1989: Remembering the world going crazy
This poster hangs in my living room. It says:
26 March 1989 – election of the People’s Deputies USSR
Our main mandate: the care of the individual
Let me say this, 1989 was an interesting year.
Gorbachev came into power in 1985. In 1986 he launched Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (economic reform). In 1988, in an attempt to make constitutional changes and weaken his conservative opponents, Gorbachev was able to create a new legislative body called the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union. During that year he implemented the necessary constitutional changes in order to set elections for March 26, 1989.
It was the first free election in the Soviet Union since 1917. The Communist Party endorsed the majority of the candidates who won, but 300 candidates who were not endorsed also won. Among them was Boris Yeltsin. Two years later the Soviet Union collapsed and Boris Yeltsin was President of the Russian Federation.
By 1989 the world was going crazy. Solidarity took over in Poland and broke free from the Soviet Block. Hungary was next. Then the Berlin Wall came down. Between 1989 and 1991 every Communist country in the Eastern Block and within the Soviet Union held unprecedented elections. In August of 1991 the Soviet Union dissolved.
Also in 1989, the Chinese attempted to break free of communism in a revolution that lasted seven weeks and ended with tanks rolling into Tiananmen Square. In the early to mid 1990’s only five countries remained fully Communist – China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, and Vietnam.
In 1989 I was living in Florida and remember sitting in front of the TV watching people climb all over the Berlin wall and work at tearing it down. By 1991 my husband had moved to Moscow and was there to report on the coup in August. They were interesting times.
This poster is in three parts and probably would have hung on a billboard or the side of a building. The panel on the left shows Red Square, the Kremlin, the GUM department store, the churches of the Kremlin and the onion domes of St Basil’s representing the old. The new high-rise buildings on the right, still under construction, represent the future. In the middle is a personal hand written note to the people. It is a positive image full of hope.
Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on Amazon.com. You can also follow her blog at ExpatAlien.com.