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Top 5 mistakes the Soviet Union made.

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Soviet cogitations: 271
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 07 Sep 2008, 00:45
Quote:
Glasnost was much more than a loosening of censorship laws IIRC. If that was all it was, this thread probably wouldn't be asking for the top five mistakes that led to the collapse, it would simply be asking for mistakes.


Glastnost meant openness of expression, the relaxation of censorship was what it was mainly, it was part of Perestroika however, which was more than just Glastnost.

In part Glastnost was a reaction to a rather stern tightening of censorship that happened in first half of the 1980s, which in itself was a reaction to heavy metal music.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Politburo
Post 07 Sep 2008, 06:06
Glasnost allowed freedom of speech to a level never seen in the the U.S., the center of the "free world". Debasing Lenin and the founders of the USSR was tolerated. You don't see that happen in the U.S.. It also allowed Nationalism to take hold and that played a big factor in the collapse of the Union.

Censorship is a necessary thing in any society. I wish Australia had more of it. Perhaps the Soviet Union took it too far, but Glasnost went way to far towards the opposite extreme.
Soviet cogitations: 1533
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Oct 2007, 15:55
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Party Member
Post 07 Sep 2008, 06:15
Quote:
Debasing Lenin and the founders of the USSR was tolerated. You don't see that happen in the U.S.. It also allowed Nationalism to take hold and that played a big factor in the collapse of the Union.

In the U.S. propoganda prevents freedom of speach. Of course you are free to insult any founder or revolutionary of the U.S.. But by doing so you stand a chance of getting into a conflict. It depends on what kind of people are around you. Most don't care, at least in NYC. But outside I'm sure you'd get a beating. I even remember one town telling its residents not to buy gas from Citgo because it's run by Hugo Chavez, a communist.
We have beaten you to the moon, but you have beaten us in sausage making.- Nikita Khrushchev
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Aug 2006, 17:42
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
R.I.P.
Post 07 Sep 2008, 06:15
Quote:
Censorship is a necessary thing in any society


Slightly irrelevant, but a good read:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/i.htm
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Soviet cogitations: 271
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 07 Sep 2008, 07:04
Quote:
Glasnost allowed freedom of speech to a level never seen in the the U.S., the center of the "free world". Debasing Lenin and the founders of the USSR was tolerated. You don't see that happen in the U.S.. It also allowed Nationalism to take hold and that played a big factor in the collapse of the Union.

Censorship is a necessary thing in any society. I wish Australia had more of it. Perhaps the Soviet Union took it too far, but Glasnost went way to far towards the opposite extreme.


What makes you feel this way? Debasing of any political or public figure is tolerated in the US! A lot of people even make money off doing just that. Of course one can sue someone for slander also.

Glastnost was not the abolishment of censorship! It was just a relaxation of it. Censorship still existed!

If the police wanted to they could rail-road anyone, especially an individual, on charges of debasing Lenin, capitalist propaganda, etc.

Glastnost did not help that!

Some things glastnost allowed:

Publishing and distribution of banned and controversial authors like Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, etc. (But not self-publishing).

Official recognition of rock and heavy metal music, as legitimate music.

Lifted laws on music publishing such as the 1984 law that for any musical group to record and perform they needed to have at least one member be a member of the Conservatory.

Made it legal to possess controversial western rock records, western books, etc. (Before, even a Beatles album potentially could be used to rail-road someone, especially if they were already suspect/in trouble).

Other things of that nature...
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Politburo
Post 07 Sep 2008, 07:31
Emil_G wrote:
What makes you feel this way? Debasing of any political or public figure is tolerated in the US! A lot of people even make money off doing just that. Of course one can sue someone for slander also.


I wasn't talking about debasing just any public figures, but historical icons. There may not be any specific laws against it, but in practice you just don't do it.

Quote:
Glastnost was not the abolishment of censorship! It was just a relaxation of it. Censorship still existed!


I never said that it was completely abolished and I apologise for giving you that impression. I made this statement earlier, "Glasnost was much more than a loosening of censorship laws IIRC". To be clear, it was indeed loosened, loosened way too far. What I was trying to say was that in effect, it was far more than a loosening of censorship laws. I will be more careful with my words in future.

We have censorship in Australia too, but no where near enough. This has become clear with the public display of a naked thirteen year old girl in a sexualised pose.

I hate quoting Wikipedia, but it's the best source of info I can find after a quick Google Search.

Wiki wrote:
Effects: Relaxation of censorship resulted in the Communist Party losing its grip on the media. Before long, much to the embarrassment of the authorities, the media began to expose severe social and economic problems which the Soviet government had long denied and covered up. Long-denied problems such as poor housing, food shortages, alcoholism, widespread pollution, creeping mortality rates and the second-rate position of women were now receiving increased attention. Moreover, under glasnost, the people were able to learn significantly more about the horrors committed by the government when Joseph Stalin was in power. Although Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's personality cult, information about the true proportions of his atrocities was still suppressed. In all, the very positive view of Soviet life which had long been presented to the public by the official media was being rapidly dismantled, and the negative aspects of life in the Soviet Union were brought into the spotlight. This began to undermine the faith of the public in the Soviet system.

