This Week in EUCOM History: December 25-31, 1991
On Dec. 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union. The next day, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

December 25-26 -- Mikhail Gorbachev resigns and the Soviet Union formally dissolves

On Dec. 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union. The next day, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party from its foundation in 1922 until 1990. Even though the USSR was technically a union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy was highly centralized.

The Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellite states engaged in the Cold War, a prolonged global ideological and political struggle against the United States and its Western Bloc allies, which it ultimately lost in the face of economic troubles and both domestic and foreign political unrest. In the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tried to reform the state with his policies of perestroika and glasnost, but the Soviet Union collapsed and was formally dissolved after the abortive August coup attempt. The Russian Federation assumed its rights and obligations.

Much of EUCOM’s focus during the cold war was to prepare for conflict with the Soviet Union. With the Collapse of the USSR, EUCOM’s mission changed dramatically.

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