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The Revolutions of 1989
Revolutions of 1989
formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations,[4][5][6][7][8] a play on the term Spring of Nations
Spring of Nations
that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848. The events of the full-blown revolution first began in Poland
Poland
in 1989[9][10] and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
and Romania. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance, demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change.[11] Romania
Romania
was the only Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
country whose citizens overthrew its Communist regime
Communist regime
violently.[12] Protests in Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
(April–June 1989) failed to stimulate major political changes in China, but influential images of courageous defiance during that protest helped to precipitate events in other parts of the globe. On 4 June 1989, the trade union Solidarity won an overwhelming victory in a partially free election in Poland, leading to the peaceful fall of Communism
Communism
in that country in the summer of 1989. Also in June 1989, Hungary
Hungary
began dismantling its section of the physical Iron Curtain, leading to an exodus of East Germans through Hungary, which destabilised East Germany. This led to mass demonstrations in cities such as Leipzig
Leipzig
and subsequently to the fall of the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
in November 1989, which served as the symbolic gateway to German reunification
German reunification
in 1990. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
dissolved in December 1991, resulting in eleven new countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Uzbekistan), which had declared their independence from the Soviet Union in the course of the year, while the Baltic states
Baltic states
(Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania) regained their independence in September 1991. The rest of the Soviet Union, which constituted the bulk of the area, became the Russian Federation
Russian Federation
in December 1991. Albania and Yugoslavia abandoned Communism
Communism
between 1990 and 1992. By 1992, Yugoslavia had split into five successor states, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia
Slovenia
and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was later renamed Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
in 2003 and eventually split in 2006 into two states, Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro. Serbia
Serbia
was then further split with the breakaway of the partially recognised state of Kosovo
Kosovo
in 2008. Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
dissolved three years after the end of Communist rule, splitting peacefully into the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
and Slovakia
Slovakia
in 1992.[13] The impact of these events was felt in many Socialist countries. Communism
Communism
was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia
Cambodia
(1991), Ethiopia
Ethiopia
(1990), Mongolia (which in 1990 democratically re-elected a Communist government that ran the country until 1996) and South Yemen
South Yemen
(1990). During the adoption of varying forms of market economy, there was a general decline in living standards for many former Communist countries.[14] Political reforms were varied, but in only four countries were Communist parties
Communist parties
able to retain a monopoly on power, namely China, Cuba, Laos
Laos
and Vietnam
Vietnam
( North Korea
North Korea
went through a constitutional change in 2009 that made it nominally no longer Communist, but still de facto organised on Stalinist
Stalinist
lines). Many communist and socialist organisations in the West turned their guiding principles over to social democracy and democratic socialism. Communist parties
Communist parties
in Italy
Italy
and San Marino
San Marino
suffered and the reformation of the Italian political class took place in the early 1990s. In South America, the Pink tide
Pink tide
began with Venezuela
Venezuela
in 1999 and swept through the early 2000s. The European political landscape changed drastically, with several former Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
countries joining NATO
NATO
and the European Union, resulting in stronger economic and social integration with Western Europe and the United States.

Contents

1 Background

1.1 Development of the Eastern Bloc 1.2 Emergence of Solidarity in Poland 1.3 Mikhail Gorbachev 1.4 Soviet republics 1.5 Impact of Solidarity grows 1.6 Regime changes outside of Eastern Europe

2 National political movements

2.1 Poland 2.2 Hungary 2.3 East Germany 2.4 Czechoslovakia 2.5 Bulgaria 2.6 Romania 2.7 Yugoslavia 2.8 Albania 2.9 Mongolia 2.10 China

3 Malta Summit 4 Election chronology in Central/ Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
and Central Asia 5 Dissolution of the Soviet Union

5.1 Baltic states 5.2 Belarus, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Moldova 5.3 Transcaucasia 5.4 Chechnya 5.5 Central Asia 5.6 Post-Soviet conflicts

6 Other events

6.1 Communist and Socialist countries

6.1.1 Africa 6.1.2 Middle East 6.1.3 Asia 6.1.4 Latin America 6.1.5 Oceania

6.2 Other countries

7 Political reforms 8 Economic reforms 9 Ideological continuation of Communism 10 Interpretations 11 Remembrance

11.1 Organizations 11.2 Events 11.3 Places 11.4 Other

12 See also 13 References 14 Further reading 15 External links

Background[edit] Development of the Eastern Bloc[edit] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Further information: Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
and List of socialist states Socialism
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 states and colonies formed their own communist parties. Many of the countries involved had hierarchical structures with monarchic governments and aristocratic social structures with an established nobility. Socialism
Socialism
was undesirable within the circles of the ruling classes (which had begun to include industrial business leaders) in the late 19th/early 20th century states; as such, communism was repressed. Its champions suffered persecution while people were discouraged from adopting it. This had been the practice even in states which identified as exercising a multi-party system. The Russian Revolution
Revolution
of 1917 saw the first communist state in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR), when the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government. During the period between the world wars, communism had been on the rise in many parts of the world, especially in towns and cities. This led to a series of purges in many countries to stifle the movement. Violent resistance to this repression led to an increase in support for communism in Central and Eastern Europe. In the early stages of World War II, both Nazi Germany
Germany
and the USSR invaded and occupied the countries of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Germany
Germany
then turned against and invaded the USSR: the battles of this Eastern Front were the largest in history. The USSR joined with the Allies and in conferences at Tehran and Yalta, the Allies agreed that Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
would be in the "Soviet sphere of political influence.". The USSR fought the Germans to a standstill and finally began driving them back, reaching Berlin before the end of the war. Nazi ideology was violently anti-communist, and the Nazis brutally suppressed communist movements in the countries it occupied. Communists played a large part in the resistance to the Nazis in these countries. As the Soviets forced the Germans back, they assumed temporary control of these devastated areas. After World War II, the Soviets ensured that communists loyal to Moscow
Moscow
took power in the countries it occupied. The Soviets retained troops throughout these territories. The Cold War
Cold War
saw these states, bound together by the Warsaw Pact, have continuing tensions with the capitalist west, bound together by NATO. The Chinese Revolution established communism in China
China
in 1949. During the Hungarian Revolution
Revolution
of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide anti-authoritarian revolt, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
invaded Hungary
Hungary
to assert control. Similarly, in 1968, the USSR repressed the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
by organizing the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Emergence of Solidarity in Poland[edit] Main article: Solidarity (Polish trade union) Labour turmoil in Poland
Poland
during 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union Solidarity, led by Lech Wałęsa, which over time became a political force. On 13 December 1981, Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski
Wojciech Jaruzelski
started a crackdown on Solidarity by declaring martial law in Poland, suspending the union, and temporarily imprisoning all of its leaders.

Mikhail Gorbachev[edit] Main articles: Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika, Glasnost, and Democratisation in the Soviet Union Although several Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
countries had attempted some abortive, limited economic and political reform since the 1950s (e.g. the Hungarian Revolution
Revolution
of 1956 and Prague Spring
Prague Spring
of 1968), the ascension of reform-minded Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
in 1985 signaled the trend toward greater liberalization. During the mid-1980s, a younger generation of Soviet apparatchiks, led by Gorbachev, began advocating fundamental reform in order to reverse years of Brezhnev stagnation. After decades of growth, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was now facing a period of severe economic decline and needed Western technology and credits[clarification needed] to make up for its increasing backwardness. The costs of maintaining its military, the KGB, and subsidies to foreign client states further strained the moribund Soviet economy. The first signs of major reform came in 1986 when Gorbachev launched a policy of glasnost (openness) in the Soviet Union, and emphasized the need for perestroika (economic restructuring). By the spring of 1989, the Soviet Union
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. While glasnost ostensibly advocated openness and political criticism, these were only permitted within a narrow spectrum dictated by the state. The general public in the Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
was still subject to secret police and political repression. Gorbachev urged his Central and Southeast European counterparts to imitate perestroika and glasnost in their own countries. However, while reformists in Hungary
Hungary
and Poland
Poland
were emboldened by the force of liberalization spreading from the east, other Eastern bloc
Eastern bloc
countries remained openly skeptical and demonstrated aversion to reform. Believing Gorbachev's reform initiatives would be short-lived, hardline communist rulers like East Germany's Erich Honecker, Bulgaria's Todor Zhivkov, Czechoslovakia's Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
and Romania's Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceauşescu
obstinately ignored the calls for change.[15] "When your neighbor puts up new wallpaper, it doesn't mean you have to too," declared one East German politburo member.[16]

Soviet republics[edit] An animated series of maps showing the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which later led to conflicts in the post-Soviet space By the late 1980s, people in the Caucasus
Caucasus
and Baltic states
Baltic states
were demanding more autonomy from Moscow, and the Kremlin was losing some of its control over certain regions and elements in the Soviet Union. In November 1988, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
issued a declaration of sovereignty,[17] which would eventually lead to other states making similar declarations of autonomy. The Chernobyl disaster
Chernobyl disaster
in April 1986 had major political and social effects that catalyzed or at least partially caused the revolutions of 1989. One political result of the disaster was the greatly increased significance of the new Soviet policy of glasnost.[18][19] It is difficult to establish the total economic cost of the disaster. According to Gorbachev, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
spent 18 billion rubles (the equivalent of US$18 billion at that time) on containment and decontamination, virtually bankrupting itself.[20]

Impact of Solidarity grows[edit] Main article: Solidarity (Polish trade union) The 20–21 March 1981 issue of Wieczór Wrocławia (This Evening in Wrocław) shows blank spaces remaining after the government censor pulled articles from page 1 (right, "What happened at Bydgoszcz?") and from the last page (left, "Country-wide strike alert"), leaving only their titles as the printers—Solidarity-trade-union members—decided to run the newspaper with blank spaces intact. The bottom of page 1 of this master copy bears the hand-written Solidarity confirmation of that decision. Throughout the mid-1980s, Solidarity persisted solely as an underground organization, supported by the Catholic Church. However, by the late 1980s, Solidarity became sufficiently strong to frustrate Jaruzelski's attempts at reform, and nationwide strikes in 1988 forced the government to open dialogue with Solidarity. On 9 March 1989, both sides agreed to a bicameral legislature called the National Assembly. The already existing Sejm
Sejm
would become the lower house. The Senate would be elected by the people. Traditionally a ceremonial office, the presidency was given more powers[21] (Polish Round Table Agreement). On 7 July 1989, President Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
implicitly 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
Moscow
had asserted the right to use force to prevent a Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
member from leaving the Communist fold. He stated, "Any interference in domestic affairs and any attempts to restrict the sovereignty of states—friends, allies or any others—are inadmissible".[22] The policy was termed the Sinatra Doctrine, in a joking reference to the Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
song "My Way". Poland became the first Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
country to break free of Soviet domination.

