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July 25, 1989

Report of the President of Hungary Rezso Nyers and General Secretary Karoly Grosz on Talks with Gorbachev in Moscow (excerpts)

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

President of People’s Republic of Hungary, Rezso Nyers, and General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, Karoly Grosz, report on their talks with Gorbachev in Moscow, 24-25 July, 1989. The excerpts contains economic reformer Nyers’ assessment of the political situation in Hungary, and first among the factors that "can defeat the party," he lists "the past, if we let ourselves [be] smeared with it." The memory of the revolution of 1956 and its bloody repression by the Soviets was Banquo’s ghost, destroying the legitimacy of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, just as 1968 in Prague and 1981’s martial law in Poland and all the other Communist "blank spots" of history came back in 1989 to crumble Communist ideology. For their part, the Communist reformers (including Gorbachev) did not quite know how to respond as events accelerated in 1989, except not to repeat 1956.

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"Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt Központi Bizottágának 1989. évijegyzokönyvei." [Minutes of the 1989 meetings of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party Central Committee] Editors: Anna S. Kosztricz, János Lakos, Karola Vágyi, Mrs. Németh, Lászlo Soós, György T. Varga. Magyar Országos Levéltár [Hungarian National Archives], Bp. 1993, Vols. I-II]. Published in National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 22.


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Leon Levy Foundation