Mikhail Gorbachev: Farewell Address

(1991)

On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, declaring the post defunct and recognizing that the Soviet Union, established in 1922, had dissolved. That day, he delivered his Farewell Address, acknowledging that this was “my last opportunity to address you as President of the U.S.S.R.”


Gorbachev's resignation was the culmination of major geopolitical events in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For decades the Soviet Union had maintained a firm grip on its Eastern European satellite states, but in the late 1980s the pro-Soviet governments in Poland and Hungary collapsed. Then, in November 1989, one of the most visible symbols of the cold war, the Berlin Wall (separating Communist East Berlin and democratic West Berlin), was torn down, and by late 1990 the two German states had reunified. Events within the Soviet Union were no less dramatic. The pro-independence movement in the Soviet Republics began in 1988 in...