Any work that deals with the So What Do We Do Now? environment after the Cold War. Everything seemed to shift. What was relevant now? What was irrelevant? These works either asked those questions or focused on how people dealt with them.
And it can often be discussed in relation to modern conditions, such as comparing life back then and now, or military policy then and now.
Just to clarify, mentioning in passing that communism fell isn't enough. There has to be a sense that, well, someone was bummed.
With the worsening of relations between Russia and the west in The New '10s and The New '20s, plus improved Russian ties with China (something that was a nightmare scenario for the west during the Cold War), this is increasingly becoming a Discredited Trope. The allegiances of the Cold War are still in function, there just isn't the same level of ideology involved that there was during the original run.
Compare Post-Soviet Reunion, Germanic Depressives (for the East German variation), The New Russia, China Takes Over the World (particularly 21st century onwards), Too Good for Exploiters. Contrast Red Scare.
- An ad for some company highlighted one of the hazards of the crumbling of the Soviet Bloc on a corporation with international business interests: it seemed that every second a new country was being formed (or unformed), necessitating new market update reports (for which this company was more than happy to provide the printing services).
- Black Lagoon:
- Ex-Japanese Red Army member Takenaka is sad that he didn't get his revolution, and now allies with Muslim extremists he first met when collaborating with PFLP in Lebanon because he's become a Terrorist Without a Cause. Can be a Shout-Out to how the actual JRA operated for a time in the ME during the Cold War.
- Furthermore, Hansel and Gretel are products of Ceauşescu's rule of Romania. With the country unable to take care of them after his death at the end of the Cold War, they were sold to the Sicilian mafia, and... it goes From Bad to Worse.
- The series also features a criminal organization known as Hotel Moscow, which is composed of veterans of the Afghan War. It's leader, Balalaika, is a disillusioned former Soviet Special Forces commander who turned to a life of crime after being screwed over by the government in the wake of the war. OTOH, the end of Fujiyama Gangsta's Paradise arc could be explained only by her being, you know,.. deep in the loop. Just undercover.
- Monster includes a number of ex-GDR officers and scientists who have tried to create new lives and identities for themselves, with varying degrees of success. Includes mildly sympathetic portrayals of, among others, a disgruntled worker-turned-terrorist who was upset at the layoffs of various labor and business policy shifts in the power company he worked for in post-reunification Germany and a former high-ranking StB figure who was prominent in the world of organized crime but was just trying to find his long-lost nephew.
- The plot of the second Patlabor movie revolves around a terrorist plot intended to show the world how vulnerable the military budget cuts brought about by the end of the Cold War have made people. At least it was before Tsuge hijacked the plan for his own personal vendetta against the apathetic citizenry and the people who hung him out to dry when his attempts to develop a Humongous Mecha school of combat fell apart.
- Many former Soviet superheroes in the Marvel Universe, especially Iron Man specific enemies created during the Cold War — Titanium Man, The Crimson Dynamo. (A few of them tried forming teams of good guys like the People's Protectorate and later the Winter's Guard, but as heroes, they just couldn't garner much Popularity Power.) Even DC Comics gets into it with former teams such as the Rocket Red Brigade.
- A running theme in The Punisher MAX story Mother Russia, which opens with a Russian immigrant in a bar complaining about how the fall of the Soviet union has made Russia weak. Later in the story, Nick Fury moans to Frank about how nobody's wary of the Russians anymore.
Frank: Word is, the Russians are our friends now.
Fury: ARE they, now?
- In The Boys, former Soviet superhero Vas bemoans the end of communism particularly in respect to the end of an alternative to corporate run and owned heroes that make up the antagonists of the series.
- The Ultimates: Black Widow betrayed the Ultimates because of the fall of Russia to crime and poverty.
