Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev,,, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russian: Михаи́л Серге́евич Горбачёв, tr. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov; IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil sʲɪrˈɡʲejəvʲɪtɕ ɡərbɐˈtɕof] (  listen); born 2 March 1931), is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the first (and last) president of the Soviet Union from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery He was the only general secretary in the history of the Soviet Union to have been born during the Communist rule. Gorbachev was born in Stavropol Krai into a peasant Ukrainian–Russian family, and in his teens operated combine harvesters on collective farms. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1955 with a degree in law. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery While he was at the university, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and soon became very active within it. In 1970, he was appointed the First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Kraikom, First Secretary to the Supreme Soviet in 1974, and appointed a member of the Politburo in 1979. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery Within three years of the deaths of Soviet Leaders Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, and Konstantin Chernenko, Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo in 1985. Before he reached the post, he had occasionally been mentioned in western newspapers as a likely next leader and a man of the younger generation at the top level. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery Gorbachev's attempts at reform as well as summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan and his reorientation of Soviet strategic aims contributed to the end of the Cold War, ended the political supremacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery He was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and the Harvey Prize in 1992 as well as Honorary Doctorates from University of Calgary[1] in 1993,[2] Durham University in 1995,[3] Trinity College in 2002[4] and University of Münster in 2005,[5] and Eureka College in 2009. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery In September 2008, Gorbachev and business oligarch Alexander Lebedev announced they would form the Independent Democratic Party of Russia,[6] and in May 2009 Gorbachev announced that the launch was imminent.[7] This was Gorbachev's third attempt to establish a political party, having started the Social Democratic Party of Russia in 2001 and the Union of Social Democrats in 2007. Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery Gorbachev was born on 2 March 1931 in Stavropol, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, into a mixed Russian-Ukrainian family[9] of migrants from Voronezh and Chernigov Governorates. As a child, Gorbachev experienced the Soviet famine of 1932–1933. Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery He recalled in a memoir that "In that terrible year [in 1933] nearly half the population of my native village, Privolnoye, starved to death, including two sisters and one brother of my father."[10] Both of his grandfathers were arrested on false charges in the 1930s; his paternal grandfather was sent to exile in Siberia. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery His father was a combine harvester operator and World War II veteran, named Sergey Andreyevich Gorbachev. His mother, Maria Panteleyevna Gorbacheva (née Gopkalo), was a kolkhoz worker.[12] In his teens, he operated combine harvesters on collective farms. He graduated from Moscow State University in 1955 with a degree in law. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery In 1967 he qualified as an agricultural economist via a correspondence masters degree at the Stavropol Institute of Agriculture. While at the university, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and soon became very active within the party. Gorbachev met his future wife, Raisa Titarenko, at Moscow State University. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery They married in September 1953 and moved to Stavropol upon graduation. She gave birth to their only child, daughter Irina Mikhailovna Virganskaya (Ири́на Миха́йловна Вирга́нская), in 1957. Raisa Gorbacheva died of leukemia in 1999.[13] Gorbachev has two granddaughters (Ksenia and Anastasia) and one great granddaughter (Aleksandra). Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery Gorbachev attended the important twenty-second Party Congress in October 1961, where Nikita Khrushchev announced a plan to surpass the U.S. in per capita production within twenty years. Gorbachev rose in the Communist League hierarchy and worked his way up through territorial leagues of the party. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery He was promoted to Head of the Department of Party Organs in the Stavropol Agricultural Kraikom in 1963.[14] In 1970, he was appointed First Party Secretary of the Stavropol Kraikom, a body of the CPSU, becoming one of the youngest provincial party chiefs in the nation.[14] Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery In this position he helped reorganise the collective farms, improve workers' living conditions, expand the size of their private plots, and gave them a greater voice in planning. He was soon made a member of the Communist Party Central Committee in 1971. Three years later, in 1974, Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery he was made a Deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and Chairman of the Standing Commission on Youth Affairs. He was subsequently appointed to the Central Committee's Secretariat for Agriculture in 1978, replacing Fyodor Kulakov, who had supported Gorbachev's appointment, after Kulakov died of a heart attack. