Farewell Perestroika: A Soviet Chronicle

By Boris Kagarlitsky; Rick Simon | Go to book overview

12
Farewell, Perestroika?

All observers are agreed that 1989 was one of the most dramatic years in the history of Russia and Eastern Europe. Europe has not known a year so packed with events at least since the end of the Second World War, and the last three months proved to be even more stormy than the whole of the preceding year.

Beginning in early spring, the severe and all-embracing crisis of the Soviet political system produced one shockwave after another, giving sustenance to the international press and completely muddling the maps of politicians accustomed to the traditional notions of a stable balance of forces in the USSR and Europe which had been maintained for decades.

First of all, there were the elections to the Congress of People's Deputies, the thousands of authorized and unauthorized meetings, the rise of the Popular Front movements in the Baltic republics and the calls for independence, no longer emanating from 'extremists' condemned by official organs, but in fact from the national Party-state apparatus itself. There was the Tbilisi tragedy -- the massacre of unarmed demonstrators by special army units -- and the Fergana tragedy -- where troops were unable to get to the scene in time to prevent the pogroms. Abkhazians battled with Georgians, Tadzhiks with Kirghiz, Azeris with Armenians. The conflict between Russian settlers and the indigenous population of Estonia led to a general strike of the Russian-speaking working class, and in Lithuania, the traditional antagonisms between Vilnius and

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Farewell Perestroika: A Soviet Chronicle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • 1 - The Hot Summer of 1988 1
  • Notes 29
  • 2 - The Popular Front Movement in Crisis? 31
  • Notes 38
  • 3 - Popular Front or National Front? 39
  • Notes 50
  • 4 - The Restless Borderlands 51
  • Notes 78
  • 5 - A Constitutional Crisis 81
  • Notes 88
  • 6 - Election Fever 89
  • Notes 97
  • A Difficult Hegemony 99
  • Notes 109
  • 8 - The Spring Whirlpool: The Elections, Yeltsin and the Popular Front 111
  • Notes 143
  • 9 - The Congress and Around the Congress 145
  • Notes 162
  • 10 - Onward, Onward, Onward . . . 165
  • Notes 175
  • 11 - Yet Another Hot Summer 177
  • Notes 192
  • 12 - Farewell, Perestroika? 195
  • Index 211
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