The popularly supported Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the Fall of Communism, the Collapse of Communism, the Revolutions of Eastern Europe and the Autumn of Nations) were the pro-democracy revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in the European countries, who resented and hated the failed, repressive and de-brerritoned political system imposed on them by the USSR. Thatcher Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl all supported this rebellion.
The USSR had made great advances, but had also become very dictatorial over the years. They opposed the economic and political decline of the Brezhnev years as well as several lingering injustices from the Stalin years. Politician prisons and the secret police were to be feared under Stalin and Brezhnev. It was also noted that shortages got some what worse under Gorbachev.
The events began in Poland in 1989 and continued on into Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, a Bulgaria, and Romania. Subsequently various and extensive of campaigns of civil resistance and disobedience helped to demonstrate the popular loathing of communist one-party rule and helped contribute to the movements for change.
Increased Contact with West Germany (FRG) helped to undermine East Germany (GDR/DDR) after the people noticed the better cars and post-World War 2 buildings.
Romania’s despotic Nicolae Chauchescu was particular hated by his subjects, who resented his wealthy lifestyle and their abject poverty (only Albania was worse in Europe). Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country to overthrow its Communist regime violently and then to execute its leader.
The Tienanmen Square protests of 1989 failed to any stimulate major political changes in the more docile Chinese, but powerful images of courageous defiance during spurred on pro-democracy movements else ware, including in East Germany which lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall German reunification and the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.
Yugoslavia, Mongolia, South Yemen, Ethiopia, Congo (Brazzaville) and Benin also dumped communism in the early 1990's.
Origins of communismEdit
Since the 18th and 19th centuries communism has been established by politicians like Karl Marx and Frederich Engels. Later on, the February Revolution and October Revolution overthrown the Russian Tsar, and is followed by the Russian Civil War that lasted until 1923, led to the loss of Poland, Finland and the Baltic States.
The Lenin yearsEdit
After taking over Russia, which became the Russian SFR (Bolshevik/Red Russia), Litbel SR, Tashkent PSR, amongst others; and then forming the USSR, they began to spread communism, in to neighboring states. They also helped set up similar states in parts of Hungary and Bulgaria at this time. The Bolsheviks helped in the creation of the short lived Bavarian-Munich SSR of 1919 and the long term takeover of Mongolia by communists in 1924.
Whilst Lennin hated Stalin, he did set up much of the represive structures , such as gulags, Stalin would later biuld his dictatorship on.
The Stalin yearsEdit
After Lenin's death, Stalin ruthlessly took power over the party started initially making friends with the European powers and Canada, whilst proceeding to obliterate large parts of the populations in both the Ukraine, Kraznordar Obast, and Bashkoitia in the Hodmador famine of the 1930s. The dictator then removed his political opposites from the Party during 1937-1938 as victims of the Gulags. Many horrific and bloody purges would hit these areas as well as other places in the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s.
Field Marshal Joseph Stalin sign the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact which led to occupation of Western Poland (now part of Belarus and Ukraine), the Baltic states, some Romanian districts and Finland’s the Karelian province. The locals either fled abroad, slavishly obeyed government orders in fear of there lives or were moved to Gulag prison camps and/or Siberian labour/concentration camps.
Over the years, Stalin killed millions of his people via bloody purges, starvation, death squads, mass gulagings, enslavement and wilfull neglect. His personal insecurity quickly lead to political paranoia, especially after Hitler had betrayed and invaded the USSR in 1941.
After World War II, the Soviet Union had established a military and/or political presence in a number of countries (only Yugoslavia, parts of Albania, eastern Slovakia and parts of eastern Poland were openly backing Communism at the time). After the war, Russia forcibly brought into power various Communist parties who were unswervingly (especially in Poland) loyal to Moscow.
Stalin helped Mao Zedong establish the People's Republic of China and his Communist regime in 1949, which would end in the Cultural Revolution and a 60 year stand-off with Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, S. Korea, The USA and Taiwan.
Between 1945 and 1948, communist governments were set up as puppet and client regimes in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany (Yugoslavia and Albania already got an interim communist government, which they wanted, before the war's end). Stalin, who was clinically paranoid by this time, finally died in 1953. The anti-communist Uprising of 1953 in East Germany was brutally crushed to please Stalin and his murderous cronies just before he died.