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery In 1979, Gorbachev was promoted to the Politburo, the highest authority in the country, and received full membership in 1980. Gorbachev owed his steady rise to power to the patronage of Mikhail Suslov, the powerful chief ideologist of the CPSU.[16] During Yuri Andropov's tenure as General Secretary (1982–1984), Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery Gorbachev became one of the Politburo's most visible and active members.[16] With responsibility over personnel, working together with Andropov, 20 percent of the top echelon of government ministers and regional governors were replaced, often with younger men. Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery During this time Grigory Romanov, Nikolai Ryzhkov, and Yegor Ligachev were elevated, the latter two working closely with Gorbachev, Ryzhkov on economics, Ligachev on personnel.[17][page needed] Gorbachev's positions within the CPSU created more opportunities to travel abroad, Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery and this would profoundly affect his political and social views in the future as leader of the country. In 1972, he headed a Soviet delegation to Belgium,[14] and three years later he led a delegation to West Germany; in 1983 he headed a delegation to Canada to meet with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and members of the Commons and Senate. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery In 1984, he travelled to the United Kingdom, where he met British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Upon Andropov's death in 1984, the aged Konstantin Chernenko took power; after his death the following year, it became clear to the party hierarchy that younger leadership was needed.[18] Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on 11 March 1985, only three hours after Chernenko's death. Upon his accession at age 54, he was the youngest member of the Politburo. Mikhail Gorbachev was the Party's first leader to have been born after the Revolution. Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery As de facto ruler of the USSR, he tried to reform the stagnating Party and the state economy by introducing glasnost ("openness"), perestroika ("restructuring"),demokratizatsiya ("democratization"), and uskoreniye ("acceleration" of economic development), which were launched at the 27th Congress of the CPSU in February 1986. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery Gorbachev's primary goal as General Secretary was to revive the Soviet economyafter the stagnant Brezhnev years.[16] In 1985, he announced that the Soviet economy was stalled and that reorganization was needed. Gorbachev proposed a "vague programme of reform", which was adopted at the April Plenum of the Central Committee.[15] Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery He called for fast-paced technological modernization and increased industrial and agricultural productivity, and he attempted to reform the Soviet bureaucracy to be more efficient and prosperous.[16] Gorbachev soon realized that fixing the Soviet economy would be nearly impossible without reforming the political and social structure of the Communist nation.[20] Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery Gorbachev also initiated the concept of gospriyomka (state acceptance of production) during his time as leader,[21] which represented state approval of goods in an effort to maintain quality control and combat inferior manufacturing.[22] He made a speech in May 1985 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) advocating widespread reforms. Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery The reforms began in personnel changes; the most notable change was the replacement of Andrei Gromyko as Minister of Foreign Affairs with Eduard Shevardnadze. Gromyko, disparaged as "Mr Nyet" in the West, had served for 28 years as Minister of Foreign Affairs and was considered an 'old thinker'. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery Robert D. English notes that, despite Shevardnadze's diplomatic inexperience, Gorbachev "shared with him an outlook" and experience in managing an agricultural region of the Soviet Union (Georgia), which meant that both had weak links to the powerful military-industrial complex.[23] Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery A number of reformist ideas were discussed by Politburo members. One of the first reforms Gorbachev introduced was the anti-alcohol campaign, begun in May 1985, which was designed to fight widespread alcoholism in the Soviet Union. Prices of vodka, wine, and beer were raised, and their sales were restricted. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery It was pursued vigorously and cut both alcohol sales and government revenue.[24] It was a serious blow to the state budget—a loss of approximately 100 billion rubles according to Alexander Yakovlev—after alcohol production migrated to the black market economy. The program proved to be a useful symbol for change in the country, however.[24] Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery The purpose of reform, however, was to prop up the centrally planned economy, not transition to market socialism. Speaking in late summer 1985 to the secretaries for economic affairs of the central committees of the East European communist parties, Gorbachev said: Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery "Many of you see the solution to your problems in resorting to market mechanisms in place of direct planning. Some of you look at the market as a lifesaver for your economies. But, comrades, you should not think about lifesavers but about the ship, and the ship is socialism. Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery Gorbachev initiated his new policy of perestroika (literally 'restructuring') and its attendant radical reforms in 1986; they were sketched, but not fully spelled out, at the XXVIIth Party Congress in February–March 1986. The new policy of "reconstruction" was introduced in an attempt to overcome the economic stagnation by creating a dependable and effective mechanism for accelerating economic and social progress.[26] Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery According to Gorbachev, perestroika was the "conference of development of democracy, socialist self-government, encouragement of initiative and creative endeavor, improved order and disciple, more glasnost, criticism and self-criticism in all spheres of our society. It is utmost respect for the individual and consideration for personal dignity." Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery Domestic changes continued apace. In a bombshell speech during Armenian SSR's Central Committee Plenum of the Communist Party, the young First Secretary of Armenia's Hrazdan Regional Communist Party, Hayk Kotanjian, criticised rampant corruption in the Armenian Communist Party's highest echelons, Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery implicating Armenian SSR Communist Party First Secretary Karen Demirchyanand calling for his resignation. Symbolically, intellectual Andrei Sakharov was invited to return to Moscow by Gorbachev in December 1986 after six years of internal exile in Gorky. During the same month, Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery however, signs of the nationalities problem that would haunt the later years of the Soviet Union surfaced as riots, named Jeltoqsan, occurred in Kazakhstan afterDinmukhamed Kunayev was replaced as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery The Central Committee Plenum in January 1987 would see the crystallisation of Gorbachev's political reforms, including proposals for multi-candidate elections and the appointment of non-Party members to government positions. He also first raised the idea of expanding co-operatives at the plenum. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery Economic reforms took up much of the rest of 1987, as a new law giving enterprises more independence was passed in June and Gorbachev released a book, Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World, in November, elucidating his main ideas for reform. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery In 1987 he rehabilitated many opponents of Joseph Stalin, another part of the De-Stalinization, which began in 1956, when Lenin's Testament was published. 1988 would see Gorbachev's introduction of glasnost, which gave new freedoms to the Soviet people, including greater freedom of speech. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery This was a radical change, as control of speech and suppression of government criticism had previously been a central part of the Soviet system. The press became far less controlled, and thousands of political prisoners and many dissidents were released. Gorbachev's goal in undertaking glasnost was to pressure conservatives within the CPSU Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery who opposed his policies of economic restructuring, and he also hoped that through different ranges of openness, debate and participation, the Soviet people would support his reform initiatives. At the same time, he opened himself and his reforms up for more public criticism, evident in Nina Andreyeva's critical letter in a March edition of Sovetskaya Rossiya.[15] Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery Gorbachev acknowledged that his liberalising policies of glasnost and perestroika owed a great deal to Alexander Dubček's "Socialism with a human face". The Law on Cooperatives enacted in May 1988 was perhaps the most radical of the economic reforms during the early part of the Gorbachev era. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery For the first time since Vladimir Lenin's New Economic Policy, the law permitted private ownership of businesses in the service, manufacturing, and foreign-trade sectors. The law initially imposed high taxes and employment restrictions, although these were ignored by some SSRs. Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery Later the restrictions were revised to avoid discouraging private-sector activity. Under the provision for private ownership, cooperative restaurants, shops, and manufacturers became part of the Soviet scene. Under the new law, the restructuring of large 'All-Union' industrial organisations also began. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery Aeroflot was split up, eventually becoming several independent airlines. These newly autonomous business organisations were encouraged to seek foreign investment. In June 1988, at the CPSU's Party Conference, Gorbachev launched radical reforms meant to reduce party control of the government apparatus. Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery He proposed a new executive in the form of a presidential system, as well as a new legislative element, to be called the Congress of People's Deputies.[15] Elections to the Congress of People's Deputies were held throughout the Soviet Union in March and April 1989. This was the first free election in the Soviet Union since 1917. