Mikhail Gorbachev and the Final Years of the USSR

Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from March 11, 1985 until August 24, 1991. Famous in the West for his introduction of the domestic policies of ‘glasnost’ (‘openness’) and ‘perestroika’ (‘restructuring’), he also contributed to the eventual collapse and formal dissolution of the USSR on December 25, 1991. In this course, we will survey Gorbachev’s life and times, and consider how events such as the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan, led to what Vladimir Putin has called “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”.


SUGGETED READING

  • William Taubman, Gorbachev: His Life and Times (London, England: Simon and Schuster UK, 2017).
  • David R. Marples, Chernobyl and Nuclear Power in the USSR (London, England: Macmillan Press, 1986).
  • Rodric Braithwaite, Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89 (London, England: Profile, 2011).
  • Chris Miller, The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy: Mikhail Gorbachev and the Collapse of the USSR, The New Cold War History (Chapel Hill, NC, USA: University of North Carolina Press, 2016).


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Life and times of Mikhail Gorbachev; ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ (1985).
  • Chernobyl nuclear disaster (1986).
  • Withdrawal from the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1989).
  • The break up of the USSR into 15 independent republics (1989-1991).


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the basic elements of the life and times of Mikhail Gorbachev.
  2. Comprehend the purpose and consequences of the policies of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’.
  3. Appreciate the impact of Chernobyl and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  4. Grasp the geopolitical significance of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
$145 Limited / $131

<p>Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from March 11, 1985 until August 24, 1991. Famous in the West for his introduction of the

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20 Nov

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