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History As It Happens

Dec 23, 2021

Born of revolution in 1917, the Soviet Union dominated Eurasia for more than 70 years until its dramatic, though largely peaceful, collapse in 1991. On Christmas Day that year, Mikhail Gorbachev in a televised address announced his resignation as Soviet president, completing the dissolution of the Soviet state that he had tried to avoid. Also gone was the Communist economic system that failed generations of people in Russia and Eastern Europe. In this episode, Archie Brown discusses the reasons why Soviet Communism which had faced no existential crisis in 1985, the year Gorbachev took power, disintegrated in a matter of years. Hailed as a historic victory in the West, the death of the USSR is lamented by many Russians today because they feel betrayed by their country's experiment with democracy and market economy in the 1990s.