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10-08-2015, 20:59

BRAVE NEW WORLD: THE RISE AND FALL OF COMMUNISM IN THE SOVIET UNION AND EASTERN EUROPE

According to Karl Marx, capitalism is a system that involves the exploitation of man by man; under socialism, it is the other way around. That wry joke, an ironic twist on the familiar Marxist remark a century previously, was typical of popular humor in post–World War II Moscow, where the dreams of a future Communist utopia had faded in the grim reality of life in the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the Communist monopoly on power seemed secure, as did Moscow’s hold over its client states in Eastern Europe. In fact, for three decades after the end of World War II, the Soviet Empire appeared to be a permanent feature of the international landscape. But by the early 1980s, it became clear that there were cracks in the facade of the Kremlin wall. The Soviet economy was stagnant, the minority nationalities were restive, and Eastern European leaders were increasingly emboldened to test the waters of the global capitalist marketplace. In the United States, newly elected President Ronald Reagan boldly predicted the imminent collapse of the “evil empire.”

 

 

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