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Disintegration in stages

 

The Soviet Union lasted all of 69 years. From its foundation
in December 1922 to its breakup in 1991, this
gigantic empire bordered on Romania in the west and
the Pacific Ocean in the east. From the very start it was
entangled in war, persecution, and terror, but in its last
decades it experienced a period of strong population
growth and rising life expectancy. Following a number
of years of relative stability, in the later 1980s the state
was so run down that there were no political means left
to hold it together.

 

As Secretary-General of the Communist Party, Mikhail
Gorbachev set out in 1985 to reform the socialist system,
a move that, nolens volens, led to the disintegration
of the Soviet Union. In 1991, 15 former Soviet republics
declared their independence. Aside from Russia, the
heavyweight when it came to political power and population
size, these were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of
Moldova (Moldavia), Tajikistan,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan, and Belarus (White
Russia).

 

(...)

 

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