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This chapter presents in one narrative events in the USSR in 1989 and the collapse of Communist regimes across Eastern Europe, to show how Gorbachev was losing control of events at home and could not have intervened forcefully to block change in eastern Europe even if he had wanted to. The chapter discusses the Congress of Peoples’ Deputies, whose quasifree elections dealt a setback to Communist candidates; the rise of ethnic unrest; miners’ strikes, which challenged the Soviet system; Solidarity’s electoral victory in Poland and Gorbachev’s decision not to block its non-Communist government; the decision of Hungarian reform Communists to...

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