming alongside them. The rioters forced open the doors of the Central Committee building in an attempt to capture Ceauşescu and his wife, Elena, but they managed to escape via a helicopter waiting for them on the roof of the building. The revolution resulted in 1,104 deaths. Unlike its kindred parties, the PCR simply melted away.[clarification needed]

Although elation followed the flight of the Ceauşescus, uncertainty surrounded their fate. On Christmas Day, Romanian television showed the Ceauşescus facing a hasty trial, and then undergoing summary execution. An interim National Salvation Front Council led by Ion Iliescu took over and announced elections for April 1990. The first elections were actually held on 20 May 1990.

Election Chronology in Eastern Europe 1989-1991

Between the spring of 1989 and the spring of 1991 every Communist or former communist Eastern European country, and in the case of the USSR and Yugoslavia every constituent republic, held competitive parliamentary elections for the first time in many decades. Some elections were only partly free, others fully democratic. The chronology below gives the details of these historic elections, the date is the first day of voting as several elections were spilt over several days for run-off contests:

Albania and Yugoslavia

The building of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina burns after being hit by Serbian tank fire.

In the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, Enver Hoxha, who ruled Albania for four decades with an iron fist, died 11 April 1985. In 1989, the first revolts started in Shkodra and spread in other cities. Eventually, the existing regime introduced some liberalization, including measures in 1990 providing for freedom to travel abroad. Efforts were begun to improve ties with the outside world. March 1991 elections left the former Communists in power, but a general strike and urban opposition led to the formation of a coalition cabinet including non-Communists. Albania's former Communists were routed in elections March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest.

The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was not a part of the Warsaw Pact but pursued its own version of "Communism" under Josip Broz Tito. It was a multi-ethnic state, and the tensions between ethnicities first escalated with the so-called Croatian Spring of 1970–71, a movement for greater autonomy of Croatia, which was suppressed. In 1974 there followed constitutional changes devolving some of the federal powers to the constituent republics and provinces. After Tito's death in 1980 ethnic tensions grew, first in Albanian-majority Kosovo. In late 1980s Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević used the Kosovo crisis to stoke up Serb nationalism and attempt to consolidate and dominate the country, which alienated the other ethnic groups.

Parallel to the same process, Slovenia witnessed a policy of gradual liberalization since 1984, not unlike the Soviet Perestroika. This provoked tensions between the League of Communists of Slovenia on one side, and the central Yugoslav Party and the Federal Army on the other side. In mid May 1988, the Peasant Union of Slovenia was organized as the first non-Communist political organization in the country. Later in the same month, the Yugoslav Army arrested four Slovenian journalists of the alternative magazine Mladina, accusing them of revealing state secrets. The so-called Ljubljana trial triggered mass protests in Ljubljana and other Slovenian cities. The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights was established as the platform of all major non-Communist political movements. By early 1989, several anti-Communist political parties were already openly functioning, challenging the hegemony of the Slovenian Communists. Soon, the Slovenian Communists, pressured by their own civil society, entered in conflict with the Serbian Communist leadership.

In January 1990, an extraordinary Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was called in order to settle the disputes among its constituent parties. Faced with being completely outnumbered, the Slovenian Communists left the Congress, thus de facto bringing to an end the Yugoslav Communist Party. The Slovenian Communists were followed by the Croatian ones. Both parties of the two western republics negotiated free multi-party elections with their own opposition movements.

In the spring of 1990s, the democratic and anti-Yugoslav DEMOS coalition won the elections in Slovenia, while the Croatian elections witnessed the landslide victory of the nationalists. The results were much more balanced in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, while the parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia and Montenegro consolidated the power of Milošević and his supporters. Free elections on the level of the federation were never carried out. Instead, the Slovenian and Croatian leaderships started preparing plans for secession from the federation.

