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Revolutions of 1989

Revolutions of 1989

Overview
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) were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.

The events began in Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

 in 1989, and continued in Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 and Romania
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

.
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Encyclopedia
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) were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.

The events began in Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

 in 1989, and continued in Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 and Romania
Communist Romania
Communist Romania was the period in Romanian history when that country was a Soviet-aligned communist state in the Eastern Bloc, with the dominant role of Romanian Communist Party enshrined in its successive constitutions...

. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance
Civil resistance
The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

 demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change. Romania was the only Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 country to overthrow its Communist regime violently. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

 failed to stimulate major political changes in China. However, powerful images
Tank Man
Tank Man, or the Unknown Rebel, is the nickname of an anonymous man who stood in front of a column of Chinese Type 59 tanks the morning after the Chinese military forcibly removed protestors from in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. The man achieved widespread international...

 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
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

, which served as the symbolic gateway to German reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

 in 1990.

The Soviet Union was dissolved
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 by the end of 1991, resulting in Russia and 14 nations declaring their independence from the Soviet Union: Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

, Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

. Communism was abandoned in Albania and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 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). The impact was felt in dozens of Socialist countries. Communism was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia
Democratic Kampuchea
The Khmer Rouge period refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist party over Cambodia, which the Khmer Rouge renamed as Democratic Kampuchea....

, Ethiopia
People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
The People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was the official name of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991, as established by the Communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Workers' Party of Ethiopia...

, and Mongolia
1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
The 1990 Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia was a democratic revolution that started with hunger strikes to overthrow the Mongolian People's Republic and eventually moved towards the democratic present day Mongolia and the writing of the new constitution. It was spearheaded by mostly...

 and South Yemen. The collapse of Communism led commentators to declare the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

The adoption of varying forms of market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

 generally resulted at first in decreasing living standards in post-Communist States
Post-Communism
Post-communism is a name sometimes given to the period of political and economic transformation or "transition" in former Communist states located in parts of Europe and Asia, in which new governments aimed to create free market-oriented capitalist economies with some form of parliamentary...

, together with side effects including the rise of business oligarch
Business oligarch
Business oligarch is a near-synonym of the term "business magnate", borrowed by the English speaking and western media from post-Soviet parlance to describe the huge, fast-acquired wealth of some businessmen of the former Soviet republics during the privatization in Russia and other post-Soviet...

s in countries such as Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and disproportional social and economic development. Political reforms were varied but in only five countries were Communist institutions able to keep for themselves a monopoly on power, the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, and Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. Many Communist and Socialist organisations in the West
West
West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

 turned their guiding principles over to social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

. The European political landscape
Politics of Europe
The politics of Europe deals with the continually evolving politics within the continent. It is a topic far more detailed than other continents due to a number of factors including the long history of nation states in the region as well as the modern day trend towards increased political unity...

 was drastically changed, with numerous Eastern Bloc countries joining NATO and stronger European economic and social integration
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 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
Aristocracy (class)
The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society which has or once had a political system of Aristocracy. Aristocrats possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch, which once granted them feudal or legal privileges, or deriving, as in Ancient Greece and India,...

 social structures with an established nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

. 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
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

, 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
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, 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
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

, have continuing tensions with the capitalist west symbolized by NATO. Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 established the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and his Communist regime in 1949.
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
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia
On the night of 20–21 August 1968, the Soviet Union and her main satellite states in the Warsaw Pact – Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic , Hungary and Poland – invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic in order to halt Alexander Dubček's Prague Spring political liberalization...

.

Life under communist regimes




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

In the People's Republic of China, the Great Leap Forward
Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

 in the 1950s, the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 in the 1960s, the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries in the 1950s, and land reform, brought about the deaths of tens of millions of people.

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. The dissemination and portrayal of information were considered by authorities to be vital to Communism's survival by stifling alternative concepts and critiques. 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
Radio jamming
Radio jamming is the transmission of radio signals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal to noise ratio. Unintentional jamming occurs when an operator transmits on a busy frequency without first checking whether it is in use, or without being able to hear stations using the frequency...

 the air waves. Samizdat
Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

 (reproducing censored publications
Censorship in the Soviet Union
Censorship in the Soviet Union was pervasive and strictly enforced.Censorship was performed in two main directions:*State secrets were handled by Main Administration for Safeguarding State Secrets in the Press was in charge of censoring all publications and broadcasting for state...

 by hand and passing them from reader to reader) was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet-bloc.

Indoctrination under Communist regimes
Eastern Bloc information dissemination
Eastern Bloc information dissemination was controlled directly by each country's Communist party, which controlled the state media, censorship and propaganda organs...

 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.

Environmental degradation was heavy in Socialist countries. The air pollution, groundwater contamination, Trabant
Trabant
The Trabant is a car that was produced by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau in Zwickau, Sachsen. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the communist bloc...

, and the Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine , which was under the direct jurisdiction of the central authorities in Moscow...

 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. The systems, which required party-state planning
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 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.

In Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, 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.

Emergence of Solidarity


Labour turmoil in Poland during 1980 had led to the formation of the independent trade union, Solidarity, led by Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

, which over time became a political force. On 13 December 1981, Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski is a retired Polish military officer and Communist politician. He was the last Communist leader of Poland from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's...

 started a crack-down on Solidarity, declaring martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it. Thousands of opposition...

, suspending the union, and temporarily imprisoning all of its leaders.

Changes in Beijing


New Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 developed the concept of Socialism with Chinese characteristics
Socialist market economy
The socialist market economy or socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics is the official term used to refer to the economic system of the People's Republic of China after the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. It is also referred to as socialism with Chinese characteristics...

.

Growing KGB role in Moscow


Meanwhile in the Soviet Union, the KGB chief Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 successfully joined the Party Secretariat in May 1982 and became General Secretary. According to former Securitate
Securitate
The Securitate was the secret police agency of Communist Romania. Previously, the Romanian secret police was called Siguranţa Statului. Founded on August 30, 1948, with help from the Soviet NKVD, the Securitate was abolished in December 1989, shortly after President Nicolae Ceaușescu was...

 general Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the former Eastern Bloc. He is now a United States citizen, a writer, and a columnist....

,
"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."

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
Prague Spring
The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

 of 1968), the advent of reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 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
Brezhnev stagnation
The Era of Stagnation, also known as Brezhnev stagnation or the Stagnation Period, refers to a period of economic stagnation under the rules of Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko in the history of the Soviet Union which started in the mid-1970s.-Terminology:Various authors...

. 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
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

, 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
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

(openness) in the Soviet Union, and emphasized the need for perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

(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
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 were still threatened by secret police
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

 and political repression.

Moscow's largest obstacle to improved political and economic relations with the Western powers remained the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

 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
Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker was a German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic as General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1971 until 1989, serving as Head of State as well from Willi Stoph's relinquishment of that post in 1976....

, Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov
Todor Zhivkov
Todor Khristov Zhivkov was a communist politician and leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989....

, Czechoslovakia's Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

, and Romania’s Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 obstinately ignored the calls for change. "When your neighbor puts up new wallpaper, it doesn't mean you have to too," declared one East German politburo member.

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
1988 Polish strikes
The 1988 Polish strikes were a massive wave of workers' strikes which broke out in 1988 in the People’s Republic of Poland. The strikes, as well as street demonstrations, continued throughout spring and summer, ending in early September 1988. These actions shook the Communist regime of the country...

 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
Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of the Sejm ....

 would become the lower house. The Senate would be elected by the people. Traditionally a ceremonial office, the presidency was given more powers (Polish Round Table Agreement
Polish Round Table Agreement
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.-History:...

).

By 1989, the Soviet Union had repealed the Brezhnev Doctrine
Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet Union foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article, entitled “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.” Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the...

 in favor of non-intervention in the internal affairs of its Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 allies, termed the Sinatra Doctrine
Sinatra Doctrine
"Sinatra Doctrine" was the name that the Soviet government of Mikhail Gorbachev used jokingly to describe its policy of allowing neighboring Warsaw Pact nations to determine their own internal affairs...

 in a joking reference to the Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

 song "My Way
My Way (song)
"My Way" is a song popularized by Frank Sinatra. Its lyrics were written by Paul Anka and set to music based on the French song "Comme d'habitude" composed in 1967 by Claude François and Jacques Revaux, with lyrics by Claude François and Gilles Thibault. Anka's English lyrics are unrelated to the...

". 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
Hu Yaobang
Hu Yaobang was a leader of the People's Republic of China who served as both Chairman and Party General Secretary. Hu joined the Chinese Communist Party in the 1930s, and rose to prominence as a comrade of Deng Xiaoping...

, 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 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
Zhao Ziyang
Zhao Ziyang was a high-ranking politician in the People's Republic of China . He was the third Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1987 to 1989....

, 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
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

.

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


On 7 July 1989 President Mikhail Gorbachev implicity renounced the use of force against other Soviet-bloc nations. Speaking to members of the 23-nation Council of Europe, Mr. Gorbachev made no direct reference to the so-called Brezhnev doctrine, under which Moscow has asserted the right to use force to prevent a Warsaw Pact member from leaving the Communist fold, but stated 'Any interference in domestic affairs and any attempts to restrict the sovereignty of states - friends, allies or any others - are inadmissible'.


