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18. N egotiating the End

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Chapter Summary

In the fall of 1987, the Politburo produced and leaked a document that hinted at allowing the creation of ‘new associations’, such as political discussion clubs, where ‘different interests, outlooks and opinions should be openly expressed’. By December, there had emerged a movement among Solidarity activists to create open Solidarity founding committees. Then, in late April, strikes began, first among Bydgoszcz transit workers for wage increase as well as for the reinstatement of Solidarity activists who had been fired. After the first round of preparatory discussions, Lech Walesa called for an end to the strikes, because the government was now willing to discuss legalising Solidarity. Poland’s freedom was facilitated by the programme of Mikhail Gorbachev as the leader of the Soviet Union, who refused to continue to impose the will of the Soviet Union on its satellites in Europe and the Soviet empire came to an end.

Keywords:Lech Walesa; Poland; Solidarity; Soviet empire



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