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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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.

Examples of glasnost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Anatomy of lies Russia’s covid-19 outbreak is far worse than the Kremlin admits," 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, "The Russian Doll of Putin's Internet Clampdown," 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, "Taylor Swift's Miss Americana Is Pointless in the Instagram Era," 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, "Poison used in recent attack on Russian spy may soon be banned," 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, "Commentary: For Putin-backed conductor Valery Gergiev, boos and cheers at Bayreuth and Salzburg," 21 Aug. 2019 The central bank glasnost over the past decade represents a U-turn from how policy was conducted a generation ago. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, "Powell Puts His Stamp on the Fed," 14 June 2018 Jews were fleeing to the West by the thousands then, fearing that the antisemitic sinkhole created by glasnost would soon swallow them. Margarita Gokun Silver, Longreads, "The Forever Nomad," 30 Apr. 2018 In 1987, even amid the glasnost thaw, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer broke a story that Soviet submarines — using intelligence garnered from the spy ring formed by John Walker — had penetrated the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the 1980s. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Russian spies in Seattle: Black ops, Soviet subs and counter intel in the Pacific Northwest," 28 Mar. 2018

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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Cite this Entry

“Glasnost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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