Notes on Gorbachev, Problems, policies and failures!

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  • Created by: Hugh
  • Created on: 31-05-09 14:12

Initial problems-Economy

  • Soviet Union could not afford to be a superpower:-
  • War in Afghanistan provided crippling costs with very little reward
  • Few exportable goods
  • Most state industries were running at a loss
  • Nowhere near being self sufficient
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Initial problems-Society

  • Poor living conditions
  • Big gap in standard of living between Communist East and Capitalist West (western countries were starting to use computers, shops in the USSR were still having to use Abacuses)
  • Many workers were drunk at work
  • Very poor life expectancy-62 at the same time in Uk it was about 72
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Initial problems-Cost of Cold War

  • Space race-very very very expensive
  • Arms race for 35 years-also very expensive
  • Invasion of Afghanistan- by 1989 it had cost USSR 35bn roubles about £35bn

Lack of leadership

  • During his reign Brezhnev didn't do much to help the USSR's problems, it is claimed that he was partially brain dead for 3 years before his death!
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Openess not only in the USSR but with the World.

  • Russia needed help from any country willing to help-friendliness was more likely to help
  • Needed to reduce budget and wanted western investment and an arms limitation agreement
  • Censorship relaxed
  • Western ideas and culture flooded in eg. music, art, mcdonalds!
  • KGB (secret police) abolished
  • Free elections for local government
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Perestroika-Economic restructuring

  • Removal of price controls
  • reduce state control of economy
  • end monopolies
  • small private businmesess were allowed
  • Introduction of competition

Basically introducing capitilism into a Communist country-it wasn't going to work!!

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Why didn't they work?

  • Glasnost fed people's hunger for more freedom
  • opposition from Politburo for 'Westernising' USSR
  • Russian people didn't understand capitalism and put their prices at extortionate rates and so inflation was rapidly increasing
  • Slowly one by one each 'Satellite state' declared their independence( the Baltic states were first)
  • Gorbachev lost control
  • Members of the politburo organised a coup while Gorbachev was on Holiday
  • Boris Yeltsin stopped it and all of the seperate states declared that they did not want to be involved anymore
  • On christmas day 1991 Gorbachev resigned as president of a USSR that, effectively, no longer existed.
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