The Malenkov yearsEdit
Georgy Malenkov took over after Stalin's death in 1953. He ordered the leaders of the GDR to learn from the anti-communist Uprising of 1953 in East Germany and bring in some major reforms or they would be brutally crushed by Malenkov!
Malenkov struggled with both a ruind nation and the increasingly bizzar power struggle within the Kremlin and was quoted to say "a nuclear war could lead to global destruction."
He advocate the lessening heavy industry in order to increase production of consumer goods, but reduced diversity by subsidising only a narrow list of goods and bread. A drastic imbalance across the still war damaged Soviet national economy leading to a temporary shortages of even basic goods due to mismanagement and poor planning.
There severe food deficits despite of his plans to give more rewards to the farmers on collective farms. The government’s agricultural was a failure.
He also wanted to reduce the Soviet arms build up, decrease the power of the secret police and make friends with the West. He was well aware that the USSR still had many post war problems to solve and was struggling to keep up with the West.
The bulk of low quality early era Khrushchyovka houses started to be built at this time due to a post World War 2 housing shortage.
Malenkov was sadly opposed to handing power to the younger generation and beleved in following the more progresive parts of the Stalinist ideology, which was what got him in trouble with Khrushchev and Bulganin, after only 2 years in power. He was forced to resign before the could have him removed from office and impeached. They believed he was personally responsible for the government’s ill-planned and botched up agricultural policy not succeeding.
When Malenkov was Russian Commissar for power stations, he visited a car factory and General Electrical Company (G.E.C.) powers station at Witten, in Birmingham during 1956. He had also visited Castle Donington Power Station in 1950.
He was eventually kicked out of the Communist Party of the USSR, was banished eastern Kazakhstan, but manage to get a job running a local hydro-electric dam. Malenkov finally became a Russian Orthodox priest of the rank of Reader.
The Bulganin yearsEdit
Following Stalin's death in 1953, the later removal Malenkov, a political "thaw" in the Soviet sphere allowed a more liberal faction of the Polish communists, led by Władysław Gomułka, to gain power. Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin visited Britain in the April of 1956. Bulganin was also present at the Geneva Summit on reunification and disarmament of Germany in the July of 1955.
Ecanomic, industrial and agricultural reforms continued in places, but not so fast or as many.
The Soviets retained garrison troops throughout the territories they had occupied. During The Cold War these states formed the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, have continuing political and military tensions with the capitalist NATO bloc, in a 50 year stand-off in Europe.
Khrushchev took power and start simultaneous economic, political, industrial, agricultural and moral reforms. However, the big loss taken in World War 2 didn't seem to have been fully reverted and economic poorness began to swallow the nation.
Many well crafted projects, like space Sputnik and the Khrushchyovka apartment buildings worked well; but others, like agriculture's Virgin Lands Campaign and aircraft like the Ekranoplans, were major flops due to continuing poor planning and even more grandiose ideas! Industry and consumer goods picked up for a while, but it did not last.
In the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide pro-democracy revolt had occurred and the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to re-assert its control. They chose not to act in Poland during the Polish October or the Poznan 1956 protests. He denounce Stalin and was betrayed by the Chinese despot, Mao Zedong.
Alexei Kosygin and Lieoned Brezhnev were opposed to each other's views on communism.
The 1965 Soviet economic reforms proposed by Alexei Kosygin, sometimes called the Kosygin reform or Liberman reform, were a set of planned changes in the economy of the Soviet Union (USSR). It allowed for profitability and sales as the key indicators of enterprise success. There was to be no stigma in ploughing some money back in to firms. Workers would also be allowed corporate rewords like pay rises and free lodgings. The reforms were stopped and mostly undone by 1973 since the ruling party gerontocracy thought it would go to far as in the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia and the previous reform attempts in Socialist Republic of Hungary.
The USSR was scared shitless by the idea of reforming democratising its satellite states. It chose to brutally repress the pro-democracy Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Only Romania and Yugoslavia questioned the crack down, while just Albania ignored it.
Détente then occurred in several East-West summits between Brezhnev and America's president Nixon. Arms reduction, political values, human rights, press freedom, space exploration and trade were the leading topics.
A add-mixture of corruption, fear, incompetence, government dictates, political paranoia, wastefulness, backwardness, and in inefficacy gradually undermined the Soviet state from within after the mid 1970's. 1968 Polish political crisis caused even more chaos as that nation started to fall apart.
