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In the last couple of days, the press has been granted much greater freedoms in Burma. They held elections last year and even released Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest (only a year or 2 after they extended it because some nutjob broke in uninvited).

What (or who) prompted the sudden wave of reforms? The Wikipedia page on said reforms doesn't really say much about the motivations of the ruling junta, or even their current status. And they were happy carrying out repression for 50 years previously

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  • Since Myanmar does not allow free media, it might not be possible to give a balanced answer as of now.
    – Arani
    Aug 26, 2012 at 15:55
  • The question isn't about free media. I gave increased media freedoms as an example of the reforms that have been going on (like having multi-party elections, releasing Suu Kyi etc.) in the last couple of years. And nothing I can find online explains why these things have started happening. It seems sudden, but such things rarely are and there's always a deeper reason
    – Jay
    Aug 27, 2012 at 18:18
  • What I meant was that with the foreign media not being allowed to investigate, it is difficult to analyze the actual situation on the ground and understand why these changes have occurred. Unless some study by neutral observers is done, it is difficult to predict the actual reasons.
    – Arani
    Aug 27, 2012 at 19:43

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I found an interesting article that discusses this topic, and I believe it provided a pretty realistic explanation for this. Basically, it stated that the economic and diplomatic sanctions placed on Myanmar by the West had a major impact. The reasoning is not that the rulers of Myanmar particularly cared about the impact of said sanctions on the citizens as much as themselves. It suggests that those people who became rich through their involvement with the government had few places to invest their ill-gotten gains because the West is effectively closed off to them.

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  • Nice! Finally, an answer!
    – Jay
    Sep 24, 2012 at 20:58

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