Regime changes outside of Eastern Europe[edit] See also: Third Wave Democracy In February 1986, in one of the first peaceful, mass-movement revolutions against a dictatorship, the People Power Revolution
Revolution
in the Philippines
Philippines
peacefully overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
and inaugurated Cory Aquino
Cory Aquino
as president. The domino effect of the revolutions of 1989 affected other regimes as well. The South African apartheid regime and Pinochet's military dictatorship in Chile
Chile
were gradually dismantled during the 1990s as the West withdrew their funding and diplomatic support. Argentina, Ghana, Indonesia, Nicaragua, South Korea, Suriname, Republic of China (Taiwan), and North and South Yemen, among many others, elected democratic governments. Exact tallies of the number of democracies vary depending on the criteria used for assessment, but by some measures by the late 1990s there were well over 100 democracies in the world, a marked increase in just a few decades.[citation needed]

National political movements[edit] Poland[edit] Main article: History of Poland
Poland
(1945–89) § Final years of communist rule (1980–90) Queue waiting to enter a store, a typical view in Poland
Poland
in the 1980s A wave of strikes hit Poland
Poland
in April and May 1988. A second wave began on 15 August, when a strike broke out at the July Manifesto
July Manifesto
coal mine in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, with the workers demanding the re-legalisation of the Solidarity trade union. Over the next few days, sixteen other mines went on strike followed by a number of shipyards, including on 22 August the Gdansk Shipyard, famous as the epicentre of the 1980 industrial unrest that spawned Solidarity.[23] On 31 August 1988 Lech Wałęsa, the leader of Solidarity, was invited to Warsaw by the Communist authorities, who had finally agreed to talks.[24] On 18 January 1989 at a stormy session of the Tenth Plenary Session of the ruling United Workers' Party, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the First Secretary, 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 party leadership if thwarted.[25] 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 was signed legalising Solidarity and setting up partly free parliamentary elections to be held on 4 June 1989 (incidentally, the day following the midnight crackdown on Chinese protesters in Tiananmen Square). A political earthquake followed as the victory of Solidarity surpassed all predictions. Solidarity candidates captured all the seats they were allowed to compete for in the Sejm, while in the Senate they captured 99 out of the 100 available seats (with the one remaining seat taken by an independent candidate). At the same time, many prominent Communist candidates failed to gain even the minimum number of votes required to capture the seats that were reserved for them.

Solidarity Chairman Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
(center) with President George H. W. Bush (right) and Barbara Bush (left) in Warsaw, July 1989 On 15 August 1989, the Communists' two longtime coalition partners, the United People's Party (ZSL) and the Democratic Party (SD), broke their alliance with the PZPR and announced their support for Solidarity. The last Communist Prime Minister of Poland, General Czesław Kiszczak, said he would resign to allow a non-Communist to form an administration.[26] As Solidarity was the only other political grouping that could possibly form a government, it was virtually assured that a Solidarity member would become prime minister. On 19 August 1989, in a stunning watershed moment, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, an anti-Communist editor, Solidarity supporter, and devout Catholic, was nominated as Prime Minister of Poland
Poland
and the Soviet Union voiced no protest.[27] Five days later, on 24 August 1989, Poland's Parliament ended more than 40 years of one-party rule by making Mazowiecki the country's first non-Communist Prime Minister since the early postwar years. In a tense Parliament, Mazowiecki received 378 votes, with 4 against and 41 abstentions.[28] On 13 September 1989, a new non-Communist government was approved by parliament, the first of its kind in the Eastern Bloc.[29] On 17 November 1989 the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, Polish founder of the Cheka
Cheka
and symbol of Communist oppression, was torn down in Bank Square, Warsaw.[30] On 29 December 1989 the Sejm
Sejm
amended the constitution to change the official name of the country from the People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
to the Republic of Poland. The communist Polish United Workers' Party
Polish United Workers' Party
dissolved itself on 29 January 1990 and transformed itself into the Social Democracy
Democracy
of the Republic of Poland.[31] In 1990, Jaruzelski resigned as Poland's president and was succeeded by Wałęsa, who won the 1990 presidential elections[31] held in two rounds on 25 November and 9 December. Wałęsa's inauguration as president on 21 December 1990 is thought by many to be the formal end of the Communist People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
and the beginning of the modern Republic of Poland. The Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
was dissolved on 1 July 1991. On 27 October 1991 the first entirely free Polish parliamentary elections since 1945 took place. This completed Poland's transition from Communist Party rule to a Western-style liberal democratic political system. The last Russian troops left Poland
Poland
on 18 September 1993.[31]

Hungary[edit] Main article: End of Communism
Communism
in Hungary
Hungary
(1989) See also: Removal of Hungary's border fence
Removal of Hungary's border fence
and Pan-European Picnic Following Poland's lead, Hungary
Hungary
was next to switch to a non-Communist government. Although Hungary
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
as General Secretary of the Communist Party on 23 May 1988 with Károly Grósz.[32] On 24 November 1988 Miklós Németh
Miklós Németh
was appointed Prime Minister. On 12 January 1989, the Parliament adopted a "democracy package", which included trade union pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the constitution, among other provisions.[33] On 29 January 1989, contradicting the official view of history held for more than 30 years, a member of the ruling Politburo, Imre Pozsgay, declared that Hungary's 1956 rebellion was a popular uprising rather than a foreign-instigated attempt at counterrevolution.[34]

Magyars demonstrate at state TV headquarters, 15 March 1989 Mass demonstrations on 15 March, the National Day, persuaded the regime to begin negotiations with the emergent non-Communist political forces. Round Table talks began on 22 April and continued until the Round Table agreement was signed on 18 September. The talks involved the Communists (MSzMP) and the newly emerging independent political forces Fidesz, the Alliance of Free Democrats
Alliance of Free Democrats
(SzDSz), the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF), the Independent Smallholders' Party, the Hungarian People's Party, the Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Society, and the Democratic Trade Union of Scientific Workers. At a later stage the Democratic Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) were invited.[35] At these talks a number of Hungary's future political leaders emerged, including László Sólyom, József Antall, György Szabad, Péter Tölgyessy and Viktor Orbán.[36] On 2 May 1989, the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
appeared when Hungary
Hungary
began dismantling its 240-kilometre (150 mi) long border fence with Austria.[37] This increasingly destabilized East Germany
East Germany
and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
over the summer and autumn, as thousands of their citizens illegally crossed over to the West through the Hungarian-Austrian border. On 1 June 1989 the Communist Party admitted that former Prime Minister Imre Nagy, hanged for treason for his role in the 1956 Hungarian uprising, was executed illegally after a show trial.[38] 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.[39] The Round Table agreement of 18 September encompassed six draft laws that covered an overhaul of the Constitution, establishment of a Constitutional Court, the functioning and management of political parties, multiparty elections for National Assembly deputies, the penal code and the law on penal procedures (the last two changes represented an additional separation of the Party from the state apparatus).[40][41] The electoral system was a compromise: about half of the deputies would be elected proportionally and half by the majoritarian system.[42] A weak presidency was also agreed upon, but no consensus was attained on who should elect the president (parliament or the people) and when this election should occur (before or after parliamentary elections). On 7 October 1989, the Communist Party at its last congress re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party.[43] In a historic session from 16 to 20 October, the parliament adopted legislation providing for a multi-party parliamentary election and a direct presidential election, which took place on March 24, 1990.[44] The legislation transformed Hungary
Hungary
from a People's Republic
People's Republic
into the Republic of Hungary, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensured separation of powers among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government.[45] On 23 October 1989, on the 33rd anniversary of the 1956 Revolution, the Communist regime
Communist regime
in Hungary
Hungary
was formally abolished. The Soviet military occupation of Hungary, which had persisted since World War II, ended on 19 June 1991.

East Germany[edit] Main articles: Die Wende, German reunification, and Peaceful Revolution Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
at the Brandenburg Gate, 10 November 1989 On 2 May 1989, Hungary
Hungary
started dismantling its barbed-wire border with Austria, opening a large hole through the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
to the West that was used by a growing number of East Germans. By the end of September 1989, more than 30,000 East Germans had escaped to the West before the GDR denied travel to Hungary, leaving Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
as the only neighboring state to which East Germans could escape. Thousands of East Germans tried to reach the West by occupying the West German diplomatic facilities in other Central and Eastern European capitals, notably the Prague Embassy
Prague Embassy
and the Hungarian Embassy, where thousands camped in the muddy garden from August to November waiting for German political reform. The GDR closed the border to the Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
on 3 October, thereby isolating itself from all its neighbors. Having been shut off from their last chance for escape, an increasing number of East Germans participated in the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig
Leipzig
on 4, 11, and 18 September, each attracting 1,200 to 1,500 demonstrators. Many were arrested and beaten, but the people refused to be intimidated. On 25 September, the protests attracted 8,000 demonstrators. After the fifth successive Monday demonstration in Leipzig
Leipzig
on 2 October attracted 10,000 protesters, Socialist Unity Party (SED) leader Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker
issued a shoot and kill order to the military.[46] Communists prepared a huge police, militia, Stasi, and work-combat troop presence, and there were rumors a Tiananmen Square-style massacre was being planned for the following Monday's demonstration on 9 October.[47] On 6 and 7 October, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
visited East Germany
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 is rendered in German as "Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben" ("The one who comes too late is punished by life."). However, 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. In spite of rumors that the Communists were planning a massacre on 9 October, 70,000 citizens demonstrated in Leipzig
Leipzig
that Monday, and the authorities on the ground refused to open fire. This victory of the people facing down the Communists' guns encouraged more citizens to take to the streets. The following Monday, 16 October, 120,000 people demonstrated on the streets of Leipzig. Erich Honecker
Erich Honecker
had hoped that the Soviet troops stationed in the GDR by the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
would restore the communist government and suppress the civilian protests. By 1989 the Soviet government deemed it impractical for the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
to continue asserting its control over the Eastern Bloc, so it took a neutral stance regarding the events happening in East Germany. Soviet troops stationed in eastern Europe were under strict instructions from the Soviet leadership not to intervene in the political affairs of the Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
nations and remained in their barracks. Faced with ongoing civil unrest, the SED deposed Honecker on 18 October and replaced him with the number-two-man in the regime, Egon Krenz. However, the demonstrations kept growing, and on Monday 23 October the Leipzig
Leipzig
protesters numbered 300,000 and remained as large the following week. The border to Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
was opened again on 1 November, and the Czechoslovak authorities soon let all East Germans travel directly to West Germany
Germany
without further bureaucratic ado, thus lifting their part of the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
on 3 November. On 4 November the authorities decided to authorize a demonstration in Berlin and were faced with the Alexanderplatz demonstration, where half a million citizens converged on the capital demanding freedom in the biggest protest the GDR ever witnessed. 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
Germany
directly, via existing border points, on 9 November 1989, without having properly briefed the border guards. Triggered by the erratic words of regime spokesman Günter Schabowski in a TV press conference, stating that the planned changes were in effect "immediately, without delay," hundreds of thousands of people took advantage of the opportunity. The guards were quickly overwhelmed by the growing crowds of people demanding to be let out into West Berlin. After receiving no feedback from their superiors, the guards, unwilling to use force, relented and opened the gates to West Berlin. Soon new crossing points were forced open in the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
by the people, and sections of the wall were literally torn down as this symbol of oppression was overwhelmed. The bewildered guards were unaware of what was happening and meekly stood by as the East Germans took to the wall with hammers and chisels.

