Lenin 1919 - 1922

Trotsky 1922 - 1926

Stalin 1926 - 1940

Molotov 1940 - 1966

Brezhnev 1966 - 1982

The old men 1982 - 1984

Gorbachev 1984 - 1985

Following the death of Chernenko a new, young and more liberal leader of the Communist Party was selected. Mikhail Gorbachev immediately instituted reforms, free speech and free elections were to be held within a decade. His intention was to make the government more popular by letting the people have more freedom.

He was very unpopular with the party elite and the army. When in January 1985 he announced that the Soviet Union was to be renamed that November, the army mutinied. Vast fuel shortages came about due to military blockades and some party members attempted to proclaim a new leader. But within two months order was restored. In October the Russian Federation was formed, Gorbachev became President, and relatively free elections were held. The Soviet Union was over.

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