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2011 | 1-2 | 86-119

Article title

Politika optimismu a opatrnosti. Moskva a východní Evropa na konci 80. let


Title variants

Moscow and Eastern Europe 1988–1989: A Policy of Optimism and Caution

Languages of publication



The article by Alex Pravda deals with the foreign policy of Kremlin toward the countries of East-Central Europe under Mikhail Gorbachev, primarily in the years 1988 and 1989. The author focuses on presenting the major concerns of the Soviet leadership in this particular time period, on identifying and analyzing the key trends shaping the approach of Moscow to its ‘allies’, and on explaining the practical impacts that Gorbachev’s policies had in the region. In the first part of the article, Pravda points out some of the main differences between the position and policy framework of Gorbachev’s leadership in comparison with that of its predecessors. He mentions, for example, the deteriorating economy of the Soviet Union and the apparent need to stop subsidizing the East-Central European countries, which played an important role in some of the decisions taken by Moscow. He also pays attention to such signifi cant shifts in the Soviet thinking as was the determination of Gorbachev and many of his colleagues to avoid, by all means possible, the use of force to support the crumbling communist regimes in the area. Based on these observations, Pravda identifies several key trends in Soviet foreign policy, which could be observed in the late 1980s, and shows with what determination (and outcome) these were applied by Kremlin. The trends presented here are namely the promotion of perestroika; the reluctance to facilitate leadership change in other communist countries; the endorsement of centrist rather than reformist successors (in cases when the leadership change took place after all); the facilitation of neo-perestroika strategies and the focus on coalition-building; the easing of constraints (for example, the border regime of East-Central European countries) to avoid the build-up of tension; and fi nally, the changing perceptions of the Western policy toward the region and toward the Soviet Union as such.



  • Soudobé dějiny, redakce, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR, v.v.i., Vlašská 9, 118 40 Praha 1, Czech Republic


Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

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