Was Gorbachev forced into the economic reforms & to what extent did such reforms cause the collapse of the Soviet Union?

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My understanding is the economic reforms were necessary in order to stop the Soviet Economy from collapsing. However such reforms were too late to have any relative impact so as to aid the economy. As a result, the money put into domestic policies enabled a greater gap in military terms to open up between the USA and USSR because the USSR simply could not afford to match the Soviet Union.

Is this a correct analysis? 

Posted Wed 6th June, 2012 @ 13:52 by Chris