glas·​nost ˈglaz-(ˌ)nōst How to pronounce glasnost (audio) ˈglas- How to pronounce glasnost (audio)
: a Soviet policy permitting open discussion of political and social issues and freer dissemination of news and information

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web With the greater freedoms of Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, Mr. Kaasik took part in the successful 1987 protest movement to ban the opening of a new phosphorus mine, an event seen as helping to foster the dissolution of the Soviet government in Estonia. Isabelle De Pommereau, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Mar. 2022 Sorry, kids, no glasnost or perestroika for you! Uriel Epshtein, National Review, 30 June 2021 To make a batch of chips for, say, Nvidia, requires a flying leap into dizzying international glasnost involving countries of diverse cultural and ideological stripes. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, 21 Mar. 2023 By that time, Khrushchev had been dead for 19 years, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had ushered in a period of glasnost, or openness. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 11 Feb. 2023 Following glasnost, they were freed, and their various communities thrived. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 12 Mar. 2022 The experience later reinforced Mr. Gorbachev’s belief in the value of glasnost, or openness. David E. Hoffman, Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2022 Part of that also had to do with glasnost, which allowed Soviet citizens to finally discuss the crimes that many in the West were already aware of. Casey Michel, The New Republic, 31 Aug. 2022 Gorbachev played a central role in winding down the Cold War, with his trademark glasnost and perestroika policies opening the Soviet economy and leading to increasing engagement with the West in the late 1980s. Harold Maass, The Week, 31 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'glasnost.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1986, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of glasnost was in 1986


Dictionary Entries Near glasnost

Cite this Entry

“Glasnost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

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