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glasnost(gläs`nōst), Soviet cultural and social policy of the late 1980s. Following his ascension to the leadership of the USSR in 1985, Mikhail GorbachevGorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich
, 1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99).
..... Click the link for more information. began to promote a policy of openness in public discussions about current and historical problems. The policy was termed glasnost [openness]. The brutality of the Stalin era, such as the great purges and the KatynKatyn
, village, W central European Russia, 12 mi (19 km) W of Smolensk. During World War II, when it was part of the USSR, it was occupied by the Germans in Aug., 1941.
..... Click the link for more information. massacre, were acknowledged, and the corruption and stagnation of the BrezhnevBrezhnev, Leonid Ilyich
, 1906–82, Soviet leader. He joined (1931) the Communist party and rose steadily in its hierarchy. In 1952 he became a secretary of the party's central committee.
..... Click the link for more information. era were sharply criticized. Soviet leaders became more receptive both to the media and to foreign leaders as a new period of detente opened between East and West. Gorbachev hoped that a candidness about the state of the country would accelerate his perestroikaperestroika
, Soviet economic and social policy of the late 1980s. Perestroika [restructuring] was the term attached to the attempts (1985–91) by Mikhail Gorbachev to transform the stagnant, inefficient command economy of the Soviet Union into a decentralized
..... Click the link for more information. program.
See M. Gorbachev, Perestroika (1988); E. A. Hewett and V. H. Winston, ed., Milestones in Glasnost and Perestroyka (1991).
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glasnostthe Russian word for ‘openness’, referring, from 1985 to 1991 in the USSR, to increased freedom of expression and organization in political and public life. General Secretary GORBACHEV initially reduced censorship of the theatre, films and the press, allowed publication of previously banned books, generally encouraged discussion, freed certain political prisoners, allowed greater freedom of movement and more openness to Western culture. This was both a reaction against the political organizations of STALINISM and an effort to open up debate about policies, such as those contained in PERESTROIKA, which some sections of the Soviet leadership saw as necessary to lift the USSR out of economic stagnation. By 1991 when the USSR ceased to exist, Soviet people interpreted it in far wider ways than the leadership had originally envisaged. Even the role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was being criticized, and several republics were seeking forms of independence from Moscow. See also PERESTROIKA.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
History the policy of public frankness and accountability developed in the former Soviet Union under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachov
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005