Collapse of the USSR – in pictures

 

The last Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev initiated reforms that ultimately led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Here are some of the key moments:
 

27th Congress 1986 USSR
Mikhail Gorbachev, head of the Communist party from 1985 to 1991, is a reforming politician who introduces policies of perestroika and glasnost (restructuring and openness) at the 27th party congress in 1986. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
In interview on 17th December 1984, Mrs Thatcher said,
Margaret Thatcher declares that Gorbachev is someone she 'can do business' with. As Politburo member he is invited to Chequers to meet the British cabinet in December 1984. Photograph: Fox Photos/Getty Images
Gorbachev visits Sofia in Bulgaria in October 1985, as part of a tour to gain support for his reforms both inside and outside the USSR. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images
Gorbachev visits Sofia in Bulgaria in October 1985, as part of a tour to gain support for his reforms both inside and outside the USSR. Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images
President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev held their historic fireside chat in a Geneva boat house on November 19, 1985 in Geneva, Switzerland. This was followed by their Reykjavik Summit the following year, culminating in the signing of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in December 1987.
US president Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev during a historic fireside chat in a Geneva boat house on 19 November 1985. This is followed by the Reykjavik summit in 1986, culminating in a nuclear non-proliferation treaty in December 1987. Photograph: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
...and talking to potato farmers during a visit to the Zavorov Collective Farm near Moscow.
Gorbachev talks to potato farmers during a visit to the Zavorov collective farm near Moscow in August 1987. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG/Getty Images
The first signs of nationalism amongst the soviet states first emerged in Kazakhstan in December 1986 and quickly spread. In August 1987, citizens of Estonia demonstrated against the Molovtov-Ribbentrop Pact which had allowed the Soviet Union to annex the three Baltic countries.
Signs of nationalism emerge in Kazakhstan in 1986 and quickly spread to other Soviet states. In August 1987, Estonians demonstrate against the Molovtov-Ribbentrop pact which allowed the Soviet Union to annex the three Baltic countries. Photograph: Andrey Solovyov/AFP/Getty Images
The Soviet-Afghan War, started in 1978 and which involved Soviet troops in support of the Marxist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan against the Mujahideen, came to an end in May 1988 when Afghanistan, Pakistan, the USSR, and the US signed agreements to end foreign intervention in Afghanistan.
The Soviet-Afghan war ends in May 1988, signalled warming relations between America and the USSR. Photograph: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
The economic reforms which accompanied Gorbachev's political initiatives were not so positive and menial jobs were found to keep people in employment.
Gorbachev's reforms fail to revive the economy and menial jobs are found to keep people employed. Photograph: Melanie Stetson Freeman/Getty Images
Food shortages were common across the Soviet Union.
The final years of the USSR are plagued by empty grocery stores, queues for food and widespread shortages. Photograph: Gennady Galperin/Reuters
On November 9, 1989, protestors pull down the Berlin Wall.
On 9 November 1989, protestors pull down the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features
In December 1989 Czechoslovakia forms a non-communist government and begin to dismantle the signs of division between the East and West.
In December 1989 Czechoslovakia forms a non-Communist government and begins to dismantle divisions between the East and West. Photograph: Gerard Fouet/AFP/Getty Images
January 1990 and the demand for independence has spread to Baku, Azebaijan.
January 1990 and the demand for independence has spread to Baku in Azerbaijan. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG/Getty Images
A state of emergency was declared in Dushande, Tajikstan, February 1990.
A state of emergency is declared in Dushande, Tajikstan, in February 1990. Photograph: Sovfoto/UIG/Getty Images
A pro-independence rally is held in Lvov, Ukraine, February 1990.
A pro-independence rally is held in Lvov in Ukraine in February 1990. Photograph: Chris Niedenthal/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
Even though the Lithuanian Parliament had declared its independence from the USSR in March 1990, Soviet Forces moved into the centre of Vilnius in Januray 1991, killing 13 people and injuring many more.
Lithuania declares independence in March 1990. In January 1991, Soviet forces move into the centre of Vilnius, killing 13 people. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
In Bulgaria, protestors set fire to the Communist Party headquarters during a demonstration on August 26, 1990.
In Bulgaria, protesters set fire to the Communist party headquarters during a demonstration on 26 August 1990. Photograph: Reuters
Popular amongst the reformists, Gorbachev had split the country and his acceptance of greater press freedoms and the citizens' right to protest, allowed for regular demonstrations against Gorbachev's policies. During the May Day Parade in 1990 Gorbachev was booed by opposition protestors.
Gorbachev is booed during the May Day parade in 1990. Popular among reformists, his policies have split the country and greater freedoms allow regular demonstrations by opponents. Photograph: Andre Durand/AFP/Getty Images
Hardliners, strongly opposed to Gobachev's proposal of a voluntary federation staged a military coup and tanks were sent into central Moscow in the early hours of August 20, 1991.
Anti-reform hardliners stage a military coup while Gorbachev is on holiday in Crimea, culminating in the early hours of 20 August 1991 when tanks are sent into central Moscow. Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images
People rallied in support of Gorbachev and against the State Committee on the State of Emergency across Russia, including Leningrad.
Rallies in support of Gorbachev and against the coup plotters, the State Committee on the State of Emergency (known as the Gang of Eight), are held across Russia, including in Leningrad. Photograph: Alexander Demianchuk/Reuter
In Moscow a pro-democracy demonstrator took the fight to the army.
In Moscow, pro-democracy demonstrators try to turn the army. Photograph: Dima Tanin/AFP/Getty Images
A Soviet Army soldier joined the demonstrators against the coup and salutes from his tank in front the Russian White House
A Soviet soldier joins the demonstrators against the coup and salutes from his tank in front the Russian White House. Photograph: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images
Three people died during the three day coup and their funeral was attended by thousands of people.
Three people die during the three-day coup and their funeral is attended by thousands. Photograph: Dimitri Korotayev/AFP/Getty Images
It was Boris Yeltsin who defeated the coup by calling for a general strike in support of Gorbachev.
Gorbachev's then ally, Boris Yeltsin, has set himself up in the White House, seat of the Russian government. He helps defeat the coup by leading the Moscow protests and calling for a general strike. Photograph: Andre Durand/AFP/Getty Images
Gorbachev, who had been held at his dacha in the country returned to Moscow after the coup failed.
Gorbachev, who has been forced to remain at his dacha in the Crimea, returns to Moscow. Photograph: Stephane Bentura/AFP/Getty Images
Although Gorbachev had survived the August coup, the collapse of the Soviet Union was complete by December 1991 as one republic after another declared independence. In Russia, Yelstin, once a supporter of Gorbachev challenged his position and strated the porcess of Russia assuming control of what remained of Soviet government. On December 25th 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev announced his resignation on television and by the 31st December the USSR gave way to the newRussia led commonwealth.
Although he survives the August coup, Gorbachev's political career is over. On 25 December 1991 he announces his resignation on television and by the end of the year the USSR has collapsed. Yeltsin, his former friend turned nemesis, remains as head of the Russian Federation.

BREZHNEV NEWS15 июля 2014
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