"In the [1980s former U.S.S.R.] society as a whole, the population slowly and inexorably applied the brakes; when this was combined with a certain lack of will on the part of the ruling elites, power tended to erode. Even repression probably ceased to work as effectively. This itself could be attributed to an aspect of caste or class struggle as well, probably aggravated by the war in Afghanistan and the concomitant growth in counter-culture movements agains the war and for nuclear disarmament, ecological justice, free expression, democracy, and cultural autonomy (including nationalistic independence movements). Many Westerners commented on the resemblance of 1980s movements in the U.S.S.R. to 1960s movements in the U.S. The breakdown of authority was partly, at least, both a consequence and a cause of the Soviet Union's 'Afghanistan Syndrome.'"
--David Watson, "The Fall of Communism & the Triumph of Capitalism," from _Against the Megamachine_ (Autonomedia: Brooklyn, NY)