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The confrontation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin was a key factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Perhaps no event of comparable magnitude has been more affected by the personal interactions of two men. The history of the Gorbachev-Yeltsin relationship during the ªnal years of...
This article examines the role of the Committee on State Security (KGB) during the turbulent six-and-a-half years under Mikhail Gorbachev, from March 1985 to December 1991. Contrary to popular impressions, the KGB was never an independent actor in the Soviet system; it acted at the behest of the...
A book published by the author in 1993 contained a lengthy chapter on the August 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union. This article builds on and updates that chapter, making use of a trove of newly available documents and memoirs. The article discusses many aspects of the coup attempt, but it...
This article uses competing theories of civil-military relations to explain why the Soviet military failed to act in a decisive manner to prevent the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The norms and beliefs held by Soviet military officers—that is, the military's organizational culture—were...
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