Ollapse of socialism in the USSR: Where did Gorbachev go wrong?

This essay is part of a module called East European Politics, and is a Stage 2 piece of coursework, equal to 60% of the final mark of the specific course.

Basically, the essay should essentially be focused on the following questions:
-How and why did mature socialism come to a stall in the USSR?
-What kind of reforms were necessary?
-Where did Gorbachev go wrong?
As for the structure, you could provide a brief background for the mature socialism (say 600-750 words), but dont dwell on it too much, rather focus on reforms, and then discuss where and why things have gone wrong.
The main attention should thus be given in critically analyzing and discussing the reforms.
Regarding some further discussion, you could talk about what seems to be the most probable reasons for the collapse of mature socialism, with reference to topics such as economic, political, loss of control, legacies of the past. Or towards the end you could briefly evaluate if the socialist system is an impossibility.
Below I give you some more detailed stuff that we discussed in the lecture for the specific topic:

-Structures of government
-Structures of the Communist party
-Policy processes and Democracy (The Soviet planning process)
-Comparative achievements of democratic performance and economic performance with other communist and non-communist countries

-1980s: The Soviet system in decline
--Economic failure
--Ossified social mobility
--Frustration of elites
--Failure of social contract between the state and Soviet citizens
--Overall stagnation

-Reforms were necessary for the USSR: The 4 elements of Gorbachevs reforms:
--perestroika(re-building the economy)
--demokratizatsiya(towards plurality and participation)
--glasnosta (access to information)
--new thinking (foreign policy a attempt to reduce arms spending)

-The phases of the reforms:
--Phase 1 (1985-87): Uskorenie & intensifikatsiya
--Phase 2 (1987-89): Weakening of Party-State
--Phase 3 (1989-90): General Crisis
--Phase 4 (1990-91): Management Crisis

-Issues at stake:
--Democracy (participation and inclusiveness);
--Rule of law (legal society);
--Glasnosta (open society)
--Foreign policy (cooperative society)
--Economic reforms (diversification of property forms)
--Civil society (de-statization)
--Philosophy of society (Marxism-Leninism is one of the concepts)

-General crisis:
--shortages, rationing, paid in TVs & fridges, no soap, washing powder, no sugar, even poorer quality (9/10 cats & sausages, 1989)
--accumulation of savings (340 billion roubles by mid-1989) - inflation.
--Politics a CPD election gave multi-candidate choice for the first time; emergence of Yeltsin.
--Abroad a CEECsa collapse

-Management crisis:
--Soviet economy was shrinking
--Hesitant and ill-defined vision of economic reforms which to be implemented in four long-term stages.
--Nationalitiesa pressure
--Gorbachev increasingly caught behind reformers but ahead of conservatives
--Yeltsin increasingly dominant.
--Attempted coup in August 1991, uprising in Moscow, led by Yeltsin.

-The consequences of reforms:
--Economic factors
--Fractionalisation of leadership
--Gorbachev reluctant to take next step
--The forces he leashed took on a life of their own and became impossible to control
--Foreign policy removed the a?enemya which justified communism
--Totalitarian nature of regime a once perestroika weakened the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the entire structure of the state collapsed

Finally, below I provide you with a reading list that is part of the curriculum for the topic of the essay, I do not specifically want to base the essay on them, just find
your sources that you think are best for the discussion of the topic. However, I would like you to include some the sources in the bibliography, no matter if you use them or not.
-Archie Brown, Demise of Marxism-Leninism in Russia (London: Palgrave, 2004), especially Chs. 1 & 7.
-Gale Stokes, The Wall Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe (N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1993)
-Roger East and Jolyon Pontin, Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe, 2nd edition (Continuum International, 1997)
-James F. Brown, Surge to Freedom: The End of Communist Rule in Eastern Europe (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991)
-Joseph Rothchild and Nancy Wingfield, Return to Diversity: A Political History of East Central Europe since World War II, 3rd edition (N.Y.: OUP, 1999)
-Ivan Berend, Central and Eastern Europe 1944-1993 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), reprint 2004
-Judy Batt, East Central Europe from Reform to Transformation (London: Pinter, 1991)
-Timothy G. Ash, The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe (Cambridge: Penguin, 1991)
-Renee de Nevers, The Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: The End of an Era, IISS Adelphi Paper No. 249
-Alex Pravda (ed.) The End of the Outer Empire (London: Sage, 1992)
-John Adam, Why did the Socialist System Collapse in Central and Eastern European Countries? The Case of Poland, the Former Czechoslovakia and Hungary (London: Macmillan, 1995)
-David Marples, The Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1985-1991 (Harlow: Longman, 2004)
-Ralf Dahrendorf, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe (London: Chatto & Windus, 1990)
-Michael Waller, The End of the Communist Power Monopoly (Manchester University Press, 1993)
-Richard J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century a and after, 2nd edition (London: Routledge, 1997)

Also, this is a good journal to take a look at:


I would really appreciate if you tried your hardest and closely follow the preferred topics of discussion, and be critical. Regarding the referencing, footnotes are strongly advised rather than parenthesizing.

P.S. I dont have to tell you that the penalties for plagiarism are extremely strict in my academic institution, so please be careful.