Berlin Wall, October 1990, Saying "Thank You, Gorbi" On 13 November, GDR Prime Minister Willi Stoph
Willi Stoph
and his entire cabinet resigned. A new government was formed under a considerably more liberal Communist, Hans Modrow. On 1 December, the Volkskammer
Volkskammer
removed the SED's leading role from the constitution of the GDR. On 3 December Krenz resigned as leader of the SED; he resigned as head of state three days later. On 7 December Round Table talks opened between the SED and other political parties. On 16 December 1989, the SED was dissolved and refounded as the SED-PDS, abandoning Marxism-Leninism and becoming a mainstream democratic socialist party. On 15 January 1990, the Stasi's headquarters was stormed by protesters. Modrow became the de facto leader of East Germany
East Germany
until free elections were held on 18 March 1990—the first held in that part of Germany
Germany
since 1933. The SED, renamed the Party of Democratic Socialism, was heavily defeated. Lothar de Maizière
Lothar de Maizière
of the East German Christian Democratic Union became Prime Minister on 4 April 1990 on a platform of speedy reunification with the West. The two Germanies were reunified 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. The last Russian troops left the territory of the former GDR, now part of a reunited Federal Republic of Germany, on 1 September 1994.

Czechoslovakia[edit] Main article: Velvet Revolution Protests beneath the monument in Wenceslas Square, in Prague Memorial of the Velvet Revolution
Velvet Revolution
in Bratislava
Bratislava
(Námestie SNP), Slovakia The "Velvet Revolution" was a non-violent transition of power in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
from the Communist government to a parliamentary republic. On 17 November 1989, riot police suppressed a peaceful student demonstration in Prague, although controversy continues over whether anyone died that night. 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
Prague
had swelled from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated half-million. Five days later, the Letná Square protest held 800,000 people.[48] On 24 November, the entire Communist Party leadership, including general secretary Miloš Jakeš, resigned. 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
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
Germany
and Austria
Austria
in early December. On 10 December, President Gustáv Husák
Gustáv Husák
appointed the first largely non-Communist government in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubček
Alexander Dubček
was elected speaker of the federal parliament on 28 December and Václav Havel
Václav Havel
the President of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
on 29 December 1989. In June 1990 Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
held its first democratic elections since 1946. On 27 June 1991 the last Soviet troops were withdrawn from Czechoslovakia.[49]

Bulgaria[edit] In October and November 1989, demonstrations on ecological issues were staged in Sofia, where demands for political reform were also voiced. The demonstrations were suppressed, but on 10 November 1989 (the day after the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
was breached) Bulgaria's long-serving leader Todor Zhivkov
Todor Zhivkov
was ousted by his Politburo. He was succeeded by a considerably more liberal Communist, former foreign minister Petar Mladenov. Moscow
Moscow
apparently approved the leadership change, as Zhivkov had been opposed to Gorbachev's policies. The new regime immediately repealed restrictions on free speech and assembly, which led to the first mass demonstration on 17 November, as well as the formation of anti-communist movements. Nine of them united as the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) on 7 December.[50] The UDF was not satisfied with Zhivkov's ouster, and demanded additional democratic reforms, most importantly the removal of the constitutionally mandated leading role of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Mladenov announced on 11 December 1989 that the Communist Party would abandon its monopoly on power, and that multiparty elections would be held the following year. In February 1990, the Bulgarian legislature deleted the portion of the constitution about the "leading role" of the Communist Party. Eventually, it was decided that a round table on the Polish model would be held in 1990 and elections held by June 1990. The round table took place from 3 January to 14 May 1990, at which an agreement was reached on the transition to democracy. The Communist Party abandoned Marxism–Leninism
Marxism–Leninism
in April 1990 and renamed itself as the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In June 1990 the first free elections since 1931 were held, won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Romania[edit] Main article: Romanian Revolution After having suppressed the Braşov Rebellion
Rebellion
in 1987, Nicolae Ceauşescu was re-elected for another five years as leader of the Romanian Communist Party
Romanian Communist Party
(PCR) in November 1989, 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
ordered the arrest and exile of a local Hungarian Calvinist minister, László Tőkés, on 16 December, for sermons offending the regime. Tőkés was seized, but only after serious rioting erupted. Timişoara
Timişoara
was the first city to react on 16 December and civil unrest continued for five days.

Armed civilians during the Romanian Revolution. The revolution was the only violent overthrow of a Communist state
Communist state
in the Warsaw Pact. Returning from Iran, Ceauşescu ordered a mass rally in his support outside Communist Party headquarters in Bucharest on 21 December. However, to his shock the crowd booed and jeered him as he spoke. 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. However, on the morning of 22 December, the Romanian military suddenly changed sides. This came after it was announced that defense minister Vasile Milea
Vasile Milea
had committed suicide after being unmasked as a traitor. Believing Milea had actually been murdered, the rank-and-file soldiers went over virtually en masse to the revolution.[51] 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, coming within a few meters of the couple. However, they managed to escape via a helicopter waiting for them on the roof of the building. 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 being executed by firing squad. An interim National Salvation Front Council led by Ion Iliescu took over and announced elections for April 1990, the first free elections held in Romania
Romania
since 1937. These were, however, postponed until 20 May 1990. The Romanian Revolution
Romanian Revolution
was the bloodiest of the revolutions of 1989: over 1,000 people died, one hundred of which were children, the youngest only one month old. Unlike its kindred parties in the Warsaw Pact, the PCR simply melted away; no present-day Romanian party claiming to be its successor has ever been elected to the legislature since the change of system. However, former PCR members have played significant roles in post-1989 Romanian politics; every Romanian President
Romanian President
until the election of Klaus Iohannis in 2014 was a former Communist Party member.

Yugoslavia[edit] Main articles: Breakup of Yugoslavia
Breakup of Yugoslavia
and Yugoslav Wars The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
was not a part of the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
but pursued its own version of Communism
Communism
under Josip Broz Tito. It was a multi-ethnic state which Tito was able to maintain through a Yugoslav patriotic doctrine of "Brotherhood and unity". Tensions between ethnicities began to escalate, however, with the Croatian Spring
Croatian Spring
of 1970–71, a movement for greater Croatian autonomy, which was suppressed. Constitutional changes were instituted in 1974, and the 1974 Yugoslav Constitution
1974 Yugoslav Constitution
devolved some federal powers to the constituent republics and provinces. After Tito's death in 1980 ethnic tensions grew, first in Albanian-majority SAP Kosovo with the 1981 protests in Kosovo. Parallel to the same process, Slovenia
Slovenia
initiated a policy of gradual liberalization in 1984, somewhat similar to the Soviet Perestroika. This provoked tensions between the League of Communists of Slovenia and the central Yugoslav Party and federal army. By the late 1980s, many civil society groups were pushing towards democratization, while widening the space for cultural plurality. In 1987 and 1988, a series of clashes between the emerging civil society and the Communist regime culminated with the so-called Slovene Spring, a mass movement for democratic reforms. The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights was established as the platform of all major non-Communist political movements. By early 1989, several anti-Communist political parties were already openly functioning, challenging the hegemony of the Slovenian Communists. Soon, the Slovenian Communists, pressured by their own civil society, came into conflict with the Serbian Communist leadership.[citation needed]

Ethnic groups in Yugoslavia
Ethnic groups in Yugoslavia
in 1991 In January 1990, an extraordinary Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was called in order to settle the disputes among its constituent parties. Faced with being completely outnumbered, the Slovenian and Croatian Communists walked out of the Congress on 23 January 1990, thus effectively bringing to an end to Yugoslavia's communist party. Both parties of the two western republics negotiated free multi-party elections with their own opposition movements. On 8 April 1990, the democratic and anti-Yugoslav DEMOS coalition
DEMOS coalition
won the elections in Slovenia, while on 24 April 1990 the Croatian elections resulted in a landslide victory for the nationalist Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led by Franjo Tuđman. The results were much more balanced in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
and in Macedonia in November 1990, while the parliamentary and presidential elections of December 1990 in Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro
consolidated the power of Milošević and his supporters. Free elections on the level of the federation were never carried out. The Slovenian and Croatian leaderships started preparing plans for secession from the federation, while a part of the Serbs of Croatia started the so-called Log Revolution, an insurrection organized by Serbia
Serbia
that would lead to the creation of the breakaway region of SAO Krajina. In the Slovenian independence referendum on 23 December 1990, 88.5% of residents voted for independence.[52] In the Croatian independence referendum on 2 May 1991, 93.24% voted for independence. The escalating ethnic and national tensions were exacerbated by the drive for independence and led to the following Yugoslav wars:

War in Slovenia
Slovenia
(1991) Croatian War of Independence
Croatian War of Independence
(1991–1995) Bosnian War
Bosnian War
(1992–1995) Kosovo
Kosovo
War (1998–1999), including the NATO
NATO
bombing of Yugoslavia. In addition, the insurgency in the Preševo Valley (1999–2001) and the insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia (2001) are also often discussed in the same context.[53][54][55]

Albania[edit] Main article: Fall of communism in Albania
Fall of communism in Albania
In the People's Socialist Republic of Albania, Enver Hoxha, who led Albania for four decades, died on 11 April 1985. His successor, Ramiz Alia, began to gradually open up the regime from above. In 1989, the first revolts started in Shkodra
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—the first free elections in Albania since 1923, and only the third free elections in the country's history—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 held in March 1992, amid economic collapse and social unrest.

