Political Changes in Europe Since the Fall of the Soviet Union

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In April 1986, Mr. Gorbachev began the perestroika, translation “reconstruction”, which was to end the Cold War that effectively brought down the Iron Curtain. The split between West and East not only partitioned the world into two parts, but also divided the European family for over 40 years. With the fall of the Soviet Union came many changes that affected much if not all of Europe. At the end of the Brejnev era , the socialist bloc was severely outdated and far removed from the contemporary world. The economy was in a shambles, independent civil society was largely in exile, and corruption throughout and within the state via the Communist Party had become legendary. In addition, the USSR had to devote an enormous portion of its budget to the military. On the international level, the USSR had lost many allies, because its social model proved to be decreasingly successful in its deceit, and the ill-fated invasion of Afghanistan (1979 - 1989) did not help in any way. It was therefore necessary to undertake urgent measures, especially in countries where satellite totalitarian regimes were challenged and the USSR no longer had the support of local communist parties. The advent of Gorbachev to power marked the beginning of the reconstruction. His first step on his rise to power was the partial liberation of the press, also known as glasnost. The first free newspapers emerged and some major newspapers such as “Novii Mir (New World),” Argumenti i Fakti “(Arguments and Facts) or” Moskovskie Novosti (Moscow News) changed editors. Books banned by the Soviet censorship began to appear in stores. Also, films which had been censored until this time were finally appearing on the screen. The policy change was also considerable. Under Gorbachev, 140 dissidents, victims of Stalinist repression, were honored and rehabilitated. From exile in Gorky, Sakharov, who condemned the war in Afghanistan – was released. Several opposition political organizations emerged as a Democratic...
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