Remaking Europe, remaking the world : analyzing Soviet policy toward Eastern Europe, 1985-1990

Chafetz, Glenn Richard, Department of Government and Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia
Greenslade, Gertrude, Department of Economics, University of Virginia

The thesis of this study is that Moscow radically altered its policy toward Eastern Europe in the second half of the 1980's due to the confluence of three major developments: the advent of Mikhail Gorbachev as leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the dissatisfaction of the Soviet populace with the performance of the CPSU, and the declining value to Moscow of Soviet relationships with the bloc states. Mikhail Gorbachev's efforts to improve the flawed social contract between the rulers and the ruled within the Soviet Union led to a series of internal reforms which vitiated the rationale for Moscow's previous foreign policy. The Kremlin's positive reaction to the process of cautious democratization within Poland in early 1989 confirmed the new thinking in Moscow and undermined the authority of the other East European Communist parties, thus clearing the way for the autumn revolutions.

The second purpose of this examination is to illustrate the advantages of a particular approach to analyzing foreign policy. This approach is based on the conception of foreign policy formation as a process consisting of different stages which can each be best explained by a separate theory or model. The study comprises three distinct models which form a larger, integrated model. The first model is a variation of the rational actor model; it explains the rationality of abandoning the Brezhnev doctrine. The second model is a mixture of elite-conflict and bureaucratic politics models; it explains how the psychology of the Soviet leaders and the political process affected the Soviet Union's East European policy. The third model is an ideological change model; it shows how the political and ideological changes which resulted from learning and political struggle shaped the transformation of Soviet policy toward Eastern Europe.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
International relations -- Methodology, Paradigms (Social sciences), Soviet Union -- Foreign relations -- Europe, Eastern, Europe, Eastern -- Foreign relations -- Soviet Union
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