Mongolia[edit] Main article: Mongolian Revolution
Revolution
of 1990 Mongolia declared independence in 1911 during the fall of the Qing dynasty. The Mongolian People's Party
Mongolian People's Party
took power in 1921, and the party renamed itself the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.[56] During these years, Mongolia was closely aligned with the Soviet Union. After Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal
Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal
left in 1984, the new leadership under Jambyn Batmönkh
Jambyn Batmönkh
implemented economic reforms, but failed to appeal to those who, in late 1989, wanted broader changes.[57] The "Mongolian Revolution" was a democratic, peaceful revolution that started with demonstrations and hunger strikes and ended 70-years of Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
and eventually moved towards democracy. It was spearheaded by mostly younger people demonstrating on Sükhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square
in the capital Ulaanbaatar. It ended with the authoritarian government resigning without bloodshed. Some of the main organizers were Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Sanjaasürengiin Zorig, Erdeniin Bat-Üül, and Bat-Erdeniin Batbayar. During the morning of 10 December 1989, the first public demonstration occurred in front of the Youth Cultural Center in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.[58] There, Elbegdorj announced the creation of the Mongolian Democratic Union,[59] and the first pro-democracy movement in Mongolia began. The protesters called for Mongolia to adopt perestroika and glasnost. Dissident leaders demanded free elections and economic reform, but within the context of a "human democratic socialism".[57] The protesters injected a nationalist element into the protests by using traditional Mongolian script—which most Mongolians could not read—as a symbolic repudiation of the political system which had imposed the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet. In late December 1989, demonstrations increased when news came of Garry Kasparov's interview in Playboy, suggesting that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
could improve its economic health by selling Mongolia to China.[57] On 14 January 1990, the protesters, having grown from three hundred to some 1,000, met in a square in front of Lenin Museum in Ulaanbaatar, which has been named Freedom Square since then. A demonstration in Sükhbaatar Square
Sükhbaatar Square
on 21 January (in weather of -30 C) followed. Protesters carried banners alluding to Chinggis Khaan (also referred to Genghis Khan), rehabilitating a figure whom Soviet schooling neglected to praise.[60] In subsequent months of 1990, activists continued to organize demonstrations, rallies, protests and hunger strikes, as well as teachers' and workers' strikes.[61] Activists had growing support from Mongolians, both in the capital and the countryside and the union's activities led to other calls for democracy all over the country.[62] After numerous demonstrations of many thousands of people in the capital city as well as provincial centers, on 4 March 1990, the MDU and three other reform organizations held a joint outdoor mass meeting, inviting the government to attend. The government sent no representative to what became a demonstration of over 100,000 people demanding democratic change.[63] This culminated with Jambyn Batmönkh, chairman of Politburo of MPRP's Central Committee decided to dissolve the Politburo and to resign on 9 March 1990.[64][65] Mongolia's first free, multi-party elections for a bicameral parliament took place on 29 July 1990.[63][66] Parties ran for 430 seats in the Great Hural. Opposition parties were not able to nominate enough candidates. The opposition nominated 346 candidates for the 430 seats in the Great Hural (upper house). The Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) won 357 seats in the Great Hural and 31 out of 53 seats in the Small Hural (which was later abolished) as well.[67] The MPRP enjoyed a strong position in the countryside. The State Great Khural
State Great Khural
first met on 3 September 1990 and elected a president (MPRP), vice president (Social Democrat) who was also a chairman of the Baga Hural, prime minister (MPRP), and 50 members to the Baga Hural (lower house). In November 1991, the People's Great Hural began discussion on a new constitution, which entered into force on 12 February 1992. In addition, the new constitution restructured the legislative branch of government, creating a unicameral legislature, the State Great Hural (SGH). The MPRP retained its majority, but lost the 1996 elections. The final Russian troops, which had stationed in Mongolia in 1966, fully withdrew in December 1992.

China[edit] Main article: Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
protests of 1989 While China
China
did not undergo a revolution in 1989, a popular national movement led to large demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(1982–1987) had developed the concept of socialism with Chinese characteristics and enacted local market economy reforms around 1984, but the policy had stalled.[68] The first Chinese student demonstrations, which eventually led to the Beijing protests of 1989, took place in December 1986 in Hefei. The students called for campus elections, the chance to study abroad and greater availability of Western pop culture. Their protests took advantage of the loosening political atmosphere and included rallies against the slow pace of reform. Hu Yaobang, a protégé of Deng Xiaoping and a leading advocate of reform, was blamed for the protests and forced to resign as the CCP general secretary in January 1987. In the "Anti Bourgeois Liberalization Campaign", Hu would be further denounced. The Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
protests were sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang on 15 April 1989. By the eve of Hu's state funeral, some 100,000 students had gathered at Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
to observe it; however, no leaders emerged from the Great Hall. The movement lasted for seven weeks.[69] Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
visited China
China
on 15 May during the protests, bringing 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, who had begun to radically reform the economy earlier than the Soviets, was open to political reform, but not at the cost of a potential return to the disorder of the Cultural Revolution. The movement lasted from Hu's death on 15 April until tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square
on 4 June 1989. In Beijing, the military response to the protest by the PRC government left many civilians in charge of clearing the square of the dead and severely injured. The exact number of casualties is not known and many different estimates exist.

Malta Summit[edit] Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
and President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
on board the Soviet cruise ship Maxim Gorky, Marsaxlokk Harbour The Malta Summit
Malta Summit
consisted of a meeting between U.S. President George H. W. Bush and U.S.S.R. leader Mikhail Gorbachev, taking place between 2–3 December 1989, just a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a meeting which contributed to the end of the Cold War[citation needed] partially as a result of the broader pro-democracy movement. It was their second meeting following a meeting that included then President Ronald Reagan, in New York in December 1988. News reports of the time[70] referred to the Malta Summit
Malta Summit
as the most important since 1945, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed on a post-war plan for Europe at the Yalta Conference.

Election chronology in Central/ Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
and Central Asia[edit] Between June 1989 and April 1991, every Communist or former Communist country in Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe
and Central Asia—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, while others were fully democratic. The chronology below gives the details of these historic elections, and the dates are the first day of voting as several elections were split over several days for run-off contests:

  Poland
Poland
– 4 June 1989  Turkmenia – 7 January 1990   Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
– 18 February 1990   Lithuania
Lithuania
– 24 February 1990  Moldavia- 25 February 1990  Kirghizia – 25 February 1990   Tajikistan
Tajikistan
– 25 February 1990  Byelorussia – 4 March 1990   Russia
Russia
– 4 March 1990   Ukraine
Ukraine
– 4 March 1990   East Germany
East Germany
– 18 March 1990   Estonia
Estonia
– 18 March 1990   Latvia
Latvia
– 18 March 1990   Hungary
Hungary
– 25 March 1990   Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
– 25 March 1990   Slovenia
Slovenia
– 8 April 1990   Croatia
Croatia
– 24 April 1990   Romania
Romania
– 20 May 1990   Armenia
Armenia
– 20 May 1990 Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
– 8 June 1990   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
– 10 June 1990  Mongolia – 22 June 1990   Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
– 30 September 1990  Georgia – 28 October 1990  Macedonia – 11 November 1990   Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
– 18 November 1990   Serbia
Serbia
– 8 December 1990   Montenegro
Montenegro
– 9 December 1990  Albania – 7 April 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union[edit] Main article: Dissolution of the Soviet Union Eastern Bloc Soviet Socialist Republics Armenia Azerbaijan Byelorussia Estonia Georgia Kazakhstan Kirghizia Latvia Lithuania Moldavia Russia Tajikistan Turkmenia Ukraine Uzbekistan

Allied states Afghanistan Albania Angola Benin Bulgaria China Congo Cuba Czechoslovakia East Germany Ethiopia Grenada Hungary Kampuchea Laos Mongolia Mozambique North Korea Poland Romania Somalia South Yemen Vietnam Yugoslavia

Related organizations Cominform Comecon Warsaw Pact World Federation of Trade Unions World Federation of Democratic Youth

Dissent and opposition Anti-Soviet partisans Albania Bulgaria Croatia Estonia Latvia Lithuania Poland Romania Serbia Ukraine

Guerrilla war in the Baltic states Forest Brothers Operation Jungle Soviet occupation

Protests and uprisings Plzeň 1953 East Germany
East Germany
1953 Georgia 1956 Poznań 1956 Hungary
Hungary
1956 Novocherkassk 1962 Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
1968 Invasion Red Square
Red Square
1968

Charter 77
Charter 77
(Czechoslovakia) Solidarity (Poland) Jeltoqsan
Jeltoqsan
(Kazakhstan) Braşov rebellion (Romania) January Events
January Events
(Lithuania) The Barricades
The Barricades
(Latvia) April 9 tragedy
April 9 tragedy
(Georgia) Black January
Black January
(Azerbaijan)

Cold War
Cold War
events Marshall Plan Czechoslovak coup Tito–Stalin split Berlin Blockade Korean War Secret Speech Sino-Soviet Split Berlin Wall Cuban Missile Crisis Vietnam
Vietnam
War Cuban intervention in Angola Afghan War Moscow
Moscow
Olympics

Decline Singing Revolution Polish Round Table Agreement Revolutions of 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall January Events in Latvia Breakup of Yugoslavia Yugoslav Wars End of the Soviet Union Fall of communism in Albania Dissolution of Czechoslovakia vte On 1 July 1991, the Warsaw Pact
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 1990–1991 Gulf War
Gulf War
had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems. As the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
rapidly withdrew its forces from Central and Southeast Europe, the spillover from the 1989 upheavals began reverberating throughout the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
itself. Agitation for self-determination led to first Lithuania, and then Estonia, Latvia and Armenia
Armenia
declaring independence. However, the Soviet central government demanded the revocation of the declarations and threatened military action and economic sanctions. The government even went as far as controversially sending Soviet Army
Soviet Army
troops to the streets of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, to suppress the separatist movements in January 1991, causing the deaths of 14 people. 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, whose ramshackle foundations were exposed with the removal of Communist discipline. Gorbachev's reforms had failed to improve the economy, with the old Soviet command structure completely breaking down. One by one, the constituent republics created their own economic systems and voted to subordinate Soviet laws to local laws. In 1990, the Communist Party was forced to surrender its seven-decade monopoly of political power when the Supreme Soviet rescinded the clause in the Soviet Constitution that guaranteed its sole authority to rule. Gorbachev's policies caused the Communist Party to lose its grip over the media. Details of the Soviet Union's past were quickly being declassified. This caused many to distrust the 'old system' and push for greater autonomy and independence.