Détente flourished in the 1970s, but it was fatally disrupted by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979.
By this time Nomenklatura that had been first peering over the fence under Malenkov had finally come to age with the corrupted parts using illegal discreetly placed drably painted doors to secretly find converted basements full of the forbidden pleasures of capitalism, such as drugs, prostitutes, posh food, Rolex watches, Havana cigars....
By the early 1980s the declining Soviet economy got a big hit, thus affecting the whole block. In Poland, more than 60% of population lived in poverty, and inflation, measured by black-market rate of the U.S. dollar, was 1,500% in the period 1982–1987. Poland later became the cradle of the Revolutions of 1989. The Summer 1981 hunger demonstrations in Poland proved that nation was a complete failure under communism!
The by now both ailing and geriatric Soviet Politburo apparatchiks and military chiefs, were de facto led from the death-bed of the terminally ill Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov, a man with no first-hand knowledge of the United States. Its leadership style was that of a non-functional dinosaur at the best of times!
During World War II, Andropov took part in partisan guerrilla activities in Finland and the First Secretary of the Central Committee of Komsomol in the Soviet Karelo-Finnish Republic from 1940 to 1944. After the assassination attempt against Brezhnev in January 1969, Andropov led the interrogation of the captured gunman, Viktor Ivanovich Ilyin. Ilyin was pronounced insane and sent to Kazan Psychiatric Hospital.
He was appointed Soviet Ambassador in Hungary and held this position during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and was so terrified by the Hungarians violence, Andropov suffered from a "Hungarian complex", after these events. He believed that the use of violence was the only thing that was safe to use in the in Prague in 1968, in Kabul in 1979, in Warsaw in 1981.
The Soviet's politically paranoid and bigoted military and political hierarchy (in particularly the 'old guard' led by the Soviet General Secretary, Yuri Andropov, and the Soviet Defence Minister, Dmitry Ustinov,) feared that the US was both war-waky, militarily provocative, political bigoted and trying to undermine the post Cuba Crisis understanding on how they should act during peace time; thus they were deeply suspicious of US President Ronald Reagan's intentions and openly fearful he was planning a first strike nuclear attack against the Soviet Union. The GDR and FRG were also concerned a war was imminent, as the USSR and USA squared up for a pointess war.
Konstantin Chernenko was also a dying man and was as good as useless as Andropov's deputy. He had negotiated a trade pact with the People's Republic of China and helped Sino-Soviet relations, but he also just let the Cold War escalate with the United States. Later U.S. and the Soviet Union did agree to resume arms control talks in early 1985.
He stopped a visit to West Germany by East German leader Erich Honecker 1984; but met Britain's Labour Party leader, Neil Kinnock In late autumn of 1984.
Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on March 11, 1985, only three hours after Konstantin Chernenko's death. Upon his accession at age 54, he was the youngest member of the Politburo. Gorbachev's primary goal as General Secretary was to revive the Soviet economy after the stagnant and corupt Brezhnev years.
During perestroika the closed cities' restricted status was removed and foreigners were allowed to visit the cities yet again and the massive steel mill was sold off. Gorbachev ("Gorbie"/"Gorba") tried to save the economy, but he failed miserably.
Statistically, Romania and Albania were the worst of the Eastern European nations; while the GDR, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were the best; and the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Yugoslavia were about average. The Caribbean island of Cuba was about on a par with Yugoslavia. By this time Poland was a major strain on Comecon resources and patience.
The revolutions of 1989-1990Edit
Poland during the seventies the People's Republic of Poland was in a state of crisis and [civil unrest (Solidarność)]. In August 1980 Solidarity was founded in Gdansk after the allowance by the government. In September 20 Inter-factory Founding Committees joined in and become united as the NSZZ Solidarity. The founder, Lech Wałęsa, formed a broad anti-Soviet movement across the nation, from the Catholic Church to the Left. It was supported by the Catholic Church. However The movement was encouraged and supported by the then, Pope John Paul II, who was born in Poland.
During the political critical labour turmoil in Poland during 1980, the independent trade union Solidarity, had been formed. It was led by Lech Wałęsa. On 13 December 1981, Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski started a political crack-down on Solidarity as it took off as a protest movement. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland, suspending the union and temporarily imprisoning all of its leaders, including Lech Wałęsa.
