"There is a bear in the woods. For some people, the bear is easy to see. Others don't see it at all. Some people say the bear is tamed. Others say it's vicious and dangerous. Since no one can really be sure who's right, isn't it smart to be as strong as the bear? If there is a bear..." - Ronald Reagan 1984, Presidential Campaign
In 1968 the "Oriental Block" has the first earthquake. The "Prague Spring" which, from my point of view, was the beginning of the great Soviet power destabilization.
President of Czechoslovakia Alexander Dubček, brings a representative amount of reforms and freedoms that were suppressed by the U.S.S.R. during a military invasion that same year on August 20th. Romania was the only country who opposed. The history will reveal the fact that Romania was in a conjectural position (Ceausescu's opposition was a demonstration of independence from Stalin). The peaceful opposition of the population by graffiti, refusal of food and water for soldiers, and banners made the soviet military invasion to stop. The Red Army withdrew and the "Prague Spring" was a success. The President who was arrested and taken to Moscow was released. Soon he is replaced by Gustav Husak as First Secretary who canceled Dubcek's reforms and "cleaned" the party of reformist-minded members.
"Prague Spring" is the festival in honor of composer Bedrich Smetana, loaned its name to others similar periods of political liberalizations. In China this was known as the "Beijing Spring", and in Yugoslavia "Croatian Spring".
January 27th 1989, Poland. Lech Walesa, leader of the union "Solidarity" and Czeslaw Kiszczak, polish Interior Minister, agree that the problems will be debated between "Solidarity" and power. February through April, workers Union "Solidarity" banned at that time, held a round table discussions with government representatives. On June 4th, 1989 the first free elections were held. Listing the dates from start to finish:
- August 24th 1989, Tadeusz Mazowiecki is the first non-communist chief government.
- November 25th 1989. The Communist Party of Hungary is ousted.
- November 9th 1989. The Berlin Wall falls.
- November 10th 1989. Todor Zhivkov is removed from the leadership of Bulgaria.
- November 17th 1989. Occurs Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. In
- December 29th, dissident Vaclav Havel is elected President of Czechoslovakia.
- December 22th. Ceausescu and his wife are arrested and on December 25th they went on trial where they were sentenced and executed.
- January 1990. The Communist Party from Yugoslavia was dissolved.
- December 1990. The communist regime in Tirana was forced to accept a multi-party system, because at the time there was only a single-party, the Party of Labour of Albania. Thus, on December 1990, the Democratic Party of Albania was born. Led initially by a student, Azem Hajdari, then by the current Prime Minister and former President of Albania, Prof. Sali Berisha. This party, along with other democratic parties occurred after December 11th 1990, that the Social Democratic Party, Republican Party, Agrarian Party have prompted the organization of free parliamentary elections in March, 1991.
- December 25th 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as soviet President, Boris Yeltsin follows. By the end of the transition all official soviet institutions had ceased operations.
After the 90s in the former countries of the "Oriental Block" the atmosphere was euphoric. The manipulated population, indoctrinated for a half of century finds freedom. What kind of freedom?! The vast majority of people are confused and unprepared for the western world. Lack of direction makes the economic development of these countries to be hampered by these factors even if the road to western European countries is accelerated.
During this half of the century, the Western Europe, from the European Coal and Steel Community to the Euro, they secured peace, their economic prosperity, the solidarity, sharing the exercising attributes of sovereign in some areas, increasingly wider, through the European institutions and the Community method.
We face a divided Europe. On the one hand, Western Europe, prosperous, civilized and on the other hand, an Europe who has just left the Soviet occupation, poor, ignorant and confused.
Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser to the problems of Presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush, explains how the Ceausescu's regime was used against U.S.S.R. and then, after U.S. decided a change of strategy in terms of weakening the Soviet Empire, it will be isolated, thus Romania. It states that in order to develop a more cooperative relationship with the Soviet Union satellite countries of the Soviet Empire were given preferential treatment. This strategy was applied to countries who proved highly independent from U.S.S.R. politics. By virtue of this policy, using the Ceausescu's nationalism, Romania, the most Stalinist from all of the satellite state of the U.S.S.R., becomes the U.S. favorite.
In 1989, U.S. makes a clear difference between two groups of countries according to the criteria set by Scowcroft (the will to promote reforms). The first group is consists of: Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the second one is: The East Germany, Romania and Bulgaria.
U.S. anticipates that the U.S.S.R. will weaken its influence on satellite countries. U.S.S.R. is aware that the end of the Cold War will cause an rapprochement between West Europe and the East Europe, so this way it is safer. NATO's role in Europe will be reduced. The U.S. has no longer so much potential to interfere with the U.S.S.R arrangements. Both forces, U.S. and U.S.S.R., were fearful in the face of increasing economic power of E.E.C., but with little influence they knew it would not last long and it is born the desire to integrate undeveloped countries in Eastern Europe. U.S. rethinks its strategy to consolidate and maintain presence in Europe. Eastern Europe area becomes an important bridgehead for the U.S. .
"The Pillars" were Poland and Hungary and then Czechoslovakia. They were attracted by financial aid to rebuild and support for the withdrawal of soviet military forces.
Why so many benefits and so many promises? Unification of Germany with E.E.C. wanted adjudication of the East, it was also necessary economic advantage.
Czechoslovakia was attracted because it was the most vulnerable to "German attraction". Bulgaria seems uncertain because of its loyalty to Moscow. Yugoslavia was known to have a positive attitude to the Atlantic proposal. Yugoslavia has had a socialist regime with a human face so at that time it was not a problem.
The only country that depends the formation of the pro American block is Romania. Country with access to the Danube and the Black Sea (which is the junction with Turkey, thus Asia by default), a large border with U.S.S.R., high availability for the Germany.
Atypical mode of Romania's exit from totalitarianism created a great confusion at Washington. There were two main reasons. The violent mode of the exit - U.S. did not understand the root causes of this unprecedented episode in other countries revolutions. The second reason is the choice that Romania made it when emerged from totalitarianism. If other countries elected right-wing government, Romania elected a leftist government. Under these conditions Romania was left in a gray area. This declined the approach of the Soviet and managed to create a bridge with U.S., that it wants to maintain contacts with Turkey and Middle East states (Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan Pakistan, Free Baluchistan, Sunni Arab States, Sunni Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Shia States, Yemen, Sacred Islamic State).
Relocation of boundaries makes Russia look into the Central Asian states to protect and enhance the influence. The fight scenes moves, they have the same directors but other protagonists.