- Bloom County: In a 1991 strip, a passerby is flabbergasted to see Opus the Penguin playing "cowboys and Indians" with his friends. "You're fighting Indians in 1991?" the stranger asks. Opus concedes the point and then declares "Let's fight Commie spies!" No way, declares the stranger; they're too busy slaving away at the fryer in the new McDonald's in Moscow. Opus tries again: "Arab terrorists!" Sorry, comes the reply; they're now our allies. "Klingons," begins Opus, getting desperate now — but he's quickly informed that a Klingon warrior is now serving on the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Let's face it, the stranger concludes; it's the "end of history," and there are simply no more bad guys.
- Brenda Starr: A 1990 plot has Brenda brainwashed to kill a target at a conference by figures on various sides (U.S., Russia, arms dealers, etc) who realize the end of the Cold War is an end to the business that's made them rich.
- There's a political cartoon that shows two maps: one for the Cold War era, one post-Cold War. The Cold War map simply shows the US labeled as "Us" and the Soviet Union as "Them," whereas the post-Cold War one has a lot more labels for various countries like "A Little Bit of Them," "No Longer Them," "Fast Becoming Them," "Sometimes Them," and "Big-Time Them." One of the men examining the maps laments, "What's happening to me? I'm starting to MISS the Cold War!"
- Piranha Club: Parodied in one storyline where the fall of communism has reduced the entire CIA to following the world's last practicing Communist around, a Russian immigrant named Boris who relocated to Bayonne when the USSR collapsed. They desperately try to keep him alive and Communist, because if he dies, the CIA will be forced to resort to massive layoffs.
- James Bond: The Central Theme of films made after 1991note deal with the relevance of 007 in a post-Cold War era.
- GoldenEye wondered if James Bond was even relevant now. M and 006 in particular bluntly tell Bond he was "a relic of the Cold War".
Alec Trevelyan: Did you ever ask why? Why we toppled all those dictators, undermined all those regimes, only to come home — "Good job! Well done! But, sorry, old boy, everything you risked your life and limb for has changed!"?
- Casino Royale (2006) has a scene where an irate M grouses about the new political scene, ending with, "Christ, I miss the Cold War!"
- By the time Skyfall comes around, M seems to have come to terms with this. When she's Hauled Before a Big Government Inquiry to answer precisely this question, she responds that espionage is even more relevant now, as modern enemies are much more nebulous and elusive than they used to be.
- Spectre: The main dilemma presented here is whether an Attack Drone can do the job of field agents like 007. It's later proven that yes, Bond is still indeed relevant even in an era of WikiLeaks and mass surveillance.
- GoldenEye wondered if James Bond was even relevant now. M and 006 in particular bluntly tell Bond he was "a relic of the Cold War".
- The title of Ronin (1998) is based on the notion that former Cold War agents are now like the Rōnin samurai.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country does a metaphorical version of this by having the Klingon Empire sue for peace, ending the Space Cold War which had been raging since the original TV show. The bad guys are conspirators on both sides trying to sabotage the peace process because they don't want the familiar world of Federation vs. Klingons to end. Kirk himself feels somewhat this way at first ("No more Neutral Zone. I was used to hating Klingons."), but he comes around. The film went into production when the Iron Curtain was falling and it ended up being released just nineteen days before the Soviet Union was officially dissolved. In fact, Star Trek VI actually predicted the August Coup. The film's plot is set in motion when Mikhail Gorbachev's expy character is assassinated by hard-liners in his own government. The real coup occurred while the movie was being edited and, with Gorbachev's survival unclear, the filmmakers were left to wonder how much life would be imitating art.
- The Package 1989 involves a plot to kill Gorbachev and keep the Cold War going.
- Hudson Hawk: Parodied with a CIA agent.
George Kaplan: I did my first bare-handed strangulation here. A Communist politician. I miss Communism! The Red Threat. People were scared, the Agency had some respect, and I got laid every night!
- The Long Kiss Goodnight: The bad guys turn out to be Rogue CIA agents trying to drum up funding.
