Answer :

Factors that forced Gorbachev to initiate reforms were:

• The west i.e. the US had succeeded in modernizing and scientific did not match the level of scientific technology of the US. Therefore, it became important for USSR too to introduce reforms and development in its technology to be at par with its rival U.S.

• The U.S. had a developed economy by then, a complex communication network, transportation network, vast energy resources etc and was efficiently connected with even its remotest areas. However, the USSR just managed to provide its citizens a minimum standard of living and government subsidized basic necessities. Gorbachev understood this and initiated reforms so as to be at par with the U.S. and also for the welfare of its people.

• The Soviet state had become bureaucratic and authoritarian in nature with time, making life difficult for its people. Lack of democracy and absence of freedom of speech frustrated the citizens. Whereas the citizens of the West enjoyed freedom of expression and other basic rights. Therefore, reforms were considered necessary to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the USSR.

• The single party system represented by the communist party of the Soviet Union had tight control over all institutions and was unaccountable to people. However, democracy in the Western countries like U.S had begun to attract the attention of people. Therefore, reforms catering to people were necessary.

• In the USSR, though wages continued to grow, productivity and technology fell considerably behind that of west. The economy had become stagnant. This was a sign of danger for its economy. Gorbachev sensed the danger and initiated reforms in the USSR.

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