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Case Studies

Transnational influences in the Transition from Communism



Brown, A., 'Transnational influences in the Transition from Communism,' The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Working Paper 273, April (2000)

Archie Brown examines the variety of transnational influences that profoundly shaped and made possible the transition from Communism in Europe. Attention is devoted to: Western influences on Eastern Europe; the impact of the West on Soviet decisionmakers; the influence of East European countries on each other; and the significance of transformative change in the Soviet Union for the East European transitions. The author argues that the interconnections among the transitions in the Eastern part of the European continent were so strong that they should be regarded as a discrete political phenomenon-a Fourth Wave of democratization rather than part of the Third Wave that began in the first half of the 1970s. Under late Communism there was significant influence on the Soviet elite from the West (in ways that have been underexplored) and, to a lesser extent, from Eastern Europe-until 1989 when the demonstration effects of successful East European rejection of Soviet hegemony had a profound impact on the Baltic states in particular. Yet, the facilitation and timing of the transition from Communism-the decisive breakthrough of 1989-was dependent, above all, on pluralizing change in Moscow and the policy choices of the post-1985 Soviet leadership.




  • August 6, 1940 - Estonia became a part of Soviet Union
  • From June 1940 until August 1941, more than 7000 Estonian citizens were arrested