Gorbachev’s change of course
The high costs of war in Afghanistan and the expensive armaments forced the Soviet Union to stabilise their economy, as commenced by the change of course assumed by the new general secretary Mikhail GorbachevMikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 in 1986. He reformed the social system by PerestroikaThe literal meaning of perestroika is restructuring, referring to the restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system and GlasnostGlasnost was a policy that called for increased openness and transparency in government institutions and activities in the Soviet Union, modernising the centralistic economy and rescinding censorship as well as the Breschnew doctrineThe Breschnew doctrine was announced to retroactively justify the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 that ended the Prague Spring. This granted the peoples in the East the right to self-determination. As the troops united in the Warsaw PactThe Warsaw Pact was a collective defense treaty among eight communist states of Central and Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War were no longer entitled to act in case of any uprisings or political changes many states of the East bloc abandoned their socialistic and authoritative systems1.
The domestic economic situation prompted the Soviet Union to find conciliation with the USA concerning the depletion of middle-range missiles and the termination of the war in Afghanistan. This amended the relation between the USA and the Soviet Union, as the Soviet Union was forced to establish economic ties with the West as a national bankruptcy was drawing close. The final INF treatiesThe Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty 1987 eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges were passed in 1987/1988, lying the terms for the dismantling of nuclear weapons and thus introducing the final phase of the cold war2.
Dissolution of the East bloc
After the reformation of the planned economy was not quite as successful as expected and the Soviet Union was nearly insolvent several states of the East bloc broke away from the Soviet Union through civil revolutions. The fall of the Berlin wall opened the borders between East and West and is until today considered a symbol for the end of the cold war.
However the decay of the East bloc was bound to occur, as the Soviet Union could not compensate the economic deficit and dissolved of its own accord in 1991 while the USA emerged from the cold war as the only remaining global power.
Decay of the Soviet Union
After the political and economic reformations introduced by President Mikhail Gorbachev did not succeed, movements for independence arose in several states within the Soviet Union. In the August putschThe August Putsch (1991) was a coup d'état attempt by a group of members of the Soviet Union's government to take control of the country in Moscow in 1991 former officials of the CPSU tried to avert the impending union agreement. At the end of 1991 the new Russian president JelzinBoris Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation from 1991 to 1999 and representatives from the several union republics agreed on the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Thereafter Russia became a democratic, federal, constitutional state and assumed elements of market economy3.