Mikhail Gorbachev's Contribution To The Fall Of The Soviet Union

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The Soviet Union hit the peak of its domestic prosperity in the early 1970s, but by the late 1970s things started to decline. Economic growth declined throughout the late 70s and into the mid 80s. Furthermore, The arms race and the large military investment that the Soviet Union was involved in, contributed to a stagnating economy. In addition, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in 1979, was devastating to the super power. The loss in Afghanistan was embarrassing and costly for the USSR. Based on this, the USSR could not focus on the arms race with the United states, and in effect, the US pulled ahead. After a few unstable leaders came in and out of power, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union, and realized that the county …show more content…
Under his rule, Gorbachev put in place domestic policies that contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union. His reforms were aimed at giving Soviet citizens a higher standard of living as well as giving them freedom of expression. His reforms also had the goal of rebuilding relations with other countries and reviving the Soviet economy. One policy, “Glasnost,” meaning openness, led to a more free and transparent Soviet Union. Another policy, “Perestroika,” meaning restructuring, led to the inclusion of some capitalist reforms into the Soviet economy. Another important development under Gorbachev’s rule was the transition of the Soviet Union into a more democratic state. Through his reforms, Gorbachev revolutionized the political, social, and economic environment in the USSR, indirectly lead to its collapse, and in effect ended of the Cold …show more content…
Under the policy of Glasnost, Gorbachev created a more open and transparent Soviet government. In addition, he gave new freedom of expression to the Soviet citizens. Based on this, the media in the USSR could openly criticize the Communist party. This provided a spark for growing anti-communist movements in the USSR. Under Glasnost, Gorbachev also released details about the atrocities that Stalin had committed on the Soviet people. Now that the people were able to see more of the flaws of the USSR, a growing distrust of the government appeared. In an effort to regain the loyalty of the people, Gorbachev also released thousands political prisoners who spoke out against the government. Though Gorbachev had good intentions when implementing policies under glasnost, once the Soviet citizens got their freedom, the Soviet Union was doomed.
In Soviet satellite states, Glasnost led to independence movements, which contributed to the Soviet Union’s demise. Since the Soviet government was allowing freedom of expression, many anti-Soviet movements were able to gain traction in Soviet satellite states such as East Germany. In East Germany, these movements would eventually lead to the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, which took place in 1990. Shortly after, other Eastern European countries started leaving the Soviet Union. The breaking away of Eastern European countries greatly weakened

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