Talk:Revolutions of 1989

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Comments about a premerge Revolutions of 1989 article[edit]

Moved from Talk:Revolutions of 1989, now a redirect.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:02, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Article needs restructuring[edit]

Although a lot of good content has made posted in this article, the structure that seems to be taking shape here is problematic. The current country-by-country list tends to oversimplify matters. It disregards the fact that there is still considerable discussion and debate about the meaning of events in 1989 and to what extent they were interconnected. As the events were going on, the leading participants in these conflicts were outlining a debate that is only now beginning to drawn up in clear categories among historians and scholars in other fields. The leading anticommunist politicians of Europe, including Thatcher, Kohl, Havel, and Walesa, saw the events as clearly interconnected, with Eastern Europeans finally standing up to communism and overthrowing it. Thatcher considered "the fall of communism" a triumph of freedom and capitalism, which became the prevailing view in Britain and the United States. In Russia, however, Gorbachev, among many others, has accused Western leaders of writing a victor's history, triumphalism, and even Bolshevik-style rhetoric owing to a narrow ideology.

In the decade after 1989, accounts of the events in the West have generally reflected the views of the key actors who had participated in them, but a much more nuanced picture is emerging among historians and scholars in other fields. There is debate on who were the major protagonists in these "revolutions." Were they popular or elite revolutions? What should we mean by "revolution?" What gave the "revolutions" their particular character? Or was there even a particular character encompassing all of them? On a broader level, how should we categorize these revolutions and what factors do they share with revolutions of the past?

The consensus among academic Soviet specialists is that as important as the 1989 "revolutions" in Eastern Europe were, the events were linked to a breakdown of Communist rule in the Soviet Union. This breakdown was a much longer, more involved process explained by various factors internal to the Soviet system, relations between the Soviet Union and the East European countries, and the international political and economic context. As another example, specialists on democracy offer a somewhat different account. To them the "revolutions" of 1989 were subsumed under a much larger wave of democratization that started in Southern Europe in the 1970s and then swept through Latin America, and into the Soviet bloc, culminating in the "revolutions" of 1989, which is a thesis most popularly associated with Samuel P. Huntington.

I am not seeking to minimize the importance of any of these events in Eastern Europe or question speaking in terms of this category. But since the term "revolutions of 1989" was a neologism hardly more than a decade ago, with a scholarly literature only beginning to crystallize very recently, there is no way for this article to keep its current structure without inadvertently adopting many assumptions that are still getting sorted out by historians, social scientists, and even the participants in the events themselves. Thus, this article should not be an almanac-style chronology, assuming that any such event was indeed a "revolution" and indeed connected with all the other "revolutions" in 1989 (which brings us into very slippery ground with respect to WP:NOR and WP:NPOV), but rather an article on the discourse and various interpretations of the events of 1989. 172 | Talk 20:03, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Clearly the article needs an overall discussion section and perhaps one detailing the academic controversy. But the governments in question did change, and that's encyclopedic. This article provides a necessary overview to the process, and should cover the factual side. The "meaning" of the revolutions is a social analysis which is separate from documenting the transfer of power. --Dhartung | [[User talk:Dhartung|Talk]] 07:06, 17 November 2005 (UTC)
But the governments in question did change, and that's encyclopedic. Sure. I'd just add to the above that the distinction between the "factual side" and the "social analysis" is not so clear cut. Analysis and editorial judgment always underpin the presentation of all facts. An infinite amount of information can be provided on any subject, but we always make a judgment on what to include or exclude. The way in which we go about 'documenting the transfer of power', as you put it, is implicitly a social analysis of meaning in and of itself. On one hand, if the article is structured along the lines of a country-by-country chronology of the dramatic events unfolding in the Eastern European capitals in 1989, as it is now, the implicit assumption is that the events are clearly interconnected, with the agents of change each time being Eastern Europeans who finally stood up to Communism and overthrew it. On the other hand, if the narrative is a chronology of the shifts in Kremlin policy on Eastern Europe under Gorbachev, the events start to look less like a series of global "revolutions"; instead, they start looking like the dramatic aftershocks of the effects on power relations between the Soviet Union and the East European countries caused by the breakdown of the Communist regime in Moscow, and more explicable by factors internal to the Soviet system. So, we have two plausible organizations for on this topic that leave us dramatically different impressions of what was going on. In this sense the organization of the article is "analysis" in and of itself. Moreover, there is the problem that drafting a country-by-country chronology under the heading of "revolutions" of 1989 means that Wikipedia is explicitly classifying the events as all part of the same "revolution." Of course a series of 'regimes changed' in 1989; but a series of 'regimes change' every year. Nor is any 'change in a regime' necessarily a revolution. In short, since the concept of "revolutions of 1989" is still on the murky side, the most neutral organizational structure possible on this subject is one putting the discourse and perspectives on the events at the center of its focus, while moving the chronology to the various timelines on 1989 and pages related to contemporary Eastern European history. 172 08:16, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