Poland


A wave of strikes
1988 Polish strikes
The 1988 Polish strikes were a massive wave of workers' strikes which broke out in 1988 in the People’s Republic of Poland. The strikes, as well as street demonstrations, continued throughout spring and summer, ending in early September 1988. These actions shook the Communist regime of the country...

 hit Poland in April and May 1988, and a second wave began on 15 August 1988 when a strike broke out at the July Manifesto coal mine in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, the workers demanding the re-legalisation of Solidarity. Over the next few days sixteen other mines went on strike followed by a number of shipyards, including on 22 August the Gdansk Shipyard
Gdansk Shipyard
Gdańsk Shipyard is a large Polish shipyard, located in the city of Gdańsk. The yard gained international fame when Solidarity was founded there in September 1980...

 famous as the epicentre of the 1980 industrial unrest
History of Solidarity
The history of Solidarity , a Polish non-governmental trade union, begins in August 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country...

 that spawned Solidarity . On 31 August 1988 Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, was invited to Warsaw by the Communist authorities who had finally agreed to talks. On 18 January 1989 at a stormy session of the Tenth Plenary Session of the ruling Communist Party
Polish United Workers' Party
The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the People's Republic of Poland from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism.- The Party's Program and Goals :...

, General Jaruzelski managed to get party backing for formal negotiations with Solidarity leading to its future legalisation - although this was achieved only by threatening the resignation of the entire Communist Party
Polish United Workers' Party
The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the People's Republic of Poland from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism.- The Party's Program and Goals :...

 leadership if thwarted. On 6 February 1989 formal Round Table discussions began in the Hall of Columns in Warsaw. On 4 April 1989 the historic Round Table Agreement
Polish Round Table Agreement
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.-History:...

 was signed legalising Solidarity and setting up partly free parliamentary elections
Polish legislative election, 1989
The Polish legislative election of 1989 was the tenth election to the Sejm, the parliament of the People's Republic of Poland, and eleventh in Communist Poland...

 to be held 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
Sejm
The Sejm is the lower house of the Polish parliament. The Sejm is made up of 460 deputies, or Poseł in Polish . It is elected by universal ballot and is presided over by a speaker called the Marshal of 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.

On 15 August 1989 following the defection to Solidarity of the Communists' two longtime coalition partners, the United People`s Party
United People's Party (Poland)
The United People's Party was an agrarian political party in the People's Republic of Poland. It was formed on 27 November 1949 from the merger of the communist Stronnictwo Ludowe party with remnants of the independent People's Party of Stanisław Mikołajczyk .ZSL became - as intended from its very...

 (ZSL) and the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (Poland)
The Democratic Party is a Polish centrist party. The party faced a revival in 2009, when it was joined by liberal politician Paweł Piskorski, formerly member of Civic Platform.-History:The party was established on April 15, 1939...

 (SD), the last Communist Prime Minister of Poland General Czeslaw Kiszczak
Czeslaw Kiszczak
Czesław Kiszczak , was a Polish communist-era soldier and Communist politician. A member of the PPR and later the PZPR, during the years of the Polish People's Republic he served as a high ranking officer of the Polish Army, a chief of secret services and Minister of Internal Affairs between 1981...

 said he would resign to allow a non-Communist to form an administration. This virtually assured that a Solidarity member would become prime minister. On 19 August 1989 in a stunning watershed moment Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki is a Polish author, journalist, philanthropist and Christian-democratic politician, formerly one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement, and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.-Biography:Mazowiecki comes from a Polish...

, an anti-Communist editor, was nominated as Prime Minister of Poland - and the Soviet Union voiced no protest, despite calls from the hard line Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 for the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 to intervene militarily to 'save socialism' as it had in Prague in 1968. On 24 August 1989 Poland's Parliament ended more than 40 years of one-party rule by electing Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki
Tadeusz Mazowiecki is a Polish author, journalist, philanthropist and Christian-democratic politician, formerly one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement, and the first non-communist prime minister in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.-Biography:Mazowiecki comes from a Polish...

, a devout Catholic and Solidarity supporter, to be the country's first non-Communist Prime Minister since the early postwar years. In a tense Parliament, the Solidarity candidate, Mr. Mazowiecki, got 378 votes, with 4 against and 41 abstentions. On 13 September 1989 a new non-Communist government was approved by parliament, the first of its kind in the former Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

.

Hungary


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
János Kádár
János Kádár was a Hungarian communist leader and the General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, presiding over the country from 1956 until his forced retirement in 1988. His thirty-two year term as General Secretary makes Kádár the longest ruler of the People's Republic of Hungary...

 as General Secretary of the Communist Party on 23 May 1988 with Karoly Grosz
Károly Grósz
Károly Grósz was a Hungarian communist politician.Grósz was born in Miskolc, Hungary. He joined the Communist Party in 1945 at the age of 14. Soon the Communists had established a regime in Hungary, and Grósz rose through the party ranks, becoming an important party leader in his native region...

. On 12 January 1989, the Parliament adopted a "democracy package", which included trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the constitution, among others . On 29 January 1989, contradicting the official view of history held for more than 30 years, a member of the ruling Politburo Imre Pozsgay
Imre Pozsgay
Imre Pozsgay is a Hungarian, ex-Communist, politician who played a key role in Hungary's transition to democracy after 1988. He is currently an advisor to prime minister Viktor Orbán....

 declared that Hungary's 1956 rebellion was a popular uprising rather than a foreign-instigated attempt at counterrevolution . On 2 May 1989, the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

 appeared when Hungary
People's Republic of Hungary
The People's Republic of Hungary or Hungarian People's Republic was the official state name of Hungary from 1949 to 1989 during its Communist period under the guidance of the Soviet Union. The state remained in existence until 1989 when opposition forces consolidated in forcing the regime to...

 began dismantling its 150 mile long border fence with Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.. This increasingly destablized the GDR and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 over the summer and autumn as their citizens fled form their brutally repressive regimes through Hungary to freedom in the West. On 1 June 1989 the Communist Party admitted that former Prime Minister Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

, hanged for treason for his role in the 1956 Hungarian uprising, was executed illegally after a show trial . On 16 June 1989 Nagy was given a solemn funeral on Budapest's largest square in front of crowds of at least 100,000, followed by a hero's burial.

On 7 October 1989, the Communist Party at its last congress re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party
Hungarian Socialist Party
The Hungarian Socialist Party describes itself as a social democratic party in Hungary. It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party , which ruled Hungary between 1956 and 1989. The decision to declare the party a successor of the MSZMP was controversial, and...

. 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
People's Republic
People's Republic is a title that has often been used by Marxist-Leninist governments to describe their state. The motivation for using this term lies in the claim that Marxist-Leninists govern in accordance with the interests of the vast majority of the people, and, as such, a Marxist-Leninist...

 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


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
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

) 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. On 4 September 1989 in Leipzig the first of what became the regular weekly Monday demonstrations
Monday demonstrations in East Germany
The Monday demonstrations in East Germany in 1989 and 1990 were a series of peaceful political protests against the authoritarian communist government of the German Democratic Republic that took place every Monday evening.- Overview :...

 began eventually involving hundreds of thousands of people in several cities over the next two months.

After the 2 October demonstration, Socialist Unity Party
Socialist Unity Party of Germany
The Socialist Unity Party of Germany was the governing party of the German Democratic Republic from its formation on 7 October 1949 until the elections of March 1990. The SED was a communist political party with a Marxist-Leninist ideology...

 (SED) leader Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker was a German communist politician who led the German Democratic Republic as General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1971 until 1989, serving as Head of State as well from Willi Stoph's relinquishment of that post in 1976....

 issued a shoot and kill order to the military. Communists prepared a huge police, militia, Stasi, and work-combat troop presence and there were rumors of a Tiananmen Square-style massacre.

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'). 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 on 18 October 1989, and replaced him with Egon Krenz
Egon Krenz
Egon Krenz is a former politician from East Germany , and that country's last Communist leader...

. Also, the border to Czechoslovakia was opened again, but the Czechoslovak authorities soon let all East Germgans 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
Günter Schabowski
Günter Schabowski is a former official of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany , the ruling party during most of the existence of the German Democratic Republic...

 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
Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

 and along the border with West Germany. On 13 November Hans Modrow
Hans Modrow
Hans Modrow is a German politician, best known as the last communist premier of East Germany. He currently is the honorary Chairman of the Left Party....

 became premier and following the resignation of Krenz as General Secretay of the SED on 3 December Modrow became the effective leader of the GDR. On 6 December 1989 Krenz was replaced as head of state by non-communist Manfred Gerlach
Manfred Gerlach
Manfred Gerlach was a German jurist and politician . He served as the acting Chairman of the Council of State and was thus head of state of East Germany from 6 December 1989 to 5 April 1990.-Early life:...

 and the SED lost all power. On 16 December 1989 the SED changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism
Party of Democratic Socialism
Party of Democratic Socialism may refer to:* Party of Democratic Socialism * Party of Democratic Socialism * Party of Democratic Socialism...

. This led to the acceleration of the process of reforms in East Germany that ended with the eventual reunification
German reunification
German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

 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.

