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I am so tired of this propaganda cliché... "Collapse" imply sudden, spontaneous, and more or less disorderly fall/ slump. In contrast the USSR, and most of the Eastern Block was dismantled voluntarily, peacefully, in a planned orderly fashion from the top down; and this is well documented. In fact, to the best of my knowledge it is the only socio-economic system in history that ceased to exist in such a manner.
Of course one might argue that the USSR lost the Cold War and the armaments race, and that was what tore the system down, but this will be digging more into the reasons of why the lights were turned off. By the end of the 1980s the USSR still had enough retaliatory military power to continue to dwindle for decades ahead.
Hm, in the case of the Soviet Union, a failed coup followed by independence declarations of the republics, ending with a semi-coup of the leaders of three republics against Gorbachev (the Belavezha Accords) is not exactly planned or orderly, even if the final act was another accord that also regulated legal inheritance.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
until they had dismantled enough of the state that opponents could challenge them
Gorbachev was very active in replacing top functionaries, also in the republics. Funny, but his policies exactly provoked national tensions that were dormant for decades. No one else but himself installed those few "problematic" city majors, region leaders - and then gave all initiative to them in the last year, while showing no adequate concern for the fate of the USSR. In the East Europe, stubbornness of DDR and Romania leaders bothered him more than Poland.
The August putsch was in 1991. The Soviets needed quick foreign currency only for Chernobyl.
No one else but himself installed those few "problematic" city majors, region leaders - and then gave all initiative to them in the last year, while showing no adequate concern for the fate of the USSR.
When energy prices crashed in the 1980s, as a consequence of the development of the North Sea oil and gas deposits, they became unable to finance the imports of higher quality Western consumer goods to which the population had become accustomed during the period of high energy prices in the '70s. It went predictably downhill from there.
Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
Btw, as a matter of fact Chaushescu was not exactly "overthrown", but after a mock court murdered by his own security services live on TV; not as savage as the execution of Ghadaffi, but still pretty shocking back then to happen in an European country.
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