Why Did The Soviet Union Collapse

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On Christmas Day, 1991, the USSR, the first socialist state, ended after 74 years, marked by the resignation of President Mikhail Gorbachev. By December 31, the USSR was formally disassembled into 13 independent republics: Armenia , Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Estonia and Latvia previously gained their independence in August 1991. Some historians argued that this radical change and end to the Cold War marked the ‘end of history’ as democracy became the predominant political system. Yet the question remains: why did the Soviet Union collapse?
The Soviet political system was distinctly marked by the monolithic unity of the Communist
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It recognized “interests with autonomy in civil society,” changing the orientation of society from a collectivist, unitary-structure to acknowledge individual and pluralist rights. Before Gorbachev’s reforms, the government had effectively removed any dissent by using their absolute power to suppress private societal interests. They would claim dissent of any form, and betrayed the collective and unitary interests of society. However, this changed under perestroika, which allowed the people to use their new freedom to reform the movement into a ‘revolution from below.’ Groups were no longer under the direct control of the authorities, such as trade unions or the Party, and could therefore, form in opposition of the government. This further weakened Gorbachev’s influence, culminating in the August 1991 coup d’état. Essentially, perestroika broke both the social contract instilled by Brezhnev (people were guaranteed economic security in return for political compliance) and weakened the state’s ability to put down the resulting growing

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