The Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26,1991. It was a result of the declaration number 142-Н of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and that evening at 7,32, the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time and replaced with the pre-revolutionary Russian flag. Previously, from August to December, all the individual republics, the week before the unions formal dissolution,11 republics signed the Alma-Ata Protocol formally establishing the CIS and declaring that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR also signalled the end of the Cold War, on the other hand, only the Baltic states have joined NATO and the European Union. Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on March 11,1985, Gorbachev, aged 54, was the youngest member of the Politburo. His initial goal as general secretary was to revive the Soviet economy, the reforms began with personnel changes of senior Brezhnev-era officials who would impede political and economic change. On April 23,1985, Gorbachev brought two protégés, Yegor Ligachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov, into the Politburo as full members. He kept the power ministries happy by promoting KGB Head Viktor Chebrikov from candidate to full member and this liberalisation, however, fostered nationalist movements and ethnic disputes within the Soviet Union. Under Gorbachevs leadership, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1989 introduced limited competitive elections to a new central legislature, in May 1985, Gorbachev delivered a speech in Leningrad advocating reforms and an anti-alcohol campaign to tackle widespread alcoholism. Prices of vodka, wine, and beer were raised in order to make these drinks more expensive and a disincentive to consumers, unlike most forms of rationing intended to conserve scarce goods, this was done to restrict sales with the overt goal of curtailing drunkenness. Gorbachevs plan also included billboards promoting sobriety, increased penalties for public drunkenness, however, Gorbachev soon faced the same adverse economic reaction to his prohibition as did the last Tsar. The disincentivization of alcohol consumption was a blow to the state budget according to Alexander Yakovlev. Alcohol production migrated to the market, or through moonshining as some made bathtub vodka with homegrown potatoes. The purpose of these reforms, however, was to prop up the centrally planned economy, unlike later reforms. The latter, disparaged as Mr Nyet in the West, had served for 28 years as Minister of Foreign Affairs, gromyko was relegated to the largely ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, as he was considered an old thinker. In the fall of 1985, Gorbachev continued to bring younger, at the next Central Committee meeting on October 15, Tikhonov retired from the Politburo and Talyzin became a candidate. Finally, on December 23,1985, Gorbachev appointed Yeltsin First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party replacing Viktor Grishin, Gorbachev continued to press for greater liberalization. The CTAG Helsinki-86 was founded in July 1986 in the Latvian port town of Liepāja by three workers, Linards Grantiņš, Raimonds Bitenieks, and Mārtiņš Bariss and its name refers to the human-rights statements of the Helsinki Accords
Image: 1991 coup attempt 1
Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987
Figure of Liberty on the Freedom Monument in Riga, focus of 1986 Latvian demonstrations.
Andrei Sakharov, formerly exiled to Gorky, was elected to the Congress of People's Deputies in March 1989.