Dissolution of the Soviet Union


August 19, 2022

The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the process of disintegration that involved the political, economic and social structure of the Soviet Union, between 19 January 1990 and 31 December 1991, leading to the disappearance of the Soviet Union, independence of the Soviet republics and the restoration of independence in the Baltic republics, thus giving birth to the so-called post-Soviet states.


Gorbachev's election and the new politics

With the election of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) a new phase in the history of the USSR had begun. In fact, Gorbachev was a supporter of an innovative policy for the Soviet Union, based on the key concepts of perestroika (restructuring of the national economic system) and glasnost '(transparency), aimed at overcoming the socio-economic problems of the country. This policy of reforms, if on the one hand led to the end of the Cold War and the international isolation of the USSR, on the other hand it led to the emergence of the economic problems of the state which had hitherto been kept hidden. The end of the rigid policy of internal repression, the economic recession and the admission of the fragility of the political system soon brought out the conflicts, the racial hatreds and the independence forces of the numerous peoples who were based in the immense territory of the Soviet state and which until by then they had been kept under control by the central apparatus. The serious economic situation and the growing unrest in the various Soviet republics led to the first multi-party elections in the history of the Union.

The independence of the Baltic countries

In 1986 Gorbachev continued to push for more liberalization. On December 23, 1986, the major Soviet dissident, Andrei Sakharov, returned to Moscow after personally receiving a telephone call from Gorbachev telling him that the more than seven years of his internal exile to challenge the authorities was over. in the Soviet Union in 1940, they began to push for the restoration of independence, starting with Estonia in November 1988, when the Estonian legislature passed laws despite opposition from the central government. On 11 March 1990, Lithuania was the first of the three Baltic republics to declare the restoration of its independence, on the basis of the continuity of the state. CTAG Helsinki-86 (Cilvēktiesību aizstāvības grupa, Human Rights Defense Group) was founded in July 1986 in the Latvian port city of Liepāja by three workers: Linards Grantiņš, Raimonds Bitenieks and Mārtiņš Bariss; the name refers to the Helsinki Accords and the year of its foundation. Helsinki-86 was the first organization openly anti-communist and openly in opposition to the regime in the Soviet Union, setting an example for other independence movements of ethnic minorities. In Riga, December 23, 1986, in the early hours of the morning after a rock concert, about three hundred young Latvian workers gathered in the cathedral square and marched towards Lenin Avenue shouting, once they reached the monument to Freedom: "Soviet Russia out! Free Latvia!". Security forces confronted the demonstrators and several police vehicles were overturned.

Tensions in the Caucasus

In 1988 Gorbachev began to lose control in two small regions of the Soviet Union: the three Baltic republics, which were conquered by their respective popular fronts, and the Caucasus (where for years there had been strong tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in in violence and civil war). On 1 July 1988, the fourth and last day of the 19th party conference, Gorbačëv overcame the resistance of the delegates to his proposal to create a new organ