January 2019

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Blog powered by Typepad

« Bottom-up versus Top-down Macro | Main | Attention DC Libertarians »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

While many people can be credited with the Berlin Wall coming down, President Ronald Reagan is the person most responsible for the wall's downfall. Reagan's steadfast belief in man's yearning for Freedom and Liberty inspired by Mises, Hayek and Friedman was no doubt the reason most responsible for the fall of Communism. God Bless America and President Ronald Wilson Reagan! I understand P. Obama has declined an invitation to come celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I guess he's waiting for when through his socialist agenda and weak defense stance the wall is rebuilt.

I remember this pretty well, even though I was only 9 years old at the time, mostly because my big brother (who was responsible for getting me interested in Economics in the first place) was really excited about it. He had a poster in his room shortly afterwards of the wall being torn down by the crowds, with the date Nov. 9, 1989 as the only caption. Good times!

Check out the clip at 1:05-1:07. A man holds what appears to be a bottle of Coke above his head and yells "Freedom!" It just goes to show how pervasive state control was.

Actually, the hidden butterfly wing that set this in motion to happen was the vote of a single unlikely individual in February 1985. I am speaking of longtime Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko, who voted for Mikhail Gorbachev to become the new General Secretary and Chairman of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, giving him a 4-3 margin over his harder line opponent. Gromyko did so becaue he said that Gorbachev had "a nice smile but iron teeth."

At this time 20 years ago, or to be more accurate, just days before this, East German leader, Erich Honecker, had appealed to Gorbachev in supporting him in violently suppressing the upheavals that were heading to the event that we celebrate. Honecker could have suppressed it with Soviet support, but Gorbachev would not give it, and history moved forward.

While the 20th anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union is still years away, before we get too misty eyed over Gorbachev, let us remember that while he was resigned to letting go of the empire that Stalin made in Eastern Europe, he was not willing to see the end to the Soviet Union, itself.

I was in Vilnius, Lithuania in January 1991 when Soviet forces attempted to crush the emerging democratic government there. Determined to regain the independence they had lost due to the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939, the Lithuanians (and the Latvians and Estonians) were vocal about their desire to leave the tender care of the workers' state headquartered in Moscow.

During the night of January 13th, the Soviets seized the government buildings in the center of the city, and occupied the radio station and the TV transmission tower.

In the process they killed 13 people, three of them crushed under Soviet tank treads. I witnessed most of this, being on the streets with my Lithuanian friends -- including being shot at.

But the coup against the Lithuanians failed, when the next day nearly 1 million Lithuanians came from the rest of the country and surrounded the Parliament building for three days and nights, facing down Soviet soldiers and tank units.

But, luckily, the masters in Moscow (including Gorbachev) had lost the stomach to kill into a crowd of tens of thousands.

But they tried also to crush the Latvians with a military incident in Riga, Latvia, and they used gas attacks against Georgians and Azerbaijanis in other incidents.

What the hardliners who undertook the coup in Moscow in August 1991 (which I also witnessed first hand, being at the Russian Parliament during most of the three day coup-attempt) hated Gorbachev for was precisely his failure to prevent with the necessary force the disintegration of the Soviet Union itself.

That these hardliners were inept and disorganized may have been true, at the time. But what really resulted in the failure of the coup was the fact that the KGB tank units surrounding the Russian Federation "White House" were unwilling to obey orders and shot into the crowd there.

This demonstrates David Hume's argument in his "Fragment on Government" that governments ultimately rule by "opinion" (the voluntary servitude of the people) and when the people (and the men under the State's command in the military) refuse to believe that the emperor has clothes (i.e., the legitimacy of power to give orders that must be obeyed), all governmental power evaporates into the air.

Gorbachev's delusion was that he could save the Soviet Union by creating a "socialism with a human face," with a degree of intellectual openness and a partial return to Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP).

