The Cold War definitively ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, thus signifying a democratic victory for the United States and the Western World. Though there are other signifiers relaying that communism and the Soviet Union were declining in influence before 1991, it is with the official disbandment of the Soviet Union that the Cold War officially ends. This signifies a victory for the United States and democratic values as it is their society and way of life that remained intact, while for better or worse the Soviet Union had to rebuild itself into Russia. The Cold War, if it is truly to be considered a war, must have ended as one of the opponents dissolved their union in Eastern Europe and were forced to reshape their society. A war cannot be fought without an opponent, even a cold one. Therefore, the Cold War must have ended in 1991.
Although the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, releasing several territories in Eastern Europe which possess a variety of governmental structures today, it is inarguable that “Russia” was always the brain power behind the Soviet operation. Yes, Russian society required a pause and reroute following 1991, but they did and do remain a world superpower. The United States and Russia are locked in the same conflicts today as they were three decades ago, signifying that the Cold War has not truly ended at all.