Moscow Russia Tourist Information and Travel Guide
In addition to the failing economy, political and social changes in the USSR and its satellite states contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
When Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in March of 1985, he introduced policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). These measures were intended to invigorate the Soviet economy by increasing the free flow of goods and information and by loosening social restraints.
As controls over the media were lifted, the dire state of the Soviet economy was revealed. The unpopularity of the Afghan conflict was also more openly debated.
Dissidents like Andrei Sakharov were released from detention and permitted to freely voice their views. The genie was finally out of the box!
In 1991 a number of constituent Soviet Republics declared their independence. The USSR was officially dissolved on December 31, 1991.