Perestroika: A Story of American Intelligence and Political Chaos
This paper looks to capture the relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and the final years of the Soviet Union under former General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Within this complex relationship, I specifically sought to explore how the CIA interpreted Gorbachev’s future as the leader of the Soviet Union and how their vision shifted over time. Using documents such as National Intelligence Dailys, memorandums from CIA personnel, and other various documents, I was able to discover a shift in tone and message when discussing Gorbachev’s future. From 1985 until late 1988, the CIA operated under the assumption that Gorbachev was going to have ample time to implement his reforms under Perestroika, just as the majority of Generals Secretaries had, excluding Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. However, a shift occurred in the early months of 1989 due to political unrest within the party, public dissatisfaction with the communist party, and the inability to implement economic reforms forcing the CIA to prepare for a time when Gorbachev’s tenure would end sooner rather than later.