Escalating ethnic and national tensions led to the Yugoslav wars and the independence of the constituent (federal) units, in chronological order:

  • Slovenia (25 June 1991)
  • Croatia (25 June 1991)
  • Republic of Macedonia (8 September 1991)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (1 March 1992)
  • Serbia and Montenegro (2 state unions between 1992–2006). Montenegro proclaimed independence on 3 June 2006, while Serbia proclaimed its succession to the union as an independent state on 5 June 2006.
  • Kosovo (17 February 2008, partially recognized)

Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Mass demonstration in Moscow against the 1991 KGB coup attempt

On 1 July 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague. At a summit later that same month, Gorbachev and Bush declared a US–Soviet strategic partnership, decisively marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that US–Soviet cooperation during the 1990–91 Gulf War had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.

As the Soviet Union rapidly withdrew its forces from Central and Southeast Europe, the spillover from the 1989 upheavals began reverberating throughout the Soviet Union itself. Agitation for self-determination led to first Lithuania, and then Estonia, Latvia and Armenia declaring independence. Disaffection in other Soviet republics, such as Georgia and Azerbaijan, was countered by promises of greater decentralization. More open elections led to the election of candidates opposed to Communist Party rule.

Glasnost had inadvertently released the long-suppressed national sentiments of all peoples within the borders of the multinational Soviet state. These nationalist movements were further strengthened by the rapid deterioration of the Soviet economy, whereby Moscow's rule became a convenient scapegoat for economic troubles.[citation needed] Gorbachev's reforms had failed to improve the economy, with the old Soviet command structure completely breaking down. One by one, the constituent republics created their own economic systems and voted to subordinate Soviet laws to local laws.

In an attempt to halt the rapid changes to the system, a group of Soviet hard-liners represented by Vice-President Gennadi Yanayev launched a coup overthrowing Gorbachev in August 1991. Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian SFSR, rallied the people and much of the army against the coup and the effort collapsed. Although restored to power, Gorbachev's authority had been irreparably undermined. In September, the Baltic states were granted independence. Over the next three months, one republic after another declared independence. The penultimate step came on 1 December, when Ukrainian voters approved independence from the Soviet Union in a referendum. Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president on 25 December. By the end of the year, what remained of the Soviet government had ceased to function. The Soviet Union was officially disbanded, breaking up into fifteen constituent parts, thereby ending the world's largest and most influential Communist state, and leaving the People's Republic of China to that position.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Baltic Way was a human chain of approximately two million people.

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania implemented democratic reforms and achieved independence from the Soviet Union.

The Singing Revolution is a commonly used name for events between 1987 and 1991 that led to the restoration of the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.[24][25] The term was coined by an Estonian activist and artist, Heinz Valk, in an article published a week after the 10–11 June 1988 spontaneous mass night-singing demonstrations at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.[26]

Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova

In Belarus, former Communist leader Alexander Lukashenko has retained power and has been criticized for repressing political opposition ever since.

Moldova – Participated in the War of Transnistria between Moldova and Russian-connected forces. Communists came back to power in a 2001 election under Vladimir Voronin, but faced civil unrest in 2009 over accusation of rigged elections.

Ukraine – Presidencies of former Communists Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma were followed by the Orange Revolution in 2004, in which Ukrainians elected Viktor Yushchenko(also former member of CPSU).


In Georgia people started protesting against the Soviet rule.

In April 1989 the Soviet army massacred demonstrators in the Tbilisi Massacre. By November 1989, the Georgian SSR officially condemned the Russian invasion in 1921 and continuing genocidal occupation[citation needed]. Democracy activist Zviad Gamsakhurdia served as president from 1991 to 1992. A coup d'état installed former Communist leader Eduard Shevardnadze until the Rose Revolution in 2003.

Armenia and Azerbaijan

In Armenia, the independence struggle included violence. The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia became increasingly militarized (with the ascendancy of Kocharian, a former president of Nagorno-Karabakh, often viewed as a milestone), while elections have since been increasingly controversial, and government corruption became more rife. After Kocharyan, notably, Serzh Sargsyan ascended to power. Sargsyan is often noted as the "founder of the Armenian and Karabakh militaries" and was, in the past, defense minister and national security minister.

