Why did the USSR fail to keep control over Eastern Europe?

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade April 2006

download word file, 3 pages 3.7

Under Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the Soviet Union underwent various different changes, especially in the Soviet policies towards Eastern Europe. When he became the last Soviet president, he brought with him new ideas and a new way of thinking. Gorbachev was a fresh face that brought hope. Gorbachev used new tactics to solve old problems. He introduced new policies, reorganized their economic spending and improved foreign affairs. These three factors led to the Soviet Union's collapse of control in Eastern Europe.

Gorbachev introduced new policies with the guiding principles of "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring). These principles were intended to liberalize and encourage Soviet socialism and Soviet society. Gorbachev wanted the people to be inclined to express themselves but soon the people were practicing their "freedom of speech" rights. Eventually, the Soviet Union lost control of the media and press which unconcealed some things the USSR had been trying to cover up.

For example, how bad the conditions actually were inside, the poor housing conditions and lower living standards. The Soviets were finally able to learn the truth about things that previous administrations covered up. Glasnost gave people the chance to express their opinions and points of views. With new knowledge and new power, the citizens opened their eyes and realized that this wasn't want they wanted. What they wanted was reform.

When it came to their economy, the Soviet Union had to crunch its numbers. The USSR spent around $40 billion a year propping up communist governments across the world in countries such as Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan and even countries in Eastern Europe. East Germany was almost completely dependent on the aid given by the Soviets. In addition to spending a fortune propping up regimes, they also had to invest large sums of money into the development and creation...