Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire - Chapter 15 Summary & Analysis

David Remnick
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Chapter 15 Summary

In the late 1980s, as multiple eastern European nations abandon Communism for democracy, the Soviet leadership is worried, but determined to keep the Soviet Union together. The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are demanding their independence, claiming they are occupied countries and were never part of the Soviet Union to begin with. Back in 1939, the Molotiv-Ribbentrop Pact divided Europe into Soviet and German spheres of influence. These 'secret protocols,' as they came to be known, gave Moscow control over Latvia and Estonia and parts of Poland and Romania. Fifty years later, the Kremlin acknowledged the existence of the secret protocols, and after much debate, the Baltic States re-gained their independence in 1991.

Meanwhile, a similar battle was brewing in Czechoslovakia. Public protests with citizen participation in excess of 200,000 were led by Vaclav Havel, who had been imprisoned following the Prague Spring in 1968. In November 1989, the...

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