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glasnost (GLAZ-nost) noun

A policy of open discussion of political opinion and social issues and freer disclosure of information.

[From Russian glasnost (publicity), from glas (voice).]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word glasnost in the sense of `publicity' has been quoted in Russian dictionaries since the 18th century. Vladimir Ilich Lenin (1870-1924) used it in the sense of freedom of information, and dissident writer and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (1918- ) used it in an open letter to the Soviet Writers' Union in 1969. But it became a subject of serious public debate after an Izvestiya editorial on Jan 19, 1985 invited letters on the topic. Mikhail Gorbachev used the word on Mar 11, 1985 in his acceptance speech for the post of General Secretary of the CPSU.

"Exposed to the harsh light of glasnost, racial preferences in education are withering. Such policies are already prohibited by the courts in Texas and by voter initiatives in California and Washington." Cathy Young, The High Price of Racial Preferences, The Boston Globe, Jun 27, 2001.

This week's theme: words from Russian.


Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. -Thomas Carlyle, essayist and historian (1795-1881)

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