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Mikhail Gorbachev Becomes Leader of the Soviet Union (1985) Options
Daemon
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Mikhail Gorbachev Becomes Leader of the Soviet Union (1985)

In 1985, after the death of the third Soviet leader in two years, Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, ushering in an era of political reform with his policies of glasnost and perestroika. He cultivated warmer relations with the US and others and even supported the democratically elected governments that replaced the communist regimes of eastern Europe. In 1991, he resigned the presidency of the USSR, which ceased to exist the same day. How did his own policies lead to the end of his administration? More...
monamagda
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It was also impossible to move smoothly from an economic system based over many decades on one set of principles (a centralized, command economy) to a system based on another set of principles (market relations) without going through a period of disruption in which things were liable to get worse before they got better.

Gorbachev's failures were more than counterbalanced by his achievements. He changed Soviet foreign policy dramatically, reaching important arms control agreements with U.S. president Reagan and establishing good relations with all the Soviet Union's neighbors. Defense policy was subordinated to political objectives, and the underlying philosophy of kto kogo (who will defeat whom) gave way to a belief in interdependence and mutual security. These achievements were widely recognized internationally—most notably with the award to Gorbachev in 1990 of the Nobel Peace Prize. If Gorbachev is faulted in Russia today, it is for being overly idealistic in the conduct of foreign relations, to an extent not fully reciprocated by his Western interlocutors. The Cold War had begun with the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. It ended when one East and Central European country after another became independent in 1989 and when Gorbachev accepted the loss of Eastern Europe, something all his predecessors had regarded as non-negotiable. Gorbachev's answer to the charge from domestic hard-liners that he had "surrendered" Eastern Europe was to say: "What did I surrender, and to whom? Poland to the Poles, the Czech lands to the Czechs, Hungary to the Hungarians…."


http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/russian-soviet-and-cis-history-biographies/mikhail-sergeyevich-gorbachev
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