Richard Ebeling

As I said many others had a hand in the Berlin Wall's fall. Some more than others. Gorbachev certainly played a role by being pragmatic in defeat, by not continuing the sham of communism's superiority and by being graceful in defeat. Pope John Paul II, Leah Walesa, Margret Thatcher and NATO Countries plus other Allies also helped the USA topple the USSR! The end of communism and Berlin Wall's downing was made possible by a lot of people but I don't think Gromyko deserves much credit. It would be like giving high praise to Hitler's Generals for telling him he was surrounded and should surrender. Hardly worth much consideration. Communism would have eventually fell because it is a flawed system that promotes mediocracy and corruption. President Reagan hastened the death of the rotting corpse of soviet communism by standing up to the Russians and calling them out as the "evil empire" that they were. It would be nice if someone would do it again to emperor Putin and puppet Medvedev. Who seem to be up to the old Russian tricks again.

Unfortunately, it does not seem as if many people outside the 'west' share your happiness about the fall of the USSR.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8347409.stm

Many thanks to Pete for the post and the video. I particularly appreciated Richard Ebeling's eyewitness observations.

The question one inevitably asks of such events is how much were they the product of the decisions of great leaders (e.g., Ronald Reagan); and how much did they reflect the inner-contradictions of the communist system?

In tomorrow's Review & Outlook, the editors at the Wall Street Journal praise the moral clarity of generations of leaders in the West. But the Soviet Union was also collapsing internally from the sheer hopelessness of its economic systm.

I was in West Germany about a year before the Fall. I heard reports that things were loosening up already. For instance, an East German academic was able to visit a West German professor without being accompanied by a member of the Stasi. A first.

In any case, let us all celebrate.

Everyone should understand that I am not ascribing particularly noble motives to Gorbachev and certainly not to Gromyko. Neither knew what they were doing. When Gromyko voted for Gorbachev over the hardline mayor of Moscow, Viktor Grishin, he did so thinking that Gorbachev was a faithful protegee of his mentor, former KBG chief and hardliner, Yuri Andropov, who had brought Gorbachev up from the south. Gromyko hoped that like Andropov, Gorbachev would engage in limited reforms that would rationalize the system and strengthen it, something Andropov was trying to do during his fairly short tenure as Soviet leader.

Of course, Gorbachev went much further, especially after the disaster at Chernobyl pushed him into his glasnost program, and he would remove Gromyko from power as Gromyko joined those opposing what he was doing. It is of course possible that after Chernobyl, Grishin might have followed something like his path.

As for Gorbachev himself, who I gather will be in Berlin tomorrow with the crowd celebrating the anniversary, it is not at all likely that he intended for the Wall to come down when he turned Honecker down, and I seriously doubt that he was thinking about the appeal made by the then former President Reagan in that regard. No, he was more concerned that Honecker was allied with those in Moscow who opposed him and his glasnost and perestroika reforms. He did not back Honecker out of motives relating to internal Politburo politics, with no realization of what was coming.

Oh, and if Gromyko had voted for Grishin, it is not at all clear what would have happened. Certainly Soviet socialism/communism was decaying, but in Belarus and a few other former republics regimes not all that different from what was there before have survived in their stagnation and repression. The Soviets did succeed in repressing Eastern Europe earlier, and the Chinese had suppressed an uprising earlier that year in Tiananmen Square. A Grishin-led regime that did not engage in perestroika or glasnost and made it clear it intended to continue cracking down and backed Honecker, might have kept things going for quite some time. We do not know of course.

As it is, in China, the Communist Party remains in power without democracy, although by a careful economic reform it has transformed itself into something quite different.

More than Reagan, I would say that Mises and Hayek called it, even if they did not actually lead the people who ran through the streets to tear down the Wall, actions that were not stopped by Soviet or even eventually East German troops or police.

I was only 4. The only thing I remember clearly from 1989 was having a small Superman figurine bought for me. Why couldn't they postpone bringing down the wall until I was old enough to appreciate it? Selfish #@!&%s

By the way, these are some fascinating comments!

If you traveled in the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, it was clear that what would eventually bring about the demise of the U.S.S.R. in December 1991 was not the actions of the U.S. and the West, per se, but the internal disintegration of the Soviet socialist system itself.

