The Collapse of the Soviet Union

On December 1991, as the world watched in amazement, the Soviet Union disintegrated into fifteen different states. Its collapse was held by the west as a victory for freedom, a triumph of democracy over totalitarianism, and the evidence of the superiority of capitalism over socialism. This signaled the end of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States.

On 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union came to power with a vision of reform. His plans for the future include two ideas – perestroika and glasnost.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union via

Under Gorbachev’s plan for perestroika, the Soviet Union would begin to move towards a hybrid Communist-Capitalist system, much like modern China. The second part of Gorbachev’s plan, glasnost, addressed the personal restrictions of the Soviet people. For decades, citizens lived without freedom of speech, the press or religion, and the State arrested millions of potential dissidents. Gorbachev’s glasnost plan gave the Soviet people a voice they were free to express.

At Moscow, Kremlin – The Soviet flag being lowered while the Russian flag being raised.

With the new found freedom of Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms, some outlying Soviet states began to rebel. The first states to demand their freedom were the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Soon more states wanted their independence including Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia. The central government of the Soviet Union began to feel the pressure of so many states wanting independence.

Boris Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation via Wikipedia

On December 24, 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved. At the same time Mikhail Gorbachev announced his resignation. The Soviet Union divided up into 15 separate independent countries including:


  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Russia
  • Tajikstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

After the breakup, Boris Yeltsin, became the first President of the Russian Federation.




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