glas·​nost | \ ˈglaz-(ˌ)nōst How to pronounce glasnost (audio) , ˈglas-, ˈgläz-, ˈgläs- How to pronounce glasnost (audio) \

Definition of glasnost

: a Soviet policy permitting open discussion of political and social issues and freer dissemination of news and information

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Glasnost' wasn't coined by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, but he was responsible for catapulting the word into the international media and the English vocabulary. The term derives from the Russian adjective "glasnyi," which means "public" and which itself traces to "glas," a root meaning "voice." In Russian, "glasnost" was originally used (as long ago as the 18th century) in the general sense of "publicity," and the Oxford English Dictionary reports that V.I. Lenin used it in the context of freedom of information in the Soviet state. However, it wasn't until Gorbachev declared it a public policy in the mid-1980s that "glasnost" became widely known and used in English.

Examples of glasnost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the time, the Soviet Union was opening up under policies including glasnost, which gave more room for public debate and criticism. Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2021 Unfortunately, between these two groups -- those who acknowledge reality and those who continue to float along on the road to Oz -- there can be no détente, no perestroika and surely no glasnost. Kent Sepkowitz, CNN, 13 Sep. 2021 During the mid-1980s, under Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, or openness, people began to talk more freely about the genocide, said Harutyun Marutyan, director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. WSJ, 26 Apr. 2021 Mr Putin, who began his presidency 20 years ago by covering up the sinking of the Kursk submarine, is determined not to repeat the glasnost experiment, which helped to bring the whole system crashing down. The Economist, 21 May 2020 In the 1980s, there was a brief change of course as Mikhail Gorbachev instituted openness and transparency policies, or glasnost, which included limiting the Communist Party’s power and allowing a freer and more critical press. Justin Sherman, Wired, 1 May 2020 Celebrities don’t owe anything to their fans, nor should viewers expect any real glasnost in documentaries about their lives. Arielle Pardes, Wired, 7 Feb. 2020 The newfound glasnost on Novichoks, also known as fourth-generation nerve agents, should spur research on their mechanism of action and on countermeasures and treatments. Richard Stone, Science | AAAS, 23 Oct. 2019 His relationship to Putin goes back to glasnost, when a young Gergiev was new music director of Mariinsky, and Putin championed the company as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'glasnost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of glasnost

1986, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for glasnost

Russian glasnost', literally, publicity, from glasnyĭ public, from glas voice, from Old Church Slavonic glasŭ — more at call

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The first known use of glasnost was in 1986

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Glasnost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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