• Period: to

    Cold War

    The cold goes on during this time
  • Intro

    When the USSR founded in 1922 planing the county's flawed in these ways one, the Soviets underestimated the degree to which the non-Russian ethnic groups in the country. Two, their economic planning failed to meet the needs of the State. Three, the ideology of Communism, which the Soviet Government worked to instill in the hearts and minds of its population, never took firm root, and eventually lost whatever influence it had originally carried.
  • Mikhail

    Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev becomes Communist Party General Secretary. He is a popular choice at the age of 54, is younger and fitter - and is talking about change. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev will introduce two Russian words to international vocabulary: "perestroika", meaning restructuring, and "glasnost", meaning openness.
    Both concepts are revolutionary in Soviet terms. But Gorbachev has no idea that the events he is setting in motion will bring about the collapse of an ent
  • New People

    Gorbachev appoints a little-known provincial party boss as head of the Moscow Communist Party. His name is Boris Yeltsin. Eduard Shevardnadze became foreign minister replacing the veteran, and hard line , Andrei Gromyko.
    Shervardnadze, like Gorbachev, believes in creating a more liberal and dynamic society.
    Yeltsin, establishing himself in Moscow politics, also believes in change.
  • Reforms

    Gorbachev goes before the communists' Central Committee and proposes deep political and economic reforms.But also in November, Yeltsin is forced out of his job as Moscow party boss. He has pushed for perestroika too far, too fast, and has criticised Gorbachev for moving too slowly. The sacking leaves Yeltsin personally embittered against Gorbachev - a vital factor in future developments. Crucially for Yeltsin, Gorbachev allows him to stay on in Moscow, as deputy construction minister.
  • Coup

    Perestroika hits its first major political iceberg. It has already been resisted by bureaucrats trying to block Gorbachev's economic reforms. Now, hard line communist newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya publishes a clarion call for communists to resist Gorbachev's reforms. The call comes in a letter from a Leningrad chemist, Stalinist Nina Andreyeva, but Gorbachev is out of the country and hardliners are suspected of being behind it.
  • Warsaw

    Gorbachev announces that countries in the Warsaw Pact are free to decide on their own futures. Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement has already trounced the communists in Poland in June elections. Walesa takes office in August.
    Across Eastern Europe, people want change and are risking making their feelings known. Last time it was tried - in Hungary in 1956 and in Prague in 1968 - Soviet forces ruthlessly crushed the protests.
  • Parliament Elections

    Elections are held for the new parliament set up as part of Gorbachev's reforms. It is called the Congress of People's Deputies. Boris Yeltsin wins a massive vote in a Moscow constituency - he is back in national politics. Live television broadcasts of parliament later prove so popular they have to be taken off the air - because millions of workers are downing tools to watch.
  • The Berlin Wall The Berlin Wall - the single most potent symbol of the Cold War - is torn down in an incredible display of "people power". Gorbachev could still use force to prop up his collapsing empire: the world watches as the wall is hacked away, waiting to see if he will act. He chooses not to. Scenes of joy are broadcast around the world as families and neighbours are united. Only months earlier those who tried it risked being shot.
  • Death Throws

    The old Soviet ways are dying but not dead. Moscow may have let the Warsaw Pact countries break free, but is not ready for Soviet republics to follow. The Baltic states are still most vociferous, and Gorbachev is trying to win their support for a looser but unmistakably Soviet federation.
  • The Fall

    The Soviet Union is entering its final days. On 25 December, Gorbachev goes on television to announce he is stepping down as Soviet president. The Soviet flag is lowered from the Kremlin for the last time, and the white, blue and red tricolour of the Russian Federation flies in its place. The USSR is no more.