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery Gorbachev became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (or head of state) on 25 May 1989. On 15 March 1990, Gorbachev was elected as the first executive President of the Soviet Union[15] with 59% of the Deputies' votes, being an unopposed candidate. The Congress met for the first time on 25 May in order to elect representatives from Congress to sit on the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery Nonetheless, the Congress posed problems for Gorbachev: its sessions were televised, airing more criticism and encouraging people to expect ever more rapid reform. In the elections, many Party candidates were defeated. Furthermore, Boris Yeltsin was elected in Moscow and returned to political prominence to become an increasingly vocal critic of Gorbachev. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery In contrast to his controversial domestic reforms, Gorbachev was largely hailed in the West for his 'new thinking' in foreign affairs. During his tenure, he sought to improve relations and trade with the West by reducing Cold War tensions. He established close relationships with several Western leaders, Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery such as West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—who famously remarked: "I like Mr. Gorbachev; we can do business together."[27] Gorbachev understood the link between achieving international détente and domestic reform and thus began extending 'New Thinking' abroad immediately. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery On 8 April 1985, he announced the suspension of the deployment of SS-20s in Europe as a move towards resolving intermediate-range nuclear weapons (INF) issues. Later that year, in September, Gorbachev proposed that the Soviets and Americans both cut their nuclear arsenals in half. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery He went to France on his first trip abroad as Soviet leader in October. November saw the Geneva Summit between Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. Though no concrete agreement was made, Gorbachev and Reagan struck a personal relationship and decided to hold further meetings. Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery January 1986 would see Gorbachev make his boldest international move so far, when he announced his proposal for the elimination of intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe and his strategy for eliminating all nuclear weapons by the year 2000 (often referred to as the 'January Proposal'). Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery He also began the process of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan andMongolia on 28 July.[15] Nonetheless, many observers, such as Jack F. Matlock Jr. (despite generally praising Gorbachev as well as Reagan), have criticized Gorbachev for taking too long to achieve withdrawal from the Afghanistan War, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery citing it as an example of lingering elements of 'old thinking' in Gorbachev.[28]Others, such as Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst Michael Johns, criticized Gorbachev's military support for the Ethiopian regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which Johns argued was a contributing factor to Ethiopia's mass famine.[29] Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery On 11 October 1986, Gorbachev and Reagan met at Höfði house in Reykjavík, Iceland, to discuss reducing intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. To the immense surprise of both men's advisers, the two agreed in principle to removing INF systems from Europe and to equal global limits of 100 INF missile warheads. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery They also essentially agreed in principle to eliminate all nuclear weapons in 10 years (by 1996), instead of by the year 2000 as in Gorbachev's original outline.[28] Continuing trust issues, particularly over reciprocity and Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), meant that the summit is often regarded as a failure for not producing a concrete agreement immediately, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery or for leading to a staged elimination of nuclear weapons. In the long term, nevertheless, this would culminate in the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987, after Gorbachev had proposed this elimination on 22 July 1987 (and it was subsequently agreed on in Geneva on 24 November).[15] Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery In February 1988, Gorbachev announced the full withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. The withdrawal was completed the following year, although the civil war continued as the Mujahedin pushed to overthrow the pro-Soviet Najibullah government. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery An estimated 28,000 Soviets were killed between 1979 and 1989 as a result of the Afghanistan War. Also during 1988, Gorbachev announced that the Soviet Union would abandon the Brezhnev Doctrine, and allow the Eastern blocnations to freely determine their own internal affairs. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery Jokingly dubbed the "Sinatra Doctrine" by Gorbachev's Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov, this policy of non-intervention in the affairs of the other Warsaw Pact states proved to be the most momentous of Gorbachev's foreign policy reforms. In his 6 July 1989 speech arguing for a "common European home" before the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery France, Gorbachev declared: "The social and political order in some countries changed in the past, and it can change in the future too, but this is entirely a matter for each people to decide. Any interference in the internal affairs, or any attempt to limit the sovereignty of another state, friend, ally, or another, would be inadmissible." Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery A month earlier, on 4 June 1989, elections had taken place in Poland and the communist government had already been deposed. Moscow's abandonment of the Brezhnev Doctrine allowed the rise of popular upheavals in Eastern Europe throughout 1989, in which Communism was overthrown. Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery By the end of 1989, revolts had spread from one Eastern European capital to another, ousting the regimes built in Eastern Europe after World War II. With the exception of Romania, the popular upheavals against the pro-Soviet Communist regimes were all peaceful ones (see Revolutions of 1989). Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery The loosening of Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe effectively ended the Cold War, and for this, Gorbachev was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal in Gold in 1989 and the Nobel Peace Prize on 15 October 1990. The rest of 1989 was taken up by the increasingly problematic nationalities question and the dramatic fragmentation of the Eastern Bloc. Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery Despite international détente reaching unprecedented levels, with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan completed in January and U.S.-Soviet talks continuing between Gorbachev andGeorge H. W. Bush, domestic reforms were suffering from increasing divergence between reformists, Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery who criticised the pace of change, and conservatives, who criticized the extent of change. Gorbachev states that he tried to find the middle ground between both groups, but this would draw more criticism towards him.[15] The story from this point on moves away from reforms and becomes one of the nationalities question and the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union. Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery On 9 November, people in East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, GDR) were suddenly allowed to cross through the Berlin Wall into West Berlin, following a peaceful protest against the country's dictatorial administration, including a demonstration by some one million people in East Berlin on 4 November. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery Unlike earlier riots which were ended by military force with the help of the USSR, Gorbachev, who came to be lovingly called "Gorby" in West Germany, now decided not to interfere with the process in Germany.[30] He stated that German reunification was an internal German matter. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery Coit D. Blacker wrote in 1990 that the Soviet leadership "appeared to have believed that whatever loss of authority the Soviet Union might suffer in Eastern Europe would be more than offset by a net increase in its influence in Western Europe."[31] Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery Nevertheless, it is unlikely that Gorbachev ever intended for the complete dismantling of Communism in the Warsaw Pact countries. Rather, he assumed that the Communist parties of Eastern Europe could be reformed in a similar way to the reforms he hoped to achieve in the CPSU. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery Just as perestroika was aimed at making the USSR more efficient economically and politically, Gorbachev believed that the Comecon and Warsaw Pact could be reformed into more effective entities. Alexander Yakovlev, a close advisor to Gorbachev, would later state that it would have been "absurd to keep the system" in Eastern Europe. Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery In contrast to Gorbachev, Yakovlev had come to the conclusion that the Soviet-dominated Comecon was inherently unworkable and that the Warsaw Pact had "no relevance to real life." While Gorbachev's political initiatives were positive for freedom and democracy in the Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc allies, Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery the economic policy of his government gradually brought the country close to disaster. By the end of the 1980s, severe shortages of basic food supplies (meat, sugar) led to the reintroduction of the war-time system of distribution using food cards that limited each citizen to a certain amount of product per month. Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery Compared to 1985, the state deficit grew from 0 to 109 billion rubles; gold funds decreased from 2,000 to 200 tons; and external debt grew from 0 to 120 billion dollars. Furthermore, the democratisation of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had irreparably undermined the power of the CPSU and Gorbachev himself. Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery The relaxation of censorship and attempts to create more political openness had the unintended effect of re-awakening long-suppressed nationalist and anti-Russian feelings in the Soviet republics. Calls for greater independence from Moscow's rule grew louder, especially in the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery Latvia, and Estonia which had been annexed into the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin in 1940. Nationalist feeling also took hold in Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In December 1986, the first signs of the nationalities problem that would haunt the later years of the Soviet Union's existence surfaced as riots, named Jeltoqsan, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery occurred in Alma Ata and other areas of Kazakhstan after Dinmukhamed Kunayev was replaced as First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. Nationalism would then surface in Russia in May 1987, as 600 members of Pamyat, a nascent Russian nationalist group, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery demonstrated in Moscow and were becoming increasingly linked to Boris Yeltsin, who received their representatives at a meeting.