I must say I agree with user:172. In fact, I came here looking for some kind of independent (as unbiased as possible) explanation as to _how_ these events "came about". I only found a few very vague hints at the "Brezhnev stagnation" (this article is very vague itself too) and the Soviet Union's economic problems. As user:172 put it: "The consensus among academic Soviet specialists is that as important as the 1989 "revolutions" in Eastern Europe were, the events were linked to a breakdown of Communist rule in the Soviet Union" I'd be glad to read more about this in terms of figures and real arguments. Because, as it is, the Soviet Union managed to survive through more than 2 decades of stagnation by relying on its military power and security apparatus. Why would the communist leadership want to break up in the late 80s? A mere description of the events, albeit certainly useful, will definitely not cut it here. Of course, such an analysis is quite a bit of a challenge, considering the proximity of the events and other factors. Also, there are many theories, trying to explain some obvious paradoxes contradicting the notion that those events were even "revolutions" or "change", like e.g. the fact that the successor parties of the former communist parties overwhelmingly won the free elections after 1989 (three times over in Bulgaria until now, 2009). All of this is difficult to mold into an encyclopedia-style article. Yet "putting the discourse and perspectives on the events at the center ", IMHO, is crucial here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:31, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Peaceful revolutions?[edit]

The Autumn of Nations begun in Poland[3]. and sparked similar peaceful revolutions in Germany), Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.

I don't think the Romanian revolution was peaceful. --Candide, or Optimism 01:01, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Good point - added the qualifier 'mostly'.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 01:03, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

The term[edit]

Who coined the term Autumn of Nations? --BillC 12:31, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

And how much currency does it have? Seems to me like someone's neolgism that didn't catch (233 Google hits), and hence a poor title for an article. In any case, I've done my best at cleanup, but perhaps this should be merged into Revolutions of 1989? -- Jmabel | Talk 22:42, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Huh, good find. Revolutions of 1989 is certainly more popular (40k for Google, and hundreds of books). But as it was poorly linked from other Wikipedia articles, I must have missed it when I was looking for interwiki for the Polish article - so I translated it using the terms in it (which as you can see are supported by some citations, and on the sidenote the revolutions article is completly unreferenced). I agree we should merge both articles, probably under the 'revolutions' title - although I'd appreciate it if this (or merged?) article could still go for DYK.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 23:29, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Can't really do DYK unless it's new (and you can't get there by writing a second article on the same topic: if I used smilies, I'd put one here). - Jmabel | Talk 04:13, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

I thought we were going to put the merged article at Revolutions of 1989 beause Autumn of Nations doesn't really have that much currency… - Jmabel | Talk 20:58, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

So did I. Should we move it back then?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 21:06, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I certainly think so. In fact, I will. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:35, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

I have now merged the articles (and the histories, which didn't happen last time). It should now all be back together here, like a "normal" article. -- Jmabel | Talk 00:47, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Umm, how do one merges history of articles? That's a useful trick to know.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 01:17, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
You have to be an admin; it involves a series of deletions, moves and restorations. Frankly, it's tedious and error-prone. The best explanation is at Wikipedia:How to fix cut and paste moves, but I still occasionally mess it up. - Jmabel | Talk 00:21, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
I am an admin :) Tnx for the link, I'll check it out. We are always learning, aren't we? :) --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 00:25, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Citation for Spring of Nations[edit]

Can someone come up with a better citation for "Spring of Nations"? Of course the term is common, so it should be easy to find something, but as far as I can tell it is not used at all on the cited page. - Jmabel | Talk 22:42, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Collapse of the Soviet Union[edit]

In this section, can we re-write the image caption, please? While it is factually correct, in the picture it looks like Yeltsin is accusing Gorbachev, not the other way around. I am not sure what would be better wording, so I'm leaving it as is for now. Thanks.—Ëzhiki (ërinacëus amurënsis) • (yo?); 12:24, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Autumn of Nations[edit]

The expression "Autumn of Nations" has simply not gained traction. Outside of Wikipedia and its mirrors, it does not even get 100 Google hits. I am strongly inclined to remove it from the article. The analogy to an inverse of the "Spring of Nations" is weak, at best: after all, it's not as if in '89 a bunch of nations were swallowed up by an empire. It's pretty much a neologism, and I don't think it should be here. - Jmabel | Talk 04:27, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

Over 10 notable publications vote 'keep' :) Seriously, if it's good enough for a notable scholar like Arend Lijphart, it's good enough for us.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  05:49, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Could you please add the three of these you consider the most significant to the article as citations? Thanks. - Jmabel | Talk 02:19, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The term didn't catch up: compare 13 Google scholar hits versus 1,300 hits for "revolutions of 1989". IMO it should be deleted, not every failed neologism is WP notable. Pavel Vozenilek 00:59, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
As Google is scanning more books, now the search yelds 25 publications. I think that's notble enough for an inclusion.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  01:32, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
These books have hundredths of pages and mention many trivialities. Neologisms should be accepted on WP if they really catch on as a recognizable symbols. Pavel Vozenilek 16:10, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
At this time, I recommend against inclusion of this term. It has simply not gained widespread usage. And it is not the place of Wikipedia or its editors to campaign for such. Unschool 21:43, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Not the fall of communism but the fall of stalinism[edit]

Technically, it is incorrect to call these events "the collapse of communism" or the "overthrowing of communist states" becouse there was no communism or even socialism for that matter in the first place. It should be called "the collapse of Stalinism". More precicely, it was the last phase of the stalinist counter-revolution wich was initiated in the USSR in the mid 1920's. The bureaucratic upper caste transformed itself into the new bourgeoisie (capitalist class) in the events of 1989. Ocrouse, parts of the old stalinist caste wanted to keep their bonapartist position, and they offered resistance to the other parts of the bureaucratic caste.

