Browse Items: Perestroika
On 23 June 1988, the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (Communist) Central Committee established a committee to analyze Hungary's political, economic and social development during the preceding thirty years. The issue of the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary became a political flashpoint. Was 1956 an attempt to establish an independent Communist movement separate from Soviet authority, or was….
This February 1989 report by the Bogomolov Commission analyzes the current situation in Eastern Europe for Alexander Yakovlev, key foreign policy advisor to Mikhail Gorbachev. The Bogomolov Commission was the largest Soviet think tank conducting research on the East European countries. This document can be compared with the memorandum by the International Department of the CC CPSU (document….
In the following memorandum to Alexander Yakovlev, one of Gorbachev's chief advisors, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) analyzes the effects of Gorbachev's reform program in Eastern Europe. The document reflects the complexity of the issues raised by the new Soviet policy. In the excerpt below, the CPSU assesses the current situation and identifies some of….
In early 1989, shortly after President George H. W. Bush had taken office, the office of US ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock sent this message to the attention of the new National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft. The message details the strains placed on official Marxist-Leninist ideology by the the most recent economic reforms implemented by Gorbachev. Many of these had….
Every political upheaval is followed by a "morning after." In 1990, the new Czechoslovak President, Vaclav Havel, gave an important speech commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (the end of Communism in his country). In addition to celebrating the tremendous achievement of growing democracy in his newly-independent country, Havel also added a note of caution with his….
After gaining the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev set the Soviet Union on the path of reform with perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). He had followed his domestic changes with a general arms reduction throughout Eastern Europe in 1988, extending the reach of his reforms. On 6 July 1989, in a speech made in front of the Parliamentary….
Mikhail Gorbachev began a parallel program of reform for the Soviet Union: perestroika (reconstruction) and glasnost' (openness). His intention, however, was for a state-directed movement that would keep the Communist Party in firm control. In this poster from 1989, it is clear that the people of the Soviet Union had adopted the cause of reform for themselves. The slogan at the bottom of the….
In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in Washington, DC. The treaty eliminated both nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic missiles with a range of 300-3,400 miles. This was a major achievement in terms of reducing the military build-up in each of these Cold War superpowers. This Soviet poster from….
One of Mikhail Gorbachev's most famous reform movements was glasnost' (openness), which allowed partial freedom of the press to address social problems and corruption within the Soviet Union. Among the issues raised during the glasnost' era of the Soviet Union were public health concerns, which became a prominent issue by the late 1980s. Drug abuse, for example, could be publicly discussed for….
As the Communist Parties throughout Eastern Europe lost power throughout the fall of 1989, the issue of the treatment of minorities inside those countries gained increased prominence. The ongoing plight of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria and the tensions among the nationalities of Yugoslavia were two areas of international concern. The Soviet Union faced its own minority issues with the….
In the spring and summer of 1989, Chinese protestors occupied Tiananmen Square in Beijing in order to achieve some political concessions from the Chinese Communist Party. At the same time, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev continued to follow along their path of political reforms with glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). In September 1989, Prime….
As part of a public demonstration of support for the newly-elected governments in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, traveled throughout the region in September 1990. Not only did this provide her an opportunity to discuss important matters for Britain's foreign policy but also she could use the attention she brought with Western journalists to allow the new….
By the summer of 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev's reform policies, glasnost' (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), had begun to change the political landscape of the Soviet Union. When President Ronald Reagan visited Moscow in the summer of 1988 for a political summit, he gave a series of speeches applauding the progress of Soviet reforms but also demanding further achievements. In this speech….
In order to reform the Soviet economy, Mikhail Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military. As part of this process, Gorbachev actively pursued arms reductions in a series of negotiations with the United States. In December 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in Washington, DC. The treaty eliminated….
On 25 December 1979, the Soviet Union deployed its army in Afghanistan, in support of the Afghan Communist government against a group of Muslim opponents. For the next nine years, the Soviet army was involved in a long-drawn out military conflict without a victory, creating a constant embarrassment for Soviet military might. The expense of causalities and supplies was a constant drain on the….
In May 1988, President Ronald Reagan traveled to the Soviet Union for a summit meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev. While in Moscow, he addressed a group of students at Moscow State University, using this forum as a chance to publicly announce his support for the Gorbachev's ongoing reform efforts. In this excerpt of his speech, he condemns the opponents of Gorbachev's reforms, and uses a popular….
In the summer of 1989, President George Bush made an official visit to several East European countries, each in the midst of democratic demonstrations and public pressure on their Communist regimes. These visits provided President Bush an opportunity to lend support for the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, for example, the President gave a speech at the famous Karl Marx….
Joint News Conference Following Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany
On February 25, 1990, President George H. W. Bush and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met for meetings at Camp David. Their discussions included German unification, European integration, arms control, and the situation in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as other foreign policy issues of joint concern. It is clear from the statements made by both Bush and Kohl that the unsettled….
During the spring of 1989, the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union, George H. W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, issued contrasting visions for the future of Europe. In a series of speeches during April and May, Bush called for a Europe “whole and free” and envisioned a shift “beyond containment,” the fundamental strategy of preventing Soviet expansion that had guided US….
In the summer of 1989, President George Bush made an official visit to several East European countries, each in the midst of democratic demonstrations and public pressure on their Communist regimes. These visits provided President Bush an opportunity to lend support for the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, for example, a question-and-answer session with local journalists provided….