During the late 1980's, the leader of the Soviet Union ("U.S.S.R."), General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced a social, and cultural policy called Glasnost (Russian: Глаcность, pronounced GLAHZ-nohst), which means "openness". Specifically, glasnost was a new Soviet policy allowing public discussion of political issues and a more free circulation of information.
Gorbachev began to promote this "openness" in public discussions about current and historical problems in the U.S.S.R. He acknowledged the brutality of the Stalin era, such as the Great Purges and the Katyn Massacre. Soviet leaders became more receptive of foreign leaders and the media, as a new period opened between the East and the West.
This opening of Soviet society to the West was one of the key events that eventually led to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its empire.