State PCS

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Perestroika and Glasnost

Context:  Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, has died at the age 91.

What is “perestroika” and “glasnost ?
  • Gorbachev’s desire to pull the USSR out of economic and social stagnation not only led to the collapse of the USSR but also ended the old war.
  • But two words — “perestroika” and “glasnost” — will forever be associated with Gorbachev and, in essence, will be his legacy. Simply put, perestroika, means restructuring and glasnost means openness.
What was the Cold War?
  •  Division between Russia and western countries (the US and its allies, like Britain), which started in the 1940s and lasted until 1991.
  • It was a war between two ideas and ways of ruling – communism (the east) and capitalism (the west).
  • The Russians operated a communist state (from 1922 to 1991), while western countries like the US were capitalist countries.
  • Throughout the Cold War, communist and capitalist nations tried to outdo each other, competing to develop the best technologies and weapons.
What was the contribution of Mikhail Gorbachev?
  1. introduced the policies of “glasnost” and “perestroika” which helped in freedom of speech and press and the economic expansion of the economy.
  2. Focused on Arms Reduction:
  3. Ended the Cold War: Resulted in the dissolution of the USSR into separate countries.
  4. Nobel Peace Prize:  Efforts to end the Cold War between the US and USSR.
 Mikhail Gorbachev‘s Relations with India ?
  • Indian Connection:
    • Gorbachev visited India twice, in 1986 and 1988.
    • His objective was to extend his disarmament initiatives in Europe to Asia and to secure Indian cooperation.
    • It was Gorbachev’s first visit to a non-Warsaw Pact country after taking over as leader of the Soviet Union.
    • The then Prime Minister Rajiv hailed Gorbachev as a “crusader for peace”.
    • His address to India’s Parliament during the visit received hyperbolic coverage in the Indian and Soviet press and was seen as a high point of Indian diplomacy.

Read more: China Taiwan Conflict

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