Tanks in Moscow's Red Square
Red Square
during the 1991 coup attempt After a referendum confirmed the preservation of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
but in a looser form, a group of Soviet hard-liners represented by Vice-President Gennadi Yanayev
Gennadi Yanayev
launched a coup attempting to overthrow Gorbachev in August 1991. Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian SFSR, rallied the people and much of the army against the coup and the effort collapsed. Although restored to power, Gorbachev's authority had been irreparably undermined. Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary of the Communist Party following the coup, and the Supreme Soviet dissolved the Party and banned all Communist activity on Soviet soil. Just a few weeks later, the government granted the Baltic states their independence on 6 September. Over the next three months, one republic after another declared independence, mostly out of fear of another coup. Also during this time, the Soviet government was rendered useless as the new Russian government began taking over what remained of it, including the Kremlin. The penultimate step came on 1 December, when voters in the second most powerful republic, Ukraine, overwhelmingly voted to secede from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in a referendum. This ended any realistic chance of keeping the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
together. On 8 December, Yeltsin met with his counterparts from Ukraine
Ukraine
and Belarus
Belarus
and signed the Belavezha Accords, declaring that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had ceased to exist. Gorbachev denounced this as illegal, but he had long since lost any ability to influence events outside of Moscow.

Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War Two weeks later, 11 of the remaining 12 republics—all except Georgia—signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the Soviet Union had been effectively dissolved and replaced by a new voluntary association, the Commonwealth of Independent States. Bowing to the inevitable, Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president on 25 December, and the Supreme Soviet ratified the Belavezha Accords
Belavezha Accords
the next day, legally dissolving itself and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
as a political entity. By the end of 1991, the few Soviet institutions that hadn't been taken over by Russia
Russia
had dissolved. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was officially disbanded, breaking up into fifteen constituent parts, thereby ending the world's largest and most influential Socialist state, and leaving to China
China
that position. A constitutional crisis dissolved into violence in Moscow
Moscow
as the Russian Army
Russian Army
was called in to reestablish order.

Baltic states[edit] Main article: Singing Revolution Baltic Way
Baltic Way
was a human chain of approximately two million people dedicated to liberating the Baltic Republics
Baltic Republics
from the Soviet Union. Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania
Lithuania
implemented democratic reforms and achieved independence from the Soviet Union. The Singing Revolution
Revolution
is a commonly used name for events between 1987 and 1991 that led to the restoration of the independence of Estonia, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania.[71][72] The term was coined by an Estonian activist and artist, Heinz Valk, in an article published a week after the 10–11 June 1988 spontaneous mass night-singing demonstrations at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.[73] Estonia
Estonia
declared its sovereignty from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on 16 November 1988. Lithuania followed on 18 May 1989 and Latvia
Latvia
on 28 July 1989. Lithuania
Lithuania
declared full independence on 11 March 1990 and on 30 March, Estonia
Estonia
announced the start of a transitional period to independence, followed by Latvia on 4 May. These declarations were met with force from the Soviet Union in early 1991, in confrontations known as the "January Events" in Lithuania
Lithuania
and "The Barricades" in Latvia. The Baltic states
Baltic states
contended that their incorporation into the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had been illegal under both international law and their own law, and they were reasserting an independence that still legally existed. Soon after the launching of the August coup, Estonia
Estonia
and Latvia declared full independence. By the time the coup was foiled, the USSR was no longer unified enough to mount a forceful resistance, and it recognized the independence of the Baltic states
Baltic states
on 6 September.

Belarus, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Moldova[edit]   Belarus
Belarus
declared full independence from the USSR on August 25, 1991. The main political changes of the early 1990s were driven by the Belarusian Popular Front
Belarusian Popular Front
and its fraction in the Supreme Soviet of Belarus. A few years later, a new postcommunist leader, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, obtained power. After a short period he increased his power as a result of two controversial referendums (1995–96) and has been criticized for repressing political opposition ever since.   Moldova
Moldova
participated in the War of Transnistria
War of Transnistria
between Moldova and Russian-connected forces in the separatist region of Transnistria. Communists came back to power in a 2001 election under Vladimir Voronin, but faced civil unrest in 2009 over accusations of rigged elections.   Ukraine
Ukraine
declared its independence in August 1991. Presidencies of former Communists Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Kravchuk
and Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma
were followed by the Orange Revolution
Revolution
in 2004, in which Ukrainians elected Viktor Yushchenko (also former member of CPSU). Transcaucasia[edit] Photos of 9 April 1989 victims of the Tbilisi massacre
Tbilisi massacre
on a billboard in Tbilisi Following Georgia’s declaration of independence in 1991, South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
declared their desire to leave Georgia and remain part of the Soviet Union/Russia.[74]  Georgia and the North Caucasus
Caucasus
have been marred by ethnic and sectarian violence since the collapse of the USSR. In April 1989 the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
massacred demonstrators in Tbilisi; in November 1989, the Georgian SSR officially condemned the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Democracy
Democracy
activist Zviad Gamsakhurdia
Zviad Gamsakhurdia
served as president from 1991 to 1992.[74] Russia
Russia
aided break-away republics in wars in South Ossetia and Abkhazia
Abkhazia
during the early 1990s, conflicts that have periodically reemerged, and Russia
Russia
has accused Georgia of supporting Chechen rebels during the Chechen wars. A coup d'état installed former Communist leader Eduard Shevardnadze
Eduard Shevardnadze
as President of Georgia until the Rose Revolution
Revolution
in 2003.  Armenia's independence struggle included violence as the Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nagorno-Karabakh War
was fought between Armenia
Armenia
and Azerbaijan. Armenia
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
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.  Azerbaijan's Popular Front Party won the 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
Turkey
and Europe, and as a result was overthrown by former Communists in a coup backed by Russia
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).[75] 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
KGB
and Azerbaijani SSR leader Heydar Aliyev
Heydar Aliyev
captured power and remained president until he transferred the presidency to his son in 2003. The Nagorno-Karabakh War was fought between Armenia
Armenia
and Azerbaijan, and has largely defined the fates of both countries. However, unlike Armenia, which remains a strong Russian ally, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
has begun, since Russia's 2008 war with Georgia, to foster better relations with Turkey
Turkey
and other Western nations, while lessening ties with Russia.[76] Chechnya[edit] Chechen women praying for Russian troops not to advance towards Grozny
Grozny
during the First Chechen War, December 1994. In Chechnya
Chechnya
(an autonomous republic within Russian SFSR that had a strong desire for independence), using tactics partly copied from the Baltics, anti-Communist coalition forces led by former Soviet general Dzhokhar Dudayev
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 Dudayev's desire to exclude Moscow
Moscow
from all oil deals, Yeltsin backed a failed coup against him in 1993. In 1994, Chechnya, with only marginal recognition (one country: Georgia, which was revoked soon after the coup landing Shevardnadze in power), was invaded by Russia, spurring the First Chechen War. The Chechens, with considerable assistance from the populations of both former-Soviet countries and from Sunni Muslim countries repelled this invasion and a peace treaty was signed in 1997. However, Chechnya
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
Russia
used as pretext for reinvading Ichkeria. Ichkeria was then reincorporated into Russia
Russia
as Chechnya again, though insurgency continues.[77]

Central Asia[edit]  Kazakhstan's independence struggle began with the Jeltoqsan uprising in 1986. Former Communist leader Nursultan Nazarbayev
Nursultan Nazarbayev
has been in power since 1990 when he started serving as President of Kazakh SSR.  Kyrgyzstan's Askar Akayev
Askar Akayev
retained power until the Tulip Revolution
Revolution
in 2005.  Tajikistan's Rahmon Nabiyev
Rahmon Nabiyev
retained power, which led to the civil war in Tajikistan. Emomali Rahmon
Emomali Rahmon
has succeeded Nabiyev and has retained power since 1992.  Turkmenistan's Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Niyazov
retained power until his death in 2006 and was criticized as one of the world's most totalitarian and repressive leaders, maintaining his own cult of personality.  Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov
Islam Karimov
retained power until his death in 2016, and was widely criticized for repressing the political opposition throughout his tenure. Post-Soviet conflicts[edit] Georgian Civil War
Georgian Civil War
and the War in Abkhazia
Abkhazia
in August–October 1993 Russia
Russia
was involved in a number of conflicts, including the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the War of Transnistria, the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War, the First Chechen War, the War in Abkhazia, the Ossetian–Ingush conflict, and the Crimea and Donbass conflicts in Ukraine.

Other events[edit] Communist and Socialist countries[edit] See also: List of socialist states Reforms in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and its allied countries also led to dramatic changes to Communist and Socialist states outside of Europe.

