“If Perestroika Fails…”: The Last Summer of the Cold War – June-July 1991.

To remember

  • embarked on Perestroika > President Gorbachev constructive actions => awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1990
  • June 1991 Soviet troops completed withdrawal from Hungary + Czechoslovakia = last Soviet tanks left => Czechs + Hungarians cheered
  • Comecon, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance + Warsaw Pact = dissolved
  • START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) objective reduction of long-range strategic weapons + CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) negotiations remained as unfinished business
  • 1991 Vienna final text installed
  • 31 July 2 presidents signed START 1 in Moscow => 2 superpowers agreed to reduce nuclear warheads + bombs to below nine thousand, including 1,500 delivery vehicles. => new sequence of strategic arms reduction agreements.
  • After the START 1 summit in Moscow on 31 July, George Bush kept his promise to visit Ukraine, and went on to Kiev.
  • Ukrainians looking for US support in attempt to break away from Moscow + declare independence.

Andrew James

President Gorbachev had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990, but gave his acceptance speech in Oslo on 5 June 1991, twenty-five years ago. In it he warned that, if perestroika fails, the prospect of entering a new peaceful period of history will vanish, at least for the foreseeable future. The message was received, but not acted upon.  Gorbachev had embarked on perestroika; it was up to him and his ministers to see that it did not fail. Outside the Soviet Union, his Peace Prize was acclaimed, and the consequences of his constructive actions were apparent everywhere. In June 1991 Soviet troops completed their withdrawal from Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Czechs and Hungarians cheered as the last Soviet tanks left. At the same time, both Comecon, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact were formally dissolved.

Two sets of arms negotiations remained as unfinished business between…

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