Why is it said that a weakened military also contributed to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R?

No doubt, the Soviet Union was a superpower in the world. Yet, its military was also feeling the impact of perestroika and glasnost.

Funding for the military was reduced considerably between 1985 and 1991, and the troop strength came down. In 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev acted on the negotiations for a long pending arms reduction treaty, bringing about the first major reduction. This reduced military strength by 500,000 men. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan happened around this time to which more than 100,000 Soviet soldiers were deployed. The ten- year-long Afghan war left more than 15,000 Soviet troops dead and thousands injured.

People’s resistance to military draft also contributed to the decline of troops. In the new spirit of glasnost, the conscripted soldiers felt free and bold to talk about the abuses they suffered. This caused great concern among the public and there was resistance everywhere to military draft. As separatist movements came up in the republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania between 1989 and 1991, the military was not strong enough to suppress them.

The centralised Communist Party was losing its grip. The Party hard-liners organised a coup attempt to overthrow Gorbachev, fed up with perestroika and glasnost. But the attempt failed, because the now-fragmented military stood in support of Gorbachev. Gorbachev managed to stay in office, but the coup had weakened the U.S.S.R further, quickening its slide to dissolution.

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