Fundamental Aspects and Factors of the Breakup of the Soviet bloc

  • Václav Kotyk


Ten years have passed since the moment when at the end of 1989 the Soviet military political bloc collapsed virtually over night. At first glance it could appear that the mass demonstrations in the former socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, calling for freedom of citizens and the state, were the decisive factor of this step. But in actual fact, the real causes were objectively conditioned processes in the political and economic spheres which had been rampant in the socialist community ever since its inception.
Relations between the states of the Soviet bloc went through various stages of development – from total subordination to Soviet imperialist interests and objectives in the 1950s to certain elements of a limited autonomous policy pursued by various socialist states in their domestic and foreign sphere. At the same lime, the considerable differences of objective conditions in the life of individual socialist states and the enormous disparities in the social and economic conditions between them could not fail to result in disintegration trends, which led eventually to the breakup of the Soviet bloc. But the decisive and final impulse for this step came from the Soviet Union itself, i.e. from Gorbachev’s policy of perestroika. The following events can be regarded as individual phases of the process of the disintegration of the Soviet bloc: the rebuff of Soviet power pressure in 1948 by the leadership of socialist Yugoslavia at the time, the 20th CPSU Congress in 1956 and its repercussions on developments, mainly in Poland and Hungary, the Soviet-Chinese conflict in the 1960s and its influence, above all, on the policy of Albania and Romania, the Prague Spring and the military intervention by the Warsaw pact member states in Czechoslovakia, as well as the Soviet policy of perestroika during the second half of the 1980s.

Author Biography

Václav Kotyk



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