Political openness continued to produce unintended consequences. In elections to the regional assemblies of the Soviet Union's constituent republics, nationalists swept the board. As Gorbachev had weakened the system of internal political repression, the ability of the USSR's central Moscow government to impose its will on the USSR's constituent republics had been largely undermined. During the 1980s, calls for greater independence from Moscow's rule grew louder. This was especially marked in the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which had been annexed into the Soviet Union by Joseph Stalin in 1940. Nationalist feeling also took hold in other Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Starting in the mid-1980s, the Baltic states used the reforms provided by glasnost to assert their rights to protect their environment and their historic monuments and, later, their claims to sovereignty and independence. When the Balts withstood outside threats, they exposed an irresolute Kremlin. Bolstering separatism in other Soviet republics, the Balts triggered multiple challenges to the Soviet Union. Supported by Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, the Baltic republics asserted their sovereignty.

The rise of nationalism under glasnost also reawakened simmering ethnic tensions throughout the union. For example, in February 1988, Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian region in the Azerbaijan SSR, passed a resolution calling for unification with the Armenian SSR. Violence against local Azeris was then reported on Soviet television, which provoked massacres of Armenians in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait.

The freedoms generated under Glasnost enabled increased contact between Soviet citizens and the western world, particularly with the United States. Restrictions on travel were loosened, allowing increased business and cultural contact. For example, one key meeting location was in the U.S. at the Dakin Building, then owned by American philanthropist Henry Dakin, who had extensive Russian contacts:

During the late 1980s, as glasnost and perestroika led to the liquidation of the Soviet empire, the Dakin building was the location for a series of groups facilitating United States-Russian contacts. They included the Center for U.S.-U.S.S.R. Initiatives, which helped more than 1000 Americans visit the Soviet Union and more than 100 then-Soviet citizens visit the U.S.[4]

While thousands of political prisoners and many dissidents were released in the spirit of glasnost, Gorbachev's original goal of using glasnost and perestroika to reform the Soviet Union was not achieved. In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved following a failed coup by conservative elements who were opposed to Gorbachev's reforms.


The section I quoted contains a lot of questionable info and liberal buzz words, but one solid conclusion can be drawn from it. Censorship and extensive government control of the media were partly what tied and held the Union together. Glasnost loosened the knot and I believe it was the final straw that broke the donkey's back. Had it not been implemented, I think someone like Andropov may have been able to salvage the situation.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 07 Sep 2008, 08:12
Well that's the thing, like it says -

Gorbachev's original goal of using glasnost and perestroika to reform the Soviet Union was not achieved.


- Glastnost could have been used to strengthen the USSR, but consequentially it helped undue it. But, I wouldn't single it out. It was a good idea, but just like other many good ideas the results were not what was planned.

I liked living in the USSR in the late 80's, and a USSR before that is not really a country I'd want to live in. The goal was to take that society, of the late 80's forward, as a USSR that had a future, but it all just fell apart instead.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Politburo
Post 07 Sep 2008, 08:34
Quote:
Glastnost could have been used to strengthen the USSR, but consequentially it helped undue it.


The goal was certainly to strengthen the USSR. I don't believe Gorbachev put it in place with negative intentions, but you admit that it helped in the collapse. It gave the enemies of Socialism a chance to thrive. That does deserve singling out imo. Perhaps some loosening of censorship laws during the 80's may have been a good thing. For example, I wouldn't have had a problem with Rock and Heavy metal music being recognised as legitimate forms of music, provisionally. Lyrical content should have been monitored and strictly controlled. The message delivered should have been Socialistic. No preaching the virtues of wallowing in expensive shit and Satanism (even if it was intended as satire) thank you.

I stand by my point that Glasnost took the loosening too far. I also think that the few measures which were positive were implemented far too quickly for the population to handle appropriately. Societies almost always react negatively to rapid change. Loosening of State control is a good thing, but only in small increments if the population is ready and collectively mature enough.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 07 Sep 2008, 09:07
Yes I admit it helped. OK. But I wouldn't blame IT so much as the things it enabled in some ways. After all glastnost didn't create nationalism, or capitalism or what have you.

As far as your comment on lyrical content, well I disagree, I believe in freedom of expression. However, before 1991 lyrical content of Russian metal groups was pretty reserved. I am actually a record collector and I especially like collecting Russian/Soviet metal from that period, as well as the first half of the 1990's.

Overall I think you are looking at glastnost in hidsight and that's why it seems to you like it was too extreme. The implementors thought they were doing exactly what you are saying they should have done.