- The first Mission: Impossible movie: "No one to keep secrets from but yourself."
- The main character of Falling Down is a defense engineer that was laid off presumably due to defense budget cuts made after the end of the Cold War. He does not take it well. Short of the Roaring Rampage of Revenge, this was a sad Truth in Television for many men and women who obtained degrees in rocket and aerospace engineering and had jobs developing bigger and better weapons, because "Uncle Sam needed them." When the Cold War ended, Uncle Sam no longer needed them, and left many of them out of a job for years while defense budgets were cut, the entire military was restructured, bases were closed, etc, while the world just generally said So What Do We Do Now?... Falling Down is that generation's Easy Rider. So it wasn't just Russians, survivalists, and militia groups that were upset the Cold War ended.
- Sneakers has Gregor, a Russian "cultural attaché", who makes several comments along these lines: (The) last few years have been very confusing for people in my line of work.
- Likewise mentioned by Cosmo, who interrupted Gregor's attempts to assist the protagonist:
''I couldn't have you talking to the Russians. Five years ago, yes, we could trust them not to go running to the FBI, or if they did, we could trust the FBI not to believe them, but today we can't trust anybody.
- Likewise mentioned by Cosmo, who interrupted Gregor's attempts to assist the protagonist:
- The characters in Good Bye, Lenin! try to hide the fall of communism from their mother who just woke from a long coma after a stroke, as they fear with her weak heart condition, she might die when the truth is revealed to her. The film is part of a larger East German art movement called Ostalgie, which is based around nostalgia for the old communist years of the GDR. You'll note the presence of old East German cartoons throughout, the idolization of Sigmund Jähn, the protagonists' consternation over the loss of their favorite brand of pickles, and the general malaise that sets in with the city's mad rush toward the worst aspects of materialistic capitalism. Economically the 20-ish protagonist lands on his feet, going from apprentice TV repairman to satellite dish installer. Meanwhile his sister who had been at a prestigious university finds the degree in Marxist-Leninist economics she had been pursuing would now only be useful if printed on toilet paper and goes to work at Burger King, and several neighbors in their 50s remain unemployed throughout the film.
- Canadian Bacon centers on the US President trying to start a Cold War with Canada, now that the Cold War with the Soviet Union is over. There's a very funny scene where a general says the missiles are still pointed at Moscow, because "We couldn't find anybody new to point them at."
- In The Man Who Knew Too Little, this is the motivation of the villains Sir Roger and Sergai. They were heads of British and Russian intelligence (respectively) and now they're collaborating to restart hostilities between their nations, because they have nothing else to do.
- In Tremors 2: Aftershocks, Crazy-Prepared and Heavily-armed Survivalist Burt Gummer apparently became so unable to cope with the fall of the Soviet Union that even his equally gun-crazy wife left him.
Burt: Did you know Heather blames our problems on the collapse of the Soviet Union?
Earl: Well, you did take that kinda hard, Burt.
Burt: Said I was getting too hard to live with. Said I couldn't handle life without the threat of global war! (Beat) What kind of thing is that to say to a man?
- Lord of War:
- Inverted by Yuri, who kisses the screen and is completely oblivious to his son's first steps when Gorbachev announces the official fall of the USSR. This means tons of unwanted and unused Soviet arms lying around ripe for the taking and selling.
- Yuri's rival, Simeon Weisz, plays it straight though. A traditional man with an ideological motivation for selling arms, he had trouble adapting to the moral greyness of the Post-Cold War world. His attempt to adapt by trying to sell in Yuri's turf in Liberia doesn't turn well for him.
- Brother (1997) deals with it. It's in the background, but it's there.
- In Burn After Reading, John Malkovich's character Osbourne Cox is fired from his position as an analyst for the CIA due to his alcoholism. He later lies to his father, who himself worked for the CIA, that he quit because the end of the Cold War marked the CIA's transformation into nothing more than a bureaucracy. Played with elsewhere in the movie, when nobody from the CIA can understand why Linda would think to sell Cox's memoirs to the Russians.