It was economically grinding to a halt. The stores -- in Moscow, the "center" -- were empty. For the average Russian, things like sugar had not been seem for months and months.

The GUM department store structure opposite the Kremlin on Red Square was virtually empty of any goods in the dozens of "people's stores" in the facility. (The only store with goods was a women's underwear store, with a long line. Unfortunately, the supply was "one size fits all," with the use of a safety pin to adjust accordingly! Have nice day, Comrade!)

The corruption was everywhere -- and had been for decades -- with connections, "pull," and bribes the primary means of acquiring anything desired or needed.

Virtually no one believed in the official ideology any more. It was merely the slogans and expected rhetoric to have entree into the Party and power system through which various privileges and perks might be obtained.

The system had been and was dying from the inside out.

Richard Ebeling

Rob,

That goes to show what the dominant religion is.

"Regulation!"

I second the people above who stated that the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe was ultimately due to its internal failure.

The fundamental truth - yet to be acknowledge by many people - is that communism fell because of its complete economic failure. It did not collapse because people stoped believing in the communist ideals (in a way they did, but in another way they did not), or because the USSR and the Warsaw Pact could not keep up with Reagan's expanding navy or his star wars project, or because people wanted to be free or because of any other reason. Communism - real or close to real socialism - collapsed because it was economically bankrupt and could not feed a growing urban population. The industrial communist economy was deeply dysfunctional. Shortages everywhere, almost hunger.

This colossal economic failure was understood by the beginning of the 1980 by the foreign intelligence section of the KGB and many of the other communist secret services/political police in Eastern Europe. The people working in the foreign intelligence sections were recruited from the smartest students, knew foreign languages (often several), travelled abroad, had access to the latest information regarding what is happening in the West and the rest of the world etc. The foreign intelligence section of the KGB was the main backer of Gorbacev's glasnost and perestroika. What they wanted, was to improve the economy by modest reforms but ultimately to keep the system, the society and the political power structure intact.

This was however and impossible goal. The pillar of the communist system was the communist party and within the party, either the dictator or a small group or aparatciks that made up the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The whole system was a political Ponzi Scheme based not on fraud but on mafia style violence. The communist state was like the mafia family, even more severe. Those who did not obey were eliminated, physically if necessary, from top to bottom. All the institutions of the state and of the party were designed so as to produce a web of control and repression in all areas of society.

When the perestroika and glasnost burst into popular protests and informal gatherings in the streets, especially in Central Europe at first, the whole Ponzi scheme of the Gangster state collapsed : this was something unexpected which it could not cope with. The system was designed for top down mafia style control and repression, not for handling semi-free opinion or spontaneous expression if discontent. Gorbachev and the KGB had a hard choice : either reestablish Brejnev down to Stalin and Lenin style mafia control, i.e. bring in the Army, kill a few thousands in the streets and then a few tens of thousands possible hundred of thousands in the gulag, or let it go.

Gorbachev, advised by the KGB foreign intelligence section - the party nomenclature was in favour of a large-scale massacre - let it go. Why ? Simply because the smart and highly educated KGB & associates colonels and majors wanted to enjoy some of those capitalist goodies that communism simply couldn't produce. They were not Beria type KGB officers - they were not illiterate drunks and pesants who just killed. They were smart guy who were not content with naked power, a good stake and a nice house; they wanted a better life for themselves in a way, they wanted to be able to develop their talents just as much as the capitalists did.

The Chinese communists, however, younger and more insulated from the goodies of capitalism, had less problems regarding the use of force in 1989 and ultimately learned to fix the what was wrong in Gorbachev's perestroika.

Richard,

The last time the Soviet economy grew was in 1986, after when the fall in oil prices put the economy into an open tailspin that accelerated rather than continuing its long-running stagnation. People did not like the stagnation, but it was also not something that would trigger a revolution. People were not starving and they had clothing and housing and jobs, even if the stuff was of much lower quality than in the West (which few of them visited) and they had to stand in line for a couple of hours each day, which was annoying, but also something one could get used to, especially given that prices for some of the staples were very low (too low, in fact, by market standards). Again, that a place like Belarus has barely changed, as is the case for some of the Central Asian republics, some of them still ruled by those who ran them prior to 1991, is a sign that economic stagnation alone was not a sufficient cause for the upheaval.