In Azerbaijan the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party won first elections with the self-described pro-Western, populist nationalist Elchibey. However, Elchibey planned to end Moscow's advantage in the harvesting of Azeri oil and build much stronger links with Turkey and Europe, and as a result was overthrown by former Communists in a coup backed by Russia and Iran (which viewed the new country as a compelling threat, with territorial ambitions within Iranian borders and also being a strong economic rival)[citation needed]. Mutallibov rose to power, but he was soon destabilized and eventually ousted due to popular frustration with his perceived incompetence, corruption and improper handling of the war with Armenia. Azerbaijani KGB and Azerbaijani SSR leader Heydar Aliyev captured power and remained president until he transferred the presidency to his son in 2003. The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and has largely defined the fates of both countries. However, unlike Armenia, which remains a strong Russian ally, Azerbaijan has begun, since Russia's 2008 war with Georgia, to foster better relations with Turkey and other Western nations, while cutting ties with Russia, including its CIS membership.


Chechen women praying in Grozny, December 1994.

In Chechnya, using tactics partly copied from the Baltics, Anti-Communist coalition forces led by former Soviet general Dzhokhar Dudayev staged a largely bloodless revolution, and ended up forcing the resignation of the Communist republican president. Dudayev was elected in a landslide in the following election and in November 1991 he proclaimed Checheno-Ingushetia's independence as the Republic of Ichkeria. Ingushetia voted to leave the union with Chechnya, and was allowed to do so (thus it became the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria). Due to his desire to exclude Moscow from all oil deals, Yeltsin backed a failed coup against him in 1993. In 1994, Chechnya, with only marginal recognition (one country: Georgia, which was revoked soon after the coup landing Shevardnadze in power), was invaded by Russia, spurring the First Chechen War. The Chechens, with considerable assistance from the populations of both former-Soviet countries and from Sunni Muslim countries repelled this invasion and a peace treaty was signed in 1997. However, Chechnya became increasingly anarchic, largely due to the both political and physical destruction of the state during the invasion, and general Shamil Basaev, having evaded all control by the central government, conducted raids into neighboring Dagestan, which Russia used as pretext for reinvading Ichkeria. Ichkeria was then reincorporated into Russia as Chechnya again, though fighting continues.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

In Kazakhstan, independence struggle began with the Jeltoqsan uprising in 1986. Former Communist leader Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in power since 1991.

In Kyrgyzstan, former Communist leader Askar Akayev retained power until the Tulip Revolution in 2006.

In Tajikistan, former Communist leader Rahmon Nabiyev retained power, which led to the civil war in Tajikistan. Emomalii Rahmon has succeeded Nabiyev and has retained power since 1992.

In Turkmenistan, former Communist leader Saparmurat Niyazov retained power and has been criticized as one of the world's most totalitarian and repressive leaders, maintaining his own cult of personality.

In Uzbekistan, former Communist leader Islam Karimov retained power and has been criticized for repressing the political opposition ever since.

Post-Soviet conflicts

Moscow was involved in a number of conflicts, including the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the War of Transnistria, the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War, the First Chechen War, the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993), the Ossetian–Ingush conflict, and the Crimea conflict in Ukraine.

Other events

Communist and Socialist countries

Reforms in the Soviet Union also saw dramatic changes to Communist and Socialist states outside of Europe.

Other countries

Many Soviet-supported political parties and militant groups around the world suffered from demoralization and loss of financing.

Concurrently, many anti-Communist authoritarian states, formerly supported by the US, gradually saw a transition to democracy.

