D tente and the collapse of communism
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Détente and the Collapse of Communism. Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982). was a key actor in the ouster of Khrushchev emerged as the leader of the U.S.S.R. by the early-1970s. Brezhnev cracked-down on dissidents ( i. e. citizens who opposed the government). Andrey Sakharov.

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Détente and the Collapse of Communism

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Détente and theCollapse of Communism

Leonid Brezhnev(1906-1982)

  • was a key actor in the ouster of Khrushchev

  • emerged as the leader of the U.S.S.R. by the early-1970s

Brezhnev cracked-down on dissidents (i. e. citizens who opposed the government)

Andrey Sakharov

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

Arms Build-up

built-up the military

at the expense of

consumer goods

(wanted a navy as

large as the U.S.A.’s in order to avoid being humiliated again like the Cuban Missile Crisis)

Spending on the military caused shortages of consumer goods.


The Nixon administrationentered into a dialogue with the Soviet Union aimed at easing the Cold War tension existing between the two countries.

President Nixon becomes the first U. S. president to visit the Soviet Union while in office.

He later visits Communist China (PRC).

The policy of Détente included: cultural exchanges,

the sharing of technology,

and the signing of strategic arms limitations treaties (SALT).

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979

and got bogged-down in a Viet Nam style war.

The arms race of the 1970s and early-1980s cripples the Soviet economy.


  • independent trade union which appeared in Poland in the early-1980s

  • challenged the state-sanctioned unions

  • contributed to the weakening of the Communist Party in Poland

Lech Walesa

Mikhail Gorbachev(1931- )

  • leader of the Soviet Union from the winter of 1985 until the collapse of communism in 1991

Gorbachev recognized that his country was in serious economic trouble.

He tried to face the problems openly:

1. perestroika - restructuring of the economy

2. glasnost - openness in cultural and political affairs

For the first time Soviet leaders admitted publicly that they

1. had problems


2. sought aid and solutions from both internal and external sources.

Glasnost and Perestroika

  • break-up of the Soviet Union

  • collapse of the Soviet Bloc

  • end of the Warsaw Pact

The Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.) was established 8th December 1991.

The three republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia did not join the C. I. S.

The Republic of Georgia was not allowed to join until after it had settled a dispute over who would run the country.

Boris Yeltsin(1931- )

  • stopped a coup d’etat aimed at overthrowing Gorbachev (1991)

    -gained great popularity

    -was elected president of Russia

Problems facing Russia today and in the future:

  • economy in poor shape

  • democratic institutions “shaky”

  • organized crime is on the rise

  • most of it’s new neighbors are unstable and/or belligerent

Vladimir Zhirinovsky

  • nationalistic leader

  • wants to reunite the lands that formerly made up the Soviet Union

  • claims that Russia only “rented” Alaska to the U. S.

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