It should also be noted that the working class, wich was a significant force in these revolutions, were in the first place fed up with the stalinist regime. The revolutionairy wave was initiated by them, but this wave did not at all have the aim to restore capitalism. It was just aimed against the stalinist bureaucracy. The revolution could well have turned into a political revolution as was argued for by Leon Trotsky. Wich means that the working class would reclaim the power and controll over the means of production and the planned economy, and thus be on the way to socialism again. However, the bureaucracy saw the direction of the movement, and parts of them decided to push the movement into the way of capitalist restoration. The workers, lacking a revolutionairy vanguard in the form of a party, went with this current fed by illusions in capitalism.

In the end, dispite the nature of the former regimes, the event was used by the capitalist class to initiate a ideologial offensive against the ideas of socialism, marxism and communism. This has indeed an effect on a world scale, the workers' movement took a major blow at that time of wich it is still recovering. The interesting thing is once again that communism and marxism could not at all be held responsible for the crimes of the stalinist remgimes, wich were first of all aimed at the distruction of the gains and power of the workers and the socialist revolution.

It is like a wolf dressed up like a sheep. The wolf is the badguy while the sheeps get all the blaim for his actions.

Bobby Siecker 17-7-2007

Technically, stalinism ended in 1950s with destalinization, and revolutions of 1989 meant the fall of the Eastern Bloc and its version of communism. -- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  09:46, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
As as leftist myself, I feel okay with the title, mainly because of the negative connotations the words socialism and communism has in the West. In a sense, the title is correct, given that the modern English definition (or colloquial defn) of communism pretty much links that word to all of these Stalinist (if you will) regimes. (talk) 09:34, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
And here we go again. Why is it that whenever the crimes committed by communist regimes are catalogued, someone always claims those regimes were not "truly communist"? It seems the definition of communism is strangely elastic, and that definition only seems to change when someone points out how prolific the communists were when it came to committing mass murder. The notion that the name of this entry should be changed is absurd. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:47, 16 September 2012 (UTC) (talk) 04:33, 2 February 2013 (UTC) Indeed, Communists and socialists commit the 'no true Scotsman' fallacy all too often. And vice versa with Americans such as Fukuyama and the "democratic peace" bullcrap. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

We're not committing the Scotsman fallacy. Socialism has a definition, like other words do, which is worker-ownership of the means of production. If the Eastern Block and SU's workers ran everything, they were socialist. If the people couldn't set policy, then they weren't socialist. It's so simple. Socialistguy (talk) 06:12, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
You're conducting POV original research. What matters is how it's described in reliable sources. And no, fringe communist and/or Stalinist sources are not reliable. Volunteer Marek  06:37, 28 September 2015 (UTC)


I just wrote a small article on the 1990 Democratic Revolution in Mongolia. My impression is that it should be included here, even if it was a bit of a late-comer. The background, course of events, and outcome are all quite similar (pro-Soviet dictatorship -> largely peaceful protests -> democracy & market economy), the difference is maybe that the ruling party won the ensuing elections, and their pre-1990 politicians are still quite respected. Yaan (talk) 19:27, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Yaan. I think Mongolia deserves a place in this article.--GenuineMongol (talk) 11:34, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
Fine! Now we only need a volunteer, plus maybe some reliable sources. Yaan (talk) 10:50, 9 September 2008 (UTC)

East Germany[edit]

I think the following sentence seems to make no real sense:

The opening of the Berlin Wall proved to be fatal for the GDR, as disgruntled citizens did not leave permanently, but returned home after a day trip to put pressure on authorities.

The GDR never wanted to make "disgruntled citizens" "leave permanently". Otherwise there would have been no need to erect a wall in the first place. They also did not want this in November 1989, all reports seem to indicate that the opning of the wall was one big accident (a fortunate one, I must say though). If anything the problem with opening the wall were that it instilled a sense of "anything is possible", fueled patriotism/nationalism, awakened the desire for eventual reunification, and maybe gave the west more opportunities of influence East Germany. But disgruntled protestors really had been marching since early October, notably on Nov. 4th, 5 days before the wall fell. That protestors would not start to emigrate en masse just at the moment they began to feel a change for the better and the leverage they had seems very logical to me, so why this very logical behaviour should be mentioned is unclear. On the other hand, it also seems unclear how mass emigration would have helped to stabilize the regime.

I will therefore delete this sentence. Yaan (talk) 14:19, 25 June 2008 (UTC)


I know it would later collaps in to civil war but i'd like to here abour events in yugoslavia or at least albania and how the communist party was overtrown in each of the constetute states --J intela (talk) 06:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)-- (talk) 06:41, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

In Yugoslavia, there was no "individual revolution" as such which overthrew Communism. The transition from one party republic to democracy happened in phases, similar on a smaller picture to what was happening across the Soviet Union. To that end, all former Yugoslav republics still have their former Communist party as a major party; some were even led to independence by their Communist parties, but none of this happened before 1990 when those former branches shifted towards centre and became plain socialist parties. Evlekis (talk) 05:59, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:Policemen and flowers.jpg[edit]

The image Image:Policemen and flowers.jpg is used in this article under a claim of fair use, but it does not have an adequate explanation for why it meets the requirements for such images when used here. In particular, for each page the image is used on, it must have an explanation linking to that page which explains why it needs to be used on that page. Please check

  • That there is a non-free use rationale on the image's description page for the use in this article.
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The following images also have this problem:

This is an automated notice by FairuseBot. For assistance on the image use policy, see Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --21:25, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


To describe events in these countries as a "revolutionary tide" is a violation of Wikipedia's policies. Scholars do not describe these developments as revolutionary. Rather, they were palace coups.

