30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Openness in Russia and Eastern Europe

Jan 26, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 26, 2009 - The brutal suppression by Czechoslovak Communist authorities of commemorative ceremonies for "Palach Week" 20 years ago this month marked the beginning of the end of the regime in the annus mirabilis 1989, according to secret police, Communist Party, and dissident documents posted today on the Web by the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre (Prague) and the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) at George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).

Feb 28, 2008 | Book
“I consider From Solidarity to Martial Law to be a highly successful effort at depicting the events of 25 years ago. These documents also enable us to perceive the path we have traversed since that time.” Lech Wałęsa, former leader of Solidarity and President of Poland “An important and very revealing contribution to a better understanding of a particularly critical phase in the Cold War.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor

Dec 11, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 11, 2006 - Twenty-five years ago this week, at 6:00 a.m. on December 13, 1981, Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski appeared on national TV to declare that a state of martial law existed in the country. Earlier in the night, military and police forces had begun securing strategic facilities while ZOMO special police rounded up thousands of members of the Solidarity trade union, including its celebrated leader, Lech Walesa.

Oct 31, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 31, 2006 - Fifty years ago today the Soviet Presidium overturned its earlier decision to pull its troops out of Hungary in the face of a popular uprising, yet the CIA--with only one Hungarian-speaking officer stationed in Budapest at the time--failed to foresee either the uprising or the Soviet invasion to come, according to declassified CIA histories posted on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

Nov 17, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 17, 2004 - Fifteen years ago today, a modest, officially sanctioned student demonstration in Prague spontaneously grew into a major outburst of popular revulsion toward the ruling Communist regime. At that point the largest protest in 20 years, the demonstrations helped to spark the Velvet Revolution that brought down communism in Czechoslovakia and put dissident playwright Vбclav Havel in the Presidential Palace.

Nov 4, 2002 | Briefing Book
Forty-six years ago, at 4:15 a.m. on November 4, 1956, Soviet forces launched a major attack on Hungary aimed at crushing, once and for all, the spontaneous national uprising that had begun 12 days earlier. At 5:20 a.m., Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation in a grim, 35-second broadcast, declaring: "Our troops are fighting.

Jun 15, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 15, 2001 – Forty-eight years ago, on June 17, 1953, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) erupted in a series of workers' riots and demonstrations that threatened the very existence of the communist regime.  The outburst, entirely spontaneous, shocked the GDR's ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) and their Kremlin sponsors, who were still reeling from the death of Joseph Stalin three months earlier.  Now, a new National Security Archive document volume based on recently obtained and translated records from archival sources throughout the former Soviet bloc and the Unite

Apr 5, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 5, 2001 – On April 5 Poland celebrates the twelfth anniversary of the signing of the Round Table Agreements -- a landmark power-sharing agreement negotiated by representatives of the Communist Polish government, leaders of the long-outlawed union Solidarity, and leaders of the Catholic Church that allowed for the first free elections in Eastern Europe in nearly 50 years.  To mark the anniversary, the National Security Archive is publishing a new electronic briefing book, featuring recently declassified Department of State documents detailing the U.S.

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