  • Chile - The military junta under Augusto Pinochet was pressured to implement democratic elections, which saw Chile's democratization in 1990.
  • El Salvador - The Salvadoran Civil War ended in 1992 following the Chapultepec Peace Accords. The rebel FMLN movement became a legal political party and participated in subsequent elections.
  • Israel - Israel accepted the Oslo Accords in 1993, a peace accord with Palestine, and have to accept the Palestinian state. This resulted that President Yitzhak Rabin was killed by a jewish fundamentalist in 1995.
  • Panama - The Manuel Noriega regime was overthrown by the US invasion in 1989 as a result of his suppression of elections, drug-trafficking activities and the killing of a US serviceman.
  • South Korea - The June Democracy Movement's protests led to the fall of the Chun Doo-hwan government in 1987, and the country's first democratic elections.
  • South Africa - Negotiations were started in 1990 to end the Apartheid system. Nelson Mandela was elected as the President of South Africa in 1994.
  • United States - Following the end of the Cold War, the United States became the world's main superpower, growing even more in world influence as a result. The United States ceased to support many of the Right-wing military regimes it had during the Cold War, pressing for more nations to adopt democratic policies. However, some of the groups the United States had previously supported, such as certain factions of the Mujahideen in the Soviet-Afghan War, became radicalized and broke their pro-US stances, which would culminate in the 9-11 attacks and the US invasion of Afghanistan.

Political reforms

Decommunization is a process of overcoming the legacies of the Communist state establishments, culture, and psychology in the post-Communist states. It is similar to denazification.

Decommunization was largely limited or non-existent. Communist parties were not outlawed and their members were not brought to trial. Just a few places even attempted to exclude members of communist secret services from decision-making. In a number of countries the Communist party simply changed its name and continued to function.[28]

In several European countries, however, endorsing or attempting to justify crimes committed by Nazi or Communist regimes will be punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment.[29]

Economic reforms

Enterprises in Socialist countries had little or no interest in producing what customers wanted because of prevailing shortages of goods and services.[30] In the early 1990s, a popular refrain stated that "there is no precedent for moving from Socialism to capitalism."[31] Only the over 60 year old people remembered how a market economy worked. It was not hard to imagine Central, South-East and Eastern Europe staying poor for decades.[32]

There was a temporary fall of output in official economy and increase in unofficial economy.[30] Countries implemented different reform programs such as the Balcerowicz Plan in Poland. Eventually the official economy began to grow.[30]

In 2004 Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner and President Lech Wałęsa described a transition from capitalism to Communism as "heating up an aquarium with fish" to get fish soup. He said that reversing Communism to capitalism was challenging, but "We can already see some little fish swimming in our aquarium."[33]

In a 2007 paper Oleh Havrylyshyn categorized the speed of reforms in the Soviet Bloc:[31]

  • Sustained Big-Bang (fastest): Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia
  • Advance Start/Steady Progress: Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia
  • Aborted Big-Bang: Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia
  • Gradual Reforms: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Romania
  • Limited Reforms (slowest): Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

It was concluded that gradual reformers suffered more social pain, not less. The countries with fastest transition to market economy performed much better on the Human Development Index.[31]

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union included Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The 2007 enlargement of the European Union included Romania and Bulgaria. The same countries have also become NATO members.

Chinese economic liberalization started since 1978 have helped lift millions of people out of poverty, bringing the poverty rate down from 53% of the population in the Mao era to 12% in 1981. Deng's economic reforms are still being followed by the CPC today and by 2001 the poverty rate became only 6% of the population.[34]

Economic liberalization in Vietnam was initiated in 1986, following Chinese example.

Economic liberalization in India was initiated in 1991.

Harvard University Professor Richard B. Freeman has called the effect of reforms "The Great Doubling". He calculated that the size of global workforce doubled from 1.46 billion workers to 2.93 billion workers.[35][36] An immediate effect was a reduced ratio of capital to labor. In the long term China, India, and the former Soviet bloc will save and invest and contribute to the expansion of the world capital stock.[36]

China's rapid growth has led some people to predict a "Chinese Century".[37][38][39]

Perpetuation of communist security services

Massive amounts of public funds were transferred overseas by KGB officials. Documents about the operation show that the stated goal was to ensure the financial well-being of party leaders after they lost power.[40] One estimate is that about US$50 billion was transferred through FIMACO.[41][42][40] KGB officer Sergei Tretyakov stated that KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov sent US$50 billion worth of funds of the Communist Party to an unknown location in the lead up to the collapse of the USSR.[43]

