Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2006


The goal of my AHS Capstone project has been to analyze the role of computers and the computing gap during the period between Gorbachev’s rise to power in 1985 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Specifically, I attempted to identify the means by which computers and the computing gap affected the Soviet Union during this active period of shifting economic, political, and social structures. I specifically discuss the economic consequences of the computing gap, and analyze the effect the relative backwardness in computing technology had on the Soviet Union, both in general, and in relation to the restructuring effort orchestrated by Gorbachev as part of perestroika. I then discuss the political consequences of the attempted rapidintroduction of computers during the Gorbachev reforms. Finally, I attempt to quantitatively describe the scope and magnitude of the computing gap, and to draw some broad conclusionsabout the role computer technologies play in geo-politics.