How Would You Account For The Collapse Of Communist Rule In The Former Soviet Union?

2056 words - 8 pages

There are many factors which shaped the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and consequently the Communist regime that ruled it. Although, under the leadership of Stalin, the USSR emerged as a monolithic superpower, it can be argued that it never attained stability throughout the course of its existance. The rudimentary socialist principles by which it was founded manifested an opposition to the competition that capitalism encompassed. Yet under Stalin the Cold War emerged ensuring that the fundamental aims of the USSR was to make sure that the United States did not lead as the world's greatest superpower. Thus, although the economy had been damaged in World War II, the emphasis was on the development of heavy industry, neglecting areas such as agriculture and consumer goods. So from the very beginning the economical balance of the Soviet Union was unsteady. Since Stalin's successors, namely Khruschev and Brezhnev eschewed radical policies concerning the economy, the end result was its stagnation. It was namely the struggling economy that accounted for the collapse of the Soviet Union, yet it was the drastic changes introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev that was the final, most significant factor in the downfall of the USSR. Domestic policy under Gorbachev was conducted principally under three programs: Perestroika, Glasnost and demokratizatsiya, meaning 'rebuilding', 'public-voicing' and 'democratization' respectively. These reforms created bifurcations within the government, and did not have the desired effect that Gorbachev had hoped for.Although the end of World War II resulted in the Soviet Union materializing as the prime postwar threat to the West, it also damaged the economy greatly, with almost a quarter of the country's capital resources destroyed. As the Cold War unfolded, the Soviet Union felt themselves under enormous pressure to compete with the United States for title as the world superpower. As a result of this, the postwar reconstruction programme emphasized heavy industry over agriculture and consumer goods. The desired result was achieved, with unbelievable results. The Soviet Union had transformed from a somewhat backward agricultural society to a powerful industrial state. By 1953 steel production had doubled since 1940, however, as a consequence, the production of consumer goods has plummeted to the levels of the 1920s. Under Stalin during the Cold War ensured that the industry blossomed, yet domestic issues were neglected. The problem with the rivalry with the United States was that the principles of communism were to avoid competition. While the United States had a private, competitive market to provide for consumer goods, this was state controlled in the USSR. Thus while the United States could fund their part in the Cold War, the result of the Soviet Union's participation was that essential areas of the economy were being neglected which as a result, caused instability.In order to boost the USSR's international status,...

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