In my latest article for RT (that you can read here), I discuss the issue of who was responsible for the collapse of the USSR. Was it Gorbachev? Was it the hardliners who opposed him and mounted a coup in August 1991? Or was it Yeltsin and his liberal allies?
A bit of all the above, I conclude, before adding that the Soviet Union was in any case founded on a fundamentally flawed social-economic model that was ultimately unsustainable. So, if you’re going to blame anybody, blame the Bolsheviks!
I could have added that you can also blame Stalin for adding the Baltic states and Galicia to the Soviet Union. If they’d not been part of the Union, separatist tendencies would have been substantially less, and it might have been possible for the communist system to collapse and the country not split into 15 different parts at the same time. Maybe. On balance, I’d conclude that the territorial gains of 1945 were a huge mistake.
I am sure that there are other factors as well. As always, your thoughts on the issue are welcome.