Czechoslovakia



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 1989 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
Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia...

 appointed the first largely non-Communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubcek
Alexander Dubček , also known as Dikita, was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia , famous for his attempt to reform the communist regime during the Prague Spring...

 was elected speaker of the federal parliament on 28 December and Václav Havel
Václav Havel
Václav Havel is a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic . He has written over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally...

 the President of Czechoslovakia on 29 December 1989.

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

Bulgaria


In October and November 1989 demonstrations on ecological issues were staged in Sofia, where demands for political reform were also voiced. The demonstration were suppressed, but on 10 November 1989 – the day after the Berlin Wall was breached – Bulgaria's long-serving leader Todor Zhivkov
Todor Zhivkov
Todor Khristov Zhivkov was a communist politician and leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989....

 was ousted by his Politburo. He was succeeded by a considerably more liberal Communist, former foreign minister Petar Mladenov
Petar Mladenov
Petar Toshev Mladenov was a Bulgarian communist diplomat and politician. He was the last Communist leader of Bulgaria from 1989 to 1990, and briefly the first President of democratic Bulgaria in 1990.-Early life and career:...

. Moscow apparently approved the leadership change, despite Zhivkov's reputation as a slavish Soviet ally. The new regime permitted the formation of non-communist parties and the right to gather freely, which led to the first mass demonstration on November 17th. Newly formed anti-communist movements united as the Union of Democratic Forces on December 7th. The UDF was not satisfied with the removal of Todor Zhivkov, and demanded additional democratic reforms, most importantly the removal of the constitutionally mandated leading position of the Communist party in Bulgaria.

This demand was granted on by Mladenov in a nationally televised address on 11 December 1989, amid escalating street protests. it was also decided that a round table on the Polish model would be held in 1990 and elections held by June 1990. The Communist party was formally stripped of its constitutional position by the parliament in February 1990. Between 3 January and 14 May 1990 during the Round table talks an agreement was reached on the transition to democracy. The Communist party renamed itself as the Bulgarian Socialist Party in April 1990. In June 1990 the first free elections since 1945 were held, won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Romania


Unlike other Eastern bloc countries, Romania had never undergone even limited de-Stalinization
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

, yet had adopted a course independent of Soviet domination since the 1960s. Nonetheless, since the death of longtime Albanian leader Enver Hoxha
Enver Hoxha
Enver Halil Hoxha was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary andthe leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania...

, Romania had been reckoned as the most rigidly Stalinist state in Europe. In November 1989, Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

, 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
Securitate
The Securitate was the secret police agency of Communist Romania. Previously, the Romanian secret police was called Siguranţa Statului. Founded on August 30, 1948, with help from the Soviet NKVD, the Securitate was abolished in December 1989, shortly after President Nicolae Ceaușescu was...

 ordered the arrest and exile of a local Hungarian Calvinist
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 minister, László Tőkés
László Tokés
László Tőkés is a Romanian politician of Hungarian ethnicity, currently serving as a Member of the European Parliament and Vice President of the European Parliament ....

, on 16 December, for sermons offending the regime. Tőkés was seized, but only after serious rioting erupted. Timişoara
Timisoara
Timișoara is the capital city of Timiș County, in western Romania. One of the largest Romanian cities, with an estimated population of 311,586 inhabitants , and considered the informal capital city of the historical region of Banat, Timișoara is the main social, economic and cultural center in the...

 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, 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
Elena Ceausescu
Elena Ceaușescu was the wife of Romania's Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, and Deputy Prime Minister of Romania.-Background:She was born Elena Petrescu into a peasant family in Petrești commune, Dâmboviţa County, in the informal region of Wallachia. Her family was supported by her father's job...

, 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.

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
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

. An interim National Salvation Front Council led by Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu served as President of Romania from 1990 until 1996, and from 2000 until 2004. From 1996 to 2000 and from 2004 until his retirement in 2008, Iliescu was a Senator for the Social Democratic Party , whose honorary president he remains....

 took over and announced elections for April 1990. The first elections were actually held on 20 May 1990.

Malta Summit


The Malta Summit
Malta Summit
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 December 2-3 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was their second meeting following a meeting that included then President Ronald...

 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
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

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 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
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

.

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:
  • Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    - 22 Mar 1989
  • Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

     - 04 Jun 1989
  • Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

     - 07 Jan 1990
  • Uzbekistan
    Uzbekistan
    Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

     - 18 Feb 1990
  • Lithuania
    Lithuania
    Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

     - 24 Feb 1990
  • Moldova
    Moldova
    Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

    - 25 Feb 1990
  • Kyrgyzstan
    Kyrgyzstan
    Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

     - 25 Feb 1990
  • Tajikistan
    Tajikistan
    Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

     - 25 Feb 1990
  • Belorus - 03 Mar 1990
  • Russia
    Russia
    Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

     - 04 Mar 1990
  • Ukraine
    Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

     - 04 Mar 1990
  • GDR - 18 Mar 1990
  • Estonia
    Estonia
    Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

     - 18 Mar 1990
  • Latvia
    Latvia
    Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

     - 18 Mar 1990
  • Hungary
    Hungary
    Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

     - 25 Mar 1990
  • Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan
    Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

     - 25 Mar 1990
  • Slovenia
    Slovenia
    Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

     - 08 Apr 1990
  • Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     - 24 Apr 1990
  • Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     - 20 May 1990
  • Armenia
    Armenia
    Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

     - 20 May 1990
  • Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

     - 08 Jun 1990
  • Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

     - 10 Jun 1990
  • Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan
    Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

     - 30 Sep 1990
  • Georgia
    Georgia (country)
    Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

     - 28 Oct 1990
  • Macedonia
    Republic of Macedonia
    Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

     - 11 Nov 1990
  • Bosnia - 18 Nov 1990
  • Serbia
    Serbia
    Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

     - 08 Dec 1990
  • Montenegro
    Montenegro
    Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

     - 09 Dec 1990
  • Albania
    Albania
    Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

     - 07 Apr 1991

Albania and Yugoslavia



In the Socialist People's Republic of Albania, Enver Hoxha
Enver Hoxha
Enver Halil Hoxha was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary andthe leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania...

, 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
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 was not a part of the Warsaw Pact but pursued its own version of "Communism"
Titoism
Titoism is a variant of Marxism–Leninism named after Josip Broz Tito, leader of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, primarily used to describe the specific socialist system built in Yugoslavia after its refusal of the 1948 Resolution of the Cominform, when the Communist Party of...

 under Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

. It was a multi-ethnic state, and the tensions between ethnicities first escalated with the so-called Croatian Spring
Croatian Spring
The Croatian Spring was a political movement from the early 1970s that called for greater rights for Croatia which was then part of Yugoslavia as well as democratic and economic reforms.-History:...

 of 1970–71, a movement for greater autonomy of Croatia
Socialist Republic of Croatia
Socialist Republic of Croatia was a sovereign constituent country of the second Yugoslavia. It came to existence during World War II, becoming a socialist state after the war, and was also renamed four times in its existence . It was the second largest republic in Yugoslavia by territory and...

, 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 Serbia
Socialist Republic of Serbia
Socialist Republic of Serbia was a socialist state that was a constituent country of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. It is a predecessor of modern day Serbia, which served as the biggest republic in the Yugoslav federation and held the largest population of all the Yugoslav...

n leader Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević
Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

 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
Socialist Republic of Slovenia
The Socialist Republic of Slovenia was a socialist state that was a constituent country of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1943 until 1990...

 witnessed a policy of gradual liberalization since 1984, not unlike the Soviet Perestroika. This provoked tensions between the League of Communists of Slovenia
League of Communists of Slovenia
The League of Communists of Slovenia was the Slovenian branch of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, the sole legal party of Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1989...

 on one side, and the central Yugoslav Party and the Federal Army
Yugoslav People's Army
The Yugoslav People's Army , also referred to as the Yugoslav National Army , was the military of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.-Origins:The origins of the JNA can...

 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
Mladina
Mladina is a Slovenian weekly left-wing current affairs magazine. It was first published in the 1920s as the youth magazine of the Slovenian Communist Party...

, 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
Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights was a civil society organization in Slovenia, which functioned during the so-called Slovenian Spring between 1988 and 1990....

 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
League of Communists of Yugoslavia
League of Communists of Yugoslavia , before 1952 the Communist Party of Yugoslavia League of Communists of Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian: Savez komunista Jugoslavije/Савез комуниста Југославије, Slovene: Zveza komunistov Jugoslavije, Macedonian: Сојуз на комунистите на Југославија, Sojuz na...

 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
Slovenian parliamentary election, 1990
Parliamentary elections were held in the Socialist Republic of Slovenia in 1990. The United List of Social Democrats emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, winning 12 of the 80 seats.-Results:...

, while the Croatian elections
Croatian parliamentary election, 1990
Parliamentary elections were held in Croatia on 22 April 1990, with a second round of voting on 6 May. The first free elections since multi-party politics were introduced, they resulted in a victory for the Croatian Democratic Union, which won 55 of the 80 seats...

 witnessed the landslide victory of the nationalists. The results were much more balanced in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, while the parliamentary
Serbian parliamentary election, 1990
Parliamentary elections in Serbia were held in 1990. The elections were called on September 29, after the adoption of the new constitution. The elections were held on December 9 and December 23....

 and presidential
Serbian presidential election, 1990
The Serbian presidential election, 1990 was held on December 9, 1990 in SR Serbia. The winner was Slobodan Milošević.-See also:* Elections in Serbia* Elections in Yugoslavia...

