To What Extent Was Gorbachev Personally Responsible for the Collapse of the Soviet Union? Essay

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Faced with a USSR in both social and economic demise, Gorbachev instituted major reforms to ensure the survival of a communist Soviet Union. Perestroika, his economic reform, was aimed at the reconstruction of the economy. His reform Glasnost was set to introduce a policy of openness finally, Democratisation his political reform, saw the unbanning of opposition political parties and allowed free elections to take place. However in reality Gorbachev’s reforms had the adverse effect of what he had hoped, they enabled Soviet opposition to gain strength whilst simultaneously provoking growing discontent among the Soviet population. This weakened the government and ultimately enabled Soviet opposition to bring an end to the USSR. Although the opposition group in Poland Solidarity could share some of the blame as they inspired the domino effect that brought end to the USSR, it was once again Gorbachev failing as he did nothing to oppose them. It is therefore evident that Gorbachev, as a result of his ill thought out, badly instituted reforms was almost entirely responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. When Gorbachev was first brought into power in 1985, the USSR was facing both serious economic and social problems. Collectivisation was inefficient forcing USSR to import goods, however, goods were still scare and when available were of terrible quality. Workers had become demotivated and unproductive as many no longer believed in communism, partly thanks to high levels of corruption throughout the Soviet Union. This in turn led to an increase in absenteeism and alcoholism. It is therefore evident that upon receiving control of the USSR, Gorbachev was given an extremely difficult and sensitive situation which he decided needed reforms to fix. However, the way in which he would go about these reforms would prove disastrous. Gorbachev believed that if the

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