Mary Buckley
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The multifaceted external Soviet role in processes towards unanticipated revolutions
in The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe
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Mikhail Gorbachev was an essential enabler of revolutions in Eastern Europe. As General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from March 1985, he framed changes and developments and was shaped by them in an unfolding multivariate dynamic. As initiator of perestroika (restructuring), Gorbachev sent signals to East European leaders that restructuring was a domestic policy for the USSR. In lengthy political mobilisations that took place across the USSR in the run up to the 27th party congress from February to March 1986, relevant signals about future policies were being given. The historical irony was that some reformers in Eastern Europe believed that they should seize the political space to make choices to a degree not desired, nor envisioned by Gorbachev. Gorbachev's view of German Democratic Republic (GDR)-Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) relations in 1985 showed consistency with recent Soviet security concerns.

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