1986. For a year, Mikhail Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, has been trying to reform the system. An unprecedented experiment, perestroika is observed, with hope or scepticism, by the whole world. With eyes riveted on Moscow, interest in the "sister countries" - nearly 15 nations that joined the USSR - was almost non-existent.
And yet, in the eyes of Jacques Rupnik, now recognised as one of the best specialists on Eastern Europe, and at the time a young researcher, there is inevitably "something going on". Are the citizens of these countries affected by these changes? Do they still support their regimes? If they want change, how? What are the cracks and perhaps the strengths of the models in place?
With these questions in mind, Jacques Rupnik embarked on an incredible adventure: a two-year filming process on the ground, from which came a series of six documentary films, followed by a reference book: The Other Europe.
Today, many of the archives of this project - testimonies of communist representatives, opponents of the regime, artists, intellectuals or anonymous people - are available online on the website of The Other Europe, which are being completed as time goes by.
In an interview, Jacques Rupnik takes us behind the scenes of the making of these documentaries and unique historical sources.