"Bulgaria underwent a palace coup that ousted Todor Zhivkov and elevated reformist leaders to power." Commitment to Purpose, Richard L. Kugler. Page 500

"There was a palace coup: Honecker was forced by the Party to resign on 18 October." The Last Division, Ann Tusa

"The situation in Romania was similar to that in Bulgaria. At the end of 1989, Party officials bent on ousting Ceausescu launched a coup, staging armed clashes." From Communists to Foreign Capitalists, Nina Bandelj

"There were no mass demonstrations and there was no change in government. It was not a revolution. It was a palace coup." Eastern Europe, Sabrina P. Ramet

At the May, 1988 communist party conference János Kádár and hisfollowers were ousted in a coup

RZimmerwald (talk) 17:32, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Ahem, there were mass demonstrations in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland etc. It is also very easy to find scholars describing those events as "revolution" (quotation marks mine) Yaan (talk) 18:59, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
To have deleted sourced observations from scholars as you have constitutes vandalism. Please refrain from such actions in the future. RZimmerwald (talk) 19:32, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Alright, let's play that google game then:

"Fall 1989 saw the virus of revolution spread to the Balkans as well", "the most striking change came in Romania, where the dictator Ceaucescu was toppled by a violent revolution and executed on Christmas day", "These dramatic changes clearly indicated an impending revolution in the GDR" -- Kugler, op.cit.

"The fall [of the wall, Yaan] symbolized what may be the most dramatic and revolutionary transformations of political and economic institutions in the 20th century - the collapse of Communist regimes and socialist command economies", "Inspired by successful protests in Poland and Hungary, the initially weak Czechoslovak opposition grew rapidly, mobilizing large-scale protests in a Velvet Revolution", " At the end of 1989, Party officials bent on ousting Ceausescu launched a coup, or "scripted revolution" (Condrescu 1992), staging armed clashes." -- Nina Bandelj, op.cit, p. 2, 38, 39

"In the former GDR, on the other hand, the revolution ended abruptly with reunification, thus depriving the East German population of this crucial experience." -- Brigitte H. Schulz, "The German Democratic Republic", in Eastern Europe, p. 115

"Bulgaria's "Gentle" Revolution" -- Spas T. Raikin, "Bulgaria", in Eastern Europe, p. 240

Frankly, in case you are not just one more WP troll, I think you really need to learn how to properly quote from a given source. What you have been doing above, esp. with the N. Bandelj quote, makes you look pretty dishonest. Yaan (talk) 15:13, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

It is very dishonest for you to selectively pluck quotations in an attempt to push an agenda. Such tactics show a lack of scholarly integrity. The above sources I have cited describe these developments as palace coups. RZimmerwald (talk) 17:58, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
q.e.d. Yaan (talk) 20:55, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Name Change[edit]

The name will be changed to Fall of Communism because this is the most common term employed by western scholars for political developments in Eastern Europe. There are 3,340 results in Google Books for "Revolutions of 1989" and 7720 results for "Fall of Communism".RZimmerwald (talk) 18:19, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

I count only 1203 hits for "Fall of Communism". But "Fall of Communism" seems to be a much too ambigous title, anyway. Did it fall in 1973 (Chile) or did it even completely fall at all (North Korea? Cuba? China/Vietnam/Laos??). What about the communist parties in the west - did they fall? What about the Soviet Union? Obviously it had something to do with the fall of communism, yet it is clearly outside the focus of this article. Yaan (talk) 18:53, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
As I have demonstrated above, the term "Fall of Communism" or "Collapse of Communism" is the term employed in Anglo-American discourse for the political developments in the region in concern. See, for example, this article by Encarta The use of the term "revolution" is not an appropriate representation of the events in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, and elsewhere. There were changes of governments in these countries not because of the actions of the masses but simply because people like Zhivkov, Honecker, Kadar, and Jakeš were pressured to resign by right-wing elements in the ruling party such as Mladenov, Németh, etc. Power passed over to those that were already in the government. There was not a popular revolution such as in Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, and elsewhere. Even if all these observations are wrong, it is not acceptable to delete the sourced observations of scholars describing events in Romania, etc as palace coups.RZimmerwald (talk) 19:44, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I used to think Wałęsa, Havel, de Maizere etc. all were not in the government before 1989. But I may be wrong, maybe you could google this up for me? This article deals with events outside the USSR, "Fall of Communism" is usually meant to include the USSR - just look at all those fine search results or that fine Encarta article you found. I.e. it is obviously a wider topic.
You might want to look the usual meaning of revolution in a [dictionary], I don't see anything about requiring armed insurgencies or excluding palace coups. In any case, the French Revolution of 1789 left the king in power, and the abdication of Wilhelm II in Germany's November Revolution in Germany was the work of Prince Max von Baden - but both events still can be called revolution, no?
Btw. I also think the Shah of Persia was dethroned by his prime minister. Yaan (talk) 14:34, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

I oppose renaming to Fall of Communism; that is a much larger phenomenon than the Autumn of Nations. I could support renaming the article to Autumn of Nations, but do not consider it a high priority. As for revolutions -- sometimes they turn out to be bloodless. Consider, for example, the Singing Revolution -- as revolutions go, it was quite peculiar, yet that is how it's called.