Also, when you were there, things were really more seriously falling apart. After 1989 and the fall of the Wall, the CMEA broke up in 1990, and then things just went blooey.

My own take is that you are closer to the mark in your observations on Lithuania. At a deep level what Lenin and Stalin achieved was to preserve and then extend the old Russian Empire, in contrast to the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian ones that broke up at the end of WW I. They delayed a probably inevitable process of national independence from Russian rule that finally arrived in 1991.

Oh, and at least in Russia, corruption is far worse now than it was prior to 1991.

Bogdan,

You are right that some of the more important forces supporting Gorbachev's reforms early on were elements in the Chekist organs, although these were hardly a unified group. I suspect that you are overstating how much they were looking forward to obtaining goodies under some sort of market capitalism, although many have. I think you and others simply overstate how foresighted these folks were. Most of them, like Gromyko, expected Gorbachev to succeed in reforming the system without overthrowing it and did not foresee that glasnost and perestroika would unleash forces of nationalist and democratic dissent in Middle and Eastern Europe and the republics that would become unstoppable.

Oh, and your characterization of the Chinese leaders in 1989 is way off. China is far more complicated than any other country, and the real leaders there at that time were still holdovers from the Revolution, the veterans of the Long March, battling it out behind the walls of the Zhongnanghai compound, out of sight.

Whereas in the USSR the Politburo of the Central Committee of CPSU was as high as it went, in China there were two more layers higher, one official, the other unofficial. Above the Politburo was the "Standing Committee of the Politburo." By 1989 neither it nor the lower bodies contained any of the most senior officials, the leftover Long March veterans (now all dead, finally). They were joked about as belonging to the "Sitting Committee," with most of them then in their 80s. The ultimate power showdown was between Deng Xiaoping, the actual supreme leader, and an old anti-reformer (whose name I am currently forgetting), who lived to 98, but was outlived by a matter of months by Deng, the pragmatic reformer who once declared that "It does not matter if the cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice."

In 1989 Deng did retain one official position, Chairman of the Supreme Military Commission, making him Commander in Chief. These days, that is the last position a previous leader relinqueshes to his successor, but the current president holds all the top three positions: president (head of state and government), Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Peoples' Republic of China (ruling party leader), and Chairman of the Supreme Military Commission.

I have presented only some stylised facts, as it were in my comment above.

I did not say the KGB was a coherent group - I specifically said that the foreign intelligence section, and this is a well established fact, of the KGB was the one who most consistently backed Gorbachev's reformist moves. Evidently, nobody, not Gorbachev, not anybody else foresaw the far-reaching consequences of glasnost and perestroika - they probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. It's true that the awakening of nationalist sentiment gave a fatal blow to the URSS, but nationalism is not the prime cause which lead to the uncontrollable fall of the impressive and decades long Soviet & communist apparatus of control over all aspects of society.

Regarding China : Deng Xiaoping started a series of reforms in 1978. He was old, in a sense, in 1989. But communism in China was young by Soviet standards, that's why I surmise that the inclination to preserve the system in a form or another was stronger there than in the USRR amids the collaps of communism worldwide.

It's true that Xiaoping began his moderate reforms after Mao's death, by cleverly and slowly asserting his authorithy over the hardline Maoists. This was a post-Mao, i.e. post-one dictator Communist China, just like in the USSR after the death of Stalin, and Xiaoping managed to reverse the worse policies of the "Great Leap Forward" and of the "Cultural Revolution", taking steps to improve the management the condition of peasans and the farm management.

It has to be said here that one must not put too much weight on official positions in a communist system or the legal/constitutional political structure. What counts is the real often "unofficial" power of an individual or a given institution. In many communist regimes, for instance, the state offices had virtually no power compare to the party offices and so on. There is always this ambigous fusion between a nominally "private" institution, the people's party, and the state. The working and weight of each one depends on the balance of power between the high communist officials. Sometimes the party, i.e. the Politbureau or the Central Comitte, is simply an instrument of the leader, sometimes the leader - who may be president, secretary general, prime minister or an army general or so on - is just the instrument of the party's central comitte.

