Fall of the USSR

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  • Created by: rakso181
  • Created on: 17-05-16 20:08

Factor 1 (Economic): 12th Five Year Plan (1986-90)

- Tatyana Zaslavskaya - issues Novosibirsk Report 1983 highlighting how inflexibility and inefficiency cause agricultural crisis

- Focus on science and engineering 

- Productivity not increasing 

- Too much focus on numerical targets

- Go into deficit to produce goods - from 2.4% GDP to 6.2% 1985-86

- Military want investment directed towards US Strategic Defense and Afghanistant War

- 'Superministries' to co-ordnate activity - unable to make changes 

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Perestroika (Jan 1987)

- 'Re-structuring'

- Supply and demand 

- Allows private enterprises

- Joint ventures - first McDonalds in Moscow 1990

- Co-operatives legalised 1988 - small-scale enterprises that set their own prices

- Law on state enterprises June 1987 - loosens state control on prices and wages, weakens Gosplan authority


- Wages rise due to elections of managers

- Products from state shops to co-operatives, creating inflation of prices

- Co-operatives do deals with richer cities, leaving poorer cities without supplies

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State Commission on Economic Reform and Campaign a

State Commission:

- July 1989 - issue a report arguing for a transition to a market economy

- October 1989 - Shatalin, one of Gorbachev's advisors, puts forward a 500-day programme to make this move - accepted by Russian parliament but rejected by Soviet government


- Mid-80s - accounts for 15% average household spending

- Drinking age moved to 21

- Vineyards and distilleries closed

- Illegal moonshine increases

- Price of vodka x3

- Serious loss in revenue

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Factor 2 (Political): Glasnost

- 'Openess'

- Re-engage Party with the population - becomes an open attack with waves of criticism

- Soviet response to Chernobyl 1986 pushes Glasnost forward

- Investigations into history reveal mass terror, famine of the 30s and other catastrophes

- Poor housing highlighted

- Environmental issues brought up like Aral Sea from government irrigation schemes

- Politicises soviet pop. - almost 60K informal groups

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19th Party Congress (1988)

- Gorbachev attempts to seperate party and state

- Lines already blurred due to nomenklatura system

- Oct 1988 - Becomes President of Soviet Union as well as General Secretary

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Clampdown on corruption and democratisation


- Dec 1986 - Dinmukhamed Kunayev removed as First Secretary of Party in Kazakhstan 


- Early 1987 Central Committee meeting - discussion of secret ballots for multiple candidates

- March 1987 - elections for new Congress of People's Deputies to help seperate party and state

- CP still the only legal party

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Impact of Gorbachev's failures

- Reformers form Inter-Regional Group and conservatives form Soyuz

- During Gorbachev's visit to Yugoslavia, Nina Andreeva publishes a letter complaining about the demoralising effects of Glasnost - Ligachev (acting leader) uses this to attack slow pace of Gorbachev's reforms

- Many believe 'pluralism' is the way forward

- Gorbachev repeals Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution (one -party state) in March 1990

- 1990 elections - Communists defeated across the country 

- Yeltsin gains support for new party 'Democratic Platform'and nationalists gain strength in non-Russian republics

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Factor 3 (Nationalism): End of Brezhnev Doctri

-1968 - Brezhnev refuses Czechoslovakia's appeal for liberal changes saying whenever one country tried to liberalise it was a concern for all socialist countries

- Funeral of Konstantin Chernenko March 1985 - Gorbachev assures other Communist leaders that they won't intervene in their internal affairs

- $40 billion used sustaining satellite states instead of domestic reform

- E. European countries use oppurtunity to break away - Poland elections bring in a non-Communist party and Hungary bring in a multi-party system

- 1989 - every pro-Soviet government had collapsed

- Yeltsin calls for looser arrangement of Commonwealth of Indepenent States

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Nagorno-Karabakh and Baltic Republics

Nagorno Karabkh:

- Autonomous region of Azerbaijan but mostly populated by Armenians

- 1988 - violence flares in light of unauthorised referendum of joining Armenia

Baltic Republics:

- Have a greater level of education and understanding of language, culture and history

- Many see Soviet Union as an occupying force

- Aug 1989 - mass independence demonstration, forming human chain across Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia

- 1990 - Popular Fronts win majority in all three republics in elections to Supreme Soviets

- All three states declare independence but Soviet government refuse to acknowledge this 

- Jan 1991 - pro-Communists try to take over main TV station in Vilnius - 13 killed

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Limits of nationalism

- Referendum March 1991 - confirms support for USSR 

- Concessions to language and customs in new Union Treaty 1991

- Republics had gained from Soviet investment 

- Loyalty to tribal groups stronger than nationalism

- Limited experience of independence in republics like Belorussia and Central Asia

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Factor 4 (Yeltsin): Gorbachev's failings

- Economic policies un-coordinated to address productivity and slowdown in growth

- Glasnost opens him up for attacks

- Reducing power of party had undermined his own position whereas Yeltsin uses popular support

- Ending Brezhnev Doctrine caused complete collapse of communist governments 

- Hesitant in making important decisions (Cherobyl)

- Inconsistency and mixed messages in speeches

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In defence of Gorbachev

- His reforms are intrinsically linked - economic reforms require political reform, which require loosening of central control of republics

- Intelligent and a lot of personal charmused to maintain support for reforms

- Chances at success with reforms undermined by unforseen circumstances - major Armenian earthquake 1988, slow withdrawal from Afghanistan and USA's 'Star Wars' programme keeping pressure on USSR military

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Role of Yeltsin

- Televised attack of Gorbachev at Central Committee Plenum 1987

- 1988 - removed from Politburo

- Establishes links with Gorbachev's critics

- Organised demonstrations in support of his position 

- Secures 89% Moscow's vote from Mayor to the Congress of People's Deputies 1989

- Elected as Chariman of People's Deputies in May 1990

- July 1990 - resigns from CP and Congress claim authority over USSR

- Yeltsin and Gorbachev co-operate to support Novo-Ogavero Agreement 1991

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August Coup 1991

- Last-ditched attempt to preserve territorial control of USSR by conservatives while Gorbachev is in Crimea

- Ban on strikes and demonstration with tanks ordered into Moscow

- Gorbachev put under house arrest

- Poorly planned and implemented lasting only 4 days

- Yeltsin demands Gorbachev's release and return to President of the USSR - enhances rep. as defender of reform

- Summer 1991 - Yeltsin can legally establish 'Democratic Platform Movement'

- November 1991 - CP banned from Russia

- Ukraine refuse to sign Union Treaty, followed by Russia

- Dec 1991 - Commonwealth of Independent States implemented, ending the USSR

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Crystal Dallas


amazing resource 

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