By the way, are you aware that fall is American English for autumn? ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 16:29, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Leaving aside the fact that serious scholars call these developments palace coups, it is immensely partisan to use the name "revolution" to describe developments in these countries. What happened in these countries was no different than what is called the August 1991 coup in Russia. To call the usurpation of power by the right-wing inter-party opponents of Ceauşescu, Kádár, Honecker, and Zhivkov a revolutionary wave is rather hyperbolic. What Wikipedia calls the Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 and Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 were actually much more revolutionary than what developed in 1989. RZimmerwald (talk) 18:48, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Object to renaming to "fall of communism". Fall of communism is broader and eventually the redirect will become an article or be pointing to something else (since fall of communism occurred also in USSR, which was not affected by the revolutions of 1989).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 19:23, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

The events in Eastern Europe during the late 1980s are described as "The Fall of Communism" or "Collapse of Communism" by western observers. Your own subjective observations such as "fall of communism is broader" are irrelevant. The name will be changed to reflect scholarly consensus. See, for example, this article by Encarta. Brittanica contains over 1000 entries for "Fall of Communism" and barely 100 for "Revolutions of 1989" RZimmerwald (talk) 19:49, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
I think you neet to leave out that "Poland" and "Bulgaria" in your second Britannica search. Yaan (talk) 20:53, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
A Brittanica search of "1989 Revolutions" yields results that have nothing to do with the subject. Case in point:
Ken Post, Revolution, Socialism, and Nationalism in Vietnam, 5 vol. (1989–94), is a Marxist interpretation of the Vietnamese revolution.

RZimmerwald (talk) 21:01, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

And it appears as early as page 9. Yaan (talk) 21:26, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

It seems User:RZimmerwald is trying to claim that if people didn't "actively participate", it's a "palace coup" and not a "revolution". This does not hold; as anybody even passingly familiar with Sun Tzu understands, if the mob outside palace is ready to lynch the king, should he not permit a peaceful revolution to take place, then the mob has participated in the change of government no matter whether the king surrenders or is lynched.

In Baltic states, this is pretty much exactly what happened: the people demonstrated that they were no longer afraid, and the Soviet central power did not dare to enforce fear through violence any more. They attempted, but not in large scale. And that's a form of revolution. ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 02:02, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

The argument is not whether these events were revolutionary or counter-revolutionary. The indisputable fact is that scholars employ terms like the "Collapse of Communism" to refer to political developments in the region in concern. Even if the term "Collapse of Communism" itself is overstated, misleading, or oversimplistic, it is still the proper term to use in Wikipedia because it is the one employed in scholarly discourse and the mass media. RZimmerwald (talk) 19:17, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Endgames of totalitarian systems[edit]

I am tempted to classify Carnation Revolution together with such as Revolutions of 1989, Singing Revolution and others as Category:Endgames of totalitarian systems, albeit perhaps with a slightly less ambitious title. Thoughts? ΔιγουρενΕμπρος! 20:14, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

The Map[edit]

Why does the map have Romania and Albania in pink - to illustrate the autonomous nature of their regimes within Soviet dominated eastern europe - but yet Yugoslavia is not shaded in the same way making it appear on this map part of western europe? This was a socialist country too without democracy and is normally considered within the area "from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic" and thus part of the eastern block? James Frankcom (talk) 08:47, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

the keyword here is "Soviet-dominated". Yugoslavia was not Soviet-dominated, they were non-aligned. That said, putting Albania into the Eastern Bloc is nonsense, too. Yaan (talk) 16:47, 9 December 2008 (UTC)
This map needs to be changed. I removed it once - it was somewhat fixed.. to avoid disputes, I'll leave the new one for now (which is just as bad). I can understand Albania being in light pink, because for a short time, it was closely aligned with the USSR (part of the Warsaw Pact for a short period of time), but there is no reason for Romania to be in the same color. As Romania was always undoubtedly in the Bloc, it should be red like the other members. Someone please fix it!! Its driving me crazy! --Buffer v2 (talk) 06:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Just go ahead with fixing the colours. The reason I reintroduced the map is that it shows, just like the caption says, Soviet dominated Europe plus Albania. I.e. all the countries the article deals with.
Btw. Romania certainly was a bit less Soviet-dominated than the Rest of the Warsaw Pact, was it not? Yaan (talk) 18:17, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any support for this. That's the first I've heard of it. All definitions of the Eastern Bloc I've seen put Romania into the same category as all the other Warsaw Pact country. Albania and Romania do not fit into the same category. Romania should not be in light pink. Unless someone can find a source that directly and explicitly states that Romania was less Eastern Bloc oriented, it should stay in red as all the others.. otherwise it's POV and original research. --Buffer v2 (talk) 00:30, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Is this explicit enough? They certainly were not as anti-Soviet as Albania, but they still were considerably less pro-Soviet and more pro-Chinese than other Warsaw Pact countries. Yaan (talk) 15:43, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
No.. you could argue that that Czechoslovakia and Hungary were distant from the Eastern Bloc as well (in fact, I think that would be a stronger argument)... Sorry, but making a conclusion like that - that Romania is different from other Eastern Bloc countries is POV. Unless you can find me a reliable source that explicitly and directly states that Romania is different from other Eastern Bloc countries, I will disagree. Furthermore, Albania is in light pink because it was allied to the USSR for a short time in the 50s. After which it ceased to be a member of the Warsaw Pact - that's clear, direct and explicit, well noted by academics. Romania should not be in the same category as Albania. Sorry, but I'm removing the map - I really can't stand to look at it anymore. --Buffer v2 (talk) 05:13, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. But the reason why including Albania in the map is appropriate is that they had a revolution in 1989/90. This article is not about some distant events in the 1950s, it is also not about some questionable definitions of "blocs", it is about Revolutions of 1989. Yaan (talk) 15:21, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The Map[edit]