 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
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 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
    Serbia and Montenegro
    Serbia and Montenegro was a country in southeastern Europe, formed from two former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Serbia and Montenegro. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was established in 1992 as a federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

     (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




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
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 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. Gorbachev's reforms had failed to improve the economy, with the old Soviet command structure
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 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
Soviet coup attempt of 1991
The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt , also known as the August Putsch or August Coup , was an attempt by a group of members of the Soviet Union's government to take control of the country from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev...

 overthrowing Gorbachev in August 1991. Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

, then president of the Russian SFSR
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , commonly referred to as Soviet Russia, Bolshevik Russia, or simply Russia, was the largest, most populous and economically developed republic in the former Soviet Union....

, 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


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. The term was coined by an Estonian activist and artist, Heinz Valk
Heinz Valk
Heinz Valk is an Estonian artist, caricaturist and politician. He is credited for coining the term "Singing Revolution" and its slogan "One day, no matter what, we will win!" some of the most famous sentences from the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, to describe Estonia's...

, in an article published a week after the 10–11 June 1988 spontaneous mass night-singing demonstrations at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
Tallinn Song Festival Grounds
-History of Song Festivals:In 1869 Johann Voldemar Jannsen established the Estonian Song Festival while the nation was still a province of the Russian Empire. This festival was considered responsible for fostering an Estonian national awakening...

.

Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova


In Belarus, former Communist leader Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line...

 has retained power and has been criticized for repressing political opposition
Human rights in Belarus
Since the election of the country's first president, Aleksandr Lukashenko in July 1994, Lukashenko has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place...

 ever since.

Moldova – Participated in the War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

 between Moldova and Russian-connected forces. Communists came back to power in a 2001 election under Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Nicolaevici Voronin is a Moldovan politician. He was the third President of Moldova from 2001 until 2009 and has been the First Secretary of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova since 1994...

, but faced civil unrest
2009 Moldova civil unrest
The 2009 civil unrest in Moldova began on April 7, 2009, in major cities of Moldova before the results of the 2009 Moldovan parliamentary election were announced...

 in 2009 over accusation of rigged elections.

Ukraine – Presidencies of former Communists Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk is a Ukrainian politician, the first President of Ukraine serving from December 5, 1991 until his resignation on July 19, 1994, a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and People's Deputy of Ukraine serving in the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine faction.After a...

 and Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Danylovych Kuchma was the second President of independent Ukraine from 19 July 1994, to 23 January 2005. Kuchma took office after winning the 1994 presidential election against his rival, incumbent Leonid Kravchuk...

 were followed by the Orange Revolution
Orange Revolution
The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election which was claimed to be marred by massive corruption, voter...

 in 2004, in which Ukrainians elected Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...

(also former member of CPSU).

Georgia


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. Democracy activist Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia was a dissident, scientist and writer, who became the first democratically elected President of the Republic of Georgia in the post-Soviet era...

 served as president from 1991 to 1992. A coup d'état installed former Communist leader Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze is a former Soviet, and later, Georgian statesman from the height to the end of the Cold War. He served as President of Georgia from 1995 to 2003, and as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party , from 1972 to 1985. Shevardnadze was responsible for many top decisions on...

 until the Rose Revolution
Rose Revolution
The "Revolution of Roses" was a change of power in Georgia in November 2003, which took place after having widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections...

 in 2003.

Armenia and Azerbaijan


In Armenia, the independence struggle included violence. The Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 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). 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
Heydar Aliyev
Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev , also spelled as Heidar Aliev, Geidar Aliev, Haydar Aliyev, Geydar Aliyev was the third President of Azerbaijan for the New Azerbaijan Party from June 1993 to October 2003, when his son Ilham Aliyev succeeded him.From 1969 till 1982, Aliyev was also the leader of Soviet...

 captured power and remained president until he transferred the presidency to his son in 2003. The Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

 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.

Chechnya



In Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

, 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
First Chechen War
The First Chechen War, also known as the War in Chechnya, was a conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, fought from December 1994 to August 1996...

. 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
Jeltoqsan
The Jeltoqsan or "December" of 1986 were riots that took place in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan in response to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's dismissal of Dinmukhamed Konayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and an ethnic Kazakh, and the subsequent appointment of Gennady...

 uprising in 1986. Former Communist leader Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union...

 has been in power since 1991.

In Kyrgyzstan, former Communist leader Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev
Askar Akayevich Akayev served as the President of Kyrgyzstan from 1990 until his overthrow in the March 2005 Tulip Revolution....

 retained power until the Tulip Revolution
Tulip Revolution
The Tulip Revolution or First Kyrgyz Revolution refers to the overthrow of President Askar Akayev and his government in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan after the parliamentary elections of February 27 and of March 13, 2005...

 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
Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov; , was a Turkmen politician who served as President of Turkmenistan from 2 November 1990 until his death in 2006...

 retained power and has been criticized as one of the world's most totalitarian and repressive leaders, maintaining his own cult of personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

.

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
Nagorno-Karabakh War
The Nagorno-Karabakh War was an armed conflict that took place from February 1988 to May 1994, in the small enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan...

, the War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
The War of Transnistria was a limited conflict that broke out in November 1990 at Dubăsari between pro-Transnistria forces, including the Transnistrian Republican Guard, militia and Cossack units, and supported by elements of the Russian 14th army, and pro-Moldovan forces, including Moldovan...

, the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War, the First Chechen War
First Chechen War
The First Chechen War, also known as the War in Chechnya, was a conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, fought from December 1994 to August 1996...

, the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993)
War in Abkhazia (1992–1993)
The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was waged chiefly between Georgian government forces on one side and Abkhaz separatist forces supporting independence of Abkhazia from Georgia on the other side. Ethnic Georgians, who lived in Abkhazia fought largely on the side of Georgian government forces...

, the Ossetian–Ingush conflict, and the Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

 conflict in Ukraine.

Communist and Socialist countries



Reforms in the Soviet Union also saw dramatic changes to Communist and Socialist states outside of Europe.
  • Afghanistan
    Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
    The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

     – Soviet occupation ended and the Communist government under Mohammad Najibullah
    Mohammad Najibullah
    Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

     fell to the Mujahideen
    Mujahideen
    Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

     in 1992.
  • Angola
    People's Republic of Angola
    The People's Republic of Angola was a self-declared socialist state that was established in 1975 after it was granted independence from Portugal, akin to the situation in Mozambique. The newly-founded nation enjoyed friendly relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba, and the People's Republic of...

     – The ruling MPLA government abandoned Marxism-Leninism in 1991.
  • Benin
    People's Republic of Benin
    The People's Republic of Benin was a socialist state located in the Gulf of Guinea on the African continent, which would become present-day Benin. The People's Republic was established on November 30, 1975, shortly after the 1972 coup d'état in the Republic of Dahomey...

     – Mathieu Kérékou
    Mathieu Kérékou
    Mathieu Kérékou, was President of Benin from 1972 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2006. After seizing power in a military coup, he ruled the country for 17 years, for most of that time under an officially Marxist-Leninist ideology, before he was stripped of his powers by the National Conference of...

    's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism in 1990.
  • Burma – The 8888 Uprising
    8888 Uprising
    The 8888 Nationwide Popular Pro-Democracy Protests was a series of marches, demonstrations, protests, and riots in the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma...

     in 1988 saw the demise of the Burma Socialist Programme Party
    Burma Socialist Programme Party
    Burma Socialist Programme Party was formed by the Ne Win's military regime that seized power in 1962 and was the sole political party allowed to exist legally in Burma during the period of military rule from 1964 until its demise in the aftermath of the popular uprising of 1988.-History:The BSPP...

    , but failed to bring democracy, although Marxism was abandoned. It has since been led by a military government under the State Peace and Development Council
    State Peace and Development Council
    The State Peace and Development Council was the official name of the military regime of Burma , which seized power in 1988. On 30 March 2011, Senior General Than Shwe signed a decree to officially dissolve the Council....

    .
  • Cambodia – The Khmer Rouge
    Khmer Rouge
    The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

     and the Vietnam-supported government
    People's Republic of Kampuchea
    The People's Republic of Kampuchea , , was founded in Cambodia by the Salvation Front, a group of Cambodian leftists dissatisfied with the Khmer Rouge, after the overthrow of Democratic Kampuchea, Pol Pot's government...

     both lost power following UN-sponsored elections in 1993
    United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia
    The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia was a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992–93. It was also the first occasion on which the UN had taken over the administration of an independent state, organized and run an election , had its own radio station and jail,...

    .
  • China – The Communist Party of China
    Communist Party of China
    The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

     has implemented Chinese economic reform
    Chinese economic reform
    The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

    s since 1978. The pro-democracy protests of 1989
    Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
    The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

     were crushed by the government.
  • Cuba – The end of Soviet subsidies led to the Special Period
    Special Period
    The Special Period in Time of Peace in Cuba was an extended period of economic crisis that began in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, by extension, the Comecon. The economic depression of the Special Period was at its most severe in the early-to-mid 1990s before slightly declining...

