Primary Source

Assessing the Future of the Soviet Military


Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms followed two paths: perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost' (openness). In order to reform the Soviet economy, Gorbachev believed it was necessary to cut spending on the Soviet military, both inside Soviet borders and throughout Eastern Europe. By the end of 1989, 500,000 men had been decommissioned from the Soviet army, greatly reducing its military presence throughout Eastern Europe. In this intelligence assessment from 1990, the real impact of Soviet disarmament for the U.S. and its NATO allies is evaluated. Though some fears remain about Soviet military power, the Soviet unilateral disarmament had fundamentally degraded its military strength, which created new opportunities for the U.S. and NATO in planning for the future of Eastern Europe.

National Intelligence Council, "Assessing the Future of the Soviet Military," Making the History of 1989, Item #190


National Intelligence Council, "The Direction of Change in the Warsaw Pact Soviet Union," April 1990, Cold War International History Project, Documents and Papers, CWIHP (accessed May 14, 2008).

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Assessing the Future of the Soviet Military in World History Commons,