[15] Glasnost hastened awareness of the national sovereignty problem. The free flow of information had been so completely suppressed for so long in the Soviet Union Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery that many of the ruling class had all but forgotten that the Soviet Union was an empire conquered through military force and consolidated by the persecution of millions of people, and not a union voluntarily entered into by local populations. Thus, the extremity of local desire for independent control of their own affairs took these leaders by surprise, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery and the leaders were unprepared for the depth of the long pent-up feelings that were released. Violence erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh—an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan—between February and April, when Armenians living in the area began a new wave of demands to transfer of NKAO from Azerbaijan to Armenia which eventually led to full scale Nagorno-Karabakh War.[33] Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery Gorbachev imposed a temporary solution, but it did not last, as fresh trouble arose in Nagorno-Karabakh between June and July. Turmoil would once again return in late 1988, this time in Armenia itself, when the Leninakan Earthquake hit the region on 7 December. Poor local infrastructure magnified the hazard and some 25,000 people died.[15] Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery Gorbachev was forced to break off his trip to the U.S. and cancel planned travels to Cuba and Britain.[15] In March and April 1989 elections to the Congress of People's Deputies took place throughout the Soviet Union. This returned many pro-independence republicans, as many CPSU candidates were rejected. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery The televised Congress debates allowed the dissemination of pro-independence propositions. Indeed, 1989 would see numerous nationalistic protests; for example, beginning with the Baltic republics in January, laws were passed in most non-Russian republics giving precedence for the local language over Russian. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery 9 April would see the crackdown of nationalist demonstrations by Soviet troops in Tbilisi. There would be further bloody protests in Uzbekistan in June, where Uzbeks and Meskhetian Turks clashed in Fergana. Apart from this violence, three major events that altered the face of the nationalities issue occurred in 1989. Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery Estonia had declared its sovereignty on 16 November 1988, to be followed by Lithuania in May 1989 and by Latvia in July (the Communist Party of Lithuania would also declare its independence from the CPSU in December). This brought the Union and the republics into clear confrontation and would form a precedent for other republics. Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery Around the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in July 1989, the Soviet government formally acknowledged that the plan had included the inclusion of the Baltic states into the Soviet sphere of influence, which preceded and paved the way for their annexation into the USSR in 1940. Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery The revelation supported the long-denied proposition that the Baltic states had been involuntarily brought into the Soviet Union and substantially boosted the Baltic aspirations to re-establish their independence. Finally, the Eastern bloc fragmented in the autumn of 1989, raising hopes that Gorbachev would extend his non-interventionist doctrine to the internal workings of the USSR. Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery 1990 began with nationalist turmoil in January. Azerbaijanis rioted and troops were sent in to restore order; many Moldovansdemonstrated in favour of unification with post-Communist Romania; and Lithuanian demonstrations continued. The same month, in a hugely significant move, Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery Armenia asserted its right to veto laws coming from the All-Union level, thus intensifying the 'war of laws' between republics and Moscow.[15] Soon after, the CPSU, which had already lost much of its control, began to lose even more power as Gorbachev deepened political reform. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery The February Central Committee Plenum advocated multi-party elections; local elections held between February and March returned a large number of pro-independence candidates. The Congress of People's Deputies then amended the Soviet Constitution in March, removing Article 6, which guaranteed the monopoly of the CPSU. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery The process of political reform was therefore coming from above and below, and was gaining a momentum that would augment republican nationalism. Soon after the constitutional amendment, Lithuania declared independence and elected Vytautas Landsbergis as Chairman of the Supreme Council (head of state).[15] Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery On 15 March, Gorbachev himself was elected as the only President of the Soviet Union by the Congress of People's Deputies and chose a Presidential Council of 15 politicians. Gorbachev was essentially creating his own political support base independent of CPSU conservatives and radical reformers. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery

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