Hist1403E March 28, 2012
Collapse of Communism (USSR)
Mikhail Gorbachev (1985-1991)
Had a bachelor of science in environmental science. He knew the trouble in Russia was a
trouble for food. Hungry citizens are not happy citizens. He also received a degree in
Organized, determined, and aware of what he wants to do.
Becomes well known for
Means restructuring and new beginnings.
Claims that certain things have to be changed:
No more decentralizing. The country needs to be unified in its
decisions. He wants to restructure economically.
Citizens could take part in the capitalist society. The economy was
not going to be controlled.
Politically, he wants to restructure (not everything controlled out
of Moscow). Everything was to be decided at the local level.
Difficulty: How do you deal with a party set on totalitarianism?
He needed to make the party see the wisdom that he had in his
No more secrecy and no more secret police (no controlling of free speech,
etc.). How do you have no secrets and have a totalitarian regime?
A test of his theories.
Chemicals were spilled in the meltdown of a nuclear facility
(imploded). Tremendous radiation leaks spread through the soil,
air, and water.
Should he tell the world what happened and apologize? His
colleagues said no (keep it in secret), because no one will have any
respect for Russia. Gorbachev disagreed, and said that the world
would probably help. Ultimately Gorbachev overruled his men,
and did not hide the fact.
Allowed for freedom of press, debate, and discussion (of policies).
The Jewish people and their children were allowed to return to Russia and be treated as
Removed all essences of Stalin (finished was Kruschav started).
o Desperate attempt to bring in North American money to re-establish industry. o Gorbachev encourages the building of commodities (cars, trains, buses, etc.) and
continued to work to modernize the country. New factories were built as well –
nothing was military-related.
o Market Economy
Similar to capitalism. It was still communist politically, but economically
it was capitalist. This is difficult, because communism promotes
economic equality, but capitalism promotes individual, financial success.
o Elected Congress of Peoples’ Deputies
An attempt to usher in democracy.
This creates a huge organization: 2250 seats.
Felt that the only way to keep the country positive and unified was
through voting (still not full democracy by any means).
Relations with the West
o Very good. The Western nations are all willing to let Gorbachev do good for his