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The Fall of Communism & the Political Transformation of Eastern Europe.

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Presentation on theme: "The Fall of Communism & the Political Transformation of Eastern Europe."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Fall of Communism & the Political Transformation of Eastern Europe

2 Terms of (dis)Union Confederation 60 Years On Wednesday, April 1, 7:30-9:30pm Inco Lecture Theatre – room IIC-2001 (All Welcome – free parking in lot 18) Panel Discussants Terry Bishop-Stirling, History Christopher Dunn, Political Science Jim Feehan, Economics Russell Wangersky, The Telegram Jeff Webb, History Moderator Doug Letto, CBC TV

3 Final exam Friday, April 17 th Friday, April 17 th 3-5:00 p.m. 3-5:00 p.m. Location Location SN3042SN3042 Format: Format: Largely essayLargely essay Some shorter responseSome shorter response Greater emphasis on work since the midtermGreater emphasis on work since the midterm Further information ThursdayFurther information Thursday

4 1989 in context Momentous events: Momentous events: Fall of the Berlin WallFall of the Berlin Wall collapse or transformation of Communist regimes in east-central Europecollapse or transformation of Communist regimes in east-central Europe Hungary Hungary DDR (German Democratic Republic) DDR (German Democratic Republic) Poland Poland Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Bulgaria Bulgaria Romania Romania Followed by Followed by Re-unification of Germany, 1990Re-unification of Germany, 1990 Break up of the Soviet Union, Break up of the Soviet Union,

5 Soviet and East European regimes Ostensibly regimes in which a ruling Communist party was overseeing transition from socialism to communism Ostensibly regimes in which a ruling Communist party was overseeing transition from socialism to communism Party-state systems in which Party-state systems in which The state owned means of productionThe state owned means of production Ruling party interpenetrated state apparatusRuling party interpenetrated state apparatus State planned and directed the economy through 5 year plansState planned and directed the economy through 5 year plans

6 Ruling Communist parties Typically the only legal party: Typically the only legal party: Restricted membershipRestricted membership Purges – especially in Stalin periodPurges – especially in Stalin period Constitutionally the “leading and guiding force” Constitutionally the “leading and guiding force” Parties were vast bureaucratic structure, paralleling and shadowing state structures Parties were vast bureaucratic structure, paralleling and shadowing state structures Functioned as mammoth personnel agency,Functioned as mammoth personnel agency, recruiting and socializing loyal members recruiting and socializing loyal members deploying them through state apparatus deploying them through state apparatus Ideological orthodoxy enforced in varying degrees Ideological orthodoxy enforced in varying degrees

7 The USSR Stalin and Stalinism Stalin and Stalinism Purges and show trials in 1930sPurges and show trials in 1930s Collectivization of agricultureCollectivization of agriculture Rapid industrializationRapid industrialization Following death of Stalin in 1953 Following death of Stalin in 1953 Relaxation of totalitarian featuresRelaxation of totalitarian features Denunciation of Stalin at 20 th Party Congress (1956)Denunciation of Stalin at 20 th Party Congress (1956) Continuation of central planning – but some shift toward consumer goodsContinuation of central planning – but some shift toward consumer goods Some limited space for dissent within an authoritarian party-stateSome limited space for dissent within an authoritarian party-state

8 Communism in Eastern Europe Soviet-style systems established after WW II Soviet-style systems established after WW II Ruling Communist parties purged Ruling Communist parties purged Similar attempts at central planning Similar attempts at central planning Uprisings and rebellions suppressed Uprisings and rebellions suppressed East Germany – 1953East Germany – 1953 Hungary – 1956Hungary – 1956 Czechoslovakia (“Prague Spring”) 1968Czechoslovakia (“Prague Spring”) 1968

9 Variations in Actually Existing Socialism Hungary Hungary Gradual relaxation following 1956 repressionGradual relaxation following 1956 repression Managerial autonomyManagerial autonomy Goulash socialismGoulash socialism

10 Poland Party unable to establish complete control Party unable to establish complete control De-collectivization of land under Gomulka De-collectivization of land under Gomulka Periodic resistance to food price increases Periodic resistance to food price increases Workers strike 1970, again in 1976Workers strike 1970, again in 1976 Increases rolled back with government & USSR subsidizing PolesIncreases rolled back with government & USSR subsidizing Poles Strong national identity Strong national identity Independent position of Roman Catholic Church -- reinforced when Cardinal Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II in 1978 Independent position of Roman Catholic Church -- reinforced when Cardinal Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II in 1978

11 Poland: Nationwide resistance to price increases Nationwide resistance to price increases Solidarity Trade Union formed (1980) Solidarity Trade Union formed (1980) Party chair Gierek negotiates with Solidarity Party chair Gierek negotiates with Solidarity Free trade unions permittedFree trade unions permitted Right to strike recognizedRight to strike recognized Censorship to be easedCensorship to be eased Political prisoners to be releasedPolitical prisoners to be released Warsaw Pact divided about response Warsaw Pact divided about response

12 Poland: General Jaruzelski made Prime Minister General Jaruzelski made Prime Minister Solidarity cautions restraint Solidarity cautions restraint Demand for free trade unions throughout east Europe = demand too farDemand for free trade unions throughout east Europe = demand too far Solidarity banned Solidarity banned Assumes underground existence –Assumes underground existence – Sheltered by RC Church & increasingly independent civil societySheltered by RC Church & increasingly independent civil society Cat & mouse game with authoritiesCat & mouse game with authorities Jaruzelski’s role: Jaruzelski’s role: A hardliner, soft-liner, or mediator?A hardliner, soft-liner, or mediator?

