The collapse of the Soviet Union was due to many different factors over a long period of time. The one factor that stands out the most is the presidential election of Mikhail Gorbachev.
He changed many things for the people of the Soviet Union, things like freedom of speech, voting rights, and just having some kind of part in the decision making process. For decades, the communist party had focused on building up the Soviet Union’s position as a superpower and neglected the needs of the people. As a result, farms and factories under produced and the standard of living was low. The centralized communist system of government was also showing serious strain. The people had no voice and had grown apathetic in the face of total communist party control. So to save his country and party, Gorbachev set some new policies.
First he introduced glasnost, meaning “openness”, which was ideas of more freedom of expression and less censorship and government secrecy. This policy gave people the right to speak freely, and Gorbachev hoped they’d speak in support of his reforms. Second, he began perestroika, a restructuring of the economy and the government. Instead of party officials deciding everything from Moscow, local farms and factory managers now had the power to make some decisions. One of the reasons was because he believed that domestically it was needed but also the danger of “nuclear war was so serious that it was a no less significant factor. Something had to be done before we destroyed each other.” So the meetings between
Gorbachev and President Reagan, and later President Bush were very important to establish that they were no longer enemies or adversaries, and agreeing on the removal of nuclear weapons for the safety of all. Gorbachev said “If President Reagan and I had not succeeded in