Africa[edit]   Algeria
Algeria
– 1988 October Riots, democratization through the 1989 constitutional referendum, victory of, an Islamist party, the FIS in the 1990 local elections and in the 1991 legislative elections, leading to a military coup in January 1992, sparking the Algerian Civil War, until 2002. Angola
Angola
– The ruling MPLA
MPLA
government abandoned Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
in 1991 and agreed to the Bicesse Accords in the same year, however the Angolan Civil War
Angolan Civil War
between the MPLA
MPLA
and the conservative UNITA continued for another decade. Benin
Benin
– Mathieu Kérékou's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
in 1989.   Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
– democratization in 1990.   Cape Verde
Cape Verde
– The ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde
Cape Verde
party cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1991.   Chad
Chad
– democratization in 1990. Congo-Brazzaville – Denis Sassou Nguesso's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
in 1991. The nation had elections in 1992 and First Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Civil War in 1993.   Djibouti
Djibouti
Djiboutian Civil War
Djiboutian Civil War
in 1991 and democratization in 1992. Eritrean War of Independence
Eritrean War of Independence
against Ethiopia
Ethiopia
ended in 1991 Ethiopia
Ethiopia
– A new constitution was implemented in 1987 and, following the withdrawal of Soviet and Cuban assistance, the Communist military junta Derg
Derg
led by Mengistu Haile Mariam
Mengistu Haile Mariam
was defeated by the rebel EPRDF in the Ethiopian Civil War
Ethiopian Civil War
and fled in 1991.   Ghana
Ghana
– Coup; Distance from the Soviet Union   Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
– democratization in 1991. Madagascar
Madagascar
– Socialist President Didier Ratsiraka was ousted.   Mali
Mali
Moussa Traoré was ousted, Mali
Mali
adopted a new constitution; held multi-party elections. Rebellion
Rebellion
in 1990 and coup d'état in 1991. Mozambique
Mozambique
– The Mozambican Civil War
Mozambican Civil War
between the socialist FRELIMO and the RENAMO
RENAMO
conservatives was ended via treaty in 1992. FRELIMO subsequently abandoned Marxism–Leninism
Marxism–Leninism
in favor of democratic socialism with the support of the UN, held multiparty elections.   São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe
– The ruling Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe/Social Democratic Party cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1991.   Seychelles
Seychelles
– democratization in 1991. Somalia
Somalia
– Rebelling Somalis overthrew Siad Barre's Communist military junta during the Somali Revolution. Somalia
Somalia
has been in a constant state of civil war ever since.   Sudan
Sudan
– End the reign of the Democratic Unionist Party by coup d'état Omar al-Bashir in 1989   Tanzania
Tanzania
– The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi
Chama Cha Mapinduzi
party cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1995.   Tunisia
Tunisia
– Renaming the Tunisian Communist Party in Ettajdid Movement in 1993 and renaming the Socialist Destourian Party in Democratic Constitutional Rally in 1988.   Zambia
Zambia
– The ruling United National Independence Party
United National Independence Party
cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1991. Middle East[edit] Afghanistan
Afghanistan
– Renamed Republic of Afghanistan
Afghanistan
in 1987, Soviet occupation ended and the Communist government under Mohammad Najibullah fell to the Mujahideen
Mujahideen
in 1992. Iraq
Iraq
– Uprisings in 1991. Remained under Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime until 2003 with American invasion overthrowing his regime. Kuwait
Kuwait
– Annexed by Iraq
Iraq
in 1990. Then liberated during the Gulf War. Palestinian Territories – The Palestine Liberation Organization lost one of its most important diplomatic patrons, due to the deterioration of the Soviet Union, Arafat's failing relationship with Moscow
Moscow
and loss of a one-party government and Suspension PFLP-GC of the PLO in 1984. First Intifada
First Intifada
occurred from 1987 to 1991, leading to the PLO recognition of Israel.   South Yemen
South Yemen
South Yemen
South Yemen
Civil War in 1986; Abandoned Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
in 1990; it reunified with the more capitalist North Yemen that year, though this later led to a civil war.   Syria
Syria
– The Syrian Communist Party
Syrian Communist Party
was divided to two parties in 1986. Syria
Syria
participated in the Madrid Conference of 1991
Madrid Conference of 1991
and met its Cold War
Cold War
enemy Israel
Israel
in peace negotiations. The Syrian Democratic People's Party from the Left-wing to center-left. Asia[edit]   Bangladesh
Bangladesh
– Internal conflict from 1989. Burma – The 8888 Uprising
8888 Uprising
in 1988 saw the demise of the Burma Socialist Programme Party, but failed to bring democracy, although Marxism was abandoned. The country was led by a military government under the State Peace and Development Council
State Peace and Development Council
until 2011, following 2010 elections viewed by many Western countries as fraudulent. End of the Communist insurgency in 1989. Cambodia
Cambodia
– The Vietnam-supported government, which had been in power since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, lost power following UN-sponsored elections in 1993, the CGDK was dissolved in 1993 and the Party of Democratic Kampuchea was dissolved in 1992.   China
China
– The Communist Party of China
China
began implementing liberalizing economic reforms during the late 1970s under Deng Xiaoping. However, the pro-democracy protests of 1989 were crushed by the military. Unrest in Tibet in 1987. The URFET and the ETPRP was dissolved.   India
India
– Indian economic reforms were launched in 1991. And Resolution of the People's Party of Arunachal. The Rashtriya Samajwadi Congress was dissolved in 1989, Tripura National Volunteers was dissolved in 1988 and Hmar People's Convention was dissolved in 1986. Begin of the Insurgency
Insurgency
in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989.   Laos
Laos
– Remained Communist under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. Laos
Laos
was forced to ask France
France
and Japan
Japan
for emergency assistance, and also to ask the World Bank
World Bank
and the Asian Development Bank for aid. Finally, in 1989, Kaisôn visited Beijing to confirm the restoration of friendly relations, and to secure Chinese aid. The red star and the hammer and sickle was taken out from the crest in 1991.   North Korea
North Korea
Kim Il-sung
Kim Il-sung
died in 1994, passing power to his son Kim Jong-il. Unprecedented floods and the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
led to the North Korean famine, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million North Koreans. All references to Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
were replaced by Juche
Juche
in 1992, thus signifying an apparent downplaying of the role of Communism in North Korea.   Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
– 1989 Revolt   Vietnam
Vietnam
– The Communist Party of Vietnam
Vietnam
has undertaken Doi Moi reforms since 1986, liberalizing certain sectors of the economy in a manner similar to China. Vietnam
Vietnam
is still a single-party Communist state. Latin America[edit]   Cuba
Cuba
– The end of Soviet subsidies led to the Special
Special
Period. Introduction of non-selectable parties in 1992. An unsuccessful protest was held in 1994.   Nicaragua
Nicaragua
– Daniel Ortega's Sandinista lost the multi-party elections in 1990, and the National Opposition Union
National Opposition Union
won.   Suriname
Suriname
– democratization in 1987 and Suriname
Suriname
Guerrilla War 1986–1992. Oceania[edit]   Vanuatu
Vanuatu
– Vanua'aku Pati lost the multi-party elections in 1991, and the Union of Moderate Parties won. Other countries[edit] Many Soviet-supported political parties and militant groups around the world suffered from demoralization and loss of financing.

  Australia
Australia
– The Communist Party of Australia
Australia
was dissolved in 1991.   Austria
Austria
– The Communist Party of Austria
Austria
lost its East German financing and 250 million euros in assets.   Belgium
Belgium
– The Communist Party of Belgium
Belgium
was divided to two parties in 1989.   Burundi
Burundi
– 1996 Burundian coup d'état   Canada
Canada
- In 1990 the Communist Party was de-registered and had its assets seized, forcing it to begin an ultimately successful thirteen-year political and legal battle to maintain registration of small political parties in Canada
Canada
known as Figueroa v. Canada, thus changing the legal definition of a political party in Canada
Canada
in 2003 and now operates without any elected political representation.   Finland
Finland
– The Finnish People's Democratic League was dissolved in 1990 and the bankrupt Communist Party of Finland
Finland
collapsed in 1992, and absorbed to the Left Alliance.   France
France
– The collapse of the Eastern Bloc
Eastern Bloc
came as a shock to the French Communist Party. The crisis is called la mutation. Fusion of the Unified Socialist Party with the New Left for Socialism, Ecology and Self-management for Red and Green Alternatives in 1989.  Gambia – 1994 Gambian coup d'état  West Germany
Germany
– The Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction
lost its long-term supporter, the Stasi, after the fall of the Berlin Wall.[78]   Greece
Greece
– The Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece
Greece
was dissolved in 1993 and merged into the Movement for a United Communist Party of Greece. Greek Left was dissolved in 1992.  Ireland – The Communist Party of Ireland
Communist Party of Ireland
declined significantly. Democratic Socialist Party was dissolved.   Italy
Italy
– The collapse caused the Italian Communist Party
Italian Communist Party
to reform itself, creating two new groups, the larger Democratic Party of the Left and the smaller Communist Refoundation Party. The disappearance of the Communist party in part led to profound changes within the Italian political party system in 1992–1994 and collapse of the Radical Party in 1989 and the Italian Socialist Party
Italian Socialist Party
in 1994. Disintegration of the Red Brigades
Red Brigades
in 1988.   Japan
Japan
– The Japanese Communist Party
Japanese Communist Party
issued a statement titled "We welcome the end of a great historical evil of imperialism and hegemonism".   Lebanon
Lebanon
– End of the Civil War   Liberia
Liberia
– First Liberian Civil War   Malaysia
Malaysia
– The Malayan Communist Party
Malayan Communist Party
laid down its arms in 1989, ending an insurgency that had lasted decades.   Maldives
Maldives
– the failed 1988 Maldives
Maldives
coup d'état   Mexico
Mexico
– The Mexican Communist Party
Mexican Communist Party
and a number of other Communist parties
Communist parties
were dissolved in 1989 and absorbed first into the Mexican Socialist Party
Mexican Socialist Party
and then into the Party of the Democratic Revolution. And collapse of the Socialist Mexican Party
Socialist Mexican Party
in 1989.   Morocco
Morocco
– End of the Western Sahara War
Western Sahara War
in 1991. Nepal
Nepal
– The Communist Party of Nepal
Nepal
(Janamukhi) and the Communist Party of Nepal
Nepal
(Fourth Convention) was dissolved in 1990.   Netherlands
Netherlands
– The Communist Party of the Netherlands
Netherlands
was dissolved in 1991 and absorbed to the GreenLeft. League of Communists in the Netherlands
Netherlands
was dissolved in 1992.   Niger
Niger
Coup d'état
Coup d'état
in 1996.   Norway
Norway
– The Communist Party of Norway
Norway
changed their pro-Soviet line.   Oman
Oman
– The Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman
Oman
was dissolved in 1992.   Peru
Peru
– The Shining Path, responsible for killing tens of thousands people, shrunk in the 1990s.   Philippines
Philippines
– The Communist Party of the Philippines experienced criticism and the debates that ensued between the leading party cadres resulted to the expulsion of advocates of "left and right opportunism" notably forming the so-called "rejectionists" and "reaffirmist" factions. Those who affirmed the Maoist orthodoxy were called the "Reaffirmists", or RA, while those who rejected the document were called "Rejectionists" or RJ. In July 1993, the Komiteng Rehiyon ng Manila-Rizal (KRMR), one of the Rejectionists, declared its autonomy from the central leadership. Within a few months, several of the Party's regional formations and bureaus followed suit, permanently formalizing and deepening the schism.[79]   San Marino
San Marino
– The Sammarinese Communist Party was dissolved in 1990.   Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
– The beginning of the Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Civil War in 1990 and coup d'état in 1992.   Singapore
Singapore
– The Barisan Sosialis
Barisan Sosialis
was dissolved in 1988.   Spain
Spain
– The Workers' Party of Spain–Communist Unity
Workers' Party of Spain–Communist Unity
was dissolved in 1991. Alternative Left was dissolved in 1993. Communist Party of Spain
Spain
(Marxist–Leninist) (historical) was dissolved in 1992. The Communist Party of Galicia (Revolutionary Marxist) was dissolved in 1989.   Sweden
Sweden
– The Communist Association of Norrköping 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 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
Vänsterpartiet
(Left Party).   Turkey
Turkey
– The Communist Labour Party of Turkey
Turkey
was split.   United Kingdom
United Kingdom
– The Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
was dissolved. Concurrently, many anti-Communist authoritarian states, formerly supported by the US, gradually saw a transition to democracy.

