The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, was the most instrumental person in ushering in the Russian Federation, a major new direction in Russian history. Gorbachevs ‘New Thinking’ was not just a catchphrase for a new foreign policy built upon traditional…
The transformation in foreign policy thinking profoundly impacted policy making and was based on the realization that the real security threat to Russia came from the deteriorating economy due to excessive military spending. Rather than applying the overt exhibition of military power, Gorbachev chose to apply political influence. He improved diplomatic relations and economic cooperation by such actions as unannounced personal appearances at public events both within and outside Soviet borders. Gorbachev charismatically utilized the world media and made political concessions in the resolution of regional conflicts and arms negotiations that were previously unimaginable under the old regime. The ‘New Thinking’ aided the Soviet Union in garnering wide approval of many nations. Its peace-making policy that released Soviet control over Eastern Europe ultimately led to the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War. Its success would entail radical changes not only in the way the economy functions, but in social and cultural policy, in Soviet political life, and ultimately, in the way in which the Soviet Union deals with the larger international community. By-products of the ‘New Thinking,’ perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness) initiated far-reaching governmental policy changes that affected virtually every aspect of Soviet life. These new concepts were a distant departure from previous Soviet practices. This discussion will focus on the building of the Russia Federation, the competing ideologies within the government along with Russia’s new approach to foreign policy and how it was designed to tie in with internal reforms. It will briefly review recent political history leading up to this new way of thinking including how such a radical departure from past procedures and policies was accomplished and the subsequent consequences this reversal of political thought inspired as well as its far-reaching ...
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