Michal Pullmann
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The demise of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, 1987–89
A socio-economic perspective
in The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe
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The collapse of the communist regimes in 1989-1991 reopened critical questions on the bases of stability and roots of discontent in modern societies. This chapter examines the evolution of Czechoslovak perestroika, specifically how the discourse of socio-economic reforms gradually undermined the rhetoric and self-perception of the regime and facilitated its ultimate collapse. The transformation and radicalisation of public criticism are of cardinal importance in deciphering the collapse of Czechoslovak communism. Public discussion of the draft act on state enterprise became an important event in 1987 not only in terms of economic relations, but also in respect to popular criticism. If there was a uniting topic in the popular critique, it was the ridicule of an important speech by the general secretary of the communist party, Milos Jakes, in the summer of 1989.

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