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The Cold War Ends Part One: Glasnost and Perestroika

Directions: Read the passage below, then answer the questions on your separate
question sheet.

By The mid 1980s, the Afghanistan war and a failing

command economy had greatly weakened the Soviet Union. In
1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union
and implemented several radical changes. He called them
Glasnost and Perestroika. These reforms had far-reaching
consequences including the end of the Cold War and the breakup
of the Soviet Union.
Mikhail Gorbachev
When Mikhail Gorbachev became the new
leader of the Soviet Union, it was immediately
clear that he was different from his
predecessors. Gorbachev, then 54, was
significantly younger than the aging party
members who had led the Communist
superpower in previous decadesthe last two
of whom had seen their rule cut short by
health problems. Being from a younger
generation gave Gorbachev a new outlook on
the challenges that faced his country.
Gorbachev realized that he had inherited
significant problems. Even as the USSR
competed with the United States militarily and economically, its
economy was struggling. Its citizens were unhappy with the
relatively poor standard of living and lack of freedom. Those
difficulties were also keenly felt in the Communist nations of
Eastern Europe that were part of the Warsaw Pact.
Glasnost and Perestroika
Gorbachev took a new approach toward addressing these
problems: He introduced reform programs based on two concepts,
Glasnost and Perestroika. Perestroika, or restructuring focused
on economic issues, replacing the centralized government
planning that had been the Soviet system with a several freemarket reforms. The other concept of Glasnost, meaning
openness began to ease the strict social controls imposed by
the government. Gorbachev gave greater freedom to the media
and religious groups and allowed citizens to express views that
were critical of the government. By 1988, Gorbachev had

expanded his reforms to include

democratization, moving the USSR toward an
elected form of government.
The Gorbachev reform that had
the most far-reaching effects was his
decision to abandon Soviet control of
the Communist nations of Eastern
Europe. In a 1988 speech at the
United Nations, he declared that all
nations should be free to choose
their own course without outside
interference. To the amazement of
everyone, he announced that the
USSR would significantly reduce the number of troops and tanks
that were based in the Eastern Bloc countries.
Gorbachevs move had unintended consequences. He had
hoped that his reforms would revitalize and modernize the Soviet
Union. Instead, they unleashed social forces that brought about
the breakup of the USSR. In 1989, Communist government fell in
Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and
Romania. By the end of that year, the Berlin Wall had been
dismantled and discussions were under way that would result in
the reunification of Germany in October 1990.

May 4th, 2015 Period:


The Cold War RESEARCH Log Glasnost and

Essential Question#11: How did Gorbachev reform the USSR in the 1980s?
Sub-Questions: (1) Who is Mikhail Gorbachev? (2) What problems was the Soviet
Union having in the 1980s that led to reforms? (3) Explain how Perestroika reformed the
Soviet Union. (4) Explain how Glasnost reformed the Soviet Union. (5) Why do you think
Mikhail Gorbachev allowed Warsaw Pact countries to become democracies? (6) How do
you think you would feel if you had lived in eastern Europe during the late 1980s? (7)
Explain how Glasnost and Perestroika led to the end of the Cold War?

Define Terms

Answer the Essential Question: How did Gorbachev reform the USSR in the

SSR stands for Soviet Socialist Republic

What is the message this political cartoon is trying to make about the Soviet Union?

How do you think the author of this political cartoon feels about Glasnost and

(Brezhnev was a leader of the Soviet Union before Gorbachev)

What message is the author of this political cartoon trying to make about Glasnost and

What message is the author of this political cartoon trying to make about Glasnost and