    . A large but unsuccessful protest was held in 1994 (see August 1994 protest in Cuba).
  • Congo
    People's Republic of the Congo
    The People's Republic of the Congo was a self-declared Marxist-Leninist socialist state that was established in 1970 in the Republic of the Congo...

     – Denis Sassou Nguesso
    Denis Sassou Nguesso
    Denis Sassou Nguesso is a Congolese politician who has been the President of Congo-Brazzaville since 1997; he was previously President from 1979 to 1992. During his first period as President, he headed the single-party regime of the Congolese Labour Party for 12 years...

    's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism in 1991. The nation had elections in 1992.
  • Ethiopia
    People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
    The People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was the official name of Ethiopia from 1987 to 1991, as established by the Communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam and the Workers' Party of Ethiopia...

     – Following the withdrawal of Soviet and Cuban assistance, the Communist military junta Derg
    Derg
    The Derg or Dergue was a Communist military junta that came to power in Ethiopia following the ousting of Haile Selassie I. Derg, which means "committee" or "council" in Ge'ez, is the short name of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces, Police, and Territorial Army, a committee of...

     lost to rebel Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
    Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
    The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front is the ruling political coalition in Ethiopia. It is an alliance of four other groups: the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization , the Amhara National Democratic Movement , the South Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Front The Ethiopian People's...

     and fled in 1991.
  • Laos – Remained Communist under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party
    Lao People's Revolutionary Party
    The Lao People's Revolutionary Party is a communist political party that has governed Laos since 1975. The policy-making organs are the politburo and the central committee. A party congress, which elects members to the politburo and central committee, is held every five years...

    . Laos was forced to ask France and Japan for emergency assistance, and also to ask the World Bank
    World Bank
    The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

     and the Asian Development Bank
    Asian Development Bank
    The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

     for aid. Finally, in 1989, Kaisôn visited Beijing to confirm the restoration of friendly relations, and to secure Chinese aid.
  • India – Indian economic reforms were launched in 1991.
  • Madagascar – Socialist President Didier Ratsiraka
    Didier Ratsiraka
    Vice Admiral Didier Ratsiraka is a Malagasy politician who was President of Madagascar from 1975 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2002.-Second Republic:...

     was ousted.
  • Mali – Moussa Traoré
    Moussa Traoré
    General Moussa Traoré is a Malian soldier and politician. As a Lieutenant, he led the military ouster of President Modibo Keïta in 1968. Thereafter he served as Head of State from 1968-1979, and President of Mali from 1979 to 1991, when he was overthrown by popular protests and military coup...

     was ousted, Mali adopted a new constitution and held multi-party elections.
  • Mongolia – The 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
    1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
    The 1990 Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia was a democratic revolution that started with hunger strikes to overthrow the Mongolian People's Republic and eventually moved towards the democratic present day Mongolia and the writing of the new constitution. It was spearheaded by mostly...

     saw a gradual moved to allow free multi-party elections and the writing of the new constitution
    Constitution of Mongolia
    Constitution of Mongolia is the constitution of Mongolia.It was adopted on January 13. 1992, put into force on February 12, and amended in 1999 and 2001. The new constitution established a parliamentary democracy in Mongolia, guaranteeing freedom of religion, rights, travel, expression,...

    . The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
    Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party
    The Mongolian People's Party formerly the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party is an ex-communist political party in Mongolia. The party is abbreviated MPP in English and ' in Mongolian...

     retained its majority in the 1990 elections, but lost the 1996 elections.
  • Mozambique
    People's Republic of Mozambique
    The People's Republic of Mozambique , was a self-declared socialist state that lasted from June 25, 1975 through December 1, 1990, becoming the present day Republic of Mozambique.After gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, the People's Republic of Mozambique was established shortly...

     – The ruling FRELIMO Abandoned Marxism-Leninism in 1991 and held democratic elections in 1994.
  • Nicaragua – Daniel Ortega
    Daniel Ortega
    José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

    's Sandinista
    Sandinista National Liberation Front
    The Sandinista National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Nicaragua. Its members are called Sandinistas in both English and Spanish...

     lost the multi-party elections in 1990, and the National Opposition Union
    National Opposition Union
    National Opposition Union was a wide-range cartel of opposition parties formed to contest Nicaragua's president Daniel Ortega in 1990 election. Its candidate Violeta Chamorro eventually won the race...

     won.
  • North Korea – Kim Il-sung
    Kim Il-sung
    Kim Il-sung was a Korean communist politician who led the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from its founding in 1948 until his death in 1994. He held the posts of Prime Minister from 1948 to 1972 and President from 1972 to his death...

     died in 1994, passing power to his son Kim Jong-il
    Kim Jong-il
    Kim Jong-il, also written as Kim Jong Il, birth name Yuri Irsenovich Kim born 16 February 1941 or 16 February 1942 , is the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea...

    . Unprecedented floods and the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to the North Korean famine
    North Korean famine
    'The North Korean famine was a famine in North Korea which began in the early 1990s...

    , which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million North Koreans. All references to Marxism-Leninism were replaced by Juche
    Juche
    Juche or Chuch'e is a Korean word usually translated as "self-reliance." In the Democratic People's Republic of Korea , "Juche" refers specifically to a political thesis of Kim Il-sung, the Juche Idea, that identifies the Korean masses as the masters of the country's development...

     in 1992, thus signifying an apparent downplaying of the role of Communism in North Korea.
  • Somalia
    Somali Democratic Republic
    The Somali Democratic Republic was the name that the communist regime of former President of Somalia Major General Mohamed Siad Barre gave to Somalia after seizing power during a bloodless coup d'état in 1969...

     – Rebelling Somalians overthrew Siad Barre
    Siad Barre
    Mohamed Siad Barre was the military dictator and President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991. During his rule, he styled himself as Jaalle Siyaad ....

    's Communist military junta. Somalia has been in a constant state of civil war
    Somali Civil War
    The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. The conflict, which began in 1991, has caused destabilisation throughout the country, with the current phase of the conflict seeing the Somali government losing substantial control of the state to rebel forces...

     ever since.
  • South Yemen – Abandoned Marxism-Leninism in 1990; it reunified
    Yemenite reunification
    Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990, when the area of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen was united with the Yemen Arab Republic , forming the Republic of Yemen.-Background:...

     with the more capitalist North Yemen
    Yemen Arab Republic
    The Yemen Arab Republic , also known as North Yemen or Yemen , was a country from 1962 to 1990 in the western part of what is now Yemen...

     that year.
  • Syria – Syria participated in the Madrid Conference of 1991
    Madrid Conference of 1991
    The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

     and met its Cold War enemy Israel in peace negotiations.
  • Tanzania – The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi
    Chama Cha Mapinduzi
    The Chama cha Mapinduzi is the ruling political party of Tanzania.- History :The party was created February 5, 1977, under the leadership of Julius Nyerere as the merger of the Tanganyika African National Union , the then ruling party in Tanganyika, and the Afro-Shirazi Party , the then ruling...

     party cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1995.
  • Vietnam – The Communist Party of Vietnam
    Communist Party of Vietnam
    The Communist Party of Vietnam , formally established in 1930, is the governing party of the nation of Vietnam. It is today the only legal political party in that country. Describing itself as Marxist-Leninist, the CPV is the directing component of a broader group of organizations known as the...

     has undertaken Doi Moi reforms since 1986. Vietnam is still a single-party Communist state.

Other countries


Many Soviet-supported political parties and militant groups around the world suffered from demoralization and loss of financing.
  • Austria – The Communist Party of Austria
    Communist Party of Austria
    The Communist Party of Austria is a communist party based in Austria. Established in 1918, it was banned between 1933 and 1945 under both the Austrofascist regime, and German control of Austria during World War II...

     lost its East German financing and 250 million euros in assets.
  • Belgium – The Communist Party of Belgium
    Communist Party of Belgium
    Communist Party of Belgium was a political party in Belgium. The youth wing of KPB/PCB was known as the Communist Youth of Belgium. The party published Le Drapeau Rouge in French and De Roode Vaan in Dutch.- History :It was formed at a congress in Anderlecht on September 3-4 1921...

     was divided to two parties in 1989.
  • Finland – The Finnish People's Democratic League
    Finnish People's Democratic League
    Finnish People's Democratic League was a Finnish political organisation with the aim of uniting those left of the Finnish Social Democratic Party...

     was dissolved in 1990 and the bankrupt Communist Party of Finland
    Communist Party of Finland
    The Communist Party of Finland was a communist political party in Finland. The SKP was a section of Comintern and illegal in Finland until 1944.SKP did not participate in any elections with its own name. Instead, front organisations were used...

     collapsed in 1992, and absorbed to the Left Alliance
    Left Alliance (Finland)
    The Left Alliance is a left-wing political party in Finland. It was founded on the basis of the Finnish People's Democratic League and the Communist Party of Finland in 1990....

    .
  • France – The collapse of the Eastern Bloc came as a shock to the French Communist Party
    French Communist Party
    The French Communist Party is a political party in France which advocates the principles of communism.Although its electoral support has declined in recent decades, the PCF retains a large membership, behind only that of the Union for a Popular Movement , and considerable influence in French...