In the case of China, Xiaoping was slowly pushing the Chinise Communist Party out of Mao's "Cultural Revolution" and hardline socialist-peasent, i.e. Maoist doctrine. He was was an able and moderate reformist politician withing the high forums of the party as confirmed by the events leading to Tiananmen Square crack down. When the protests began after the death of the more radical, Gorbachev inspired, reformist, Hu Yaobang, Xiaoping kept his distance, in contrast to his ally Zhao Ziyang, from the radical-reformist wing backed by the voice of the people in the streets. Consequently, he was probably able to turn the Tiananmen protesters and their supporters, in or outside Beijing, into a skapegoat for the hardliders around Li Peng. Ultimetly he won in the inner-party intrigues and managed to impose a new style of government, characterized by economic reforms - considered necessary to bring China in the 21st century and to endow the country with social and political stability (the Soviet lesson) - and by the maintenance of a one party system and authoritarian rule.

P.S. There was not hunger in Eastern Europe, but there was malnutrion, at least in some parts. least.

Hellos friends hope you all are fine and here i want to share some information like what ever the function is whether it is wedding or birthday, for best rentals services for your function contact the company link where you will find all the information about the company and its services.

Bogdan,

Regarding China, the rival of Deng (that is his family name, not "Xiaoping") in the "Sitting Committee" was Chen Yun (1905-1995), with Deng born in 1904 and dying in Jan. 1997. So, Chen was only 90 when he died, with Deng outlasting him by more than a year to die at 92.

Chen was earlier an ally of Deng, with both of them joining the party in the early 1920s, and Chen first getting on the Central Committee in 1931. He was on the Poltiburo in 1940, off for some time, but retired from all his official positions in the 1980s, while continuing to be enormously influential as the ultimate debater with Deng about policy.

Chen debated with Mao prior to the GLF about how to decentralize, as they had agreed that the Soviet model was overly centralized. Mao won with a local/regional decentralization (with aggressive communalization in the countryside) under the disastrous Great Leap Forward). Chen supported decentralization to firms to use market forces, albeit within the "birdcage" of a central plan. This would remain his general position.

He supported the efforts of Liu Shaoqui and Deng Xiaoping to end the GLF and helped them in running the Chinese economy during the 1960s before the next disastrous turn with the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. During that period, starting in 1969, he would lose his positions and was sent to the countryside, as was Deng. He was rehabilitated first, in 1975, prior to Mao's death in 1976. He was actually the person who led the effort to rehabilitate Deng officially and laid out the plans that would become the "Dengist reforms" prior to Deng's rehabilitation and taking of power in 1979. The few years right after this were probably the peak of Chen's power, and he was on the Standing Committee of the Politburo and closely allied with Deng, at least initially.

However, they gradually fell out as the reforms proceeded and the market reforms became stronger, with a full falling out with Deng occurring in 1984. Chen wanted to retain some planning and opposed the Special Economic Zones, which Deng strongly supported, although he never challenged the personal leadership of Deng. But he joined the cultural and economic conservatives and supported the "anti-spiritual pollution" campaigns of the 1980s, fearful ultimately that China would "go capitalist" and supporting some of the ideas of Mao, even as he had earlier been a severe critic of more extreme Maoism.

What happened in 1989 was that the Standing Committee of the Politburo supported Zhao Ziyang and did not move to crack down on the Tiananmen Square dissidents. This was a move initiated by Deng himself as Commander in Chief using the military, and with the support of Chen. The Sitting Committee then intervened to purge the more liberal members of the Standing Committee, although after this was done, Deng stepped down as Chairman of the Supreme Military Commission, turning it over to Jiang Zemin, who would hold onto that position for a full year into the presidency of his successor, the current supreme leader, Hu Jintao.