I have decided to remove the map currently shown, but I'd invite people to re-introduce one that accurately depicts the situation, or a different image altogether. The reason given above for its inclusion is nowhere near good enough and does not address its clear inaccuries, and there doesn't seem to be much consensus or any good argument for its maintenance. Not merely does it fail to portray Albania and Romania correctly, as already mentioned, but it does the same on the Blue side, showing countries like Finland and Austria as western when they were expressly neutral, a position adopted to avoid Soviet intervention in their countries. Spain and Portugal are also generally seen as outside of this group, especially during their period of dictatorship.--Nwe (talk) 22:53, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

I had created a map for another article that fit perfectly here. It contains the status of the territories of former Eastern Bloc countries, new country names and the dates on which Communist rule ended in each. Note that it also depicts Yugoslavia and Albania as separate from the satellite states of the Bloc. Instead of deleting the current Iron Curtain map, I moved it down to the section describing the Iron Curtain and interactions with the west.Mosedschurte (talk) 21:57, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Seems to me that the years for (at least) the Baltic states are incorrect. If the map is explained as "year when communist rule ended", then Estonia would be 1990, when the first democratic elections were held and an interim government set up. Same story with Latvia and Lithuania. If you want to keep the map as it is, then you should come with a really good explanation under it in the article, since 1990 for Lithuania and 1991 for Latvia and Estonia is the year when they declared independence from the Soviet Union, not the year they got free (1991 for all three, since that was when the Soviet Union recognised their independence) nor the year communist rule ended (1990 for all three, as explained). Their dates don't correspond with the rest of the countries on the map..--H2ppyme (talk) 10:01, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Relevance of Links in See Also[edit]

I've removed the links for the Western betrayal and the Late-2000s recession from the See Also section. While the Western Betrayal is clearly an important part of a broad study of the Cold War, I don't see how it is specifically related to the 1989 revolutions to a greater extent than other events not linked here. I also can't see any reason why the current recession should be included here - it has not at this stage had the same effect as the 1989 revolutions, and I haven't seen much in the way of sourced evidence to suggest that it is expected to.

There are a number of other links there which are possibly out of place too, such as Ján Čarnogurský and JBTZ-trial, though I think it is fairly clear they are directly related to the subject. Perhaps improvement could be made by including similar articles of events and personalities involved in the events of 1989? --Nick Moss (talk) 06:49, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

More Map Nitpicking[edit]

Isn't it Moldova, not Moldavia? Also, why are the states of Yugoslavia portrayed separately? In 1991 Yugoslavia emerged as a single country and wasn't broken up into the modern nations of Serbia, Montenegro, etc yet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:48, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

It's Moldavia in English. The map shows the modern countries, or technically those in 2008 (not the legal state lines existing at the time communism ended), and the year communism ended in each area.Mosedschurte (talk) 01:10, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Removal of red link Global Museum On Communism, an online museum[edit]

The "online museum" lacks curatorial information, its "Contact us" results in a 403 html error, and it lacks provenance / curatorial information. A wiki article about such an institution is unsustainable, holding a red link for it is somewhat perverse. Fifelfoo (talk) 05:09, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Jafeluv (talk) 08:44, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Revolutions of 1989Collapse of Communism — Search results in Google: "Collapse of Communism" (5 million), "Collapse of Socialism" (2 million), "Fall of Socialism" (2 million), "Autumn of Nations" (1 million), "Revolutions of 1989" (0.5 million), "Fall of Communism" (0.4 million). —Damczyk (talk) 21:55, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

Oppose The proposed title is a measurably different subject, which would (for one thing) include the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 00:44, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Have you read the article? It DOES cover the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.--Labattblueboy (talk) 03:14, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Agree with Septentrionalis. This means that the lede must be reworked, and potentially the rest of the content, to match the scope of the article. ÷seresin 09:06, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
I have moved the Outline section into the lead. You should find the expanded text an improvement.--Labattblueboy (talk) 03:14, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support I thought I would be initially opposed but after reading through the article, the new title seems rather appropriate.--Labattblueboy (talk) 03:14, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose Collapse of communism is a far broader topic. There needs to be an article that specifically covers the events of 1989 with Post-1989 events covered (briefly) as an aftermath section. I'm not opposed to creating a seperate article about the wider collapse of communism but it should be distinct and seperate from one covering specifically 1989. So in that sense I suppose I am advocating a Split. Lord Cornwallis (talk) 03:42, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose In 1989 the Soviet Union lost political control of important parts of its bloc. Communism is a political concept that is not capable of "collapse", whatever that means.Jarhed (talk) 20:04, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Wasn't it really one big revolution?[edit]

