The dissolution of the Soviet Union

On December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union (also known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)—which emerged out of the socialist revolution of October 1917—was formally dissolved by the Stalinist regime led by Mikhail Gorbachev. The destruction of the Soviet Union was the outcome of the anti-socialist and nationalist policies of the ruling bureaucracy, which confirmed the warnings of the Trotskyist movement of the counterrevolutionary nature of Stalinism.

In the immediate aftermath of its split with the national-opportunists of the Workers Revolutionary Party in 1985-1986, the International Committee of the Fourth International had developed an extraordinarily prescient analysis of the pro-capitalist orientation of the Stalinist bureaucracy, reflected in Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika policies. It warned the Soviet and international working class of the danger of capitalist restoration.

The ICFI’s analysis was based on the entire theoretical and historical struggle by the Trotskyist movement, dating back to the 1923 formation of the Left Opposition by Leon Trotsky, the analysis made by Trotsky of the counterrevolutionary nature of the Stalinist bureaucracy in his work, The Revolution Betrayed, the founding of the Fourth International in 1938, and the struggle waged by the ICFI against pro-Stalinist Pabloite revisionism throughout the second half of the 20th Century. The ICFI was guided by the Trotskyist program for the defense of the gains of the October Revolution on the basis of the program of world socialist revolution.

In this page, readers can find contemporaneous documents published by the ICFI from the late 1980s, including its analysis of the objective causes, political significance and implications of the restoration of capitalism.

Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, second from right, and U.S. President Ronald Reagan, second from left, shake hands outside the Hofdi at the start of a series of talks, Oct. 11, 1986, Reykjavik, Iceland. The other men are unidentified. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
The ICFI’s analysis of Glasnost and Perestroika
David North’s 1989 trip to the Soviet Union

In November 1989, David North, the national secretary of the Workers League, travelled to the Soviet Union on behalf of the International Committee of the Fourth International. In the course of his two-week visit, he was able to meet with trade unionists, students and socialist activists in Moscow and Leningrad. North's trip to he Soviet Union was part of the ICFI's intervention in the USSR and eastern Europe amidst the historic political crisis of Stalinism. The central thread of the intervention was the struggle to reestablish the historical and political links of the Soviet working class, and the workers in the Stalinist-ruled countries of Eastern Europe, to the proletarian internationalist foundations of October.

Read the lectures and interviews from the trip
The 1991 August putsch and the drive to capitalist restoration
The 1991 Berlin Conference of Workers against Imperialist War and Colonialism

The Berlin World Conference of Workers against Imperialist War and Colonialism was held by the ICFI on November 16-17, 1991. The ICFI's initiative to hold the conference was taken in response to the launching of the Gulf War by Washington, US imperialism’s “unipolar moment” and the march toward the restoration of capitalism and dissolution of the USSR.

Reports and statements of the conference
The end of the USSR
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