Vail Symposium to explore the fall of the Soviet Union |

Vail Symposium to explore the fall of the Soviet Union

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

EAGLE ” The dissolution of the Soviet Union is thought to be one of the most pivotal events of the 20th century. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was the longest lasting socialist state in world history, in existence for nearly 70 years.

On Wednesday, as part of the Vail Symposium’s free Active Minds for Lifetime Learning series, instructor Sasha Breger will lead a discussion about the history of the Soviet Union and the causes of its failure, as well as the continued relevance of the Russian Federation, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin. The program will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Golden Eagle Community Center in Eagle.

The symposium partners with Eagle County and the Denver-based Active Minds for Seniors in order to provide experienced instruction to our community. Instructor Breger is a Ph.D graduate from The School of International Studies at the University of Denver and received her bachelor’s in International Affairs and Political Science from George Washington University. She teaches at Denver University and Colorado College, and has lectured at the International Leadership Council, Denver.

There is much to be considered when discussing the USSR: Vladimir Lenin and Stalin; a command economy and stringent ideologies; the persecution of millions; Gorbachev’s policies of glasnost and perestroika; and the fall of the Berlin Wall, among them. The picture would not be complete without also considering the relationship between the U.S. and USSR during that time (taking into account Vietnam and the arms race). It is a history rich with triumphs, but known for its tragedies.

On December 26, 1991, Mikhael Gorbachev addressed the citizens of the USSR for the last time in his capacity of president. In his speech, he recognized the nation as being collapsed ” the country no longer unified, but “dismembered and disunited.” He effectively dissolved the Soviet Union, but also reflected on some of the progress that had been made since he came to office in 1984.

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The dissolution of the socialist state had many implications: It ushered in a new “Post-Cold War era” and made the United States the world’s lone superpower. It also seemed to congratulate the Western democratic model of social, political and economic organization.

Since 1991, Russia has struggled with significant changes in society and politics. There is speculation that policy within the country has not really improved, with corruption, political unfreedom and semi-authoritarian rule still arguable issues today. Russian relations with the U.S. have also been mixed at best.

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