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The Long Term Causes Of The Fall Of The Soviet Union

1757 words - 8 pages

The overall collapse of the Communist regime came rather quickly, but there were underlying causes of the collapse that were apparent during the preceding decades. On the surface, the 1970s looked good for the Soviet Union. A lot of certain aspects were still going the Soviet Unions way. However, in 1975, the Soviet Union’s power peaked. In 1975, the Soviet Union’s power began to dwindle and there were six underlying causes of the collapse that can be dated back to that year. In this essay I will discuss these six causes and how they helped bring about the actual collapse of the Soviet regime.
The first underlying cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union was the deterioration of the ...view middle of the document...

The economy simply stopped working. This may be the most influential part in the downfall. The Soviet economy was the least functional part of the system. Under Brezhnev the economy was coined stagnation. The Soviet bureaucracy was huge and thought that it needed to control everything, but it did not know how to run anything. Each year, Gosplan, the state planning commission was suppose to devise prices of 500,000 separate items. However, there was no way of knowing the cost of how much it took to produce the item. Let us not forget the Soviet Union did not even know how much its own currency was worth. Basically the Ruble was just monopoly money. The Soviet economy could basically not manufacture anything. Most of what the Soviet economy manufactured was of poor quality. The Soviet Union could not satisfy the demand by quality or even quantity. Therefore, the share of the Soviet Union’s world trade was falling. For example, in 1965 COMECON shared 12% of the world trade, but by 1983 it only shared 8%. It just cost more to produce something in the Soviet Union than it could be sold in the western markets. There was even a issue with theft, as 15% of what was produced in the Soviet Union was stolen before it made it to the shelf
The Soviet agricultural scene can also be seen as a reason for the downward spiral of the economy. The 1975 harvest was the worst harvest since under Stalin in the 1930s. The Soviet leader, Brezhnev, was putting a lot of money into agriculture. However, it was not working. There were approximately eight times more Soviet people who worked in the agricultural sector and the Soviet Union had twice the land than in America, but the Soviet Union only was able to 80% of the amount of food that America could produce at the time. There was even a high amount of waste in the country’s agricultural sector, as approximately 50% of the food produced was wasted by it being left in the field. The shortage of food caused the Soviet Union to have to rely in imports from the United States, which may be another reason for the demise of the Soviet Union, but I will discuss that later. One other issue associated with the agricultural sector was that it cost Soviet families 40-50% of their income to feed their families. In America it is typically only 10% of a families income that it takes to pay for food to live off of.
The industrial sector was also in shambles. The Soviet industrial sector was the worst and most backwards one as any industrial society. The Soviet Union wasted half of its lumber and it took approximately 2.5 times more time to build anything. There were even fifty times as many computers in America then there were in the Soviet Union in 1980. The Soviet system was not geared to assimilation of new things. Rather, it was built for the status quo. Approximately 15% of the Soviet labor force consisted of manager positions, which is very high for a country. There was also an issue of high unemployment, as there was 8%...

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