Mikhail Gorbachev

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Assess how successful Gorbachev was in recognizing the importance of domestic conditions for the end of the Cold War.

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I think that one particular way in which Gorbachev proved to be radical in his role of ending the Cold War was how he was able to shift the focus of the Russian body politic internally.  Essentially, Gorbachev made the argument that the Russian economic system could not continue.  He forced a significant examination of domestic economic vitality.  It was evident to all, even the most hardline Soviet leaders, that Gorbachev was right in that the Soviet economy was stagnant and not growing.  In order for it to grow, Gorbachev constructed the notion ofPerestroika, which enabled a full and thorough reexamination of Soviet economic and political policy.  It is in this realm where Gorbachev has to be hailed in his use of economic and material conditions to make the case that change was needed.  At a time when so many Soviets looked externally in their opposition to the West and failed to examine how domestic conditions in the Soviet Union was crying for change, Gorbachev did just this and in doing so ended up making a compelling case that trying to win the Cold War was a vague element in light of how Russian citizens were struggling and dying in the process.  Gorbachev was able to be quite successful in suggesting that one's political policy has to be guided by the conditions that govern the nation.

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