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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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leonid brezhnev 1906 1982
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
Brezhnev cracked-down on dissidents (i. e. citizens who opposed the government)

Andrey Sakharov

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

arms build up
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)


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

He later visits Communist China (PRC).

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979

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

  • 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
mikhail gorbachev 1931
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
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
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
Glasnost and Perestroika
  • break-up of the Soviet Union
  • collapse of the Soviet Bloc
  • end of the Warsaw Pact
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
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
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
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.