Oswald Cox: "The Russians? Why the fuck would she go to the Russians? Why the fuck!?!"
- In Man with the Screaming Brain, we are introduced to Yegor, a KGB agent who got laid off after the collapse, and now has to work as a cab driver.
- Company Business (1991):
- Over dinner between a former KGB agent and a close-to-retiring CIA agent:
Grushenko: Whose ass you Americans going to "kick" now?
Boyd: Well... always got Fidel.
Grushenko: [laughs] Us, too.
- Boyd gushes about the luxurious house of an Arab Arms Dealer with its gold-plated doorknobs, etc, only to find the place has been stripped bare; the owner has fallen on hard times as no-one wants to buy weapons anymore. Presumably the script was written before Yugoslavia fell to pieces.
- Over dinner between a former KGB agent and a close-to-retiring CIA agent:
- The protagonist of Hedwig and the Angry Inch had every reason to be bummed by Communism's fall. Born a wispy little gay boy in East Germany, he was mangled in a sex change operation so that he could marry an American G.I. and escape to the west. A year later to the day, his husband abandons him and the Berlin Wall falls. Ouch.
- This is a major point in Severance (2006), as the area the main characters are camping in happens to be an ex-compound where Soviet commandos were imprisoned when they couldn't be de-programmed after the Soviet fall. It's supposed there might be one left that escaped into the woods. They're wrong. There are several.
- In Toys this apparently Leland Zevo's Start of Darkness:
The Old General: (mumble) change sides.
Leland: I can't change sides, you silly old fart! There's no side to change sides to!
- In The Peacemaker, a White House official says it outright - "Russia, what a fucking mess! God, I miss the Cold War."
- The Italian comedy Occhio Alla Perestrojka tells of three businessmen who had casual romances with Bulgarian girls, promising to one day return and marry them, fully confident the Iron Curtain will be sufficient excuse to ignore the promises. Two years pass, no more Iron Curtain, and the girls are coming for them...
- Air Force One to a certain degree. For one, the collapse of the Soviet Union is one of the driving motivations for the terrorist group that hijacks the plane. Also, according to the Word of God, the mole on the plane that helped with the hijacking was a former CIA spook who lost his job after the Cold War ended.
- In the Steve Martin Sgt. Bilko movie, while the fall of communism isn't named outright, Col. Hall comments that many army bases are being closed down due to budget cuts, and he fears that the hovertank project is the last chance to prove his Fort Baxter should stay in operation. The film was released in 1996, right at the tail end of the real life cuts and closures.
- Lee Child's books, especially The Enemy and The Affair, deal with the rapid reduction of US armed forces after the end of the Cold War, and how it affected the soldiers, including Jack Reacher, the main character.
- One could include thriller writers of the late 80's/early 90's under this trope. While the entire world changed around them, it seemed that for years the only plot they could come up with was: "Hardliners conspire to bring back the Good Old Days of the Cold War."
- The Negotiator, a novel by Frederick Forsyth, has some American arms manufacturers rather upset that the end of the Cold War means their weapon to destroy Soviet tanks isn't going to be a big seller. Time to stir the pot.
- Hell, this was the whole point of Archangel by Robert Harris. Thus the euphoria when they find Stalin's son and bring him to Moscow.
- Tom Clancy makes frequent use of this trope. Fully justified, since almost all of his characters aren’t government agents and this trope affected (or still affects) them personally. John Clark comments at one point that he spent much of his CIA career working against the USSR, and now he's friends with the new Russian Prime Minister.
- John LeCarre's spy fiction tends to invoke this as well, especially prominent in Single & Single, where the crux of the plot is a Georgian family who fell in power after the fall of Communism.
