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burntbonez's avatar

Which put more pressure on the the USSR, Reagan or Chernobyl?

Asked by burntbonez (5194 points ) January 28th, 2013

Mikhael Gorbachev claims that Chernobyl was what allowed/forced him to open up Soviet government to more public scrutiny. Government misteps caused the accident, and people needed to know about it. More info.

Reagan apologists says that US pressure on the Soviet military complex caused the Soviet Union to break apart.

What do you think? Does it even matter? Why or why not?

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8 Answers

Linda_Owl's avatar

At this point in time, it really does not matter. However, I think that the Nuclear Disaster at Chernobly generated much more pressure on the old USSR than Reagan ever did.

bookish1's avatar

I vote for structural problems in the USSR. Economically, it was already in trouble since the 1970s. Getting their asses handed to them in Afghanistan didn’t help; neither did Chernobyl.

The Russianists in my department would give a good horse laugh to the Reagan apologists. In fact, they’ve probably already made a drinking game involving claims that Reagan defeated the USSR.

Ron_C's avatar

It was pretty simple, Our military, vastly out-spent theirs. Additionally, our stuff worked better than theirs. I remember this from the 70’s. We were tied up near a Russian destroyer. It bristled with all kinds of antennae for comm. and radar. I asked why and was told that everything they have is redundant because it’s all so unreliable. Also officers were the only ones that could fix the radar and comm gear. That was when I stopped worring about the military threat from the U.S.S.R.

ragingloli's avatar

The Klingons never cared about pressure from the Federation, it was the accident on Praxis that forced them into negotionst. It is the same with Chernobyl and general internal collapse of the Soviet Union.
As for reagan, well, americans really like to depict themselves as the heroes, regardless of actual history. They still think that they won WW2, when it was the Soviets that did.

ucme's avatar

It doesn’t matter, Gorbachev is a fucking legend though.

bookish1's avatar

@ragingloli: And I tell my undergraduate students that every chance I get. The U.S. didn’t even enter WW2 to defeat the Nazis, as we like to now claim. We entered to Kill-the-Japs, which we don’t like to talk about much anymore.

Symbeline's avatar

@WWII Right. As I understand it, the Russians were the ones responsible for the big blow that eventually ended WWII. No good with history, but I see I wasn’t all that wrong.

My friend’s little sister had to do a project on Chernobyl for school a while back, and they came here to use my computer for research. There was this one documentary I watched with them about it, and some guy in it said that this incident was kind of like a drop in the glass that made things overflow. The USSR was already in trouble, but Chernobyl kind made sure it would eventually go down the crapper. :/

wundayatta's avatar

The USSR was already falling apart because of internal problems. Chernobyl could well have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Possible the US military buildup was another straw, but it wasn’t a very significant one. The Berlin wall would have come down anyway. Reagan was there at the time and got the credit, but there was no credit due to him.

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