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Word Count: 640
The shocking fall of communism in Eastern and central Europe in the late eighties was remarkable for both its rapidity and its scope In each of the nations the communist regimes in power were forces to transfer that power to radically different institutions than they were accustomed to Democracy had been spreading throughout the world for the preceding two decades but with a very important difference In Europe the shift from communism was taking place in a different context then that of the Soviet Union The peoples involved were not looking to affect a narrow set of policy reforms rather what was at stake what the shift from communist ideology to a more western plan for governmental and economic policy development It seemed that the sole reason that the downfall of communism took so long was the veto power of the Soviet Union Due to Eastern Europes longtime adherence to communist policies these nations faced great difficulty in making the transition to a market economy without being forced to unite with another economic system Mikhail Gorbachev was a different kind of Soviet leader He recognized that communists in the Soviet Union could not remain politically and economically isolated and that the Soviet system had to be changed if it was to survive The key pieces to his plan was a series of reforms that included Glasnost - an openness and greater form of expression for the people Perestroika - a restructuring as to decentralize the soviet economy with market reforms all of which were designed to reform not abolish socialism and the renunciation of the Brezhnev Doctrine Central planning in a modern economy brought many inefficiencies The socialist system was ineffective in that communism promised a classless society with collective ownership but instead it produced a new class of communist party functionaries In addition the soviet state could not longer afford the high defense spending that went with The cold War nor could they
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