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The baltic states: Years of dependence, 1980–1986

  • Author(s): Misiunas, RJ
  • Taagepera, R
  • et al.

In 1983 we published a book entitled The Baltic States: Years of Dependence 1940-1980.1The present article represents an update chapter which reviews the years 1980–1986. Compared to the late 1970s and the early 1980s, a period of stagnation, 1987 was a singularly difficult time for writing recent Soviet and Baltic history. CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev was trying to overcome the general stagnation in which the Soviet Union found itself, and the outcome of his increasingly dramatic effort remains uncertain. Hence, the historical perspective for our interpretation of recent events is missing. Will economic and technological growth in the USSR be achieved without appreciable political changes, or will liberalization be the price for technological progress? If liberalization is needed, will Gorbachev be able to pay the price, or will he maintain the past mix of authoritarian and totalitarian features even at the cost of continued economic stagnation? If Gorbachev chooses liberalization, will more conservative bureaucratic forces eventually topple him? If the Soviet leadership opts for continued economic stagnation, will the Soviet population continue to be submissive indefinitely? As before, Baltic history in the 1980s continues to depend on the interplay of local aspirations with decisions made in Moscow. © 1989, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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