Zakalwe, thanks for your comments.
Regarding the space exploration specifically I am not sure I agree completely with your sentence that americans were able to sustain the effort. In fact both space agencies were at some degree suffering from high spendings by the 80s and 90s. I think the bankrupcy was obviously more evident for the russian side because of the dissolitiuon of the USSR, but that did not mean the end of the russian space program, not even close to that. By the end of the cold war Russians followed a different approach to apace exploration, more space station oriented than shuttle based, as with NASA. Of course the Buran was scrapped, but the Russians were succesful in the other hand in a Space modules base construction using a docking system, something that NASA failed. This turned out to be a more effective way to explore the space as we can see nowadays. ISS is module based with docking systems as well, based on the russian design. Shuttle approach is currently dead and even today NASA is still heavily dependent in russian rockets to fuel the ISS.
"Amendment to Senate bill allows continued imports of Russian rocket engines"
Aside of that both agencies, NASA and nowadays Roscosmos, made history and still do, of course, but what is surpriningly interesting is that aside from landing a man on the moon (because russia did land objects in the moon before), the russian space program was pioneer in every other main aspect of space exploration. This is something we normally dont learn quite well in the western world. Thats why I did post this, because is something interesting to learn and is from the cold war period...
Even today Russian space program is still moving forward, now in a more cooperative enviroment. There is no agency today able to explore the space completely alone.
Russian and European agency for example have an ambitious program to explore Mars:
"With ExoMars, Europe and Russia Aim to Kickstart Mars Exploration"
Also NASA and Roscosmos have plans to further explore the moon:
"Russia and US will cooperate to build moon's first space station"
Roscosmos and Nasa have already agreed on standards for a docking unit of the future station. Taking into account the country’s extensive experience in developing docking units, the station’s future elements will be created using Russian designs.