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Definition: Literally ‘openness’. Policy introduced into the Soviet Union by Gorbachev during the 1980s which encouraged a more ‘open’, liberal, questioning tone between state and people and in business. Russians were encouraged to question and voice complaints about the government, victims of repression were released or ‘rehabilitated’, bans on certain written work were relaxed, as were restrictions on media reporting.

The aim was, in part, to increase the effectiveness of the government and economy by weeding out inefficiency identified through criticism. By 1990 some of these restrictions had been re-imposed, such as all media having to register themselves with the government, but the resulting criticisms of the government and the growth of nationalist feeling ultimately led to the collapse of the Communist system within a decade.

Gorbachev, rose to power in 1985, with policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, and decided to end the cold war.
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