As always in a state such as these totalitarian it is the secret police who have the most accurate knowledge of the conditions of the state. Even the highest ranking of CP members were not ever told true economic data and the conditions of corruption and productivity. The KGB on the other hand were aware. In 1982 the Politburo recognized this, although they did not know specifically or exactly what was wrong, but they were aware serious problems existed. Hence Yuri Andropov's selection, he who previously held the Director of the KGB post would be most aware of the current state of the Union. Upon his death, his chosen successor was to be Mikhael Gorbachev, but instead reactionary forces selected Chernenko. This was the first sign of a growing rift within the Soviet Union between factions that would ultimately tear apart the Soviet Union. Upon Chernenko's death the reform minded CP members were able to act upon Andropov's wishes and selected Gorbachev, while also elevating a number of younger reform minded party members. It is most often misunderstood that the two factions that struggled during this time right up until August 1991 were simply in disagreement on how to save the Soviet Union, there never was any real attempt at changing the Soviet model, only enhancement and reform. But Gorbachev's reforms were not only not successful, they brought into more light the systematic problems with the system that were born with Stalin.
Starting back in the early 1970s in Poland, there was the same forces that saw that the system itself needed reforming, so there was a opening in control that we in the West would see as pro-democracy or pro-freedom movements. This was not the intention per se of the reformers, they merely wanted to end the systematic corruption and low productivity in the economy. The classic example of this opening was shown to Polish viewers, and people around the world the movie Man of Marble. The significance of this movie was it not only showed to Polish viewers aspects of the system they where previously not allowed to see, but an acknowledgment of the continuing cycle of openness and repression that occurred throughout all of Eastern Europe since 1945. It is interesting to note that in this film, the journey of the protagonist ends in a certain Gdansk shipyards, otherwise known as the Lenin Shipyards, to be made famous years later by the Solidarity movement. Essentially we see in this film, made in 1976, the roots of the Solidarity movement 5 years before it took shape. The very fact this film was not only made, but also released was quite significant. It should be understood in the context of history that this occured at a time when the CP of Poland sought the best model to release them from systematic ills was to open up society more, to which the cycle was to soon close again in 1981. Most in the West saw Poland in 1981 as a dramatic and strange occurrence that sprung from nowhere, without understanding these where trends throughout all of the Eastern bloc since 1945.
So in essence, whether Ronald Reagan was in office or not, made very little difference at all. The Soviet Union cared little about Ronald Reagan, as he had truly very little impact at all with the growing problems within the Soviet Union. The argument that ultimately is used, that Reagan outspent the Soviets, is rather moot to say the least. The infection that ultimately caved the system began in the early 1970s, some argue as far back as Khrushchev. Whether the Soviet Union had to spend more or less on tanks had no bearing what so ever as it still would not have addressed the issue anyways whether the Soviets could move from Heavy to Light industry, and the most important of all whether they could reform the agriculture industry that was yearly loosing production. It also would have had no effect on the systematic corruption that under Brezhnev was allowed to flourish (his own son in-law was involved in one of the most famous corruption scandals).
So people can claim as much as they want that "Reagan won the cold war", unfortunately reality says differently.