The decade of the late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed an astonishing reversal of fortunes for the Soviet Empire after its ostensible victory for ‘normalisation’ was recognised at Helsinki in 1975. The dramatic turnaround had twin, almost equally valid, causes and explanations: first, the triumph of 1975 was superficial to the point of being unreal, masking the deeper problems afflicting the Soviet Bloc; and secondly, the cumulative impact of the internal and international developments of the ten years after 1975 proved devastating to the Soviet Empire.
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