AQA A2 History - The USSR - Detailed Revision Notes on The Collapse of the Soviet Union

Here is the final installment of my set of four revision notes on the USSR. This time detailed the collapse of the Soviet Union, including Andropov, Chernenko and Gorbachev. 

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Triumph and Collapse: Russia and the USSR, 1941 ­ 1991

Key dates, key people, key statistics

Part 4: The End of the USSR (19821991) ­ Andropov, Chernenko and

The death of Brezhnev and Andropov's rise to power:
The head of the KGB was 68 when he succeeded Brezhnev as…

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of drunks, lack of punctuality at work was penalised and random inspections
were made so people didn't leave their place of work during working hours.
His measures hit women and mothers particularly hard ­ most women went
out to work, yet were expected to carry out domestic chores it was…

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Industrial output was 5% higher in 1983 than the previous year and the value of
agricultural production rose by 7%.
His failures:
Andropov was not in power long enough to take a grip on economic policies.
He was far too traditionalist to do much more than he had already

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He gained popularity as the protégé of Andropov, appearing as a traditionalist despite
using terms such as `glasnost' (openness) and `perestroika' (restructuring and
regeneration) in a speech as early as December 1984.
In 1983 he told Yakovlev, the Soviet ambassador to Canada, "Society had to change,
it had to be…

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Banned writers, such as Mikhail Bulgakov and Boris Pilnyak, reappeared in
In January 1987 the USSR stopped jamming the BBC.
Yakovlev and Gorbachev parted company as Yakovlev wished to end one
party rule and abandoned Marxism.

The Second Phase of Perestroika Political
Gorbachev decided that reform of the party…

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The Second Phase of Perestroika ­ Economic (decentralisation)
The 1988 Law on State Enterprises allowed 60% of state enterprises to move
on a system of selfmanagement, setting their own prices and targets, making
a profit on the free market with remaining produce and dealing with foreign
By 1989 the…

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Ligachev disapproved strongly of Gorbachev's talk of the market economy,
private enterprise and democratisation ­ although Gorbachev assured him
that his privatisation plans would only involve 7% of the total, Ligachev stated
"big business and capital will hog everything."
The conservatives blamed perestroika for national unrest.
In March 1988 a…

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parliament and government could now prevent Gorbachev's policies being
implemented or even alter them.
Yeltsin was formally elected President of the Russian Federation on 12th June

How economic failures led to the USSR's collapse:
Gorbachev's economic policies had little overall effect ­ after 4 years of
perestroika GDP was…

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Gorbachev was not helped by his choice in collaborators in economic policy:
o Ryzhkov (Chairman of the Council of Ministers) was a reformer but a
reformer who wanted to "go to the market" at a snail's pace.
o Ligachev was put in charge of agriculture in September 1988, however

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As disorder continued, the Supreme Soviet decided to place
NagornoKarabakh under direct rule from Moscow in January 1989 but
Armenia and Azerbaijan were on the brink of civil war.
In January 1990 there were further developments in the conflict ­ 60
Armenians were murdered by Azeris in Baku and Moscow…


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