The Communists' two long-time coalition partners broke off and chose to support Solidarity. A new non-Communist government, the first of its kind in the former Eastern Bloc in September 1989.
Although Hungary had achieved some lasting economic reforms and limited political liberalization during the 1980s, major new reforms only occurred following the replacement of János Kádár as General Secretary of the Communist Party on 23 May 1988 with Karoly Grosz.
On 12 January 1989, Hungary's Parliament adopted a "democracy package", to re-introduce trade union pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the constitution, among others.
The first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain appeared when Hungary began dismantling its 150 mile long border fence with Austria on 2 May 1989. Thousands of E. Germans, Hungarians and Czechoslovaks soon poured in to Austria.
Hungary's parliament adopted legislation providing for multi-party part elections and direct multy-party presidential elections, which then took place on March 24, 1990.
The Soviet military occupation of Hungary ended on 19 June 1991.
The "Velvet Revolution" was a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Communist government. On 17th November 1989.
Czechoslovak riot police suppressed a peaceful, pro-democracy student demonstration in Prague. This event sparked a series of popular demonstrations from 19 November to late December and by 20th November the number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague had swelled from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated 500,000.
The entire Communist Party leadership, including general secretary Miloš Jakeš, resigned November 24th. The border with West Germany and Austria that was closed in November, reopened in early December. 30,000 East Germans would use this route in that time.
Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections since 1946 in the June 1990. On 27 June 1991 the last Soviet troops were withdrawn from Czechoslovakia. The Czech and Slovack republics later seperatied in to new nations soon afterwards.
The independence struggle began in Kazakhstan with the [Jeltoqsan uprising] in 1986.
The Singing Revolution occurred in the Baltic states between 1987 and 1991.
Many people started protesting against the Soviet rule in Georgia in early 1989. In April 1989 the Soviet army massacred demonstrators in the Tbilisi Massacre. By November 1989, the Georgian SSR officially condemned the Russian invasion in 1921 and continuing genocidal occupation of the nation.
When the Soviet Union was dissolved, the 19 nations declared their independence from the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Chechnya, Estonia, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Udmurtia, Tartarstan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan by the end of 1991. Chechnya would be at war with Russia for many years to come.
The impact was felt in dozens of Socialist countries.The adoption of varying forms of market economy generally resulted at first in decreasing living standards in post-Communist States, together with side effects including the rise of business oligarchs in countries such as Russia, the disproportional social, socialy skewed economic development and undulating 'boom-bust' type economics in the Ukraine and Latvia. Many states were drastically changed, with numerous Eastern Bloc countries joining NATO, OECD, European Union and numerous other organizations.
The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt by Viktor Yanayev made the collapse of the USSR inevitable. The USSR dissolved later in 1991.
On 6 and 7 October, Mikhail Gorbachev visited East Germany to mark the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic, and urged the hard-line East German leadership to accept a level of reform.
A famous quote of his is rendered in German as "Wer zu spät kommt, den bestraft das Leben" (He who is too late is punished by life). Honecker regarded the USSR as a renegade regime and even went so far as banning the circulation of Soviet publications that the Communit Party (SED) viewed as subversive.
On October 9th 70,000 citizens demonstrated in Leipzig, dispute of rumors of a planned mascare by the army. The authorities on the ground refused to open fire and told there superiors and the communist party to shove off. This had encouraged more and more citizens to take to the streets. By 16 October 120,000 people demonstrated on the streets of Leipzig.
There were plans by army chiefs to defend the Berin wall, but troops did not folow there orders and let it fall.
After having survived the anti-communist Braşov Rebellion in 1987, Nicolae Ceauşescu was re-elected for another five years as leader of the Romanian Communist Party in November 1989, who did not support reformists or like the idea of democracy in there relm.
Ceauşescu ordered the Securitate secret police to arrest and exile the Hungarian Calvinist minister, László Tőkés, on 16 December, for religious sermons offending the atheist regime. The arrest was not easy, since Tőkés was seized only after serious rioting erupted. Timişoara was the first city to react agaist the arrest, on 16 December, and civil unrest continued across the region for 5 days.
