Bush did not automatically follow the policy of his predecessor, Ronald Reagan , in dealing with Mikhail Gorbachev and the Soviet Union. Instead, he ordered a strategic policy re-evaluation in order to establish his own plan and methods for dealing with the Soviet Union and arms control. Conditions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, however, changed rapidly. While Bush supported these independence movements, U.
With the policy review complete, and taking into account unfolding events in Europe, Bush met with Gorbachev at Malta in early December Facing a growing schism between Yeltsin and Gorbachev, the Bush administration opted to work primarily with Gorbachev because they viewed him as the more reliable partner and because he made numerous concessions that promoted U. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the United States and the Soviet leadership worked together diplomatically to repel this attack. In January , violence erupted in Lithuania and Latvia. Soviet tanks intervened to halt the democratic uprisings, a move that Bush resolutely condemned.
By , the Bush administration reconsidered policy options in light of the growing level of turmoil within the Soviet Union.
Three basic options presented themselves. The administration could continue to support Gorbachev in hopes of preventing Soviet disintegration. Alternately, the United States could shift support to Yeltsin and the leaders of the Republics and provide support for a controlled restructuring or possible breakup of the Soviet Union.
Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong – Foreign Policy
The final option consisted of lending conditional support to Gorbachev, leveraging aid and assistance in return for more rapid and radical political and economic reforms. Unsure about how much political capital Gorbachev retained, Bush combined elements of the second and third options. The Soviet nuclear arsenal was vast, as were Soviet conventional forces, and further weakening of Gorbachev could derail further arms control negotiations. To balance U. Bush administration officials also, however, increased contact with Yeltsin.
The unsuccessful August coup against Gorbachev sealed the fate of the Soviet Union. He resigned his leadership as head of the Communist party shortly thereafter—separating the power of the party from that of the presidency of the Soviet Union. The Central Committee was dissolved and Yeltsin banned party activities. A few days after the coup, Ukraine and Belarus declared their independence from the Soviet Union. After the revised constitution, the Soviet Union stopped acting as a union of republics and more as a single super-country.
Desperately seeking socialism: why the Soviet Union's left-wing dissidents matter today
Stalin died on 5 March Nikita Khrushchev eventually won the following power struggle by the mids. In he denounced Stalin's repression and eased controls over party and society. This was known as de-Stalinization. Moscow considered Eastern Europe to be a very vital buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders.
For this reason, the USSR sought to strengthen its control of the region. It did this by transforming the Eastern European countries into satellite states, dependent upon and obedient to its leadership. Soviet military force was used to suppress anti-Stalinist uprisings in Hungary and Poland in This resulted in a break throughout the global Marxist—Leninist movement. During this period of the late s and early s, the Soviet Union continued to make progress in the Space Race. It rivalled the United States.
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The USSR launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 in ; a living dog named Laika in ; the first human being, Yuri Gagarin in ; the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in ; Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space in ; the first soft landing on the Moon by spacecraft Luna 9 in ; and the first Moon rovers, Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2.
Leonid Brezhnev led the Soviet Union from until his death in He came to power after he convinced the government to overthrow the then-leader Nikita Krushchev. Brezhnev's rule is often linked with the decline in Soviet economy and starting the chain of events that would lead to the union's eventual collapse. He had many self-awarded medals. He was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union the highest honor on three separate occasions. Brezhnev was succeeded by Yuri Andropov , who died a few years later.
Andropov was succeeded by the frail and aging Konstantin Chernenko. Chernenko died a mere year after taking office. The games were heavily boycotted by the western nations, particularly the United States.
What the Soviet Union was really like
Brezhnev was the second longest serving Soviet leader after Stalin. The Following is a list of leaders General Secretary of the Communist Party in order of their tenure and length of leadership:. Khrushchev and Gorbachev are the only Soviet leaders to have not died whilst in office. Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev are the only leaders who were not de jure head of state during their leaderships.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the Soviet Union's last leader. He was the only Soviet leader to have been born after the October revolution and was thus a product of the Soviet Union having grown up in it. He and US president Ronald Reagan signed a treaty to get rid of some nuclear weapons. Gorbachev started social and economic reforms that gave people freedom of speech ; which allowed them to criticise the government and its policies.
The ruling communist party lost its grip on the media and the people. Newspapers began printing the many failures that the Soviet Union had covered up and denied in its past. The Soviet Union's economy was lagging and the government was spending a lot of money on competing with the west. By the s the Soviet economy was suffering but it was stable. Gorbachev's new ideas had got out of hand and the communist party lost control. Lithuania announced its independence from the Union and the Soviet government demanded it surrender its independence or it would send the Red Army to keep order.
Gorbachev invented the idea to keep the Soviet Union together with each republic being more independent but under the same leader. A group of communist leaders unhappy with Gorbachev's idea tried to take over Moscow and stop the Soviet Union from collapsing. It only made people want independence more. Although he survived the attempted takeover, he lost all of his power outside of Moscow.
Russia declared independence in December He had no choice but to accept the treaty and resigned on Christmas Day The next day the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time.
The Russian Revolution
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