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the KGB became involved with organized crime and the Russian mob became a long arm of the KGB.[44] The KGB often recruited and trained criminals, a task which was previously done by the Interior Ministry (MVD). KGB agents joined international and domestic racketeering gangs, sometimes leading them.[44] KGB officers were staffing the tax police and customs services.[45] After 1986, and especially after 1991, many KGB members were moved from its bloated First and Third Directorates to its Economic Department. They were instructed to dabble in business and banking, sometimes in joint ventures with foreigners.They began to collaborate with the Russian mafia and there are estimates that the KGB-crime cartel controlled 40% of Russian GDP as early as 1994, having absconded with approximately 100 billion U.S. dollars of state assets.[44]

Today power in Russia is largely held by Vladimir Putin and his siloviks, a term for members of security services.[46][47][48] The KGB provided a crucial service of surveillance and suppression. Its post-Soviet development has characterized as "the state within a state" becoming "the state itself".[45] Vladimir Putin has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".[49]

Ideological continuation of communism

Five double-headed Russian coat-of-arms eagles (below) substituting the former state emblem of the Soviet Union and the “CCCP” letters (above) in the facade of the Grand Kremlin Palace after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Compared with the efforts of the other former constituents of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union, decommunization in Russia has been restricted to half-measures, if conducted at all.[50] As of 2008, nearly half of Russians view Stalin positively, and many support restoration of his monuments dismantled in the past.[51][52] Neo-Stalinist material such as describing Stalin's mass murder campaigns as "entirely rational" has been pushed into Russian textbooks.[53]

In 1992, President Yeltsin's government invited Vladimir Bukovsky to serve as an expert to testify at the CPSU trial by Constitutional Court of Russia, where the Communists were suing Yeltsin for banning their party. The respondent's case was that the CPSU itself had been an unconstitutional organization. To prepare for his testimony, Bukovsky requested and was granted access to a large number of documents from Soviet archives (then reorganized into TsKhSD). Using a small handheld scanner and a laptop computer, he managed to secretly scan many documents (some with high security clearance), including KGB reports to the Central Committee, and smuggle the files to the West.[54] The event that many expected would be another Nuremberg Trial and the beginnings of reconciliation with the Communist past, ended up in half-measures: while the CPSU was found unconstitutional, the Communists were allowed to form new parties in the future. Bukovsky expressed his deep disappointment with this in his writings and interviews: "Having failed to finish off conclusively the Communist system, we are now in danger of integrating the resulting monster into our world. It may not be called Communism anymore, but it retained many of its dangerous characteristics... Until the Nuremberg-style tribunal passes its judgment on all the crimes committed by Communism, it is not dead and the war is not over."[55]


The events caught many by surprise. Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise had been often dismissed.[56]

Bartlomiej Kaminski's book The Collapse Of State Socialism argued that the state Socialist system has a lethal paradox: "policy actions designed to improve performance only accelerate its decay".[57]

By the end of 1989, revolts had spread from one capital to another, ousting the regimes imposed on Central, South-East and Eastern Europe after World War II. Even the isolationist Stalinist regime in Albania was unable to stem the tide. Gorbachev's abrogation of the Brezhnev Doctrine was perhaps the key factor that enabled the popular uprisings to succeed. Once it became evident that the feared Red Army would not intervene to crush dissent, the Central, South-East and Eastern European regimes were exposed as vulnerable in the face of popular uprisings against the one-party system and power of secret police.

Coit D. Blacker wrote in 1990 that the Soviet leadership "appeared to have believed that whatever loss of authority the Soviet Union might suffer in Central and South-East Europe would be more than offset by a net increase in its influence in western Europe."[58] Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Gorbachev ever intended for the complete dismantling of Communism and the Warsaw Pact. Rather, Gorbachev assumed that the Communist parties of Central and South-East Europe could be reformed in a similar way to the reforms he hoped to achieve in the CPSU. Just as perestroika was aimed at making the Soviet Union more efficient economically and politically, Gorbachev believed that the Comecon and Warsaw Pact could be reformed into more effective entities. However, Alexander Yakovlev, a close advisor to Gorbachev, would later state that it would have been "absurd to keep the system" in Central and South-East Europe. Yakovlev had come to the conclusion that the Soviet-dominated Comecon could not work on non-market principles and that the Warsaw Pact had "no relevance to real life."[19]





Photos of genocide victims in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.
Photos of the victims of Tbilisi Massacre in Georgia.


