In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev ascended to power in the USSR. In selecting a young reformer to the position of general secretary, the politburo had recognized the pressing need to revitalise the Soviet Union. To this end, the leadership imposed a series of reforms aimed at reinvigorating the Soviet economy and society, of which the shifts in foreign policy were the most radical and wide-ranging. Yet, the culmination of the reform process was not Soviet reinvigoration, but the rapid collapse of the USSR. The End of the Cold War and the Causes of Soviet Collapse examines the role played by this foreign policy reform process in the breakdown of Soviet power. Nick Bisley uses a historical sociological theory of the state to analyze the influence of foreign policy alongside the other domestic factors which shaped the development, functioning and failure of the Soviet state. He concludes that the international confrontation was an important structural element of Soviet state rule and that the end of the confrontation contributed to the destablilization of the state in the late 1980s. Moreover, he shows that international factors are fundamental to the functioning of modern states and that international and domestic orders shape one another in vital ways.

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