A final note on Chen Yun is that he was one of the few top leaders of the Chinese Communist "first generation" to be an actual proletarian in origin. He also had a reputation for being incorruptible, which helped him in his various struggles and debates over the years. His son, Chen Yuan, is the current governor of the China Development Bank.

Regarding malnutition in Eastern Europe, it still exists although improved now, and it also still exists in the US, with a 2003 USDA report stating that 3.8% of US families experience serious hunger during the course of a year. During the early years of the post-communist transition as the GDPs in Eastern Europe collapsed, malnutrition worsened. Here is a direct passage from a UN Report from 1999.

"Poor nutrition is a serious problem in countries such as Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. In Russia, the prevalence of stunting among children under two years, an irreversible condition casued by protein-calorie deficiencies in early childhood, increased from 9.4% in 1992 to 15.2% in 1994.

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional problems in the region.

From about 1989 to 1994, for example, the number of Russian women suffering from anemia at the end of their pregnancies nearly tripled. In Ukraine, the percentage of pregnant women with anemia rose from about 11% in 1990 to about 34% in 1995. A survey in Uzbekistan in 1994 showed that anemia affected about 65% of all females between 15 and 50 years of age, 59% of all preschool children, 82% of toddlers and 75% of infants.'

Dear professor Rosser,

I appreciate your detailed presentation of Chen Yun's role, but I remain convince of Deng Xiaoping's responsibility for the crack-down in Tiananmen Square(but also outside Beihing) in 1989.

(I know that, like the Hungarians in Europe, the Chinese and the Asians in general write their family name first, but I wrote in a hurry without much thinking).

Chen Yun was not the most important hardliner of the old party leaders in 1989. All of them were against losing the political monopoly of the communist party. Only Yang Shangkun was favorable to the student movement, but he immediately shifted his stand when Deng Xiaoping opportunistically lowered his voice or, in any case gave in, knowing that Bo Yibo had the support of the most influential party leaders and was determined to keep the communism party in power.

With regard to malnutrition in Eastern Europe : I don't know what to say about the idea that it was worse after the fall communism than before. Those statistics should be taken with the same suspicion like the GDP numbers during communist times: they're either prefabricated or meaningless. I know my mother couldn't find milk to feed me when I was little, so I was sent to the countryside. Everybody relied on the grandparents in the countryside for food, especially in winter, if they had parents in the countryside. This being said, I don't deny that things were extremely hard after the fall communism, for many reasons and above all because many elements left from the communist economy, like big state companies, big public sectors accommodated through inflation, bureaucracy, confuse property rights, outright political theft and corruption, failed social projects, such as town built out of nowhere, crumbling infrastructure built to mark a communist festivity or just comply with a leader's crazy ideas of greatness etc changed too slowly and not by much in some countries. And they still change very slowly in some countries.

Bogdan,

On your first point, it was Deng who led the move to suppress the students using the military. I do not know what your source for suggesting that Bo Yibo was a bigger hardliner than Chen Yun, although in the particular case of Tiananmen, Chen was not so much the initiater. The more particular situation was as I put it, that the old and unofficial Sitting Committee stepped in to repudiate the (in)action of the official Standing Committee and to change its composition, with Zhao Ziyang out, Jiang Zemin put in charge, and the hardliner Li Peng given more power, if not put in charge. So, Deng played a balancing act, using the PLA to suppress the political threat to the Party (hey, all their kids were going to get goodies), while keeping his economic reforms from being halted (with those economic reforms also helping to give their kids all those goodies), which by 1989 was what Chen Yun was pushing for and was the most powerful of the Sitters in doing so.

Of course you have your own personal experience, although you do not say specifically either your age or your nationality, although it seems you are not too old. Your last name is Romanian while your first name is Slavic, indeed, one especially popular in Ukraine, which makes me suspect that you may be Moldovan in origin, the nation that currently has the lowest real per capita GDP in Europe, having fallen behind Albania.