  • The Soviet Story – An award-winning documentary film about the Soviet Union.
  • The Singing Revolution – A documentary film about the Singing Revolution.
  • Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism – A book and a documentary film based on the book
  • Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire – A Pulitzer Prize-awarded book
  • Right Here, Right Now (Jesus Jones song) – An international hit written by Mike Edwards and performed by his rock band Jesus Jones, released in September 1990

See also


This article incorporates information from the revision as of 1 April 2006 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.
  1. ^ See various uses of this term in the following publications. The term is a play on a more widely used term for 1848 revolutions, the Spring of Nations. Also Polish term Jesień Ludów or Jesień Narodów in in Polish language publications.
  2. ^ Sorin Antohi and Vladimir Tismăneanu, "Independence Reborn and the Demons of the Velvet Revolution" in Between Past and Future: The Revolutions of 1989 and Their Aftermath, Central European University Press. ISBN 963-9116-71-8. p.85.
  3. ^ Boyes, Roger (4 June 2009). "World Agenda: 20 years later, Poland can lead eastern Europe once again". The Times (UK). Retrieved 4 June 2009. 
  4. ^ Adam Roberts, Civil Resistance in the East European and Soviet Revolutions, Albert Einstein Institution, 1991. ISBN 1-880813-04-1. Available as pdf from:
  5. ^ Piotr Sztompka, preface to Society in Action: the Theory of Social Becoming, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-78815-6. p. x.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Page 4, Black Book of Communism ISBN 0674076087
  8. ^ Short, Philip (2001). Mao: A Life. Owl Books. p. 631. ISBN 0805066381. ; Chang, Jung and Halliday, Jon. Mao: The Unknown Story. Jonathan Cape, London, 2005. ISBN 0-224-07126-2 p. 3; Rummel, R. J. China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 Transaction Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0-88738-417-X p. 205: In light of recent evidence, Rummel has increased Mao's democide toll to 77 million.
  9. ^ Fenby, Jonathan. Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power, 1850 to the Present. Ecco, 2008. ISBN 0-06-166116-3 p. 351"Mao’s responsibility for the extinction of anywhere from 40 to 70 million lives brands him as a mass killer greater than Hitler or Stalin, his indifference to the suffering and the loss of humans breathtaking."
  10. ^ a b O'Neil 1997, p. 1
  11. ^ The Legacy of Communism: Poisoned Minds and Souls. Elisabeth Tamedly Lenches. International Journal of Social Economics. 1993
  12. ^ Frucht 2003, p. 382
  13. ^ Hardt & Kaufman 1995, p. 10
  14. ^ In search of Poland By Arthur R. Rachwald, page 120
  15. ^ Gaddis 2005, p. 189
  16. ^ Gaddis 2005, p. 197
  17. ^ No Peter the Great. Vladimir Putin is in the Andropov mold, by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review, 20 September 2004
  18. ^ Romania – Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, U.S. Library of Congress
  19. ^ a b Steele, Jonathan. Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev and the Mirage of Democracy. Boston: Faber, 1994.
  20. ^ Poland:Major Political Reform Agreed, Facts on File World News Digest, 24 March 1989. Facts on File News Services. 6 September 2007
  21. ^ Rosalind M. O. Pritchard. Reconstructing education: East German schools and universities after unification. p. 10. 
  22. ^ Mary Fulbrook. History of Germany, 1918–2000: the divided nation. p. 256. 
  23. ^ "15 Jahre danach – „Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben“". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt). 3 October 2004. 
