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Book , Online - Google Books. North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There were several distinct factors accounting for the reassessment. Strategically, the territory of Eastern Europe had become less valuable with the arrival of long-range nuclear weapons. In the late s, when the probability of a military conflict in Europe was seen as infinitesimal, its strategic worth diminished even more.

The understanding reached between Gorbachev and Reagan in Geneva and especially Reykjavik played the main role in persuading the Soviet leader that an attack from the West was highly improbable. After Reykjavik and throughout , U.

Research on integration and economic experimentation with market elements was gaining ground in Soviet academic circles, and Eastern Europe was often seen as a testing ground as well as a gateway to European integration. On the contrary, we would like to integrate with that system and adapt ourselves to its existing structures. Significant in this respect is the change in our attitude toward the integration processes occurring in Europe and in the West as a whole.

Recent Soviet foreign policy gives us grounds to outline a general path toward a single, transcontinental community. The effort to split NATO was always at the heart of Soviet strategy during the Cold War years, and early Gorbachev-era Politburo discussions show that the reformers did not shy away from the same thinking.

A common European home would be based on universal human values, collective security and economic integration. It incorporated a vision of a continent without borders, where people and ideas would move freely without fear of war or hunger. In this new Europe, both blocs would gradually dissolve their military organizations, and security functions would be taken over by the newly strengthened CSCE framework and the United Nations.

Everybody thinks so. Our work here is having an influence on the United States and on all world developments. The reassessment of the socialist bloc as a burden rather than a strategic asset prompted Gorbachev to recognize the inevitability of becoming economically reliant on the West, and thus to see deep economic integration with Western Europe as a key imperative. Gorbachev himself was a convinced Westernizer whose views were influenced significantly by his travels in Europe when he was Central Committee secretary for agriculture.

He was particularly impressed by the Italian communists and their Eurocommunist ideas. Therefore, his inclinations always lay in the European direction, even though it took some time for him to figure out exactly how Eastern Europe fit into Soviet designs. Correcting this image was seen as a necessary condition for being accepted as one of the civilized nations of Europe. This perception is widespread among the public there.

Seen mainly as an irritant by his predecessors because of its focus on human rights, the CSCE received renewed attention and support from the reformist leader almost as soon as he came to power. To make this possible, the Kremlin undertook significant changes in Soviet human rights practices, including releasing political prisoners and putting an end to the persecution of prominent dissidents.

After the December U. He asked his advisers to prepare a powerful speech for delivery in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe. The address was supposed to be drafted in secret, kept even from other members of the leadership. The emphasis on Europe also diminished the priority of the Warsaw Pact partners as such, which later came to be seen as no more than a vehicle for achieving the main goal. Georgy Shakhnazarov was the strongest proponent of the idea of disbanding the alliances.

He mentioned it repeatedly in his communications with Gorbachev, and prepared a long and detailed memorandum on the issue on October 14, Within the framework of this process, we should define a number of interim stages, the most important of which should be the elimination of the military organizations of the two blocs by For this is a reunification of mankind on the basis of common sense. The turmoil underway there was already being felt throughout Europe and in the United States.

While the incoming George Bush administration was reassessing U. Kissinger met with Yakovlev first and then with Gorbachev, to whom he brought a letter of introduction from the presidentelect. As a result, after a period of time Europe could become explosive once again. In their judgment, the Cold War was not over, Gorbachev had not passed all the tests required to prove that his reforms were serious, and even the U. For this group, U. After the U. To preserve such ambiguity was in fact one of the recommendations of the Bogomolov Institute memo. At the Politburo session on January 21 Gorbachev himself remarked on East European doubts about the extent of a possible Soviet response to unrest in the bloc.

They simply do not know that if they pull this leash harder, it will break. Events taking place there occupy only a very small part of the dialogue. This, combined with the expansion of glasnost, exacerbated the sensation of impending crisis.


Gorbachev's vision for a 'common European home'- archive, July 1989

The main issue was that control over the money supply, over the monetary income of the population, was lost, and that gave a major push to the unwinding of an inflationary spiral, which became more difficult to stop day by day. Agricultural reform was another complex aspect of the economic challenge. Aggravating the purely economic dimension of the problem was the fact that the CC Secretary for Agriculture was Yegor Ligachev—a powerful opponent of Gorbachev in the Politburo, who was intent on consolidating conservative opposition to the reforms. According to Yegor Gaidar, at the time a radical economist and later prime minister in the first Yeltsin government, the economy began to deteriorate very quickly starting at the end of , and the critical factor was the drop in oil production due to crumbling infrastructure.

Oil is an often overlooked chapter in the story of the end of the Cold War. Petroleum prices had already started to decline in , but neither Soviet economists nor policy-makers were prepared for the effect it would have on the economy. From Politburo records it seems as though very few senior officials actually understood the depth of the economic crisis in the country.

The Cold War: Causes, Major Events, and How it Ended - History

One person who sounded the alarm early and often, but was rarely heard, was Prime Minister Ryzhkov. Losses due to the decline in oil prices constitute 40 billion rubles, and losses due to cuts in sales of vodka have reached 34 billion rubles. But in agriculture, we have lost 15 billion rubles. Chernobyl took away 8 billion rubles. In three years, the emission has amounted to 21 billion rubles. In alone the emission reached 11 billion, more that in any year since the war. Only 11 percent of consumer goods out of items on the list at the time were available in the Soviet Union without shortages by the end of Throughout the year, the Central Committee received angry letters from workers complaining about acute shortages of food and basic consumer goods.

Causes of the Cold War

The long-debated decision to hold a contested ballot was made at the 19th Party Conference in the summer of By the agreed-upon procedure, two-thirds of the deputies were to be elected from territorial constituencies, and one-third from public organizations; of the latter seats were to be allocated to the Communist Party Gorbachev personally selected many of the candidates for the party list from his supporters.

Ironically, 85 percent of elected deputies were members of the CPSU, but not those who occupied positions of power and who expected to win.