In the early 1980s prior to Gorbachev’s presidency, the soviet economy was wracked by chronic shortages of food and consumer items. These shortages were in part due because of Leonid Brezhnev leadership being inefficient at directing the soviet economy. It was against this backdrop of economic decline and political instability that Mikhail Gorbachev came to power. Gorbachev came from a peasant family and this humble background played a large role in his political thinking and gave him a strong humanitarian sympathy. His separation from the old regime gave him greater freedoms to move away from old thinking and enact policies grounded in a new way of thinking. Gorbachev was under different circumstances than past leaders because people at around this time wanted the country to move in different directions and at the same time, this led to Gorb...
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