    . The crisis is called la mutation.
  • West Germany – The Red Army Faction
    Red Army Faction
    The radicalized were, like many in the New Left, influenced by:* Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S...

     lost its long-term supporter, the Stasi
    Stasi
    The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi (abbreviation , literally State Security), was the official state security service of East Germany. The MfS was headquartered...

    , after the Berlin Wall fell.
  • Greece – The Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece
    Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece
    The Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece , better known by its acronym OKMLE, was a minor Greek communist organisation which was established in January 1982....

     was dissolved in 1993 and merged into the Movement for a United Communist Party of Greece
    Movement for a United Communist Party of Greece
    The Movement for a United Communist Party of Greece , was a minor Greek political organisation.The movement was established in 1993 as the union of the pro-Albanian Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece and exiled Greek communists from the former Soviet Union and other ex-socialist...

    .
  • Ireland – The Communist Party of Ireland
    Communist Party of Ireland
    The Communist Party of Ireland is a small all-Ireland Marxist party, founded in 1933. An earlier party, the Socialist Party of Ireland, was renamed the Communist Party of Ireland in 1921 on its affiliation to the Communist International but was dissolved in 1924. The present-day CPI was founded in...

     declined significantly.
  • Italy – The collapse caused the Italian Communist Party
    Italian Communist Party
    The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno, by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party . Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played...

     to reform itself, creating two new groups, the larger Democratic Party of the Left
    Democratic Party of the Left
    The Democratic Party of the Left was a post-communist, democratic socialist political party in Italy.-History:...

     and the smaller Communist Refoundation Party
    Communist Refoundation Party
    The Communist Refoundation Party is a communist Italian political party. Its current secretary is Paolo Ferrero....

    . The disappearance of the Communist party in part led to profound changes within the Italian political party system in 1992–1994.
  • Japan – The Japanese Communist Party
    Japanese Communist Party
    The Japanese Communist Party is a left-wing political party in Japan.The JCP advocates the establishment of a society based on socialism, democracy and peace, and opposition to militarism...

     issued a statement titled "We welcome the end of a great historical evil of imperialism and hegemonism".
  • Malaysia – The Malayan Communist Party
    Malayan Communist Party
    The Malayan Communist Party , officially known as the Communist Party of Malaya , was founded in 1930 and laid down its arms in 1989. It is most famous for its role in the Malayan Emergency.-Formation:...

     laid down its arms in 1989, ending the Communist Insurgency War
    Communist Insurgency War
    The Communist Insurgency War, or Second Malaysian Emergency was an insurgency and guerrilla war, conducted by the Malayan Communist Party against Malaysian armed forces from 1968 to 1989.-Origins:...

     that had lasted decades.
  • Mexico – The Mexican Communist Party
    Mexican Communist Party
    The Mexican Communist Party was a communist party in Mexico. It was founded in 1911 as the Socialist Workers' Party by Manabendra Nath Roy, a left-wing Indian intellectual. The PSO changed its name to the Mexican Communist Party in November 1919 following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia...

     and a number of other Communist parties were dissolved in 1989 and absorbed first into the Mexican Socialist Party
    Mexican Socialist Party
    The Socialist Mexican Party was the former left-wing Mexican political party immediate antecedent of the present Party of the Democratic Revolution, it was the last effort of unification of the different Mexican parties of left and the last political party that the socialist word in its name was...

     and then into the Party of the Democratic Revolution
    Party of the Democratic Revolution
    The Party of the Democratic Revolution is a democratic socialist party in Mexico and one of 2 Mexican affiliates of the Socialist International...

    .
  • Netherlands – The Communist Party of the Netherlands
    Communist Party of the Netherlands
    The Communist Party of the Netherlands was a Dutch communist political party. The CPN is one of the predecessors of the GreenLeft.- Foundation :...

     was dissolved in 1991 and absorbed to the GreenLeft
    GreenLeft
    GreenLeft is a green political party operating in the Netherlands.GreenLeft was formed on 1 March 1989 as a merger of four left-wing political parties: the Communist Party of the Netherlands, Pacifist Socialist Party, the Political Party of Radicals and the Evangelical People's Party...

    .
  • Norway – The Communist Party of Norway
    Communist Party of Norway
    The Communist Party of Norway is a political party in Norway without parliamentary representation. It was formed in 1923, following a split in the Norwegian Labour Party. The party played an important role in the resistance to German occupation during the Second World War, and experienced a brief...

     changed their pro-Soviet line.
  • Palestine – The Palestine Liberation Organization
    Palestine Liberation Organization
    The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

     lost one of its most important diplomatic patrons, due to the deterioration of the Soviet Union, and Arafat's failing relationship with Moscow.
  • Peru – The Shining Path
    Shining Path
    Shining Path is a Maoist guerrilla terrorist organization in Peru. The group never refers to itself as "Shining Path", and as several other Peruvian groups, prefers to be called the "Communist Party of Peru" or "PCP-SL" in short...

    , responsible for killing tens of thousands people, shrunk in the 1990s.
  • Sweden – The Communist Association of Norrköping
    Communist Association of Norrköping
    Communist Association of Norrköping , was a communist group in Norrköping, Sweden.In 1978 a pro-Albanian group based in Norrköping had broken away from the Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti . This group formed NKF...

     was dissolved in 1990 and Kommunistiska Förbundet Marxist-Leninisterna ceased to function as nationwide party. The pro-Albanian Kommunistiska Partiet i Sverige and the Maoist Communist Workers' Party of Sweden
    Communist Workers' Party of Sweden
    Communist Workers' Party of Sweden , initially called SKP, was a communist party in Sweden, formed in 1980 after a split from the pro-People's Republic of China Communist Party of Sweden . The party was dissolved in 1993.-Formation:In 1980 when a leftist minority Communist Workers' Party of Sweden...

     were dissolved in 1993. The main leftist party, Vänsterpartiet kommunisterna, VPK (Left Party – Communists), abandoned the Communist part of its name, and became simply Vänsterpartiet (Left Party).
  • Turkey – The Communist Labour Party of Turkey
    Communist Labour Party of Turkey
    Communist Labour Party of Turkey is an illegal communist party in Turkey. TKEP was founded on May 1, 1980 by the People's Liberation Army of Turkey-Unity in Struggle . THKO-MB was the pro-Soviet faction that developed out of the crumbles of the original THKO.The general secretary of TKEP was...

     was split.
  • United Kingdom – The Communist Party of Great Britain
    Communist Party of Great Britain
    The Communist Party of Great Britain was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.-Formation:...

     was dissolved.


Concurrently, many anti-Communist authoritarian states, formerly supported by the US, gradually saw a transition to democracy.
  • Chile - The military junta under Augusto Pinochet
    Augusto Pinochet
    Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

     was pressured to implement democratic elections, which saw Chile's democratization
    Chilean transition to democracy
    The Chilean transition to democracy began when a Constitution establishing a transition itinerary was approved in a plebiscite. From March 11, 1981 to March 11, 1990, several organic constitutional laws were approved leading to the final restoration of democracy...

     in 1990.
  • El Salvador - The Salvadoran Civil War ended in 1992 following the Chapultepec Peace Accords
    Chapultepec Peace Accords
    The Chapultepec Peace Accords brought peace to El Salvador in 1992 after more than a decade of wrenching civil war.The treaty was negotiated by representatives of the Salvadoran government, the rebel movement FMLN, and political parties, with observers from the Roman Catholic Church and United...

    . The rebel FMLN
    Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front
    The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front is, since 1992, a left-wing political party in El Salvador and formerly a coalition of five revolutionary guerrilla organizations...

     movement became a legal political party and participated in subsequent elections.
  • Panama - The Manuel Noriega
    Manuel Noriega
    Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

     regime was overthrown by the US invasion in 1989
    United States invasion of Panama
    The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama by the United States in December 1989. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W...

     as a result of his suppression of elections, drug-trafficking activities and the killing of a US serviceman.
  • South Korea - The June Democracy Movement
    June Democracy Movement
    The June Democracy Movement was a nation-wide democracy movement in South Korea that generated mass protests from June 10 to June 29, 1987...

    's protests led to the fall of the Chun Doo-hwan
    Chun Doo-hwan
    Chun Doo-hwan was a ROK Army general and the President of South Korea from 1980 to 1988. Chun was sentenced to death in 1996 for his heavy-handed response to the Gwangju Democratization Movement, but later pardoned by President Kim Young-sam with the advice of then President-elect Kim Dae-jung,...

     government in 1987, and the country's first democratic elections.
  • South Africa - Negotiations were started in 1990 to end the Apartheid system. Nelson Mandela
    Nelson Mandela
    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

     was elected
    South African general election, 1994
    The South African general election of 1994 was an election held in South Africa to mark the end of apartheid, therefore also the first held with universal adult suffrage. The election was conducted under the direction of the Independent Electoral Commission .Millions queued in lines over a three...

     as the President of South Africa in 1994.
  • United States - Following the end of the Cold War
    Cold War
    The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

    , the United States became the world's main superpower, growing even more in world influence as a result. The United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

     ceased to support many of the Right-wing military regimes
    Military dictatorship
    A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

     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
    Mujahideen
    Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

     in the Soviet-Afghan War
    Soviet war in Afghanistan
    The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

    , became radicalized and broke their pro-US stances, which would culminate in the 9-11 attacks and the US invasion of Afghanistan
    War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
    The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

    .

