The Fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic

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By the mid 1980’s, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics also known as the Soviet Union, or the USSR was weakening under pressure from many different sources. These sources collimated in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, and ultimately, the fall of the Soviet Union itself in 1991. With these events, the USSR saw its division into the Russian Federation, and the 13 independent republics that we see today. This time period was one of uncertainty, and the result was one that even the best intelligence agencies in the West would not predict. Ultimately, the fall of the Soviet Union, as sudden as it was, should have been predicted by the West and sent shockwaves around the world. The aftershocks of this collapse are still present to this day, more than twenty years later. Though the question of what caused the Soviet Union’s collapse is simple in and of itself, its answer is far more complex and requires books to fully discuss. The aim of this paper however is to surmise the largest causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as to see how they were interrelated as well as how they interacted with each other. The causes to be discussed are as diverse as they are deep, ranging from faltering economies, to social unrest, and from increases in defense spending in relation to the West and the war in Afghanistan, to political pressure from unlikely actors. On the eve of the fall of the Soviet Union, its satellite states had

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