After Returning from his diplomatic tour of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ceauşescu ordered a mass rally in his support outside Communist Party headquarters in Bucharest on 21 December.
He was confident of the peoples' adoration, but to his shock and bewilderment, the crowd booed and jeered him as he spoke. Some sung the pre-communist patriotic song "Deşteaptă-te Române" and tore the communist emblem out of the Romanian flag they had with them. As years of repressed dissatisfaction boiled to the surface throughout the Romanian populace, regardless of race or creed, and even among elements in Ceauşescu's own psudo-communist government. The demonstrations qucikly spread throughout the country.
On the morning of 22 December, the Romanian military suddenly changed sides and its leaders denounced the PCR after after it was announced that defense minister Vasile Milea had committed suicide after being unmasked as a traitor. The military was shocked to hear this. Believing Milea had actually been murdered by the state, the rank-and-file soldiers went over virtually en masse to the revolution.
As the rebel army tanks began moving towards the Central Committee building with rebellious 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. To the public's dismay, they managed to escape slyly in a private helicopter waiting for them on the building's the roof. Later the pilot later betrayed them to the rebels en flight.
Romanian television showed the Ceauşescus facing a hasty trial and then undergoing summary execution on Christmas Day. An interim National Salvation Front Council led by Ion Iliescu took over and announced elections for April 1990, but they were postponed until 20 May. It was the first free elections held in Romania since 1937.
The revolution resulted in 1,104 deaths. 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. "Deşteaptă-te Române" became the national anthem.
In October and November 1989 ecological demonstrations were staged in Sofia, where other demands for political reform and democratisation were also voiced. The demonstrations were suppressed by the police on government orders, but on 10 November 1989 (also the day after the Berlin Wall was breached) Bulgaria's long-serving leader, Todor Zhivkov, was ousted by his Politburo. He was succeeded by a considerably more liberal Communist, former foreign minister Petar Mladenov. Gorbachev (AKA- Gorba or Gorby) apparently approved the leadership change, as Zhivkov had been opposed to Gorbachev's policies and was dictatorial by nature. Soon the liberals relegalised the protests and relaxed security, secorship and political controle policies.
After initial resistance by the Communists and continued protests, a "Polish Round Table" style coalition was formed between the protesters liberal communists in the transition to democracy. The Communist Party finally abandoned Marxism-Leninism in April 1990 and renamed itself as the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In June 1990 the first free elections since 1939 were held, won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
and Tito's democratic communism which was scrapped in Yugoslavia between 1990 and 1992, the latter splitting into five successor states by 1992: Slovenia, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (comprising Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo until the 2006).
The escalating ethnic and national tensions led to the Yugoslav wars and the independence of the constituent (federal) units, in chronological order:
- Slovenia (25 June 1991)
- Croatia (25 June 1991)
- Republic of Macedonia (8 September 1991)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (1 March 1992)
- Serbia and Montenegro (2 state unions between 1992–2006).
- Montenegro proclaimed independence on 3 June 2006, while Serbia proclaimed its succession to the union as an independent state on 5 June 2006.
- Kosovo (17 February 2008, partially recognized).
- Bozneg Hertzog-
- Serbian Kijina-
The widely hated, hard-line Communist era Enva Hoaxa was abandoned in Albania during 1992. It was the last such event in Europe outside the USSR. It started in December 1990 with student demonstrations after the March 1991 elections left the former Communists in power. A general strike and urban opposition later led to the formation of a coalition cabinet which included non-Communists members, but Albania's former Communists were routed in elections in March 1992 amid both economic collapse and continued social unrest.
At last people could buy oranges and flared trousers went out of fashion. Enva Hoaxa hated oranges and so he banned them, while he loved flairs and thus banned almost all other styles, especially jeans.
In December 1986, the Western influenced Chinese student demonstrators, taking advantage of the loosening political atmosphere, staged protests against the slow pace of reform called for campus elections, the chance to study abroad, and greater availability of western pop culture.
Hu Yaobang, a protégé of Deng Xiaoping and a leading advocate of Chinese social and political reform, was thus blamed for inspiring the student protests and forced to resign as the CCP General Secretary in January 1987. In the "Anti Bourgeois Liberalization Campaign", Hu would be further denounced by his former peers for bringing "chaos" to the campuses. The protests were sparked by the death of Hu Yaobang on 15 April. By the eve of Hu's funeral, one million people had gathered at Tienanmen square.
