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Chronicle 1985

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    • 10 March


      Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev becomes CPSU General Secretary, March 1985

      The Soviet party and state leader Konstantin Chernenko dies after only one year in office – the third CPSU General Secretary to be buried within three years. His successor is the former Central Committee secretary of agriculture, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, just 54 years old.

      The Soviet economy is in a situation marked by stagnation and falling growth rates; the economic crisis is the greatest threat to the world power’s political capability both domestically and internationally.

      "Uskoreniye" – acceleration of socio-economic development – is therefore the magic word at the start of the process of reform in 1985, not "glasnost" or "perestroika". It is the lack of success of the "uskoreniye" policy that leads to a gradual extension of reform policies, with the terms "glasnost" and "perestroika" drawing international attention.

      Funeral of Konstantin Chernenko in Moskow, March 1985
    • 12 March


      The USA and the Soviet Union start talks on the limitation of atomic weapons in Geneva.
    • 13 March


      A resolution by the Council of Ministers on "Basic principles in travel between the GDR and non-socialist states and West Berlin" and a "Central Order" (a kind of "Führer Order") issued by Erich Honecker in December 1985 considerably enlarge the number of those eligible to apply to travel abroad, as well the list of possible reasons for travel. more
    • 18 March


      For the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR (BEK) and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) publish a joint "Word of Peace".
    • 24 March


      Major Arthur D. Nicholson Jr., a staff member of the US military mission in Potsdam, is killed during an inspection in the GDR. The incident casts a shadow on Soviet-American relations, which have been becoming friendlier.
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