SocialismToday           Socialist Party magazine

Socialism Today 133 - November 2009

Timeline: 1989


11: Hungary allows the formation of political parties, trade unions, etc.

11: Two days demonstrations by 120,000 people force the resignation of leadership of Montenegro. Pro-independence Democratic Alliance set up in Slovenia.

12: Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan – Nagorny Karabakh put under direct rule from Moscow.

15: Over 4,000 people defy ban to gather in Prague – triggers four days of protest.

17-18: PUWP agrees to authorise Solidarity, banned since 1982.

19: Soviet Union announces troop reductions in Eastern Europe and Mongolia.

30: Splits in Yugoslav CP between Serbia and Croatia raise possibility of civil war.


6: Talks begin between PUWP and Solidarity.

15: Last Russian troops leave Afghanistan after ten years’ occupation.


1 Curfew imposed in Kosovo.

26 Multi-candidate elections held in Soviet Union. Yeltsin wins landslide in Moscow.


9 Russian troops attack massive, pro-independence rally in Georgia – killing 20.

17 Legalisation of Solidarity effected. Market measures implemented.

17 Movement in China initiated as 700 students and teachers march into Tiananmen Square.

22 Funeral of Hu Yaobang. Student demos continue – confrontations outside Beijing.

24 Students strike in 30 Beijing colleges and universities.

26/7 100,000 students march through Beijing.


2 Hungary begins dismantling border fence with Austria.

13 400 students begin hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.

14-18 Gorbachev visits China. On 15th, half a million march in Beijing.

16 Large crowd at Chinese state trade union HQ demands right to strike, free trade unions.

17 Over a million demonstrate in support of the student hunger strikers.

19 Zhao Ziyang meets the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

20 Chinese government declares martial law in Beijing.

25 Workers in Tiananmen Square set up the Beijing Workers’ Autonomous Federation.

30 In Tiananmen Square, demonstrators unveil ten-metre ‘Goddess of Democracy’.


3/4 Tiananmen Square massacre – several thousand people are killed.

4/5 Solidarity wins 99 of 100 freely contested parliamentary seats.

16 250,000 in Budapest for the reburial of Imre Nagy, ex-prime minister executed in 1958.

21 Solidarity leader, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, is Poland’s first post-war non-Stalinist leader.


1 Gorbachev appeals on TV for an end to inter-ethnic violence. Conflict rages in many republics throughout the year.

9-12 US president Bush visits Poland and Hungary, pushing for ‘open markets’.

10-23 Biggest strike wave in Soviet history in Donbas and Kuzbas coalfields.

27/8 300 deputies form a group in the Congress of People’s Deputies to accelerate perestroika.


18/19 PUWP rule officially ends.

23 Hungary removes border restrictions with Austria.

23 Two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania form 600km chain for independence.


8-10 Pro-independence People’s Movement of Ukraine set up.

10 Hungary opens border to East Germany.

12 Solidarity takes over running of Polish government.

22 Independent Students Union legalised in Poland.

27 Slovenian assembly declares an ‘independent, sovereign and autonomous state’.


6/7 Gorbachev visits East Germany.

7 Hungarian regime votes to end Stalinist rule.

9 Weekly demos begin in Leipzig against Stalinist diktat.

16 East German leader, Erich Honecker, is ousted from politburo, forced to resign on 18th.

23 People's Republic of Hungary becomes the Republic of Hungary.

28 In Czechoslovakia, massive protest is crushed, leading dissidents arrested.


3 Demonstrations begin in Sofia.

4 Up to a million demonstrate in Berlin.

7 East German SED government resigns, Egon Krenz remains head of state.

8 SED politburo is forced to resign.

9 East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin wall.

10 Germans begin tearing down the wall.

10 Bulgarian CP leader, Todor Zhivkov, is ousted by politburo.

15 Hungary is first eastern bloc state to apply for full membership of the European Council.

17-20 Prague demos grow daily up to 500,000. Opposition Civic Forum is set up on 19th.

22 SED politburo agrees to set up round table discussions with opposition groups.

24 Czech CP boss, Milos Jakes, resigns.

25 500,000 people march in Czechoslovakia. Millions in two-hour general strike on 27th.

28 Czech CP relinquishes power, promising free elections within a year.


1 End of SED monopoly on power. Politburo and central committee resign on 3rd.

6 Krenz resigns. SED special congress starts on 8th - changes name to Party of Democratic Socialism.

7 East German round table meets for the first time.

10 In Sofia, 50,000 people demonstrate, Zhivkov resigns.

10 Czech president, Gustav Husak, resigns. On 11th, eleven non-Stalinists included in cabinet of 21.

13 Bulgarian CP announces it will end its monopoly on power.

16 Five days of protests and riots in Romania.

17 Romanian protesters smash up state committee building.

18 Martial law declared in Romania.

19 Workers in Romanian cities strike against the regime.

21 Romanian supremo Nicolae Ceausescu addresses 110,000 people, orders troops to fire on crowd. Soldiers begin to join the uprising. Ceausescu flees by helicopter.

22/3 Ceausescu and wife, Elena, are captured.

25 A military court convicts them. Their execution by firing squad is televised.

29 Czech parliament elects Havel president. Alexander Dubcek, deposed by the Russians in 1968, becomes parliament chairman.

During the summer Francis Fukuyama published his essay announcing the end of history.


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