Political reforms


Decommunization is a process of overcoming the legacies of the Communist state
Communist state
A communist state is a state with a form of government characterized by single-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist-Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state...

 establishments, culture, and psychology in the post-Communist states. It is similar to denazification
Denazification
Denazification was an Allied initiative to rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of any remnants of the National Socialist ideology. It was carried out specifically by removing those involved from positions of influence and by disbanding or rendering...

.

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.

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.

Economic reforms


Enterprises in Socialist countries had little or no interest in producing what customers wanted because of prevailing shortages of goods and services.
In the early 1990s, a popular refrain stated that "there is no precedent for moving from Socialism to capitalism."
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.

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

In 2004 Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner and President Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

 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."

In a 2007 paper Oleh Havrylyshyn categorized the speed of reforms in the Soviet Bloc:
  • 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
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

.

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union
2004 enlargement of the European Union
The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union , both in terms of territory, number of states and population, however not in terms of gross domestic product...

 included Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The 2007 enlargement of the European Union
2007 enlargement of the European Union
The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union on 1 January 2007. It was the latest expansion of the EU, though considered by the European Commission as part of the same wave as the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.-Negotiations:Romania was the...

 included Romania and Bulgaria. The same countries have also become NATO members
Enlargement of NATO
Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the process of including new member states in NATO. NATO is a military alliance of states in Europe and North America whose organization constitutes a system of collective defence. The process of joining the alliance is governed by Article...

.

Chinese economic liberalization
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

 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
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 today and by 2001 the poverty rate became only 6% of the population.

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
Richard B. Freeman
Richard B. Freeman is one of the leading labor economists in North America. The Herbert Ascherman Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and Co-Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, Freeman is also Senior Research Fellow on Labour Markets at the Centre for...

 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.
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.

China's rapid growth has led some people to predict a "Chinese Century
Chinese Century
The Chinese Century is a neologism referring to the possibility that the 21st century will be dominated by the People's Republic of China, similarly to how the 20th century is often called the American Century, and the 19th century the British Century...

".

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.
One estimate is that about US$50 billion was transferred through FIMACO
FIMACO
Financial Management Company Ltd was a Jersey company founded in 1990.In a 1991 report, former KGB Colonel Leonid Veselovsky, whose responsibility was to manage Communist Party commercial affairs overseas, told that he had found ways to funnel party money abroad...

.
KGB officer Sergei Tretyakov
Sergei Tretyakov
Sergei Mikhailovich Tretyakov was a Russian constructivist writer, playwright and special correspondent for Pravda. He graduated 1916 from the department of law at Moscow University...

 stated that KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Kryuchkov
Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov was a former Soviet politician and Communist Party member, having been in the organization from 1944 until he was dismissed in 1991...

 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.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 became involved with organized crime and the Russian mob became a long arm of the KGB. 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. KGB officers were staffing the tax police and customs services.
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.

Today power in Russia is largely held by Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 and his silovik
Silovik
Silovik is a Russian word for politicians from the security or military services, often the officers of the former KGB, the FSB, the Federal Narcotics Control Service and military or other security services who came into power...

s, a term for members of security services.
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".
Vladimir Putin has called the dissolution of the Soviet Union "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century".

Ideological continuation of communism


Compared with the efforts of the other former constituents of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union, decommunization in Russia
Decommunization in Russia
Decommunization in Russia is the process of dealing with the communist legacies in terms of institutions and personnel that tends towards breaking with the Soviet past...

 has been restricted to half-measures, if conducted at all. As of 2008, nearly half of Russians view Stalin positively, and many support restoration of his monuments dismantled in the past. Neo-Stalinist
Neo-Stalinism
Neo-Stalinism is a political term referring to attempts at rehabilitating the role of Joseph Stalin in history and re-establishing the political course of Stalin, at least partially. The term is also used to designate the modern political regimes in some states, political and social life of which...

 material such as describing Stalin's mass murder campaigns as "entirely rational" has been pushed into Russian textbooks.

In 1992, President Yeltsin's government invited Vladimir Bukovsky
Vladimir Bukovsky
Vladimir Konstantinovich Bukovsky is a leading member of the dissident movement of the 1960s and 1970s, writer, neurophysiologist, and political activist....

 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
Security clearance
A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information, i.e., state secrets, or to restricted areas after completion of a thorough background check. The term "security clearance" is also sometimes used in private organizations that have a formal...

), including KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 reports to the Central Committee
Central Committee
Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the twentieth century and of the surviving, mostly Trotskyist, states in the early twenty first. In such party organizations the...

, and smuggle the files to the West. 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."

Interpretations


The events caught many by surprise. Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise
Predictions of Soviet collapse
There were people who predicted that the Soviet Union would eventually be dissolved before the process of dissolution began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989....

 had been often dismissed.

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".

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
Brezhnev Doctrine
The Brezhnev Doctrine was a Soviet Union foreign policy, first and most clearly outlined by S. Kovalev in a September 26, 1968 Pravda article, entitled “Sovereignty and the International Obligations of Socialist Countries.” Leonid Brezhnev reiterated it in a speech at the Fifth Congress of the...

 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
Secret police
Secret police are a police agency which operates in secrecy and beyond the law to protect the political power of an individual dictator or an authoritarian political regime....

.

Coit D. Blacker
Coit D. Blacker
Dr. Coit Dennis Blacker served as Special Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council under National Security Advisor Anthony Lake during the Clinton administration...

 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." 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
Comecon
The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance , 1949–1991, was an economic organisation under hegemony of Soviet Union comprising the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with a number of communist states elsewhere in the world...

 and Warsaw Pact could be reformed into more effective entities. However, Alexander Yakovlev
Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev
Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev was a Soviet politician and historian who was a Soviet governmental official in the 1980s and a member of the Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union...

, 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."

Organizations

  • Memorial
    Memorial (society)
    Memorial is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states. It focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian past, but also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states....

     – Memorial is an international historical and civil rights
    Civil rights
    Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

     society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states
    Post-Soviet states
    The post-Soviet states, also commonly known as the Former Soviet Union or former Soviet republics, are the 15 independent states that split off from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its dissolution in December 1991...

    . It focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    's totalitarian past, but also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states at the present time, for example in Chechnya
    Chechnya
    The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

    .

Events

  • German Unity Day
    German Unity Day
    The Day of German Unity is the national day of Germany, celebrated on 3 October as a public holiday. It commemorates the anniversary of German reunification in 1990, when the goal of a unity of Germany that originated in the middle of the 19th century, was fulfilled. Therefore, the name addresses...

     in Germany – A national holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification
    German reunification
    German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

     in 1990
  • Statehood Day
    Statehood Day (Slovenia)
    Statehood Day is a holiday that occurs on every 25 June in Slovenia to commemorate the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Although the official declaration of independence did not come until 26 June 1991, Statehood Day is considered to be June 25 since that was the...

     in Slovenia – Commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
  • Independence and Unity Day
    Independence and Unity Day
    Independence and Unity Day is a Slovenian national holiday that occurs on every 26 December to commemorate the official proclamation of the Slovenian independence referendum on 26 December 1990. The referendum took part on 23 December. In it, 95% of the voters favoured the establishment of...

     in Slovenia – Commemorates the country's independence referendum.
  • Day of National Unity in Georgia – is a public holiday commemorating victims of the 9 April tragedy
  • National Day
    National Day
    The National Day is a designated date on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or non-sovereign country. This nationhood can be symbolized by the date of independence, of becoming republic or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler . Often the day is not called "National Day"...

     in Hungary
  • Constitution Day
    Constitution Day
    Constitution Day is a holiday to honor the constitution of a country. Constitution Day is often celebrated on the anniversary of the signing, promulgation or adoption of the constitution, or in some cases, to commemorate the change to constitutional monarchy:...

     in Romania – Commemorates the 1991 Romanian Constitution that enshrined the return to democracy after the fall of the Communist regime.
  • Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
    Public holidays in Slovakia
    National holidays in SlovakiaSee also Remembrance days in Slovakia.- References :*...

     in the Slovak Republic
  • Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day
    Public holidays in the Czech Republic
    Public holidays in the Czech RepublicDateEnglish NameCzech NameRemarks1 January Restoration Day of the Independent Czech State; New Year's DayDen obnovy samostatného českého státu; Nový rokThe independent Czech Republic was created in 1993, after dissolution of Czechoslovakia.March, AprilEaster...

     in the Czech Republic

Places



  • Gdańsk Shipyard
    Gdansk Shipyard
    Gdańsk Shipyard is a large Polish shipyard, located in the city of Gdańsk. The yard gained international fame when Solidarity was founded there in September 1980...

     in Poland
  • Memorial to the victims of Communism
    Memorial to the victims of Communism
    The Memorial to the victims of Communism is a series of statues in Prague commemorating the victims of the Communist era between 1948-1989. It is located at the base of Petřín hill, Újezd street in the Malá Strana or the Lesser Town area....

     in the Czech Republic
  • Lennon Wall
    Lennon Wall
    The Lennon Wall or John Lennon Wall, is a wall in Prague, Czech Republic. Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs....

     in the Czech Republic
  • Dawn of Liberty
    Jeltoqsan
    The Jeltoqsan or "December" of 1986 were riots that took place in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan in response to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's dismissal of Dinmukhamed Konayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and an ethnic Kazakh, and the subsequent appointment of Gennady...

     in Kazakhstan – A monument dedicated to Jeltoqsan
    Jeltoqsan
    The Jeltoqsan or "December" of 1986 were riots that took place in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan in response to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's dismissal of Dinmukhamed Konayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and an ethnic Kazakh, and the subsequent appointment of Gennady...

