The Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union

By William E. Watson | Go to book overview

Glossary of Selected Terms

Alpha Team . An elite Soviet counter-terrorism unit that was part of the KGB, but became a separate entity in 1991, following the collapse of the USSR. The Alpha Team was responsible for the attacks on civilians in the Vilnius Massacre ( January, 1991) in Lithuania. Its leaders, however, were sympathetic to Boris Yeltsin during the August 1991 coup attempt, and refused to obey KGB orders to storm the Russian Republic's White House -- center of Yeltsin's resistance to the coup.

Apparatchiks . Senior members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who held the most important positions within the Soviet government and who received substantial material benefits in return for their loyalty.

Berlin Blockade. A road and rail blockade of the western part of Berlin by Soviet forces on Stalin's orders ( July 1948-May 1949) to attempt to pressure the United States, the United Kingdom, and France into dropping plans to merge their post-World War II occupation zones into a state of West Germany. The blockade was one of the major crises of the Cold War, and it failed due to the massive American, British, and French airlift (250,000 flights brought food and supplies into the city).

CIS . The Commonwealth of Independent States, which was formed in December 1991 to replace the USSR. Member states are independent but have agreed to the creation of a post-Soviet "common market" within their borders, as well as a unified military and nuclear command structure. Members include Armenia, Azerbaidjan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Client State . A state dependent politically, economically, and military upon the assistance of a more powerful state, and frequently willing to assist in carrying out the foreign policy objectives of its powerful ally. The Warsaw Pact countries, for example, were clients of the more powerful USSR.

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The Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ADVISORY BOARD v
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Chronology of Events xv
  • The Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union Explained 1
  • 1 - Narrative Overview 3
  • 2 - The Evolution of Perestroika 19
  • Notes 25
  • 3 - The Brezhnev Doctrine and the Afghan War 26
  • 4 - Nationalism and the End of the Soviet Empire 35
  • Notes 46
  • 5 - Russia after the Collapse of Communism 47
  • Biographies of the Collapse of Communism 57
  • Primary Documents of the Collapse of Communism 85
  • Glossary of Selected Terms 149
  • Annotated Bibliography 157
  • Index 171
  • About the Author *
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