Why are we referring to the event that brought down much of the Communist Bloc in the plural? It looks like one big revolution to me, an event that started somewhere and spread like a forest fire to other places, and continued spreading. So why not Revolution of 1989? — Rickyrab | Talk 18:56, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I Googled the term and the phrase "Revolution of 1989" is often qualified with "Romanian" or "East German", even though the "Romanian Revolution" or "East German Revolution" were arguably part of the same event. One author out there, T. Kuran, calls the event the "East European Revolution of 1989", but another, Stefan Auer, refers to it in the plural as "revolutions". The literature tends to break it up into bits and pieces, such as the Peaceful Revolution in Germany/ East German Revolution, Romanian Revolution, and Velvet Revolution, and here we come to a halt, because apparently the writers about such revolutions forget about Poland, Hungary, and other bloc countries (oops!). — Rickyrab | Talk 19:14, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Israel is an anti-communist authoritarian state? really?[edit]

under the heading: Concurrently, many anti-Communist authoritarian states, formerly supported by the US, gradually saw a transition to democracy. Israel is mentioned as "accepted" the oslo accords

First of all, Israel, led By Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin were the ones that proposed the Oslo accord on the first place. saying it accepted it is a euphemism. secondly, Israel is definetaely not an anti-communit authoritatrian state! it is very much a democracy, always was- feel free to check its own wikipedia entries or ask any historians, and yes it may have issues with democracy, like many countries, but it IS NOT an authoritarian state. if anything, I would classify it under "communist and socialist countries" as for the majority of its first 40 years of history it was established and ran as a SOCIALIST COUNTRY, and the collapse of the soviet union in fact in many ways affected its left wing and socialist parties, to the point were the right wing capitalist parties are the dominant force there today. I am not a wikipedia pro so I don't quite have the refference to explain that, but for me most of it is common knowledge. however at the very least I would remove what is currently placed is that is definately wrong and not citated!!!!

feeel free to contact me Tal — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:24, 11 November 2011 (UTC)

Also, why is the United States listed in the section concerning countries that were supported by the United States? The United States supported the United States? (talk) 07:54, 16 September 2012 (UTC)

North Korea[edit]

I know that it is conventional to say, as we do in the lead, that North Korea continues to be a Communist-led country, but to the best of my knowledge it is a long time since the sole party there has called itself "communist". Juche, not Marxism-Leninism, has been the official state ideology since 1972; the present 2009 constitution makes no mention of Communism or Marxism-Leninism. - Jmabel | Talk 07:10, 31 December 2011 (UTC)


The statement "By 1989, the Soviet Union had repealed the Brezhnev Doctrine in favor of non-intervention in the internal affairs of its Warsaw Pact allies, termed the Sinatra Doctrine in a joking reference to the Frank Sinatra song 'My Way'. Poland became the first Warsaw Pact state country to break free of Soviet domination" is incomprehensible. How could a country that is not controlled by another break free from it? Zloyvolsheb (talk) 23:42, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Cause and effect. It's like if we're playing tag, and you're chasing me and you can't catch me and then say "ok I will refrain from chasing you, you can thank me later".VolunteerMarek 01:16, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Are you kidding me? Zloyvolsheb (talk) 01:39, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
No. Or to put it another way, the Soviet Union may have decided on "its own" to "let the control go" because the costs of keeping the control exceeded the benefits. But the increase in cost was not done by the Soviet Union.
Or, since we're on the topic, think by analogy with Afghanistan. Sure, the Soviet Union "left on its own". But that doesn't mean the Afghans had nothing to do with it.VolunteerMarek 01:43, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

"The events began in Poland in 1989"[edit]

Really? Do people even know basic history? The first major protests in the Communist-controlled countries were held in Armenia in February 1988. See Karabakh movement. --Երևանցի talk 22:14, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Here's an excerpt from p. 23, Black garden by Thomas de Waal:
We need to clarify whether the phrase "The events began" are referred to the events in Eastern European countries or the whole Soviet-controlled world. If the case is the former one, then why do we have a section about the Dissolution of the Soviet Union? If the article is about the whole Soviet-controlled world, when the statement about Poland being the cradle of the revolutionary wave is certainly wrong. --Երևանցի talk 19:26, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
It's hard to adjust what was the real beginning. In Poland, the beginning was in fact not 1988, as well. Solidarity movement was created in 1980, but that kind of 'soft revolution' took tens of years, since the very beginning of communism in Poland in 1945. Year by year people fought against communism and even died. It was long time process and a year 1988-1989 it's just a symbolic date. --Matrek (talk) 02:14, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Sure, we can go back as far as 1956 Hungarian Revolution, but my question is should we consider the protests inside the Soviet Union part of this? Or is it just about the Eastern European countries? --Երևանցի talk 02:20, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

One sided article-lacks important information[edit]

In many of the countries mentioned majority of population now regrets these events. Even in Poland a signficant part of population was dissapointed and in polls states that life before 1989 was better(for instance around 45-47% former members of Solidarity claimed so in poll couple of years ago). Vast economic issues like rise in poverty and unemployment and destruction of economies of these countries need to be covered, as well as consequences such as war,displacement of people,falling birth rates.MyMoloboaccount (talk) 23:04, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Image in template box?[edit]

I think the template box should have an image of the fall of the Berlin Wall in the template box. Possibly File:Thefalloftheberlinwall1989.JPG.