  • Memorial of Rebirth
    Memorial of Rebirth
    The Memorial of Rebirth is a memorial in Bucharest, Romania that commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism...

     in Romania
  • Museum of Communism, Czech Republic
  • Museum of Communism, Poland
  • Global Museum on Communism
  • House of Terror
    House of Terror
    House of Terror is a museum located at Andrássy út 60 in Budapest, Hungary. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the...

     in Hungary
  • Stasi Museum
    Stasi Museum
    The Stasi Museum is a research and memorial centre concerning the political system of the former East Germany...

     in the old headquarters
  • Museum of Soviet occupation
    Museum of Soviet occupation (Kiev)
    The Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev, Ukraine, is devoted to portraying the crimes of the Soviet regime in Ukraine from 1917 to 1991. It was established in November 2001 by the Vasyl Stus branch of Memorial Society as an exhibition "Not to be forgotten: The Chronicle of Communist inquisition."...

     in Kiev, Ukraine
  • Museum of Soviet Occupation
    Museum of Soviet Occupation (Tbilisi)
    The Museum of the Soviet Occupation is a history museum in Tbilisi, Georgia, documenting the seven decades of the Soviet rule in Georgia and dedicated to the history of the anti-occupational, national-liberation movement of Georgia, to the victims of the Soviet political repressions throughout...

     in Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
    Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
    Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991 is an historic educational institution located in Riga, Latvia. It was established in 1993 to exhibit artifacts, archive documents, and educate the public about the 51-year period in the 20th century when Latvia was successively occupied by the USSR in...

  • Museum of Occupations (Estonia)
  • Museum of Occupation (Vilnius)
  • Museum of Genocide Victims
    Museum of Genocide Victims
    The Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania was established in 1992 by order of the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and the President of the Lithuanian Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees. In 1997 it was transferred to the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania...

     in Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
    Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
    The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The site is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 by the Khmer Rouge communist regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979...

     in Cambodia


Other

  • The Soviet Story
    The Soviet Story
    The Soviet Story is a 2008 documentary film about Soviet Communism and Soviet-German collaboration before 1941 written and directed by Edvīns Šnore and sponsored by the UEN Group in the European Parliament....

     – An award-winning documentary film about the Soviet Union.
  • The Singing Revolution
    The Singing Revolution
    The Singing Revolution is a documentary film created by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty about the nonviolent Singing Revolution in Estonia where hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly, between 1986 and 1991, in an effort to end decades of Soviet occupation...

     – A documentary film about the Singing Revolution.
  • Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism
    Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism
    Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism is a 3 hour PBS documentary film hosted by Ben Wattenberg and narrated by Henry Strozier...

     – A book and a documentary film based on the book
  • Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
    Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
    Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire is a bestselling work by David Remnick. Often cited as an example of New Journalism, it won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1994....

     – A Pulitzer Prize-awarded book
  • Right Here, Right Now (Jesus Jones song)
    Right Here, Right Now (Jesus Jones song)
    "Right Here, Right Now" is a song written by Mike Edwards and recorded by the British band Jesus Jones from the album, Doubt. A single was released in September 1990, peaking at number 31 on the UK Singles Chart...

     – An international hit written by Mike Edwards and performed by his rock band Jesus Jones
    Jesus Jones
    Jesus Jones are a British rock band. The Wiltshire-based group, formed in late 1988, recorded and performed in the late 1980s, throughout the 1990s, and into the 2000s. They are best remembered for their track, "Right Here, Right Now", an international hit and subsequently globally appropriated for...

    , released in September 1990


See also


  • Dissolution of the Soviet Union
    Dissolution of the Soviet Union
    The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

  • Breakup of Yugoslavia
  • Arab Spring
    Arab Spring
    The Arab Spring , otherwise known as the Arab Awakening, is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010...

  • 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
    1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia
    The 1990 Peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia was a democratic revolution that started with hunger strikes to overthrow the Mongolian People's Republic and eventually moved towards the democratic present day Mongolia and the writing of the new constitution. It was spearheaded by mostly...

  • Baltic Tiger
    Baltic Tiger
    Baltic Tiger is a term used to refer to any of the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during their periods of economic boom, which started after the year 2000 and continued until 2006–2007...

  • Carpat Tiger
  • Chinese democracy movement
    Chinese democracy movement
    The Chinese democracy movement refers to a series of loosely organized political movements in the People's Republic of China against the continued one-party rule by the Communist Party. One such movement began during the Beijing Spring in 1978 and was taken up again in the Tiananmen Square...

  • Civil resistance
    Civil resistance
    The term civil resistance, alongside the term nonviolent resistance, is used to describe political action that relies on the use of non-violent methods by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and...

  • Color revolution
    Color revolution
    Colour revolutions is a term that was widely used by the media to describe related movements that developed in several societies in the CIS and Balkan states during the early 2000s. The term has also been applied to a number of revolutions elsewhere, including in the Middle East...

    s
  • Commonwealth of Independent States
    Commonwealth of Independent States
    The Commonwealth of Independent States is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics, formed during the breakup of the Soviet Union....

  • Enlargement of the European Union
    Enlargement of the European Union
    The Enlargement of the European Union is the process of expanding the European Union through the accession of new member states. This process began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952...

  • Enlargement of NATO
    Enlargement of NATO
    Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the process of including new member states in NATO. NATO is a military alliance of states in Europe and North America whose organization constitutes a system of collective defence. The process of joining the alliance is governed by Article...

  • History of Solidarity
    History of Solidarity
    The history of Solidarity , a Polish non-governmental trade union, begins in August 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country...

  • People Power Revolution
  • January Events
    January Events
    The January Events took place in Lithuania between January 11 and 13, 1991 in the aftermath of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. As a result of Soviet military actions, 14 civilians were killed and more than 1000 injured...

  • Ján Čarnogurský
    Ján Carnogurský
    Ján Čarnogurský is a former Slovak politician, a former Prime Minister of Slovakia and the former chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement .He is married and has 4 children.- Before 1989 :...

  • JBTZ-trial
    JBTZ-trial
    The JBTZ trial, also known as the Ljubljana trial or the Trial against the Four was a political trial held in a military court in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia in 1988...

  • Jeans Revolution
    Jeans Revolution
    The Jeans Revolution was a term used by the democratic opposition in Belarus and their supporters in the West to describe their effort and aspirations as regarding democratic changes in Belarus at the presidential elections of 2006...

  • Making the History of 1989
    Making the History of 1989
    Making the History of 1989 is an online database for teachers and students. The educational site provides teaching materials including scholar interviews, teaching modules, case studies and primary sources related to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The digital history project was created...

     (online database)
  • Polish Round Table Agreement
    Polish Round Table Agreement
    The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from February 6 to April 4, 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.-History:...

  • Reagan Doctrine
    Reagan Doctrine
    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 during the final years of the Cold War...

  • Yugoslav Wars
    Yugoslav wars
    The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...


Further reading

  • Leffler, Melvyn P.
    Melvyn P. Leffler
    Melvyn P. Leffler is an American historian, and Edward Stettinius Professor of History at the University of Virginia.-Life:He graduated from Cornell University in 1966, and from Ohio State University with a Ph.D...

     and Westad, Odd Arne
    Odd Arne Westad
    Odd Arne Westad FBA is a Norwegian historian specialising in the Cold War and contemporary East Asian history....

     (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. III, Endings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-521-83721-7. ISBN 978-0-521-83721-7.
  • Roberts, Adam
    Adam Roberts (scholar)
    Sir Adam Roberts, KCMG, FBA is President of the British Academy , the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences...

    , Civil Resistance in the East European and Soviet Revolutions (PDF available), Cambridge, Mass.: Albert Einstein Institution, 1991. ISBN 1-880813-04-1.
  • Roberts, Adam
    Adam Roberts (scholar)
    Sir Adam Roberts, KCMG, FBA is President of the British Academy , the UK's national academy for the humanities and social sciences...

     and Timothy Garton Ash
    Timothy Garton Ash
    Timothy Garton Ash is a British historian, author and commentator. He is currently serving as Professor of European Studies at Oxford University. Much of his work has been concerned with the late modern and contemporary history of Central and Eastern Europe...

     (eds.), Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6. Contains chapters on the Soviet Union (Mark Kramer), Czechoslovakia (Kieran Williams), Poland (Alexander Smolar), Baltic States (Mark R. Beissinger), China (Merle Goldman), and East Germany (Charles Maier).
  • Sebestyen, Victor. "Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire". Phoenix (2009). ISBN 978-07538-2709-3
  • Walesa, Lech. "The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography". Arcade (1991). ISBN 1-55970-221-4

External links