Sinatra Doctrine

   The “Sinatra Doctrine” was a tongue-incheek description of Mikhail Gorbachev’s 1989 shift in policy that allowed the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) nations to determine their own path toward socialism, effectively triggering the abandonment of one-party totalitarian systems in Eastern Europe. Alluding to the Frank Sinatra song “My Way,” the new orientation eliminated the threat of Soviet military intervention if one of Moscow’s Eastern Bloc satellite states chose to abandon its military and diplomatic alliances with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The threat of such action stemmed from the 1968 WTO invasion of Czechoslovakia during the “Prague Spring,” and was generally labeled the Brezhnev Doctrine in the West. The phrase came into wide usage after Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov uttered it on a popular American morning talk show on 25 October 1989. Gerasimov’s appearance was meant to provide greater context to a seminal speech on the Soviet Union’s changing stance in its foreign relations made by Eduard Shevardnadze two days earlier.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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