The theme of a totalitarian regime is a suitable setting for a game of hidden identities,
where different sides try to promote their own secret agendas. The inspiration to Glasnost
came from the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt,
where the failed attempt by the hard-line members of the Communist Party (the "Repressionists") to
depose Gorbachev (the "Reformist") destabilized the Soviet Union so that it was eventually
(a victory for the "Nationalists"). All the characters in Glasnost are based on the
actual characters involved in the coup.
was Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union 1988-1991. He was an early political ally of Mikhail Gorbachev, supporting his
efforts in issues such as the fight against corruption and the start of reforms in the economy.
was Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union 1985-1990. He was responsible for many key decisions in Soviet
foreign policy during the Gorbachev Era including reunification of Germany.
was Head of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1986.
He was called the "godfather of glasnost" as he is considered to be the intellectual force behind Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program.
was Chairman of the Committee for State Security (KGB) 1988-1991. During the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt,
he initiated the State Committee on the State of Emergency which arrested President Mikhail Gorbachev.
was Prime Minister of the Soviet Union 1991. He called for a transfer of power from the President
of the Soviet Union to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers and when it failed he joined the
plot against Gorbachev.
was Minister of Interior 1990-1991. He was a member of the State Committee on the State of Emergency and
committed suicide after its failure.
was Head of Government of Russia as President of the Russian Federation 1991-1992.
Initially a supporter of the perestroika reforms, Yeltsin later criticised them as being
too moderate and was instrumental in the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union.
was President of Georgia 1991-1992. During the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, he
first appealed to the population to remain calm and later appealed to international leaders to recognize
the republics (including Georgia) that had declared themselves independent of the
was President of Ukraine 1991-1994. He resigned from the Communist Party after the
1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt and promoted the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine.
was President of Kazakhstan 1990-2019. He supported Russian President Boris Yeltsin against the
State Committee on the State of Emergency and maintained the close economic ties between Kazakhstan and Russia
after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
was Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus 1991-1994.
When Supreme Soviet chairman Mikalay Dzyemyantsyey was ousted for his support of the
1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, Shushkevich was voted as his successor, and presided
over Byelorussia voting to secede from the Soviet Union.
was President of Armenia 1991-1998. He became the de facto leader of the
and later chairman of the Pan-Armenian National Movement,
organizations which paved the way for the Armenian independence.
The Soviet Crises
Naturally, the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt didn't itself cause the
dissolution of the Soviet Union but was merely one of many events (or "crises")
that led to the inevitable (?) end of the Communist Regime. Some of those crises
were met with Reforms while others were met with Repression. Glasnost has picked
some of the events of the Soviet Union's last decade to represent crises that call
for resolutions ("reform" or "repress"). The risk of getting purged if you didn't
adhere to the Party's "democratic decisions" was present throughout the history
of the Soviet Union and the 1991 Coup was just one of many such examples.
The Soviet-Afghan War
derives from a Communist Coup in 1978. Rebellions and internal rivalries led the Soviet Union to intervene
in 1979 and install a loyalist as a President. Fierce resistance from the guerillas resulted in a bloody war
and during 1988-1989, the Soviet Union withdrew their forces and 3 years later the Soviet-backed government collapsed.
The freedom om Glasnost released long suppressed national feelings in the
Demonstrations and calls for autonomy eventually led to declarations of independence in Estonia (1988),
Lithuania (1989) and Latvia (1989). The Soviet Union first attempted to negotiate and then
to send in troops to Lithuania and Latvia in 1991, killing dozens of civilians, but all
attempts failed. After the unsuccessful 1991 Soviet coup d'état, the collapse of the Soviet Union
was inevitable and the Baltic Independence was recognized.
The Berlin Wall
was built in 1961 as an "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart" to prevent defections from the
DDR. The Revolutions of 1989
eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and in spite of opposition from Western
politicians, fearing a unified Germany, the Soviet Union didn't intervene.
The Brezhnev Doctrine
was outlined in 1968 and proclaimed that "when forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development
of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a
common problem and concern of all socialist countries". It justified the
invasion of Czechoslovakia
in 1968 and retroactively the invasion of Hungary
in 1956. It ended when Mikhail Gorbachev refused to use military force when Poland held
The Chernobyl Disaster
was a nuclear accident that occurred in 1986. The accident wasn't publicly acknowledged
until radiation levels set off alarms in Sweden over 1,000 kilometres from the Chernobyl
plant and even then the Soviets initially denied it.
Common European Home
The Common European Home
was a concept created by Mikhail Gorbachev. He declared that the Soviet Union was
against the division of the continent into military blocs. Analysts interpreted it as a
belief that reforms in Eastern Europe could be controlled and that any loss of authority
there would be offset by increased influence in Western Europe.
"openness" and was adopted by Mikhail Gorbachev to encourage criticism of system problems.
The goal was to make the Soviet Union's management transparent and circumvent the narrow
circle of bureaucrats who controlled the economy but the era also saw greater freedom of
information and contact between Soviet citizens and the Western world.
The Gulag was
the government agency in charge of the Soviet forced-labour camp-system. 18 million
were sent there 1930-1953, of which 1.5 million perished. The last labor camp was
was closed in 1987.
means "restructuring" and was a political movement to restructure the Soviet political
and economical system. The reforms did decentralize the economy but didn't improve it and
by 1990 the government had virtually lost control over economic conditions.
Pope John Paul II
John Paul II
was elected pope in 1978. On his visits to his native country Poland, he supported the
something which is believed to have contributed to the collapse of East European Communism.
An assassination attempt was made in 1981 and some claim that the Soviet Union was behind
it in retaliation for the pope's support of Solidarity but no evidence have substantiated this.
The Strategic Defense Initiative,
nicknamed "Star Wars", was a proposed missile defense system. It was announced by US
President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and was perceived as a threat by the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union worried that a defensive arms race would further cripple the economy
but did threaten a variety of other military countermeasures.
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
The Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaty (START I) was a bilateral treaty between the US and the Soviet Union.
It was initiated by US President Ronald Reagan but delayed due to the Strategic Defense Initiative.
When it was eventually signed in 1991, it resulted in a removal of 80% of all strategic nucelar weapons.