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Did 'Dallas' end the Cold War? Mikhail Gorbachev thought American series was the reason for USSR's fall

Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev once told Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart that the show 'had more effect' in ending the Cold War than anything else
(Getty Images/IMDb)
(Getty Images/IMDb)

One of Russia's most prominent leaders believes TV show 'Dallas' was one of the main reasons behind the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union. Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev once told Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart that the 1980s show "had more effect" in ending the Cold War than anything else, the Daily Mail reported.

Gorbachev, 89, reportedly admitted to Stewart, 68, that an illicit broadcast of the Texas-based soap opera gave Russians a glimpse of western life — and that's how it 'brought down' the communist superpower. The programme portrayed millionaire lifestyles of the oil-rich Ewing family.

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and American President Ronald Reagan (White House Photos/Getty Images)

Stewart recalled the conversation with Gorbachev during an appearance on Joss Stone's 'A Cuppa Happy podcast'. The conversation reportedly took place in the early 1990s just as the Soviet Union was starting to open up to the rest of the world. Prior to that, the communist regime had prevented Russians from listening to western music or watching TV shows.

"He was saying what brought Russia down was they weren't allowed to see any shows from anywhere and they had giant blockers of signals so they'd only get fed the information from the government," Stewart recalled. "People would go and try and crack open these blockers. My friend, him and his mate lay on their back and heard Radio Caroline for 15 minutes and they heard the Beatles and another band and they were just lying on their back in a church just crying because they'd never heard anything like it."

The musician then explained how American TV had "more effect" on Russia than anything else. "What Gorbachev was saying it was Dallas the TV show, somebody managed to get a VHS to work and broadcast it to part of Russia and they thought, ''Hang on, that's how people live in America?'' He said that had more effect, that half an hour, than anything else," Stewart added.

But while American pop culture may have helped Russia reject communism and embrace free trade, Russia is once again being accused of trying to meddle in the 2020 presidential election by illicitly obtaining voter data. On October 21, senior national security officials alleged that Russia, as well as Iran, had both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 US election. In a news conference, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe said, “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

John Ratcliffe (Getty Images)

FBI Director Christopher Wray separately spoke at the news conference. He said, “When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we are going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to take appropriate action. You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”

The announcement followed a joint statement by the Senate Intelligence Committee chair Marco Rubio and ranking member Mark Warner concerning election security. The statement read, “Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will. They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them.”