chapter  5
34 Pages

Tactical retreat: 1987–94

ByAdrian Buzo

The renewed DPRK commitment to close military and economic relations with the Soviet Union in 1984 proved to be short-lived, for Pyongyang had bound itself to a country and a system that was itself approaching a terminal crisis and whose collapse in 1989 further undermined the DPRK's own system. The upshot, however, was that when the Soviet Union collapsed, the DPRK lost a vital source of economic subsidy, and so in Kim Il Sung's last years the economy lurched towards crisis point. Soviet criticism of many aspects of DPRK economy and society now increased in visibility and intensity via a series of electronic and print media commentaries. The general purpose seemed to be to apply pressure to Pyongyang to begin a liberalising process, but it also indicated Moscow's displeasure at the extreme language now being used by Pyongyang to denounce Soviet policies.