The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe: A 30-Year Legacy | Wilson Center
6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe: A 30-Year Legacy

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

This conference will explore the events leading to and influencing the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe in the Autumn of 1989. A panel comprised of former officers from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and scholars will discuss the ways in which analysis from the time informed policymakers, assisting them in formulating the US policies and response to Communism’s collapse in the region. Discussions will focus primarily on analysis from National Intelligence Daily (NIDs) – CIA’s principal form of current intelligence analysis at the time – written to cover the events of 1989 and early 1990, along with references to other more lengthy pieces of analysis covering the issues related to transformation underway in Eastern Europe. 

Panelists will discuss opportunities and threats from this period and how they continue to evolve today. A public release of 105 of these NIDs, covering much of the Agency’s short-term analysis of events unfolding in Central and Eastern Europe, will accompany the panel discussion. Attendees to the event will be able to view these never-before-seen documents, which represent a major source of information and insight for US policymakers into what was happening in Eastern Europe, where it was heading, and what the implications were for the collapse of Communist rule.

See the collection of documents on the Digital Archive>>>

9:30 – 9:40 Opening Remarks from Robert S. Litwak, Senior Vice President and Director of International Security Studies at the Wilson Center

9:40 – 10:00 Opening Remarks from Cynthia “Didi” Rapp, CIA’s Deputy Director for Analysis,

10:00 – 10:45 Keynote address and Q&A from Mariusz Kaminski, Polish Minister Coordinator for Special Services

10:45 – 11:00 BREAK

11:00 – 12:30 Panel Discussion

  • Moderator: Christian Ostermann, Director of the History and Public Policy Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
  • John McLaughlin, former Deputy Director of CIA
  • John Gannon, former Director of the Office of European Analysis
  • Mark Kramer, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
  • Constanze Stelzenmuller, Kissinger Chair, John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress