Collapse Of The Soviet Bloc

Submitted By MTahani
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Collapse of the Soviet Bloc

I. Factors --Military: very high defense expenditures; couldn’t compete with US technology and economy; from Sputnik to Star Wars, space, private sector dynamism; Afghan War; poor morale --Political: fossilization, gerontocracy under Brezhnev; hollowing out of CPSU, cynicism, single party
--Prison House of Peoples; Eastern Europe—pull of West; Muslims in south
--dissidents; appeal of outside world; tired of dictatorship of proletariat + people’s democracy
--Mikhail Gorbachev, 1985-1991: Glasnost’—criticism, revise Soviet history --Economic—Perestroika: stagnation, failure of planning in spite of material incentives, behind West, environmental pollution, Chernobyl’, environmental groups; shoddy products, poor service, poor work morale; corruption, black economy; defense sector > consumer sector --Social: decline in health: alcohol, cigarettes, pollution, poor food, third-class medicine; end of Russian population growth, aging; bureaucracy, restrictions (internal passports), cold public life vs family + friends --Intellectual and Religious: scientists, engineers, doctors, managers wanted better; freedom + religion > ideals of Russian Revolution and dogmas of Marxism

II. Collapse --Poland—Solidarity under Lech Waŀęsa in Gdańsk from 1980 on; Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II; military dictatorship but liberalization (Zbigniew Brzezinski) --Gorbachev: withdrew from Afghanistan, campaigns vs alcohol, etc., arms control --Hungary—peaceful transition, investment; GDR—to Hungary to cross border; Gorbachev refused to back GDR regime vs demonstrators; opened Wall, then tore it down; Oct. 3, 1990—reunification --Czechoslovakia—Václav Havel—Velvet Revolution, split --Romania—violent overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu and security forces --Yugoslavia fell apart; Albania, Bulgaria --USSR: nationalities in union republics pressed for independence; Lithuania declared independence—Gorbachev tried to stop, failed; Great Russian nationalism—Russian Federation under Boris Yeltsin; attempted coup of August 1991; Dec. 1991—end of USSR; replaced by Commonwealth of Independent