Soviet President Mikhil Gorbachev's visit to the People's Republic of China on 15 May during the protests brought many foreign news agencies to Beijing, and their sympathetic portrayals of the protesters helped galvanize a spirit of liberation among the Central, South-East and Eastern Europeans who were watching the events.
The Chinese leadership and especially the Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, had begun earlier than the Soviets to radically reform the economy, was actually open to political reform, but but was afraid a potential return to the disorder of the Cultural Revolution.
The Chinese Student Movement lasted 7 weeks, from Hu's death on 15 April until tanks cleared Tienanmen Square on 4 June. In Beijing, the resulting military response to the protesters ordered by the PRC's government left many civilians and military personnel charged with clearing the square of the 2,000-2,500 dead and 3,000-5,000 injured. The number of deaths is not known and many different estimates exist. Eyewitness and the reporter Charlie Cole also saw Chinese soldiers firing Type 56 rifles into the crowd near an APC which had just been burnt out.
Despite of the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989, China became a fairly capitalist economy by 2012, but with a lot of state control. Life is very undemocratic, but things are slowly changing.
The communist regime ended in the 1990 Mongolian Democratic Revolution and a new constitution was introduced in 1992. The term "People's Republic" was dropped from the country's name in 1992. The transition to market economy in the early 1990s saw high inflation and food shortages. The first electoral win for non-communist parties came in 1993 (presidential elections) and 1996 (parliamentary elections).
The People's Republic of the Congo was a self-declared Marxist–Leninist socialist state that was established in 1970. It was led by the Congolese Party of Labour (French: Parti congolais du travail, PCT). It existed until 1991, when the country was renamed and the PCT government was eliminated amidst the wave of multiparty reforms that swept Africa in the early 1990s. The country is now a non-communist partial democracy.
Communism was abandoned in countries such as Cambodia (which became a kingdom), Benin, Angola, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia and South Yemen (which unified with North Yemen).
The collapse of Communism led commentators to declare the end of the Cold War in the early 1990's.
Election chronology in Central and Eastern Europe 1989-1991Edit
Between the spring of 1989 and the spring of 1991 every Communist or former communist Central and Eastern European country, and in the case of the USSR and Yugoslavia every constituent republic, held competitive parliamentary elections for the first time in many decades. Some elections were only partly free, others fully democratic. The chronology below gives the details of these historic elections; the date is the first day of voting as several elections were split over several days for run-off contests:
- Soviet Union - 26 March 1989
- Poland - 4 June 1989
- Turkmenistan - 7 January 1990
- Uzbekistan - 18 February 1990
- Lithuania - 24 February 1990
- Moldova- 25 February 1990
- Kyrgyzstan - 25 February 1990
- Tajikistan - 25 February 1990
- Belarus - 3 March 1990
- Russia - 4 March 1990
- Ukraine - 4 March 1990
- East Germany - 18 March 1990
- Estonia - 18 March 1990
- Latvia - 18 March 1990
- Hungary - 25 March 1990
- Kazakhstan - 25 March 1990
- Slovenia - 8 April 1990
- Croatia - 24 April 1990
- Romania - 20 May 1990
- Armenia - 20 May 1990
- Czechoslovakia - 8 June 1990
- Bulgaria - 10 June 1990
- Azerbaijan - 30 September 1990
- Georgia (country)|Georgia - 28 October 1990
- Republic of Macedonia|Macedonia - 11 November 1990
- Bosnia and Herzegovina - 18 November 1990
- Serbia - 8 December 1990
- Montenegro - 9 December 1990
- Albania - 7 April 1991
- People's Republic of Angola – The ruling MPLA government abandoned Marxism-Leninism in 1991 and agreed to the Bicesse Accords in the same year, however the Angolan Civil War between the MPLA and the conservative UNITA continued for another decade.
- People's Republic of Benin – Mathieu Kérékou 's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism in 1990.
- People's Republic of the Congo – Denis Sassou Nguesso 's regime was pressured to abandon Marxism-Leninism in 1991. The nation had elections in 1992.
- People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia – A new constitution was implemented in 1987 and, following the withdrawal of Soviet and Cuban assistance, the Communist military junta Derg led by Mengistu Haile Mariam was defeated by the rebel Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) in the Ethiopian Civil War and fled in 1991.
