Collapse of Communism Educational Materials | Student Handouts
Welcome to Student! 100% free teaching materials for students in kindergarten through high school--lesson plans, worksheets, PowerPoints, outlines, interactive games, puzzles, and so much more!
History of the World: Free Worksheets, PowerPoints, Practice Tests, and More, for K-12 World History, European History, and Global Studies
Collapse of Communism Educational Materials > World History > Collapse of Communism
Collapse of Communism Worksheets
Collapse of Communism Outlines and Powerpoints
Collapse of Communism Books and Films
Online Study Games - SOON
Collapse of Communism Maps and Pictures
Collapse of Communism Miscellany
Here's an overview of the collapse and its impact on the world.

Collapse of the Soviet Union:
  • Economic Crisis: By the late 1980s, the Soviet economy was in dire straits. Central planning and a lack of market mechanisms had led to inefficiencies, shortages, and economic stagnation. The country was burdened by an unsustainable arms race with the United States and the cost of maintaining a vast empire.
  • Political Reforms: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev initiated a series of political reforms known as glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring") in the mid-1980s. These reforms aimed to modernize the Soviet system, encourage political participation, and liberalize the economy.
  • Weakening of Communist Control: As political reforms progressed, the control of the Communist Party over the political landscape began to erode. Dissident voices and nationalist movements in Soviet republics gained momentum.
  • Challenges from Republics: The Soviet Union was a multi-ethnic federation, and many of its republics began asserting their independence or autonomy. In 1990-1991, several republics, including Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, declared independence.
  • Failed Coup Attempt: In August 1991, a group of hardline Communist officials attempted to overthrow Gorbachev's government in a coup. The coup failed due to widespread popular resistance and the reluctance of key military figures to support it.
  • Baltic States' Independence: Following the failed coup, the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) quickly regained their independence, and other Soviet republics followed suit.
  • Belavezha Accords: In December 1991, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus met in the Belavezha Forest and signed the Belavezha Accords, which effectively dissolved the Soviet Union and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
  • Gorbachev Resigns: On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union, and the red hammer-and-sickle flag was lowered from the Kremlin, symbolizing the end of the USSR.
Impact on World History:
  • End of the Cold War: The collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of the Cold War rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. It led to a significant reduction in global tensions and the scaling back of nuclear arsenals.
  • Eastern Europe Liberated: The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the loosening of its grip on Eastern Europe allowed for capitalism in the countries that had been under Soviet influence or control, leading to political transitions and the expansion of NATO and the European Union.
  • Independence of Former Soviet Republics: Fifteen independent states emerged from the former Soviet Union, each pursuing its own political, economic, and social path. These transitions were often challenging, with varying degrees of success.
  • Economic Reforms: Post-Soviet states embarked on economic reforms, with varying levels of success. Transitioning from planned economies to market-oriented systems presented significant challenges, including economic crises and inequality.
  • NATO Expansion: The end of the Cold War led to the expansion of NATO, with former Warsaw Pact countries and some former Soviet republics becoming NATO members. This expansion shifted the geopolitical landscape in Europe.
  • Post-Soviet Conflicts: The dissolution of the Soviet Union also led to conflicts in some regions, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Chechen wars in Russia, and the Transnistria conflict in Moldova.
  • Nuclear Disarmament: The collapse of the Soviet Union raised concerns about the security of nuclear weapons. Efforts were made to secure and reduce nuclear stockpiles in former Soviet states.
  • Shift in Global Alliances: The end of the Cold War reshaped global alliances and power dynamics. The United States emerged as the world's sole superpower, and the global balance of power shifted.
  • Impact on Russia: Russia, as the successor state to the Soviet Union, faced significant challenges and transformations in the post-Soviet era, including political and economic reforms, a shift in foreign policy, and a changing role in international affairs.
The collapse of the Soviet Union fundamentally altered the course of world history, leading to a new era of international relations and global dynamics. While it brought about positive changes such as the end of the Cold War, it also presented challenges, including economic hardships and regional conflicts, which continue to shape the world today. > World History > Collapse of Communism