  Brazil
Brazil
– had the first democratic presidential election since 1960 due to reforms started a few years earlier.   Chile
Chile
– The military junta under Augusto Pinochet
Pinochet
was pressured to implement democratic elections, which saw Chile's democratization in 1990. The Broad Party of Socialist Left
Broad Party of Socialist Left
Merged into Socialist Party of Chile.   Colombia
Colombia
– The conservative constitution of 1886 was repealed in 1991. The 19th of April Movement, the Quintin Lame Armed Movement and mostly of the Popular Liberation Army
Popular Liberation Army
gave up their weapons and began to participate in politics.   El Salvador
El Salvador
– The Salvadoran Civil War
Salvadoran Civil War
ended in 1992 following the Chapultepec Peace Accords. The rebel FMLN movement became a legal political party and participated in subsequent elections.   Guatemala
Guatemala
– The Guatemalan Civil War
Guatemalan Civil War
ended in 1996 and the rebel Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity
became a legal party.   Haiti
Haiti
– Haitian Revolution
Revolution
of 1986   Kenya
Kenya
– Restoration of multi-party democracy in 1991[80]   Panama
Panama
– The Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega
regime was overthrown by the US invasion in 1989 as a result of his suppression of elections, drug-trafficking activities and the killing of a US serviceman.   Paraguay
Paraguay
– The dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner
Alfredo Stroessner
came to an end when he was deposed in a military coup d'état. In 1992, the country's new constitution established a democratic system of government. Philippines
Philippines
– People Power Revolution
Revolution
in 1986.   Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwandan Civil War
Rwandan Civil War
in 1990.   Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
– Following the Soviet-Afghan War, Osama bin Laden, the founder of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, proposed to the Saudi monarchy not to rely on the United States
United States
after the fall of Kuwait. Bin Laden later denounced the Saudi invitation of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
82nd Airborne Division
and was eventually expelled from the country in 1992 due to the criticism. His citizenship was revoked in 1994.   South Korea
South Korea
– The June Democracy
Democracy
Movement's protests led to the fall of the Chun Doo-hwan
Chun Doo-hwan
government in 1987, and the country's first democratic elections. In 2000, North and South Korea
South Korea
agreed in principle to work towards peaceful reunification in the future.   South Africa
South Africa
– Negotiations were started in 1990 to end the Apartheid
Apartheid
system. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
was elected as the President of South Africa in 1994.   Taiwan
Taiwan
(Republic of China) – The nationalist Kuomintang
Kuomintang
party that had ruled under strict martial law since the end of the Chinese Civil War introduced democratizing reforms.   United States
United States
– Following the end of the Cold War, the United States became the world's sole superpower. It ceased to support many of the military dictatorships it had during the Cold War, pressing more nations to adopt democracy.   Zaire
Zaire
– Civil War in 1996. Countries that emerged into socialist-styled governments beyond 1991:

    Nepal
Nepal
Monarchy
Monarchy
was overthrown in 2008 and the republic has been ruled by Communist Party since then.   Venezuela
Venezuela
Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez
led the Fifth Republic Movement
Fifth Republic Movement
which led to the establishment of the Bolivarian Republic in 1999 and ruled the country until his death in 2013. Other impacts:

  Israel
Israel
– In 1990, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
finally permitted free emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. Prior to this, Jews trying to leave the USSR faced persecution; those who succeeded arrived as refugees. Over the next few years some one million Soviet citizens migrated to Israel. Although there was concern that some of the new immigrants had only a very tenuous connection to Judaism, and many were accompanied by non-Jewish relatives, this massive wave of migration brought large numbers of highly educated Soviet Jews and slowly changed the demographic nature of Israel. Political reforms[edit] Main article: Decommunization Decommunization
Decommunization
is a process of overcoming the legacies of the Communist state
Communist state
establishments, culture, and psychology in the post-Communist states. Decommunization
Decommunization
was largely limited or non-existent. Communist parties
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.[81] In several European countries, however, endorsing or attempting to justify crimes committed by Nazi or Communist regimes became punishable by up to 3 years of imprisonment.[82]

Economic reforms[edit] Russian GDP since the end of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(from 2014 are forecasts) State run enterprises in socialist countries had little or no interest in producing what customers wanted, which resulted in shortages of goods and services.[83] In the early 1990s, the general view was that there was no precedent for moving from socialism to capitalism",[84] and only some elderly people remembered how a market economy worked. As a result the view that Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
would stay poor for decades was common.[85] The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the breakdown of economic ties which followed, led to a severe economic crisis and catastrophic fall in the standards of living in the 1990s in post-Soviet states and the former Eastern bloc.[86][87] Even before Russia's financial crisis of 1998, Russia's GDP was half of what it had been in the early 1990s.[88] There was a temporary fall of output in the official economy and an increase in black market economic activity.[83] Countries implemented different reform programs. One example, generally regarded as successful was the "shock therapy" Balcerowicz Plan in Poland. Eventually the official economy began to grow.[83] In a 2007 paper, Oleh Havrylyshyn categorized the speed of reforms in the Soviet Bloc:[84]

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 NATO
NATO
has added 13 new members since the German reunification
German reunification
and the end of the Cold War. The 2004 enlargement of the European Union
European Union
included the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The 2007 enlargement of the European Union
European Union
included Romania and Bulgaria, and Croatia
Croatia
joined the EU in 2013. The same countries have also become NATO
NATO
members. In Mongolia, however, the economy was reformed in a similar fashion to the Eastern European counterparts. Chinese economic liberalization began in 1978 and has helped lift millions of people out of poverty, bringing the poverty rate down from 53% of the population in the Mao era to 12% in 1981. Deng's economic reforms are still being followed by the CPC today, and by 2001 the poverty rate became only 6% of the population.[89] Economic liberalization in Vietnam
Vietnam
was initiated in 1986, following the Chinese example. Economic liberalization in India
India
was initiated in 1991. Harvard University Professor Richard B. Freeman
Richard B. Freeman
has called the effect of reforms "The Great Doubling". He calculated that the size of the global workforce doubled from 1.46 billion workers to 2.93 billion workers.[90][91] 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.[91]

Ideological continuation of Communism[edit] Further information: Decommunization
Decommunization
in Russia
Russia
and Neo-Stalinism Five double-headed Russian coat-of-arms eagles (below) substituting the former state emblem of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the CCCP letters (above) in the facade of the Grand Kremlin Palace
Grand Kremlin Palace
after the dissolution of the Soviet Union Compared with the efforts of the other former constituents of the Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union, decommunization in Russia
Russia
has been restricted to half-measures, if conducted at all.[92] As of 2008, nearly half of Russians viewed Stalin positively, and many supported restoration of his previously dismantled monuments.[93][94] Neo- Stalinist
Stalinist
material such as describing Stalin's mass murder campaigns as "entirely rational" has been pushed into Russian textbooks.[95] In 1992, President Yeltsin's government invited Vladimir Bukovsky
Vladimir Bukovsky
to serve as an expert to testify at the CPSU
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
CPSU
itself had been an unconstitutional organization. To prepare for his testimony, Bukovsky requested and was granted access to a large number of documents from Soviet archives (then reorganized into TsKhSD). Using a small handheld scanner and a laptop computer, he managed to secretly scan many documents (some with high security clearance), including KGB reports to the Central Committee, and smuggle the files to the West.[96] The event that many expected would be another Nuremberg Trial
Nuremberg Trial
and the beginnings of reconciliation with the Communist past, ended up in half-measures: while the CPSU
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."[97]

Interpretations[edit] The events caught many by surprise. Predictions of the Soviet Union's impending demise had been often dismissed.[98] Bartlomiej Kaminski's book The Collapse of State Socialism
Socialism
argued that the state Socialist system has a lethal paradox, saying that "policy actions designed to improve performance only accelerate its decay".[99] 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
Stalinist
regime in Albania was unable to stem the tide. Gorbachev's abrogation of the Brezhnev Doctrine was perhaps the key factor that enabled the popular uprisings to succeed. Once it became evident that the feared Soviet Army
Soviet Army
would not intervene to crush dissent, the Central, South-East and Eastern European regimes were exposed as vulnerable in the face of popular uprisings against the one-party system and power of secret police. Coit D. Blacker wrote in 1990 that the Soviet leadership "appeared to have believed that whatever loss of authority the Soviet Union
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."[100] Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Gorbachev ever intended for the complete dismantling of Communism
Communism
and the Warsaw Pact. Rather, Gorbachev assumed that the Communist parties
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
Soviet Union
more efficient economically and politically, Gorbachev believed that the Comecon
Comecon
and Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
could be reformed into more effective entities. However, Alexander Yakovlev, a close advisor to Gorbachev, would later state that it would have been "absurd to keep the system" in Central and South-East Europe. Yakovlev had come to the conclusion that the Soviet-dominated Comecon
Comecon
could not work on non-market principles and that the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
had "no relevance to real life".[101]