- Democratic Republic of Madagascar – Socialist President Didier Ratsiraka was ousted.
- Mali – Moussa Traoré was ousted, Mali adopted a new constitution and held multi-party elections.
- People's Republic of Mozambique– The Mozambican Civil War between the socialist FRELIMO and the RENAMO conservatives was Rome General Peace Accords|ended via treaty in 1992 . FRELIMO subsequently abandoned socialism and with the support of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique, held multiparty elections.
- Somali Democratic Republic – Rebelling Somalis overthrew Siad Barre 's Communist military junta during the Somali Revolution . Somalia has been in a constant state of civil war ever since.
- Tanzania – The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party cut down its Socialist ideology and foreign donors pressured the government to allow multiparty elections in 1995.
- Democratic Republic of Afghanistan – Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan|Soviet occupation ended and the Communist government under Mohammad Najibullah fell to the Mujahideen in 1992. The Taliban later took control and the lost it after the American invasion of 2001.
- South Yemen – Abandoned Marxism-Leninism in 1990; it reunified with the more capitalist Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) that year, though this later led to a 1994 civil war in Yemen.
- Syria – Syria participated in the Madrid Conference of 1991 and met its Cold War enemy Israel in peace negotiations. Syria colapsed in to anarchy in 2011.
- Burma – The 8888 Uprising in 1988 saw the demise of the Burma Socialist Programme Party, but failed to bring democracy, although Marxism was abandoned. It has since been led by a military government under the State Peace and Development Council .
- Cambodia – The People's Republic of Kampuchea's Vietnam-supported government which had been in power since the Cambodian–Vietnamese War|fall of the Khmer Rouge , lost power following UN-sponsored United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia|elections in 1993 .
- Laos – Remained Communist under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party . Laos was forced to ask France and Japan for emergency assistance, and also to ask the 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.
- India – Economic liberalisation in India|Indian economic reforms were launched in 1991.
- Mongolian People's Republic – The 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia saw a gradual moved to allow free multi-party elections and the writing of the new Constitution of Mongolia|constitution . The Mongolian People's Party retained its majority in the 1990 elections, but lost the 1996 elections.
- North Korea – Kim Il-sung died in 1994, passing power to his son Kim Jong-il. Unprecedented floods and the dissolution of the 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 were replaced by Juche in 1992, thus signifying an apparent downplaying of the role of Communism in North Korea.
- Vietnam – The Communist Party of Vietnam has undertaken Doi Moi reforms since 1986, liberalizing certain sectors of the economy in a manner similar to China. Vietnam is still a single-party Communist state.
- Cuba – The end of Soviet subsidies led to the Special Period. The large unsuccessful but August 1994 protest was held in 1994. Cuba has become a semi-capitalist polices state closely connected with Venezuela and Iran as of 2005.
- Nicaragua – Daniel Ortega 's Sandinista National Liberation Front lost the multi-party elections in 1990, and the National Opposition Union won.
- Austria – The Communist Party of Austria lost its East German financing and 250 million euros in assets.
- Belgium – The Communist Party of Belgium was divided to two parties in 1989.
- Finland – The Finnish People's Democratic League was dissolved in 1990 and the bankrupt Communist Party of Finland collapsed in 1992, and absorbed to the Finland's Left Alliance .
- France – The collapse of the Eastern Bloc came as a shock to the French Communist Party . The crisis is called la mutation.
- West Germany – The Red Army Faction lost its long-term supporter, the Stasi , after the Berlin Wall fell.
- Greece – The Organisation of Marxist-Leninist Communists of Greece was dissolved in 1993 and merged into the Movement for a United Communist Party of Greece.
- Ireland – The Communist Party of Ireland declined significantly.
- Italy – The collapse caused the 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.
- Japan – The Japanese Communist Party issued a statement titled "We welcome the end of a great historical evil of imperialism and hegemonism".
- Malaysia – The Malayan Communist Party laid down its arms in 1989, ending the Communist Insurgency War that had lasted decades.
- Mexico – The Mexican Communist Party and a number of other Communist parties were dissolved in 1989 and absorbed first into the Mexican Socialist Party and then into the Party of the Democratic Revolution .
