Manage episode 352299484 series 2930374
How the Soviet Union came to an end in 1991, after its nearly seventy year existence, is a process and event still mired in controversy and debate. Historians, politicians, citizens of the post-Soviet world and beyond understand this epochal event in drastically different ways - was it the result of internal contradictions of the Soviet system? Did pressure from the capitalist world force the USSR into an arms race that led to economic ruin? Was the Soviet Union consciously dismembered by elites from the national republics? Did Gorbachev undermine his own political goals or was the rise of Boris Yeltsin to blame for the failures of perestroika and glasnost? Did the West, and principally the United States, actively push the USSR towards collapse or earnestly try to save it at the last moment? Or both?
And what does all of this mean for post-Soviet Georgia? Former First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party Eduard Shevardnadze was at the center of it all as the final Foreign Minister of the USSR, only to return to Georgia and become president of the country in 1995. His unique role in the process of the USSR’s collapse, along with the close connections in the West he made along the way directly influenced the trajectory of nation building in post-Soviet Georgia.
On today’s episode, Sopo Japaridze, Beka Natsvlishvili and Bryan Gigantino discuss all of this and more with historian Vladislav Zubok author of the book Collapse: the Fall of the Soviet Union .