  24. ^ *Thomson, Clare (1992). The Singing Revolution: A Political Journey through the Baltic States. London: Joseph. ISBN 0718134591. 
  25. ^ Ginkel, John (September 2002). "Identity Construction in Latvia's "Singing Revolution": Why inter-ethnic conflict failed to occur". Nationalities Papers 30 (3): 403–433. doi:10.1080/0090599022000011697. 
  26. ^ Between Utopia and Disillusionment By Henri Vogt; p 26 ISBN 1-57181-895-2
  27. ^ Schmeidel, John. "My Enemy's Enemy: Twenty Years of Co-operation between West Germany's Red Army Faction and the GDR Ministry for State Security." Intelligence and National Security 8, no. 4 (Oct. 1993): 59–72.
  28. ^ After Socialism: where hope for individual liberty lies. Svetozar Pejovich.
  29. ^ Is Holocaust denial against the law? Anne Frank House
  30. ^ a b c Anders Aslund (1 December 2000). "The Myth of Output Collapse after Communism". 
  31. ^ a b c Oleh Havrylyshyn (9 November 2007). "Fifteen Years of Transformation in the Post-Communist World". 
  32. ^ "The world after 1989: Walls in the mind". The Economist. 5 November 2009. 
  33. ^ Nobel Peace Prize winner predicts optimism for the future under "the banner of Our Lady"
  34. ^ Fighting Poverty: Findings and Lessons from China’s Success (World Bank). Retrieved 10 August 2006.
  35. ^ The Great Doubling: The Challenge of the New Global Labor Market
  36. ^ a b Richard Freeman (2008). "The new global labor market". University of Wisconsin–Madison Institute for Research on Poverty. 
  37. ^ "China set to be largest economy". BBC News. 22 May 2006. 
  38. ^ Elliott, Michael (22 January 2007). "The Chinese Century". TIME Magazine.,9171,1576831,00.html. 
  39. ^ Fishman, Ted C. (4 July 2004). "The Chinese Century". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2009. [dead link]
  40. ^ a b "Follow The Money – The Latest Kremlin Scandal Involves Billions Of Dollars Moving Offshore—Plus Sex And Videotape". Newsweek. 29 March 1999. 
  41. ^ Russian Money Laundering: Congressional Hearing. James A. Leach. p. 816
  42. ^ Marshall I. Goldman: The piratization of Russia: Russian reform goes awry
  43. ^ Wise, David (27 January 2008). "Spy vs. Spy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  44. ^ a b c Russian Roulette – Russia's Economy In Putin's Era (2003). Sam Vaknin. ISBN 9989-929-31-9
  45. ^ a b "The making of a neo-KGB state". The Economist (The Economist Newspaper Limited). 25 August 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007. 
  46. ^ Mission "intrusion" is complete! by Olga Kryshtanovskaya, 2004, Novaya Gazeta (in Russian)
  47. ^ From Communism to Putinism, by Richard W. Rahn, The Brussels Journal, 19 September 2007.
  48. ^ Russia: Putin May Go, But Can 'Putinism' Survive?, By Brian Whitmore, RFE/RL, 29 August 2007
  49. ^ Putin deplores collapse of USSR BBC
  50. ^ Karl W. Ryavec. Russian Bureaucracy: Power and Pathology, 2003, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 0-847-69503-4, page 13
  51. ^ “The Glamorous Tyrant: The Cult of Stalin Experiences a Rebirth,” by Mikhail Pozdnyaev, Novye Izvestia
  52. ^
  53. ^ Stalin's mass murders were 'entirely rational' says new Russian textbook praising tyrant. The Daily Mail. 23 April 2010
  54. ^ Many of these scanned documents are available as the "Soviet Archives" (INFO-RUSS)
  55. ^ The Cold War and the War Against Terror By Jamie Glazov (FrontPageMagazine) 1 July 2002
  56. ^ Cummins, Ian (23 December 1995). "The Great MeltDown". The Australian. 
  57. ^ The Collapse of State Socialism Foreign Affairs
  58. ^ Coit D. Blacker. "The Collapse of Soviet Power in Europe." Foreign Affairs. 1990.
  59. ^ Memorial website

Further reading

External links

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