- 1968 was the harvenger of 1989. 1989 left an incredible decree’s of the revolutionary of
- The last illusions of the left, left space to reconstruct.
- The idea of 1989 as the real beginning of the real 20 century is one that many historians
debated as well.
- To think wether and if it’s possible to consider WWI as the fundamental moment of the
20 century of 1989 that rose up many conflicts in the world.
- 1989 as a moment of rupture or a continuation of 1968 or an event on it’s own right.
- 1989 as is often the case we need to look one decade back to understand.
- In order to understand the fundamental shift we will begin with the cultural and economic
changes that control the USSR in the 60’s and 70’s.
- The changes that paved the way for 1989. The war in Afghanistan whom will seem
similar to the present one today and the role that this will play.
- Finally, we’ll have to move away from the USSR. We’ll observe a few examples of the
satellite State’s transitions.
- The 1966 disembowel of Stalinism in the USSR. The destalinization program is important
for the arts and culture. Part of Kruschev’s plan concerned the arts and the freedom of
soviet artitst to create any type of arts they wished to make. This was to show the USSR
and the West that these artists were free to create whatever they felt like making.
- This was known as the Soviet Thaw.
- As many intellectuals argue, the Soviet Thaw wasn’t completely free. It gave more but not
complete freedom. One classic example of the incompleteness is Boris Pasternak. He took
advantage of this Thaw to create a book during WWI. Once it was accepted for
publication he started to send it to Western European Countries. After the initial approval
the Soviet censor’s decided that the book was too dangerous and provided to many
challenges to the State so it couldn’t be published. The Soviets asked Pasternak to
withdraw the manuscript from Italy. Instead, the Italian publishers gave it to other
- The novel won the Nobel Prize; this was a very political novel. The USSR told Pasternak
to refuse the Nobel Prize or else he would face exile. A similar case to this one was
Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He spent 8 years in a Gulag camps and the realities of these
camps. He was expelled from USSR in 1974 where he published the Gulag Archipelago.
This was a much more complete account of what happened during his time in the Gulag’s.
- What people did because the book wasn’t published in the USSR? When a copy would be
found it would be photocopied only for 24 hrs so the authorities wouldn’t catch it.
- He won the Nobel prize 12 years after Pasternak.
- Unlike Pasternak ne accepted the prize and used it as a platform to critic the USSR.
- At a moment of “openness” led to a movement from young writers and scientists in the
Soviet Union. They were more incensed by these types of exclusion because they were
living in the “Soviet Thaw”.
- This led to more and more manifestations and movements against the government. These
artists became the underprivileged individuals of young thinkers.
- All that united this group was the desire for true and natural freedom.
- The Soviet dissidents were simply adding their voice to intellectuals and other whom
were hiding in Poland, Hungary etc… - We saw a decline of the Soviet economy. Challenges on the economic level arose from the
Soviet Economy. While the rest of the world was growing the Soviet Union seemed to be
regressing in economic terms.
- It was still a powerhouse but over the next two decades the Soviet Union had to rely on
energy from oil and gas and to important many of the goods it used to export.
- The biggest problem is that oil and energy prices fluctuate all the time. This means that it
becomes unreliable. Hobsbawm explains that the problem of Soviet socialism was that
Soviet leaders refused to acknowledge the world economy of which they were a part of.
- When thee oil prices of the 1970’s came it was initially a boom for the Soviet economy.
The problem was that this sudden boom in the oil market means that Soviet Leaders
though it wasn’t necessary to reorganize the economy given this change in the market.
- The problem was that the oil boom of the 1970’s was followed by the energy crisis. In the
USSR what they though was endless oil it started to drive up.
- Rather then reforming the ideas as to return to an earlier version of the Soviet Economy.
- As it’s already been explained reform, both cultural and economic had been issued in the
Satellite State’s in the 1960’s.
- The Soviet Sponsored Government’s had lost the legitimacy they once had. They were
only being kept for Soviet Invasions.
- One exception to this general phenomenon is in Poland. Hobsbawm explains a few
reasons that explain were able to sustain a strong Soviet government.
o The first reason is that unlike the other Satellite State’s Polish nationalism is
strong because it wasn’t a country created after WWI.
o The secod factor is that fact that the catholic church was a strong organizing tool.
It had a moral authority in Poland and it wasn’t under the Country Control.
o The active nature of the Polish working class.
- Because of these three factors we have a public solidarity movements in Poland.
- Since the Catholic Church was in the news a lot. Jean-Paul II is also chosen as Pope. This
is important because he’s a Polish and a Catholic.
- Lech Walsea was a trade union movement whom used the mass strike as a national
opposition movement. The power the solidarity movement demonstrated that Soviet
control in Poland w