- Netherlands – The Communist Party of the Netherlands was dissolved in 1991 and absorbed to the GreenLeft .
- Norway – The Communist Party of Norway changed their pro-Soviet line.
- Palestinian Territories – The Palestine Liberation Organization lost one of its most important diplomatic patrons, due to the deterioration of the Soviet Union, and Arafat's failing relationship with Moscow.
- Peru – The Shining Path , responsible for killing tens of thousands people, shrunk in the 1990s.
- 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 (Left Party).
- Turkey – The Communist Labour Party of Turkey was split in to rival factions
- United Kingdom – The Communist Party of Great Britain was dissolved.
- Chile – The military junta under Augusto Pinochet was pressured to implement democratic elections, which saw Chile's Chilean transition to democracy|democratization in 1990.
- El Salvador – The Salvadoran Civil War ended in 1992 following the Chapultepec Peace Accords . The rebel Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) movement became a legal political party and participated in subsequent elections.
- Panama – The Manuel Noriega regime was overthrown by the United States invasion of Panama|US invasion in 1989 as a result of his suppression of elections, drug-trafficking activities and the killing of a US serviceman.
- South Korea – The June Democracy Movement 's protests led to the fall of the Chun Doo-hwan government in 1987, and the country's first democratic elections. In 2000, North and South Korea agreed in principle to work towards Korean reunification|peaceful reunification in the future.
- South Africa – Negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa started in 1990 to end the South Africa under apartheid|Apartheid system. Nelson Mandela was elected as the President of South Africa in 1994.
- Taiwan – The nationalist Kuomintang party that had ruled under strict martial law since the end of the Chinese Civil War introduced democratizing reforms and stopped being so draconian.
- United States – Following the end of the Cold War , the United States became the world's main superpower, growing even more in world influence as a result. The United States ceased to support many of the Right-wing military dictatorship|military regimes it had during the Cold War, pressing for more nations to adopt democratic policies. However, some of the groups the United States had previously supported, such as certain factions of the Mujahideen in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, broke their pro-US stances favoring rigid Islamism instead, which would culminate in the 9-11 attacks and War in Afghanistan (2001–present) after the US invasion of Afghanistan .
- Mamorial is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-Soviet states. It arose in 1987, from concerns about the future of the region after the fall of communism and dictatorship. It focuses on recording and publicising the Soviet Union's totalitarian past, but also monitors human rights in post-Soviet states at the present time, for example in Chechnya and Ingushetia.
- German Unity Day in Germany – A national holiday commemorating the anniversary of German reunification in 1990.
- Statehood Day in Slovenia – Commemorates the country's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.
- Independence and Unity Day in Slovenia – Commemorates the country's independence referendum.
- Day of National Unity in Georgia – is a public holiday commemorating victims of the 9 April tragedy
- National Day in Hungary
- Constitution Day in Romania – Commemorates the 1991 Romanian Constitution that enshrined the return to democracy after the fall of the Communist regime.
- Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Slovak Republic
- Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Czech Republic
- Memorial to the victims of Communism in the Czech Republic
- Lennon Wall in the Czech Republic
- Dawn of Liberty in Kazakhstan – A monument dedicated to Jeltoqsan
- Memorial of Rebirth in Romania
- Museum of Communism, Czech Republic
- Museum of Communism, Poland
- Global Museum on Communism
- House of Terror in Hungary
- Stasi Museum in the old headquarters
- Museum of Soviet occupation in Kiev, Ukraine
- Museum of Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi, Georgia
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
- Museum of Occupations (Estonia)
- Museum of Occupation (Vilnius)
- Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, Lithuania
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Cambodia
- 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
- Right Here, Right Now (Jesus Jones song) – An international hit written by Mike Edwards and performed by his rock band Jesus Jones, released in September 1990
- Life under communism
- Baltics are Waking Up
- Singing Revolution
- Cold War radio jamming
- The "Baltic Chain" demonstration on August 23, 1989
- Cold War radio propaganda
- Raadio vabadus Eesti- ja Liivimaal
- Cold War radio propaganda
- Cold War radio jamming
- Why the USSR broke up in reality
- Soviet "Era of Stagnation"
- Soviet Social Apparatus
- Soviet Ice Breaker Lenin
- Czechoslovakian leaders
- Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948
- Inner German Border
- Russian and Soviet Leaders since 1917