- Played for Laughs on Saturday Night Live. The Trope Namer sketch was a Wayne's World Top Ten List for "Why We're Bummed Communism Fell". Their list is as follows:
- #10: New maps.
Wayne: We're used to Russia being just this pink blob.
- #9: Is Yakov Smirnoff out of a job?note
- #8: Now they'll never find out what the thing on Gorby's head is.
- #7: Katarina Witt no longer has Forbidden Fruit appeal.
- #6: "The fall of Communism will deal a major blow to the trade union movement. Labor relations will revert to industrial revolutionary social Darwinism." [beat] "Okay."
- #5: Will the Beatles song be changed? ("Back in the Commonwealth of Independent, Back in the Commonwealth of Independent, Back in the Commonwealth of Independent Staaates.")
- #4: Soviets can no longer be the go-to bad guys in spy movies. ("In the future, spy stuff is gonna suck. Who's James Bond gonna spy on now, the Guatemalans?")
- #3: Playboy will no longer have "Girls of the Soviet Union" issues. "Denied."
- #2: No more bogus Soviet rock bands to make fun of.
Wayne: Remember Live Aid, that band Autograph? I mean, ex-squeeze me, a-baking powder (Wayne-speak for "Excuse me, I beg your pardon")?
Garth: I kinda liked them.
Both: Nyet! (Subtitle: "Not!")
- #1: They won't be the first ones to say on Russian television, "Live! From New York! It's Saturday Night!"
- #10: New maps.
- Used again in a more recent Saturday Night Live where they are discussing a Russian spy and are nostalgic and hopeful to fight a war they can understand again.
- In Burn Notice, former Navy SEAL and sometime covert operative Sam Axe says he misses the good old days:
I mean, in the '80s, the rules were the rules. They had their guys, we had our guys. Wasn't so goddamn complicated. You could get your head around it. Now today it's all about religion and oil. It's no fun anymore. I gotta tell you, I'm glad I got out when I did.
- In a sketch on The Ben Stiller Show, Stiller pretends to be Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff trying to keep his career going after the fall of communism. It doesn't go well. The real Smirnoff is actually doing pretty well, with a year-round show in Branson, Missouri and teaching gigs at various universities.
- An early episode of Boy Meets World has Cory studying for a geography bee, commenting that all the new little countries have made it a real pain.
Cory: In the old days, things used to be so simple. You had Russia, you had Moscow — one country, one capital. Now you've got your Latvia, your Estonia, your Ukraine, and each one's got its own capital. What were these people thinking?!
- Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego had to stop airing repeats of its entire first season after it was rendered obsolete by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Episodes in later seasons concluded with The Chief reading a disclaimer: "All geographic information was accurate as of the date this program was recorded!" and the production date, just in case a new country cropped up before the episode was aired. (Such as Eritrea, the former Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia...) The worst part was the breakup of Czech Republic/Slovakia, since Czechoslovakia is referenced in the theme song. The worked around it by changing the lyric from Czechoslovakia to Czech-and-Slovakia. One almost has to wonder if part of the reason the show's focus switched from geography to history for Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego had something to do with this, since history, being history, is much less vulnerable to stuff like this.
- A late-night talk show host making quips about how badly American high school students had performed on a globally-administered geography test. "Slovakia, which had been a country since, like, Tuesday, kicked our butts!"
- Cold Case: In the episode "One Fall" one of the suspects was a professional wrestler in The '80s who made a living playing a villain called "Red Scare". His entire wrestling career was built on his ability to do a Russian accent and it ended with the Cold War.
- The Kids in the Hall had a sketch where Dave Foley plays a "right-wing paranoid reactionary" seriously bummed that communism fell because "People used to listen to me. I fit in".
