- 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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- 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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- 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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