In this episode we discuss the destructive effects of Gorbachev’s reforms, both in the satellite Soviet countries and in Russia itself, culminating in the formal dissolution of the USSR. Dan McGinnis returns as guest.
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Tags: Cold War, HI101, history, industry, Poland, politics, revolution, russia, russian, Soviet Union, ukraine
I begun listening to your show a few months ago, so I am a little behind schedule in writing this comment. First of all I would like to congratulate you and to encourage you to keep up the excellent job you do with this podcast. I am Spanish, I live in Spain and english is not my native language, so I apologize for any mistakes I might commit.
While listening to this episode, it seemed to me that there was some confussion in sepparating the Soviet Union (USSR) from the countries forming the communist or eastern block, merging the whole eastern europe in one sole country. For a european citizen this a very clear concept: The Soviet Union or USSR was one independent country formed by a coalition of 15 republics under the leadership of Russia (one of the 15), but this republics did not include Hungary, Chzecoslovaquia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Eastern Germany, Yugoslavia or Albania. This were independent countries, although they were under the political influence and strict supervision of the USSR (and were also part of the Warsaw Pact). Perhaps I am mistaken, but in several ocasions in the narrative, I have understood that you mention events in Hungary, Prague or Poland as occurring in the USSR, which is geographically and politically incorrect.
This is a very complex and broad issue in european history, and each country probably deserves a whole episode in which to narrate their time under communist rule, how and when they became part of the communist world and how they seceded, but I felt some basic concepts needed a little punctualization.
I hope you find this comment helpful and I thank you for the many hours of entertainment that your podcast has proportioned me in the last months. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful comment. Please don’t feel compelled to apologize for your English; it’s better than many native speakers I’ve met!
I’ve had other listeners make very similar comments on this episode before, and you’re absolutely right: I was extremely unclear at times about the difference between the USSR proper and the federation of eastern bloc states. Being a member of the Warsaw Pact did not induct a state into the USSR, despite significant political and military influence. It’s not exactly a straightforward arrangement, and I slipped a number of times. I do wish I’d done a better job of describing those relationships. It’s an easy mistake to make on a show without a script, and I’m glad it doesn’t happen more often, but any lapses in accuracy are painful.
I sincerely appreciate your comment, which does a good job of clarifying some of the errors I made in this episode, and am very glad that you’re enjoying the show so far. Hopefully you don’t encounter too many more mistakes, but if you do, please let me know!
All the best,
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