- The Golden Girls had an interesting case. In one episode Dorothy's ex-husband Stan had a cousin named Magda who was visiting from Czechoslovakia. She didn't really seem bummed as much as worried. While in a bookstore, she mentions how if her people read all those different books and different ideas, they'd get confused, and it would lead to anarchy. She felt that Communism was more fair, saying "When there's only one road, no one gets lost." Dorothy convinced her to read Thomas Paine's Common Sense, and she seemed to come around. Though what truly brought her around was reading Vanna White's Autobiography.
- Diagnosis: Murder played with this trope in the episode "Discards". Jesse Travis' father, played by Robert Culp, was a former spy dealing with obsolescence after the Cold War, while facing assassins hired by the son of his late partner, who blamed him and his fellow spies (played by Barbara Bain, Robert Vaughn and Patrick McNee) for his father's death. At one point, Jesse's dad, who had been estranged from his family due to his job keeping him away for so long, learned that the mission that killed his partner, arranging for the Soviets to "acquire" Western technology that the CIA had bugged so they could monitor the Kremlin, was all for nothing; the only thing the Soviets used the tech for was to maintain the Minsk subways. By the end of the episode, the older agents were offered new assignments in a new anti-terrorism unit, but Jesse's father insisted on taking an assignment in Los Angeles so he could spend more time with his son.
- Murphy Brown: Miles comes to work with a bad cold. He explains that he never used to get sick because he always kept his body motivated by imagining his immune system as the Americans and viruses as the Russians, which stopped working because "Now we like the Russians."
- Lampshaded in The X-Files: After a member of The Conspiracy gets a phone call informing him the Cold War is officially over, he looks distinctly surprised and dismayed as he tells his associates: "Gorbachev has resigned. There are no more enemies."
- The pilot episode of the X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen has the fall of Communism as the motivation for a Government Conspiracy to manufacture a war against terrorism, a plot that proved to be shockingly prophetic for both how the 9/11 attacks happened, and the conspiracy theories that resulted.
- On Homeland, enigmatic black-ops spymaster Dar Adul echoes M's line from Casino Royale (2006) in a conversation with Saul; "Christ, I miss the Cold War."
Saul: Prefer the daily threat of nuclear annihilation?
Adal: No, I miss the rules. The Soviets didn't shoot us, we didn't shoot them. Boy, this bunch...
- In the revived Get Smart series, Max's old nemesis Siegfried, his occupation gone, plots to re-ignite the Cold War by hitting Moscow with a missile which was itself bought at "a Soviet Union garage sale."
- One of the subplots of The West Wing episode "The Lame-Duck Congress" deals with a Ukrainian government official named Konanov who comes to D.C. because he wants to speak to President Bartlet. Bartlet and his staff don't want to speak with Konanov, but he shows up anyway, drunk. After Josh hides Konanov in an office until he finds out what to do, Josh exclaims, "Oh, how I miss the Cold War."
- In an episode of Law & Order an assistant district attorney is able interpret a dead John Doe's Russian prison tattoos, explaining that she majored in Russian studies because she thought the Cold War would keep her employed for life. She then chose a career in law.
- In the final season of The Americans, Gorbachev's reforms start to take effect, sending ripples through the Illegals program, with certain factions within the KGB plotting to use the remaining Illegals to try and sabotage Gorbachev's efforts to end the Cold War.
- NCIS reveals that one agent, Riley McCallister, was bummed that the Soviet Union fell, since that was his specialty. The emergence of the Middle East as the next global hot spot (largely courtesy of Saddam Hussein) made him and his expertise much less relevant.
- Molchat Doma: The miserable atmosphere of Post-Soviet Eastern Bloc states permeates all the imagery and themes of that band's music; however, based on their album covers' nightmarish presentation of old Soviet buildings, it's hard to argue they really present extant communist nations as utopian either.
- Pink Floyd: According to David Gilmour, "A Great Day for Freedom" is about the aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, first focusing on the initial joy of liberation before veering into the chaos and disappointment that followed in the form of economic hardship throughout eastern Europe, The Yugoslav Wars, the Bosnian genocide, and the rise of new dictators to replace the old ones.
