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

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terms of dis union confederation 60 years on
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

final exam
Final exam
  • Friday, April 17th
  • 3-5:00 p.m.
  • Location
    • SN3042
  • Format:
    • Largely essay
    • Some shorter response
    • Greater emphasis on work since the midterm
    • Further information Thursday
1989 in context
1989 in context
  • Momentous events:
    • Fall of the Berlin Wall
    • collapse or transformation of Communist regimes in east-central Europe
      • Hungary
      • DDR (German Democratic Republic)
      • Poland
      • Czechoslovakia
      • Bulgaria
      • Romania
  • Followed by
    • Re-unification of Germany, 1990
    • Break up of the Soviet Union, 1990-91
soviet and east european regimes
Soviet and East European regimes
  • Ostensibly regimes in which a ruling Communist party was overseeing transition from socialism to communism
  • Party-state systemsin which
    • The state owned means of production
    • Ruling party interpenetrated state apparatus
    • State planned and directed the economy through 5 year plans
ruling communist parties
Ruling Communist parties
  • Typically the only legal party:
    • Restricted membership
    • Purges – especially in Stalin period
  • Constitutionally the “leading and guiding force”
  • Parties were vast bureaucratic structure, paralleling and shadowing state structures
    • Functioned as mammoth personnel agency,
      • recruiting and socializing loyal members
      • deploying them through state apparatus
  • Ideological orthodoxy enforced in varying degrees
the ussr
The USSR
  • Stalin and Stalinism
    • Purges and show trials in 1930s
    • Collectivization of agriculture
    • Rapid industrialization
  • Following death of Stalin in 1953
    • Relaxation of totalitarian features
    • Denunciation of Stalin at 20th Party Congress (1956)
    • Continuation of central planning – but some shift toward consumer goods
    • Some limited space for dissent within an authoritarian party-state
communism in eastern europe
Communism in Eastern Europe
  • Soviet-style systems established after WW II
  • Ruling Communist parties purged
  • Similar attempts at central planning
  • Uprisings and rebellions suppressed
    • East Germany – 1953
    • Hungary – 1956
    • Czechoslovakia (“Prague Spring”) 1968
variations in actually existing socialism
Variations in Actually Existing Socialism
  • Hungary
    • Gradual relaxation following 1956 repression
    • Managerial autonomy
    • Goulash socialism
poland
Poland
  • Party unable to establish complete control
  • De-collectivization of land under Gomulka
  • Periodic resistance to food price increases
    • Workers strike 1970, again in 1976
    • Increases rolled back with government & USSR subsidizing Poles
  • Strong national identity
  • Independent position of Roman Catholic Church -- reinforced when Cardinal Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II in 1978
poland 1980 1981
Poland: 1980-1981
  • Nationwide resistance to price increases
  • Solidarity Trade Union formed (1980)
  • Party chair Gierek negotiates with Solidarity
    • Free trade unions permitted
    • Right to strike recognized
    • Censorship to be eased
    • Political prisoners to be released
  • Warsaw Pact divided about response
poland 1981 1989
Poland: 1981-1989
  • General Jaruzelski made Prime Minister
  • Solidarity cautions restraint
    • Demand for free trade unions throughout east Europe = demand too far
  • Solidarity banned
    • Assumes underground existence –
    • Sheltered by RC Church & increasingly independent civil society
    • Cat & mouse game with authorities
  • Jaruzelski’s role:
    • A hardliner, soft-liner, or mediator?
yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
  • Wartime partisan movement comes to power
  • Independent of Soviet control from 1948
  • Experiments with workplace democracy
  • After Tito’s death (1980) growing centrifugal pressures
more orthodox regimes
More orthodox regimes
  • German Democratic Republic (DDR)
    • Repression of revolt in 1953
    • Construction of Berlin Wall, 1961
    • Maintenance of vast spy apparatus – Stasi
  • Czechoslovakia
    • Strong domestic communist party comes to power after WW II
    • Prague Spring (1968)= brief interlude
    • Repression resumes after Warsaw pact invasion
problems in the 1970s and 1980s
Problems in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Limits of central planning
    • Difficulty of targeting
    • All thumbs and no fingers
  • Growing problems of corruption:
    • Party & nomenklature (those appointed)as privileged elite
    • A stratified rather than classless society
  • Ability to improve living conditions to a certain extent, but not beyond
  • Growing stagnation (especially USSR)
  • Difficulty containing dissent
containing dissent
Containing dissent
  • Manifestations:
    • Samizdat (USSR)
    • KOR (Committee of Resistance, Poland, from 1976)
    • Solidarity
    • Charter ’77 (Czechoslovakia)
  • Different solutions tried:
    • Co-optation and exclusion
    • Marginalization or exile
    • Repression
  • Parties’ dilemma
    • cooperation & energy of intellectuals & civil society was needed
    • Allowing autonomy risked loss of control
reform and transformation in the ussr
Reform and transformation in the USSR
  • 1964-1980
    • Collective leadership under Brezhnev
    • Rule by aging gerontocracy
    • Party in fact divided between defenders of status quo & reformers
  • 1981-1983
    • Andropov (ex. KGB) initiates reforms
    • But slowed by illness & death
  • 1983-84
    • Chernenko assumes control
    • Member of old guard
    • Sick, dies
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary, 1985
gorbachev 1985 91
Gorbachev (1985-91)
  • Andropov protégé
    • Aware of stagnation &
    • Diminished ability to compete militarily with West
  • Attempts to reform the system from within - emphasize
    • Glasnost(openness) –state admits truth
    • Perestrioka:restructuring, reform, e.g.
      • Encourage competition within party
      • Loosen grip of party on state
  • Problems:
    • Large bureaucratic organizations difficult to reform
    • Resistance from those who prefer discipline to reform
    • Party (CPSU) was lynchpin holding system together
consequences
Consequences:
  • 1985 summit: improved relations with west
  • Internal turmoil in USSR
    • Reform stalled
    • Growing nationality problems
  • Party loosens grip on state
  • USSR loosens grip on Eastern Europe
  • USSR itself poised to disintegrate
transformation in eastern europe
Transformation in Eastern Europe
  • DDR
    • Massive demonstrations
    • Increased exit (via Hungary)
    • Regime attempts transformation – loses grip and will to repress –opens Berlin Wall
  • Poland
    • Military had assumed power following 1981
    • Cat and mouse game with Solidarity
    • Negotiated transition in 1989 – with seats guaranteed for Communists
transformation cont d
Transformation– cont’d
  • Czechoslovakia
    • Comes alive in late 1989
    • Demonstrations
    • Regime collapses
  • Hungary
    • Communist Party surrenders monopoly, permits competition
  • Bulgaria
    • Elections permitted
  • Romania
    • Rebellion from within regime
  • USSR:
    • Baltic States break away in 1990
    • USSR disintegrates in 1991
outcomes
Outcomes
  • End of Cold War
    • a uni-polar or multi-polar world?
    • Expansion of NATO
  • An End of History? (Francis Fukiyama)
  • 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 democracies
  • Central Europe returns to European fold