It should be kept in mind that what happened after the Wall fell varied enormously across the Soviet bloc (and Yugoslavia). Every country had a decline in GDP, but there were enormous variations regarding how steep that decline was and how long it took to bounce back and move above where it was before 1989. You can find one account in the book I wrote with Marina V. Rosser, Comparative Economics in a Transforming World Economy (2nd edition, 2004, MIT Press).

Prior to 1989 there were also wide variations in living conditions, with probably the least malnutrition in Hungary. I can imagine that things were not very good in then Moldavia, one of the very poorest of all places in Europe.

It is true that official stats made all of them look better off than they were prior to the transition. This is most dramatically seen in the country the subject of the post, the former GDR (which had one of the most rapid bouncebacks, if never catching up to the former FRG). Official stats in the West had it at almost the same level of real per capita GDP as the FRG just prior to the fall of the Wall. After it came down and the reunification occurred, things were re-estimated to put it that they were at about one third the real per capita GDP of the former West Germany. The difference was not so much in the quantities of things, but in their quality, which was much poorer in the east than in the west, despite the current nostalgia of some easterners for the now mostly gone ossi products, such as Trabants.

Bo Yibo was one of the "immortal" Chinise communist leaders of the second generation which, from the begining of the protests, and without any moment of doubt, urged for their supression and called them a challenge to the party's unity and future as big as that of 1948, when Mao took power, or 1978, when Deng came to power without a bloody civil war between the communist factions. The extent of his influence can be deduced from the interview he gave in 1994 about these events and about how he view the new system in the party's official journal. This was, in a way, an official declaration of the Chinese leadership regarding the historical events that culminated in 1989. The choice of Bo Yibo as spokesperson can hardly be a simple accident. - I have no authoritive work to indicate for this interpretation, is just my version of what happened based on commonly known fact about Tiananmen, Chinese communism, Chinese communist leaders etc.

I was born in Moldova, but in the Western part, the one still inside the borders of Romania, not the Soviet and now independent Republic of Moldova. My first name is inded of Slavic influence. It is very popular in Moldova as well and has a long tradition because in this region Slavonic bacame form early on a Church language alongside Greek. It's the equivalent of Jonathan in the Germanic languages, Theodore in Greek or Dieudonné in French. And yes I'm young, almost the same age as Alexander the Great when he defeated Darius as Gautamela. But I understand that the standarded of living varied from one country to another under communism, and that Romania wasn't on top, as it were. However, the overall downward trend was common to all communist countries.

Chen Yun was also one of the 8 Immortals, but kept a much lower public profile while being ultimately more important.

I believe that at least the English equivalent of Bogdan is the Greek version, Theodore. Jonathan comes from other sources, from the Old Testament.

Johnathan is, indeed, of Hebrew origin (Yonatan), a name from the Old Testament/Torah (the son of King Samuel), but because of Luther and the Protestant obsession with the purity of early Christianity, Jonatahn became a name of common use in Germanic language, including English. Theodore is the translation of Jonathan in Greek, when the Septuagint was compiled in Alexandria(the canonical Christian Bible we know today, with both the Old and the New Testament). When Cyril and Methodius translated the Bibble in old Slavonic, to facilitate the conversion of the pagan Slaves, Jonathan/Theodore became Bogdan. They all mean the same things, however, "the gift of God".

I was still too low to say it was me in those times but what if I can say is that was that every day that passes we move more and that's almost forgotten, although it can not remove you back ...

still a good post, even a few years later. Thanks for sharing :)

First time in my life I see such a great classification on scheduling blogs.

As it is, in China, the Communist Party remains in power without democracy, although by a careful economic reform it has transformed itself into something quite different.

dogs are friends of human beings

Basically I like this site and it's content. I always can find good stuff, good photo and good smile while I see this page.

A lot has changed in these 20 years and it looks like there's still a lot of change coming.

I was only 9 when the wall came down but I remember watching it on tv and thinking how happy the families where as we watched them cheer and celebrate on the wall.

Oh what people will do for the taste of some Mcdonalds.... :0

Thanks for bringing back memory 20 years ago. Hope we can heal the world and make it a better place.

Reminds me back of the historical moments.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Our Books