- The Puhdys, a former Ostrock (Eastern Rock) band, they reformed after losing their regime sponsorship... And kept plugging along with their music and its themes of peace, atheism, Gay rights (yes they were a government band and they supported Queer rights- it was a thing in the DDR), and proceeded to make two of their finest albums in the 1990s, "Free as the Vultures" and "Crazy Peace". These two works dealt heavily with the new challenges of living under a "free" market, ranging from drug trafficking, poverty, depression, the resurgence of Naziism, religious fundamentalism, racist violence against the DDR's population of international students who were stranded when the wall fell, and confusing tax paperwork.
- Delta Green has the remains of the titular organization still around when the Soviet Union fell lamenting it, because GRU SV-8 was the only other organization that they were on speaking terms with in their battle against the Mythos.
- The Tabletop RPG Spycraft has a setting, "World on Fire", that has this as part of its setup. The main conspirators are top agents from both sides.
- Richard Foreman wrote a show for the Ontological Theatre in 2001 entitled Now That Communism Is Dead, My Life Feels Empty!, but good luck understanding anything Foreman writes.
- This was a major plot point in the background of Metal Gear Solid. The titular Metal Gear was designed primarily as a mobile launch platform for nuclear missiles. When the Cold War ended, there was no longer any need to develop this kind of weapon, budgets were cut, so the corporations and scientists behind it went to the black market.
Granin: I...love this country. I could not imagine living anywhere else.
- The mercenary army of Sergei and Olga Gurlukovich was created from former Soviet soldiers as a response to their dissatisfaction with the new Russian government and military, to restore the glory of Russia.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 gives us a case of "Why We're Bummed Communism is ABOUT to Fall" when Naked Snake a.k.a. Big Boss meets Aleksandr Granin, the head of a Russian weapons lab. In between moaning about his glory days and how his recent projects have failed, Granin shows he sees the writing on the wall that the Soviet Union is not long for this world anymore, but he's too loyal to his country to leave. His defeatism is making him a littlepremature, however: the Snake Eater mission takes place in 1964. The Soviet Union still had another 24-27 years of life left in it.
- The leaders of the Ultranationalists in Modern Warfare believe that Russian glory was lost after the fall of the USSR. Notably, they don't want to bring back the USSR, but rather are interested in bringing back the "glory" of those days.
- Mike Toreno from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a government agent who fondly regards the Cold War days as "good times". Never mind that the things he gets up to these days are much the same as back then, only set in other countries.
- The Big Bad of Phantom of Inferno used to brainwash people for the Stasi and KGB. When the Cold War ended, he picked up the protagonists and brainwashed them to be hired guns.
- Halbech, inc from Alpha Protocol derived a major source of income from Cold War-related arms sales. With the Cold War now over, they decide to heat up global tensions in key areas to increase demand for their products. Unfortunately, they don’t realize they are doing a bit too well at this and aren’t driving the world towards a new Cold War, but to World War III instead.
- The plight of the fictional country of Novistrana from Republic: The Revolution started because of this and only increased when unscrupolous president Karasov cemented his power. The very idea behind the game is the overthrowing of Karasov's regime and trying to set a new course for Novistrana in the post-Soviet world.
- Disco Elysium is set in a New Weird Urban Fantasy setting where a Communist revolution was quickly overwhelmed by a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to the Allied Powers bombing the city, putting all the Communists in front of a firing squad, and subjecting it to a form of "gossamer state" neoliberalism that has left the ordinary people there extremely poor, without any democratic rights, and with Dread Zeppelins circling overhead ready to bomb them again should any form of resistance arise. The game was made by Estonian developers and allegorises a lot of how this affected Estonia, from the burst of optimism as money and new technology flooded the country (for about eight years, followed by an absolutely gutting recession) to weird details such as the culture of mass abuse of hallucinogenic anti-radiation drugs stockpiled by the Communists.
