1989 Revolution: Fall of the Soviet Union
1989 Revolution: Fall of the Soviet Union
The fall of the Soviet Union resulted in a major collapse of many countries. Bulgaria and Romania were two countries that had ties and many distinctions. They both consisted of a strong, violent communist leader that resulted the demolishment of communism at the end. Each of these leaders was cruel and harsh on the people of their country. Injustice played a big role between the two countries that led to war and inhumane actions. Ethnical and race feuds became an eye opening event for the citizens of these countries. Though, the difference was that Romania enforced laws but Bulgaria and the other five countries didn’t.
Romania didn’t have foundations that supported their communist system, which was the cause of major collapse. During the revolution, Bulgaria was viewed as the satellite state in the Soviet Union; they were highly involved with communism until 1989. However, before the fall of communism in Bulgaria, the Turk Muslims, a minority at the time, were forbidden to speak their language and were forced to change their names from Islamic names to Bulgarian names. The leader, Todor Zhivkov, enforced all of this sanctions. Zhivkov had held power in Bulgaria since 1954 and was known to have murdered hundreds of opponents, mostly ethnic Turks.
The Turks were being treated unfairly and couldn’t practice their religion or express their real identity because of insecurity. No one could tell the difference between the Turks unless they expressed their real name. Ionni Pojarleff, a physicist who lived in Sofia at the time said, “We were all oppressed together. But then from the mid-1980s the regime went for the Turks – and that changed everything. ” (Sebestyen 184) Zhivkov forced assimilation upon the Turks and felt the need to ban education for the Turkish by closing their Islamic cultural centers.
However, he claims that he was encouraging them to change with name and most all of them did by 1987. Three decades later, Zhivkov was still in power and the relationship with the Soviet Union was at ease. The Soviets gave the Bulgarians cheap oil and Bulgaria sold it to the West to make profit. Soon enough, the reform program created by Mikhail Gorbachev that involved the Soviets was felt in Bulgaria, but the Communists were not ready to demand for change. This led onto a political reform and quickly enough, Zhivkov was replaced with foreign minister, Peter Mlandenov.
Communism was approached but went downfall shortly after the new leader came into play. Around winter of 1989, Mlandenov declared that communism had officially ended in Bulgaria. The national assembly then changed the name of Bulgaria to the Republic of Bulgaria and removed the communist state emblem from the national flag. Romania started their communism regime in 1945 and lasted till 1989. Communism in Romania was under Soviet domination and the allied powers occupied the Axis-member formation. Soon, King Michael gave into pressure and went into exile and the People’s Republic of Romania was confirmed.
Michael also wanted to put Romania more towards the Allied soviets side rather than the Axis side. Communist rule was slacking behind with goods because of the SovRom agreements happening at the time. Nicolae Ceausescu, the leader of Romania, was determined to be entirely free of foreign debt. However, the way he decided to take control of the country’s debt was disastrous. People could only use one light bulb while the entire country’s electricity worked. Many people died from hypothermia and even young people were asphyxiated by gas in their homes.
This happened because it was so cold; they would fall asleep while the gas was still running. Interesting enough, supply would be cut during the day but then restored while the people of Romania were asleep. The cruelty of Ceausescu was ridiculous and against human rights. He also abandoned abortion to all women under the age of forty-five. Romania was the only country with laws against abortion. In the beginning, the birth rates were boosting, but slowly they started dropping severely and that concerned Ceausescu. Ceausescu decided that women should be forced to go take medical examinations.
If a woman has a miscarriage, police would suspect that the women had an abortion. A Bucharest doctor, Geta Stanescu said, “If a child died in our district, we lost 10 to 25 per cent of our salaries, but it wasn’t out fault. ” (174) Ceausescu’s law was very harsh and even caused many deaths, often at home, and usually of not one person, but two. Another issue that erupted in Romania was that if a Romanian talked to foreigners, they would be interrogated and harassed afterwards. In Romania, there were no Charter 77, Solidarity, KOR, or Danube Circle.
People couldn’t practice their religion because Ceausescu corrupted the churches; however, he had many priests and rabbis willing to accomplice. On December 16, 1989, riots and protests broke out in Timisoara because of the critical feedback made on the Hungarian media. Shortly after these consecutive riots, on December 21st, Ceausescu began to hide himself because he lost his supporters. Just after the riots in Bucharest, Ceausescu and his wife Elena were shot and communism came to an end in Romania. Bulgaria and Romania resulted in many similarities and differences between their two revolutions.
Both revolutions dealt with gender and race issues. Bulgaria faced problems with the Muslim Turks name change and religion practicing. Romania wouldn’t let the Romanians get consolidation from their churches because Ceausescu, their leader demolished all of the churches existent at that time. Both leaders, Ceausescu and Zhivkov were cruel to the people of their country. They treated them as if they were peasants and kept them under harsh and deathly conditions. Between these two revolutions, thousands and thousands of innocent people were suffering and ultimately the goal was for these innocent people to face death.
Ceausescu way of ruling was very different from Zhivkov. Ceausescu was very punishing and created laws against the human rights that affected many individuals. His aggressiveness scared the people of Romania that they were too afraid to do something because their life depended on it. Ceausescu admired Stalin very much; he loved his work and wanted to continue it in his own country. Zhivkov, no doubt, was also a very harsh man. They both forced actions upon individuals that weren’t acceptable. Zhivkov promoted communism but was never into the Stalinist mound. Instead he was replaced and that brought communism to an end in Bulgaria.
All these similarities and differences between the two countries resulted into a major catastrophe for the Soviet Union. Communism took over but in the end, the outcome of communism was demolishment. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 created a scar on the face of history. The strong leaders of communism, practicing injustice, now became anti-communism. The ethnical and race discrimination was an eye opening for the people of Bulgaria and Romania. After all the chaos and inhumane actions, the revolution resulted for all six countries promoting better freedom for the people of Europe.
Subject: Soviet Union,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 18 December 2016
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