The collapse of Stalinism in Eastern Europe

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 was preceded by the rapid collapse of the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe and the GDR. The ICFI analyzed the collapse of Stalinism, above all, as a new stage in the crisis of imperialism which had broken at its “weakest link”: the autarkic, parasitic regimes of Stalinism. The result was the breakup of these deformed workers states into a series of a new nation-states on a capitalist basis. In Yugoslavia, capitalist restoration was accompanied by the systematic fueling of ethnic tensions, resulting in violent ethnic clashes and the intervention of imperialism.

The fact that imperialism and the bureaucracies were able to resolve this crisis in their own interests and restore capitalism, testified to the profound damage that Stalinism had done to the socialist consciousness of the working class over the preceding decades.

East German border guards seen through a gap in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down a segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate, Berlin [AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File]
Poland and Czechoslovakia
The intervention of the BSA in East Germany

On October 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany, known as the GDR), a state with 17 million inhabitants, was disbanded 41 years after its founding and incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany on a capitalist basis.

The ICFI intervened in the crisis of Stalinism in the USSR and East Germany on the basis of the program of socialist internationalism and fought for a political revolution by the working class against the bureaucracy. The German section of the ICFI distributed thousands of leaflets and volumes of Trotskyist literature among workers in the GDR. We are publishing here the most important statements and documents from this intervention, which laid an important basis for the building of the Trotskyist movement in Germany and across Europe.

East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and mayor of West Berlin, Walter Momper, among other figures, take part in the official opening of the Brandenburg Gate on 22 December 1989
The breakup of Yugoslavia and the Balkan Wars