Soviet Downfall

Abstract This essay concentrates on two representatives of the dissident movement in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and in the 1970s–Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The essay introduces the history of the dissident movement in the Russian Empire under the Tsars and in the Soviet Union under various leaders, mainly under Nikita Khruschev, Leonid Brezhnev and Michael Gorbachev. It presents the historical conflict of Slavophils and Westernizers that began in the time of Peter the Great and discusses its impact on Russian thinkers over the years. The essay proposes that Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov are representatives of two branches of Russian philosophy, modified with time: Slavophilism and Westernism. Solzhenitsyn is presented to be a person with Slavophilic tendencies, while Sakharov is presented to be an advocate of the Western model of development for Russia. The essay discusses their paths to dissidence and their opposition to the Soviet regime. It also provides a comparison of their views and ideas. The essay attempts to follow the chronological order of their lives. In the end it provides a brief overview of their recent actions, based on their ideas, drawn from Slavophilism and Westernism. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 the world changed dramatically. The Cold War ended and the threat of communism ended in Europe. Such Eastern European countries as Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) and others stopped being Soviet satellites. “East and West Germany, meanwhile, were moving rapidly toward unification.”[1] But this was not the end. In November 1991 the Soviet Union, “the evil empire” that had kept the democratic and non-democratic world in fear and strain for almost seventy years disappeared. It left fifteen independent republics, with Russia being the largest one. Russia, out of all the former Soviet bloc states and the former Soviet Union, wa…

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