Remembrance[edit] Organizations[edit] Memorial, an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states which focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian aspect of the past, but also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states at the present time, for example in Chechnya[102] Events[edit] German Unity Day
German Unity Day
in Germany, a national holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification
German reunification
in 1990 Statehood Day in Slovenia
Slovenia
commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 Independence and Unity Day in Slovenia
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
in Hungary Constitution Day in Mongolia commemorates the country's transition to democracy in 1992 Constitution Day in Romania
Romania
commemorates the 1991 Romanian Constitution that enshrined the return to democracy after the fall of the Communist regime Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
Democracy
Day in the Slovak Republic Struggle for Freedom and Democracy
Democracy
Day in the Czech Republic Restoration of Independence Day in Latvia
Latvia
commemorates the 1990 declaration restoring the country's independence Places[edit] This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
in Berlin, Germany Dawn of Liberty in Kazakhstan, a monument dedicated to Jeltoqsan DDR Museum
DDR Museum
in Berlin, Germany European Solidarity Centre
European Solidarity Centre
in Poland Gdańsk Shipyard
Gdańsk Shipyard
in Poland Global Museum on Communism Grūtas Park
Grūtas Park
in Lithuania House of Terror
House of Terror
in Hungary Lennon Wall
Lennon Wall
in the Czech Republic Memento Park
Memento Park
in Hungary Memorial of Rebirth in Romania Memorial to the Victims of Communism
Communism
in the Czech Republic Museum of Genocide Victims
Museum of Genocide Victims
in Vilnius, Lithuania Museum of Communism, Czech Republic Museum of Communism, Poland Museum of Occupations (Estonia) Museum of Occupation (Lithuania) Museum of the Occupation of Latvia Museum of Socialist Art in Bulgaria Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev, Ukraine Museum of Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi, Georgia Museum of Victims of Communism
Communism
in Moldova Museum of Victims of Occupational Regimes "Prison on Lontskoho" in Lviv, Ukraine Sighet Memorial Museum in the old prison in Sighetu Marmației, Romania Stasi
Stasi
Museum in the former Stasi
Stasi
headquarters, Berlin, Germany Transalpina Square
Transalpina Square
divided between the towns of Gorizia, Italy, and Nova Gorica, Slovenia Victims of Political Persecution
Persecution
Memorial Museum in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Other[edit] This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it. The Soviet Story, an award-winning documentary film about the Soviet Union The Singing Revolution, a documentary film about the Singing Revolution Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism, a book and a documentary film based on the book Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire, a Pulitzer Prize-awarded book A Political Tragedy in Six Acts, biography of dissident Václav Havel Right Here, Right Now, an international hit written by Mike Edwards and performed by his rock band Jesus Jones
Jesus Jones
and released in September 1990 "Wind of Change", a hit song by the German heavy-metal band Scorpions that celebrates Perestroyka
Perestroyka
and the fall of Communism
Communism
in Central and Eastern Europe See also[edit]

Arab Spring Atlantic Revolutions Baltic Tiger Breakup of Yugoslavia Carpat Tiger Chinese democracy movement Civil resistance Colour revolutions Commonwealth of Independent States Enlargement of NATO Enlargement of the European Union Euromaidan History of Solidarity Ján Čarnogurský January Events JBTZ-trial Jeans Revolution Orange Revolution Overthrow of Slobodan Milošević People Power Revolution Pink tide Polish Round Table Agreement Reagan Doctrine Revolutions of 1820 Revolutions of 1830 Revolutions of 1848 Revolutions of 1917–23 Rose Revolution Yugoslav Wars

Social movements portal1980s portal1990s portal Communism
Communism
portal References[edit]

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Further reading[edit] Ash, Timothy Garton (5 November 2009). "1989!". The New York Review of Books. 56 (17). De Nevers, Renée (2003). Comrades No More: The Seeds of Change in Eastern Europe. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-54129-7. Template:Cite booik Falk, Barbara J (2003). The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe. Central European University Press. ISBN 963-9241-39-3. Heenan, Patrick; Lamontagne, Monique (1999). The Central and Eastern Europe Handbook. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1-57958-089-0. Judah, Tim (17 February 2011). "Yugoslavia: 1918–2003". BBC. Retrieved 1 April 2012. Leffler, Melvyn P.; Westad, Odd Arne, eds. (2010). The Cambridge History of the Cold War. III. Endings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83721-7. Lévesque, Jacques (1997). The Enigma of 1989: The USSR and the Liberation of Eastern Europe. University of California Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-520-20631-1. Naimark, Norman; Case, Holly M. (2003). Yugoslavia and Its Historians: Understanding the Balkan Wars of the 1990s. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4594-3. Roberts, Adam (1991). Civil Resistance in the East European and Soviet Revolutions (PDF). Cambridge, MA: Albert Einstein Institution. ISBN 1-880813-04-1. Roberts, Adam; Ash, Timothy Garton, eds. (2009). Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-violent Action from Gandhi to the Present. Oxford: University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-955201-6. Contains chapters on the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(Mark Kramer), Czechoslovakia (Kieran Williams), Poland
Poland
(Alexander Smolar), Baltic States (Mark R. Beissinger), China
China
(Merle Goldman), and East Germany
East Germany
(Charles Maier). Rogel, Carole (2004). The Breakup of Yugoslavia
Breakup of Yugoslavia
and Its Aftermath. Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-32357-7. Sarotte, Mary Elise (2014). The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-06494-6. Sebestyen, Victor (2009). Revolution
Revolution
1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire. Phoenix. ISBN 978-0-7538-2709-3. Wałęsa, Lech (1991). The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography. Arcade. ISBN 1-55970-221-4. Wilson, James Graham (2014). The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-5229-5. External links[edit]

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two decades later". Dissent Magazine. "History of the public sphere" (annotated bibliography). SSRC. |chapter= ignored (help) Kloss, Oliver (2005), "Revolutio ex nihilo? Zur methodologischen Kritik des soziologischen Modells 'spontaner Kooperation' und zur Erklärung der Revolution
Revolution
von 1989 in der DDR", in Timmermann, Heiner (ed.), Agenda DDR-Forschung. Ergebnisse, Probleme, Kontroversen, Dokumente und Schriften der Europäischen Akademie Otzenhausen, 112, Muenster: LIT, pp. 363–79, ISBN 3-8258-6909-1 + Ergänzender Anhang A – F. Video of the revolutions in 1989 Revolutions footage on YouTube vteRevolutionary waves19th century Atlantic Revolutions Revolutions of 1820 Revolutions of 1830 Revolutions of 1848 20th century Revolutions of 1917–1923 Protests of 1968 Central American crisis Revolutions of 1989 21st century Colour revolutions Arab Spring Occupy movement

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Eastern Bloc
agents in the United States Soviet espionage in the United States Soviet Union– United States
United States
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Soviet Union
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NATO
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Cold War
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Category Commons Timeline List of conflicts

vteEastern BlocSoviet UnionCommunismFormation Secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
protocol Soviet invasion of Poland Soviet occupations Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina Baltic states Hungary Romania Yalta Conference Annexed as, orinto, SSRs Eastern Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Memel East Prussia West Belarus Western Ukraine Moldavia Satellite states Hungarian People's Republic Polish People's Republic Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Socialist Republic of Romania German Democratic Republic People's Republic
People's Republic
of Albania (to 1961) People's Republic
People's Republic
of Bulgaria Federal People's Republic
People's Republic
of Yugoslavia (to 1948) Annexing SSRs Russian SFSR Ukrainian SSR Byelorussian SSR Organizations Cominform COMECON Warsaw Pact World Federation of Trade Unions
World Federation of Trade Unions
(WFTU) World Federation of Democratic Youth
World Federation of Democratic Youth
(WFDY) Revolts andopposition Welles Declaration Goryani
Goryani
Movement Forest Brothers Ukrainian Insurgent Army Operation Jungle Baltic state continuity Baltic Legations (1940–1991) Cursed soldiers Rebellion
Rebellion
of Cazin 1950 1953 uprising in Plzeň 1953 East German uprising 1956 Georgian demonstrations 1956 Poznań protests 1956 Hungarian Revolution Novocherkassk massacre 1965 Yerevan demonstrations Prague Spring
Prague Spring
/ Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
invasion of Czechoslovakia Brezhnev Doctrine 1968 Red Square
Red Square
demonstration 1968 student demonstrations in Belgrade 1968 protests in Kosovo 1970 Polish protests Croatian Spring 1972 unrest in Lithuania
Lithuania
SSR June 1976 protests Solidarity / Soviet reaction / Martial law 1981 protests in Kosovo Reagan Doctrine Jeltoqsan Karabakh movement April 9 tragedy Romanian Revolution Black January Cold War
Cold War
events Marshall Plan Berlin Blockade Tito–Stalin Split 1948 Czechoslovak coup d'état 1961 Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
crisis Conditions Emigration and defection (list of defectors) Sovietization of the Baltic states Information dissemination Politics Economies Telephone tapping Decline Revolutions of 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall Romanian Revolution Fall of communism in Albania Singing Revolution Collapse of the Soviet Union Dissolution of Czechoslovakia January 1991 events in Lithuania January 1991 events in Latvia Post- Cold War
Cold War
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Soviet Union
topicsHistory Index of Soviet Union-related articles Russian Revolution February October Russian Civil War Russian SFSR USSR creation treaty New Economic Policy Stalinism Great Purge Great Patriotic War (World War II) Cold War Khrushchev Thaw 1965 reform Stagnation Perestroika Glasnost Revolutions of 1989 Dissolution Nostalgia Post-Soviet states GeographySubdivisions Republics autonomous Oblasts autonomous Autonomous okrugs Closed cities list Regions Caspian Sea Caucasus
Caucasus
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Internet
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Stalinist
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Soviet dissidents
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Revolution
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