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Events Leading up to the Collapse of the Soviet Union

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December 1979: Soviet troops invade Afghanistan to help the country's communist government fight mujahedeen guerrilla forces. (AP)
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December 1979: Soviet troops invade Afghanistan to help the country's communist government fight mujahedeen guerrilla forces. (AP)

January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan is sworn in as U.S. president. During his two terms he implemented a weapons buildup that prompted the Soviet Union to counter with a buildup its economy could not afford. (AP)
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January 20, 1981: Ronald Reagan is sworn in as U.S. president. During his two terms he implemented a weapons buildup that prompted the Soviet Union to counter with a buildup its economy could not afford. (AP)

March 11, 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Union at 54 years old. He introduces glasnost and perestroika in an effort to overcome economic and political problems. (AP)
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March 11, 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev becomes president of the Soviet Union at 54 years old. He introduces glasnost and perestroika in an effort to overcome economic and political problems. (AP)

December 23, 1986: Soviet dissident and nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov arrives in Moscow after Mr. Gorbachev freed him from internal exile as part of his reform policy. (AP)
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December 23, 1986: Soviet dissident and nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov arrives in Moscow after Mr. Gorbachev freed him from internal exile as part of his reform policy. (AP)

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