The main task of the USSR's foreign policy in the period of "perestroyka" was to create conditions for power reform inside the country. With problems growing more acute foreign policy became more and more flexible and pillowy. In the foreign policy course of the country it's possible to distinguish two noticeable stages: 1985-1988 and 1989-1991.
The new political course was affirmed as early as on the XXVII CPSU Congress. It was officially announced about rejection the principles of Socialist Internationalism. First in more than 70 years of Soviet Power human treasures began to be focused instead of Socialist ones. It was announced that global problems should be the most important ones, that is economic, social, energetic ones and problems of maintaining peace.
As for the relations with developed capitalist countries on the first stage there stood the task of the mid-70-s relationship level reconstructing. The task was fulfilled in course of multiple M. Gorbatshev's official visits. Three important questions had been solved: discontinuation of arms race and partial arms cut; withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan; broadening of contacts between countries of different political systems.
The problem of disarmament consisted of two main parts: (1) liquidation of USSR and USA missiles of medium and smaller action distance, located in Europe and (2) the Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI)
In course of intensive diplomatic contacts as well as a series of meetings of M. Gorbatshev from one side and R. Reigan, G. Bush in Reykiavic, on Malta, in Washington, DC and in Moscow agreements had been signed on questions of disarmament. In Europe by 1990 Soviet and American missiles of medium and smaller distance had been eliminated. Moreover, the USSR liquidated a part of missiles in Siberia and Far East, which had been pointed to Japan, South Korea and China. That was the first real cut of a whole class of arms, undertaken since the Second World War.
Right after signing the agreement about the medium distance missiles talks about strategic arms cut activated considerably, but unfortunately without real results, due to the sides' difference in approach to solving global problems. Vienna talks about regular weapons cut in Central Europe also didn't give tangible results. The NATO countries as ever pointed to enormous benefit of Warsaw Pact countries in tanks and manpower, and the USSR and other countries - to NATO nuclear vantage.
The most important question was the one about Soviet troops presence in Afghanistan. Attempts for real improvement of the USSR -the West relations constantly came across accusations towards the USSR in keeping the aggressive war against Afghan people. Gorbatshev's government recognised this war as dead-end one and was interested in outgo from it. But it was really hard to take any practical steps in that direction.
Since 1985 a period of intensive broadening of ties and contacts between Soviet institutions and foreign private persons began. Soviet leadership were interested first of all in development of technical and economic links, hoping to receive West loans and technologies so as to ease the crisis situation of national economy. Western countries in their turn, first of all the USA and the UK, were ready to broaden economic ties and they explained this as necessary due to changes inside Russia as well as broadening of humanitarian connections and contacts between private persons. As a result of concessions from Soviet side the flow of tourists from and to the USSR increased multifoldly.
Soviet diplomacy with (since 1985) E. Shevarnadze at the head tried actively to normalise and keep good-neighbour relations with as much countries as possible. First of all it concerned a row of countries the relations with which were not optionally tuned-up.
Beginning with 1985 the USSR-China relations began to recover by and by. In 1989 May the first for some 30 years official visit of Soviet leader to China People's Republic took place. Similar processes began to occur in regard to some certain countries of South East and South Asia, like Thailand and Pakistan, Latin-American countries like Chilli, African like South-American Republic. However the USSR continued to carry out military and economic aid to Arab and African countries, oriented to "socialist ideals", such as Alzhir, Ethiopia, Angola, Iraq, Syria etc.
For the period of 1985-1988 relations of the USSR with the countries of the "Socialist Camp" were being built up on the same base as before. The governments of those countries remained the same (they had been created as far back as in Brezhnev's time).
While 1985-1988 period we can reckon (from the viewpoint of foreign policy) as preparation stage, 1989-1991 is no question the time of "perestroyka". The results of the period often didn't meet the tasks and sometimes they were unexpected for governments of many countries. Among events of international life in which the USSR took an active part, we could distinguish a number of large-scale spheres: (1) withdrawal Soviet troops from Afghanistan; (2) victory of opposition forces in European socialist countries; (3) Unification of Germany; (4) Beginning of Soviet troops withdrawal from Western Europe.
According to Geneva 1988 arrangements, in spring of 1989 all the Soviet troops had to leave Afghanistan. This step of the Soviet government generated benevolent response all over the world and first of all in Arabic countries and in the countries of the West. At the same time Geneva agreements were broken, since on the one hand the USSR continued to render military and economic assistance to Afghanistan government and on the other the USA and a number of Arabic countries - to the opposition forces. Despite the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, central Afghan government maintained control over strategic regions of the country and continued to fight against dushmans.
One of the most serious changes in political life of Europe was disappearance of a European country. In October 1990 German Democratic Republic quit to exist and became part of Fedetative Republic of Germany. The Complexity was that GDR was under Warsaw Pact, but FRG - under NATO. Moreover, in GDR striking units of Soviet Army were located. As a result of negotiations an agreement was reached, that the new united Germany would become a member of NATO, Soviet troops would be withdrawn from the country, and the USSR would receive large-scale preferential loans from FRG, as well as supplies of technics, technologies and consumer goods. The total sum of credits and economical aid of FRG for the USSR should come up to 10 000 000 000 marks.
At that period practically all developed countries including even South Korea (diplomatic relations with which hadn't yet been established in full degree) promised the USSR many-million loans and rendered economic assistance. In 1990 the USA granted the USSR (for the first time in history) most-favoured-nation treatment in sales. In April 1991 the first in history of Soviet-Japaneese relations visit of the USSR leader to Japan took place.
As a whole the period 1985-1991 was characteristic with drastic changes in international situation. For some 5-6 years the confrontation East-West disappeared, and the "Socialist camp" no longer existed.