When and why did the Sinatra Doctrine replace the Brezhnev Doctrine in Soviet policy towards East-Central Europe?

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Sinatra Doctrine came into effect with the demise of Brezhnev doctrine. This phase was used for the first time by foreign ministry spokesman Gennadi Gerasimov on 25th October 1989. (Los Angeles Times, 1989) This name of the doctrine came up as a joke.


The name of the document many have come up as a joke but its implication on the nations of Eastern Europe was not a joke. This doctrine had widespread effect on these nations and allowed them to control their own internal affairs. This was not possible under the Brezhnev doctrine which was being followed earlier by the Soviet Nation. Before the new doctrine came up; Soviet Nation exerted tight control over the internal affairs of the nations which came into the purview of Warsaw Pact. Brezhnev doctrine was used as a justification by Soviet Nation to justify the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and also that of Afghanistan in 1979.

The main reasons which have been cited for this shift in Soviet policy have been the huge economic problems which were being faced by the Soviet Nation; the rising anti-communist and the anti- Russian feelings which were coming up in these nations and the disastrous effects of the Afghanistan war on the economy of Soviet nation. All these reasons made it almost impractical for Soviet Union to exert its forced will on all the neighbouring countries.

This doctrine had far reaching consequences on the neighbourhood of Soviet Nation. The entire Soviet block was transformed as a result of this policy. The most dramatic and visible effect has been the destruction of the Berlin Wall in Germany. ...
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