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             Gorbachev's popularity grew in the West as he became known as a brave reformer and supporter of peace. His popularity at home plummeted though as the problems of the Soviet Union increased. His attempts to save Soviet communism became more difficult as all the former Soviet Eastern Bloc countries broke away from the USSR by 1989. A group of conservatives then seized control of the government and placed Gorbachev under house arrest on August 18, 1991. This coup attempt failed, but it served as the blow that shattered the old communist order and the Soviet Union. More local governments within the USSR headed towards independence. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania soon broke away from the USSR. While Gorbachev attempted to keep the rest of the union together, the opposing forces were too many and too strong. Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev's main opponent from the Russian Republic, announced the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The republic saw Yeltsin as a hero, and he destroyed Gorbachev in his quest for personal power. On December 25, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the president of the nonexistent Soviet Union.
             Communism in the USSR failed to produce the benefits Marx envisioned. The communist government soon grew into oppressive dictatorships, and economic times were not as promised. The arms race with the United States depleted the country of the resources that could have gone into improving the living standards. Russia did become a developed nation under communist rule, but other problems soon deteriorated any stability it might have gained during the years of Lenin and Stalin. Nationalism and political corruption contributed to the deterioration of this system of government. Efforts made by Gorbachev to improve conditions caused the system to collapse faster. Communism gradually disappeared from Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1991 after Gorbachev resigned.

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