602p (talk) 18:00, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Length of Austria-Hungarian border[edit]

In this article the border length is 150 miles (241 km) while in other articles it is 346km.

A quick Google maps search makes me think the 346 km is correct. Tommiwiki (talk) 19:44, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

General Decline in Living Standards As a Result? Really??[edit]

The current introduction to this article includes the text:

"The adoption of varying forms of market economy immediately resulted in a general decline in living standards,[11] birth rates and life expectancies in post-Communist States...."

Does that really reflect the weight of scholarly opinion on Eastern European history in the years after 1989? Because while I'm not a historian focusing on recent European history, from the knowledge base that I do have it seems very unlikely that that statement could correctly be applied to the experiences that Poland, the former East Germany, the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Lithuanian, Latvia, Estonia, and probably some other areas/countries I'm omitting had in the first years post-1989. Indeed, my amateur's understanding is that those countries, and most others relevant to this article, did not, in fact, experience the kind of economic and social troubles that beset Russia and a few other ex-USSR nations in the early 1990's. Just the opposite, in fact. The referenced "source" cited for the statement is no help whatsoever, being both in a language I don't know and making no sense to me at all when run through Google translator. Am I really this ignorant about this topic ? Or is this person who inserted that passage making a claim about the "general" decline of the places affected by the 1989 revolutions that isn't supported at all by any substantial weight of scholarly opinion? (BTW, those questions are genuine. The fortunes of these places in the years after 1989 seems to me an important point to get right in the article.) (talk) 07:32, 3 June 2015 (UTC)BA

Forgot to mention the most important & puzzling point: almost all of the content in the actual "Economic "Reforms" section on the article focuses on a theme that, generally speaking, in the years after 1989 there were substantial and fairly quickly-beginning increases in prosperity in most of the areas/nations where the revolutions occurred and where those revolutions were influential.

Being a newcomer to this important article, I won't just go ahead and delete or rework that passage from the intro without soliciting feedback here. Don't want to unknowingly set off some edit/revert cycle because somebody passionate on this subject thinks the way that it stands now is absolutely right. (Has a definite tendency to happen with important articles re. European history, in my experience.) But...well, does anybody think the way the intro is now is right (ie. reflects the weight of expert opinion)? And if so, shouldn't the Economic Reforms section be seriously rewritten? (talk) 08:05, 3 June 2015 (UTC)BA

Isn't Fall of Communism inaccurate?[edit]

Shouldn't it say fall of state capitalism, instead? A communist state is one on the path of achieving socialism, which means worker-ownership of the means of production. Were these countries even close to that, at all? Didn't the power of the Supreme Soviet (AFAIK the democratic aspect of it) fade when Stalin rose? The problem with the argument that Western sources use the term communism is that many, if not most, are blatantly biased, and don't use the terms correctly. There are plenty of sources explaining this. Can we please reword it? Socialistguy (talk) 14:40, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

The only question that matters for Wikipedia is how this event is described in reliable sources. Is it described as "Fall of State Capitalism"? No. It's usually described as "Fall of Communism" and so that's how we describe it. Volunteer Marek  14:54, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
And Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopedia which means it uses mainstream academic and scholarly sources. So if you think that "Western sources" are "blatantly biased" and shouldn't be used, then this project may not be for you. There's plenty of other outlets on the internet for that. Volunteer Marek  14:55, 28 September 2015 (UTC)
Volunteer Marek, is there another section where I may add a leftist criticism of the term's usage using the sources, or a template I can use to notify readers that the context in which the term is used isn't accurate in the literal sense? Socialistguy (talk) 18:40, 29 September 2015 (UTC)

Errors in the Infobox's "Result" section[edit]

See changes made here: . All the bridging edits were made by the same user. I'm going to go through each individual addition.

Perhaps, but this hasn't been referenced here or anywhere else in the article.

Again, perhaps but not referenced here or anywhere else.

Perhaps but not referenced here or anywhere else. Potential NPOV violation from describing libertarianism and Austrian economics as far right ideologies. Austrian economics isn't an Ideology.

  • China resumes its neoliberal reforms in 1992 after Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour

Same again, not referenced here or anywhere else in the article.

Seems fine.

Seems fine.

This is described in the article, so this is fine.

This may be the case, but it's not referenced here or anywhere else in the article.

Additionally, Globalization was added as a category for no clear reason.

For now I've removed the parts that seem erroneous or, at the very least, not referenced and not explained.

Tophattingson (talk) 17:52, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

I've also removed some dubious (and some wacky) claims from the infobox's "causes" and "aims" section. Likewise, the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states was not a "cause". In my opinion, we should keep this as short as possible and, ideally, cited. Perhaps a consensus on talk would be a good idea. —Brigade Piron (talk) 11:25, 20 April 2016 (UTC)

I've removed some of the more minor items from the "results" infobox section. I also reordered it to try to show some order of the relevancy and significance. It does need more trimming. --Inops (talk) 19:40, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

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Start date?[edit]

What happened on March 9, 1989? I doubt that the bankruptcy of Eastern Air Lines actually is what sparked the revolutionary wave that liberated Eastern Europe. (talk) 21:55, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

When is the actual start date of the revolutions? (talk) 21:59, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^