Were Glasnost and Perestroika resricted solely to Russia or were they policies for all of Eastern Europe?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Strictly speaking, perestroika (Mikhail Gorbachev's plan for economic reform) and glasnost (toleration for dissent, "openness") were Soviet reforms. They were instituted by Gorbachev himself. But they were intended for communist countries in general, and quickly caught on in Eastern Europe, where there had been many reform movements in the past that were quickly crushed by party members with the support of the Soviet Union. In fact, the reforms proceeded far quicker than Gorbachev, or even leaders in the West, could have imagined. It was through a stated policy of perestroika and glasnost, for example, that Poland's ruling Communist Party invited Solidarity, the worker's union that had been crushed in 1981, to join a coalition government. This turned into an outright revolution when Solidarity won a clear majority in parliamentary elections. Similar events took place in Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. As perestroika and glasnost were introduced, and bans on opposition parties were lifted, the popular loathing for communism became evident. In short, while perestroika and glasnost did not begin in Eastern Europe, once they were introduced there the pace of reform moved far more quickly than  Soviet leaders imagined, and led to the collapse of communism. 


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