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By Matthew J. Ouimet

Because the surprising cave in of the communist approach in japanese Europe in 1989, students have attempted to provide an explanation for why the Soviet Union stood through and watched as its empire crumbled. the new liberate of intensive archival documentation in Moscow and the looks of more and more Soviet political memoirs now provide a better standpoint in this historical technique and allow a miles deeper check out its motives. the increase and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet overseas coverage is a accomplished learn detailing the cave in of Soviet keep an eye on in japanese Europe among 1968 and 1989, focusing in particular at the pivotal cohesion uprisings in Poland. established seriously on firsthand testimony and clean archival findings, it constitutes a basic reassessment of Soviet international coverage in this interval. possibly most crucial, it deals a stunning account of the way Soviet international coverage tasks within the overdue Brezhnev period outlined the parameters of Mikhail Gorbachev's later place of laissez-faire towards jap Europe--a place that eventually ended in the downfall of socialist governments all over the place Europe.

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The Politburo resolution that initiated the intervention summed up Moscow’s final consensus on the Czechoslovak counterrevolution. It read in part: Having comprehensively analyzed the conditions and situation in Czechoslovakia during the last few days, and having similarly considered a request from members of the Presidium of the cscp Central Committee and government of the cssr [Czechoslovak Socialist Republic] to the ussr, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the gdr requesting military assistance in the battle against counterrevolutionary forces, the Politburo of the cpsu Central Committee unanimously considers that the recent developments in Czechoslovakia have taken a very dangerous turn.

The Prague Spring was steadily undermining Moscow’s authority over the world communist movement, and Alexander Dubcek was doing little to avert a major showdown with his socialist partners. Consequently, by early July, Dubcek had been all but factored out of Soviet plans for the ‘‘normalization’’ of Czechoslovakia, that is, its restoration to Soviet-approved political and socioeconomic norms. Contacts with the so-called healthy nucleus of the cscp began to intensify along both interparty and military lines.

Was this the reality that was facing communism in Eastern Europe? Had the reform process begun to run out of control in Prague? The April publication of Dubcek’s very liberal ‘‘Program of Action’’ seemed to confirm for Soviet observers that it had. While much of the program merely restated principles enunciated earlier by Nikita Khrushchev, it contained a number of assertions that were bound to alarm Moscow. Most troubling were the stipulations aimed at limiting Party control over the Interior Ministry, a move that would shatter the network of agents Moscow had employed for years in Czechoslovakia.

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