- On Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee has often accused developers of modern first person shooters of feeling this way, given the number of game involving the Russians as the bad guys.
Yahtzee: So why in the name of bollock burgers do we keep coming back to the same alternate history where the Cold War escalated? I know how disappointing it was that we didn't get to have another big fancy war like in the forties, but if you're fine with rewriting history so that Americans are actually heroic underdogs rather than both sides being dicks to a precisely equal degree, why don't we ever see games where the Viet Cong have laser guns or the Taliban have giant robot snakes?
- Patrick Mulcahy from A Girl and Her Fed: Patrick Mulcahy yearns for simpler times.
The Fed (with his head in his hands): ...Born twenty years earlier, it'd be so much easier. "Agent Mulcahy," they'd say, "Go shoot Russians." And I'd ask, "Russians from an alternate future that no longer exists?" And they'd say, "They are your average Russians. Go shoot them."
- Polandball: A bit of a recurring theme.
- Defied in Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire, a story on AlternateHistory.com in which, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the infamous Russian far-right gadfly Vladimir Zhirinovsky (nowadays little more than Putin's court jester) becomes President of The New Russia and turns it into a fascist dictatorship. The Bear only gets angrier after the fall of the Soviet Union, meaning that communism is simply replaced by neo-fascism and the Cold War still goes on up to at least 2003 (the year when he's finally overthrown). Whether there's a "Why We're Bummed Zhirinovsky Fell" moment afterwards remains to be seen.
- General Eiling explains that his war with the Justice League in Justice League Unlimited was because we didn't have a clear threat like the Commies for the military to fight. It should be pointed out that Eiling is not a character to be liked, and his former co-conspirator even says that the idea is stupid.
- From American Dad!, Sergei the former-KGB agent lost his wife and son to capitalism when communism fell, so he went to America to "steal away Stan Smith's son... FOR COMMUNISM!" He failed, so he decided to plant his seeds of revenge, to grow some plants of revenge (which could also be used in a stew of revenge) and keep cultivating revenge until "the time was right."
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers does this with Commander Clash, an American agent stationed on a remote island. For some reason, his superiors forgot to tell him that the war was over for a year or two, and when the Planeteers told him, he is rather upset. He eventually finds new meaning by dedicating his life to (what else?) environmental protection. Appropriate, since the Soviets probably did more damage to wilderness areas (just check out the rivers in Central and Eastern Europe) than any other people in history.
- Incidentally, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the opening changed Linka's land of origin from the Soviet Union to Eastern Europe.
- One episode of The Simpsons has Bart and Lisa watching a pro wrestling match with "Rasputin the Friendly Russian". He had formerly been called "Rasputin the Mad Russian", but his name was changed following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It didn't help his popularity at all, it seemed; his much anticipated "wrestling match of the century" ended rather quickly with his opponent hitting him over the head with a wrench.
- There is a short film in which a chimpanzee, dressed as a cosmonaut, wanders around in a space station/satellite that's decorated with pictures of Lenin, bored out of his mind. He keeps returning to his radio set to try to contact home, but no one answers, presumably because Russia has downsized its own military and the chimp's satellite was part of a discontinued orbital-observation program.
- The Penguins of Madagascar has some fun with this in the "Red Squirrel" episode. For 47 years, Special Agent Buck Rockgut has the single-minded purpose of waiting for escaped Penguin Enemy #1 the Red Squirrel to surface and recapture him. The penguins join in on the hunt but eventually they realize that after decades of waiting, with not having seen hide nor hair of the villain, Buck has gone paranoid, accusing every animal of being secret agents for things that really don't have anything to do with the Red Squirrel. They conclude that the Red Squirrel probably no longer exists and Buck Rockgut just couldn't accept that. Then it turns out that the Red Squirrel really has been hiding in his secret lair, and he is spying with satisfaction on how his arch-nemesis is being discredited and disposed of.