13 Yugoslavia Wartime partisan movement comes to power Wartime partisan movement comes to power Independent of Soviet control from 1948 Independent of Soviet control from 1948 Experiments with workplace democracy Experiments with workplace democracy After Tito’s death (1980) growing centrifugal pressures After Tito’s death (1980) growing centrifugal pressures

14 More orthodox regimes German Democratic Republic (DDR) German Democratic Republic (DDR) Repression of revolt in 1953Repression of revolt in 1953 Construction of Berlin Wall, 1961Construction of Berlin Wall, 1961 Maintenance of vast spy apparatus – StasiMaintenance of vast spy apparatus – Stasi Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Strong domestic communist party comes to power after WW IIStrong domestic communist party comes to power after WW II Prague Spring (1968)= brief interludePrague Spring (1968)= brief interlude Repression resumes after Warsaw pact invasionRepression resumes after Warsaw pact invasion

15 Problems in the 1970s and 1980s Limits of central planning Limits of central planning Difficulty of targetingDifficulty of targeting All thumbs and no fingersAll thumbs and no fingers Growing problems of corruption: Growing problems of corruption: Party & nomenklature (those appointed) as privileged eliteParty & nomenklature (those appointed) as privileged elite A stratified rather than classless societyA stratified rather than classless society Ability to improve living conditions to a certain extent, but not beyond Ability to improve living conditions to a certain extent, but not beyond Growing stagnation (especially USSR ) Growing stagnation (especially USSR ) Difficulty containing dissent Difficulty containing dissent

16 Containing dissent Manifestations: Manifestations: Samizdat (USSR)Samizdat (USSR) KOR (Committee of Resistance, Poland, from 1976)KOR (Committee of Resistance, Poland, from 1976) SolidaritySolidarity Charter ’77 (Czechoslovakia)Charter ’77 (Czechoslovakia) Different solutions tried: Different solutions tried: Co-optation and exclusionCo-optation and exclusion Marginalization or exileMarginalization or exile RepressionRepression Parties’ dilemma Parties’ dilemma cooperation & energy of intellectuals & civil society was neededcooperation & energy of intellectuals & civil society was needed Allowing autonomy risked loss of controlAllowing autonomy risked loss of control

17 Reform and transformation in the USSR Collective leadership under BrezhnevCollective leadership under Brezhnev Rule by aging gerontocracy Rule by aging gerontocracy Party in fact divided between defenders of status quo & reformersParty in fact divided between defenders of status quo & reformers Andropov (ex. KGB) initiates reformsAndropov (ex. KGB) initiates reforms But slowed by illness & deathBut slowed by illness & death Chernenko assumes controlChernenko assumes control Member of old guardMember of old guard Sick, diesSick, dies Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary, 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary, 1985

18 Gorbachev ( ) Gorbachev ( ) Andropov protégé Andropov protégé Aware of stagnation &Aware of stagnation & Diminished ability to compete militarily with WestDiminished ability to compete militarily with West Attempts to reform the system from within - emphasize Attempts to reform the system from within - emphasize Glasnost (openness) –state admits truthGlasnost (openness) –state admits truth Perestrioka: restructuring, reform, e.g.Perestrioka: restructuring, reform, e.g. Encourage competition within party Encourage competition within party Loosen grip of party on state Loosen grip of party on state Problems: Problems: Large bureaucratic organizations difficult to reformLarge bureaucratic organizations difficult to reform Resistance from those who prefer discipline to reformResistance from those who prefer discipline to reform Party (CPSU) was lynchpin holding system togetherParty (CPSU) was lynchpin holding system together

19 Consequences: 1985 summit: improved relations with west 1985 summit: improved relations with west Internal turmoil in USSR Internal turmoil in USSR Reform stalledReform stalled Growing nationality problemsGrowing nationality problems Party loosens grip on state Party loosens grip on state USSR loosens grip on Eastern Europe USSR loosens grip on Eastern Europe USSR itself poised to disintegrate USSR itself poised to disintegrate

20 Transformation in Eastern Europe DDR DDR Massive demonstrationsMassive demonstrations Increased exit (via Hungary)Increased exit (via Hungary) Regime attempts transformation – loses grip and will to repress –opens Berlin WallRegime attempts transformation – loses grip and will to repress –opens Berlin Wall Poland Poland Military had assumed power following 1981Military had assumed power following 1981 Cat and mouse game with SolidarityCat and mouse game with Solidarity Negotiated transition in 1989 – with seats guaranteed for CommunistsNegotiated transition in 1989 – with seats guaranteed for Communists

21 Transformation– cont’d Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Comes alive in late 1989Comes alive in late 1989 DemonstrationsDemonstrations Regime collapsesRegime collapses Hungary Hungary Communist Party surrenders monopoly, permits competitionCommunist Party surrenders monopoly, permits competition Bulgaria Bulgaria Elections permittedElections permitted Romania Romania Rebellion from within regimeRebellion from within regime USSR: USSR: Baltic States break away in 1990Baltic States break away in 1990 USSR disintegrates in 1991USSR disintegrates in 1991

22 Outcomes End of Cold War End of Cold War a uni-polar or multi-polar world? a uni-polar or multi-polar world? Expansion of NATOExpansion of NATO An End of History? (Francis Fukiyama) An End of History? (Francis Fukiyama) Transitions to democracy not only in Southern Europe but also Eastern Europe Transitions to democracy not only in Southern Europe but also Eastern Europe More certain in Central than Eastern Europe or former Soviet Republics –end up as illiberal democraciesMore certain in Central than Eastern Europe or former Soviet Republics –end up as illiberal democracies Central Europe returns to European fold Central Europe returns to European fold


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