Also, real adamant critics of the USSR would laugh, and say glastnost was nothing but a token measure. For example, all Estonian-scouts I've talked to on the net, and our own in-house detractor, Carious keep towing the line that the boot of Soviet oppression was ruthlessly stomping on the human face with equal force right up until April of '91...
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 07 Sep 2008, 10:29
Emil_G wrote:
Yes I admit it helped. OK. But I wouldn't blame IT so much as the things it enabled in some ways. After all glastnost didn't create nationalism, or capitalism or what have you.


I can see where you're coming from here, but I tend to see the reappearance of those things as symptoms of a root cause. Glasnost. I agree it didn't create them, but it, in conjunction with perestroika gave them a chance to find legitimacy. We probably aren't going to agree on this point entirely, so I'll let it drop for now.

Quote:
As far as your comment on lyrical content, well I disagree, I believe in freedom of expression. However, before 1991 lyrical content of Russian metal groups was pretty reserved. I am actually a record collector and I especially like collecting Russian/Soviet metal from that period, as well as the first half of the 1990's.


I'm afraid I prefer to go with the M-L perspective on freedom of expression and criticism.

Quote:
Overall I think you are looking at glastnost in hidsight and that's why it seems to you like it was too extreme. The implementors thought they were doing exactly what you are saying they should have done.


I know, 20/20 hindsight makes all the difference. However, there were more than a few people who didn't agree with the changes Gorbachev and friends were making. The attempted coup organised by "conservative" members of the Party proves this. Quite a few of those (like Andropov) wanted to make reforms, but reforms that didn't abandon M-L theory.

Quote:
Also, real adamant critics of the USSR would laugh, and say glastnost was nothing but a token measure. For example, all Estonian-scouts I've talked to on the net, and our own in-house detractor, Carious keep towing the line that the boot of Soviet oppression was ruthlessly stomping on the human face with equal force right up until April of '91...


For a long time, it was stomping on human faces. Theirs (Nationalists).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Nov 2004, 20:06
Party Bureaucrat
Post 07 Sep 2008, 11:55
Soviet Imperialism.
I post Here
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
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Politburo
Post 07 Sep 2008, 12:03
Oblisk wrote:
Soviet Imperialism


Image


The closest the Soviets came to Imperialism was the deal the Baltics got during and after World War II and it wasn't Stalin's preferred course of action. IIRC, he wanted a buffer zone of Democratic Socialist States that would remain neutral between East and West. Events forced that outlook to change.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 07 Sep 2008, 12:56
I never understood why the Soviet Union banned heavy metal.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 07 Sep 2008, 16:18
Regarding Afghanistan: It's not as if the Politburo just made up their minds one day to create a case for invasion. Considering the options they had before them, the one they took was probably the best possible choice in a difficult situation. Nonintervention would have had many possible consequences:

1. The takeover of the country by Islamic radicals
2. A takeover by pro-American counterrevolutionaries, possibly led by Amin himself, further ringing the Soviet Union in an American ring of containment
3. The collapse of the country into anarchy, which could have affected the southern Soviet republics containing the same ethnic groups (Uzbeks and Turkmen chief among them)

If the USSR had not taken the action it did, we might now have been arguing about why Soviet non-intervention in Afghanistan might have been one of its biggest mistakes.

...

Regarding Soviet censorship: The worst of the censorship in the post-Stalin period was that of self-censorship, made in order to avoid making arguments which might have been dangerous to their chances for promotion, etc. This was a consequence of a stagnant society. The approach taken by Gorbachev should have mimicked and expanded upon that of Andropov, attacking corruption, misuse of authority, poor-decisionmaking and the like, rather than opening society for attacks on everything including the country's founders and fundamental political and ideological underpinnings. It must be said that a direct comparison with the amount of free speech in United States cannot be made. The US had, as soviet192491 said, a far more effective propaganda apparatus to wash out any criticism than the Soviet state could build up in the short period of time between the diminishment of censorship and the collapse of the country, although it certainly tried. Soviet censorship post-Stalin was an attempt to limit the potential for influence among our opponents, bureaucratically and sloppily implemented (to the point where everybody knew and understood what it was) but nevertheless necessary to protect a socialist state from hostile internal and external influences. Once it collapsed, benefitting from a pent up energy among the population, it led to exactly the hostility to socialism that its proponents had predicted -nationalism (sometimes extreme), ideas on the superiority of market economy, calls for the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism as the guiding ideology of the state, and extreme liberalism.

I agree that the regime needed the refreshing breeze of self-criticism in order to develop and thrive in the 21st century (when the 'information age' and the internet would doubtless impact the further development of the country) but it should have to be done gradually, starting with the criticisms beneficial to everyone except the corrupt, inefficient and opportunist bureaucrats within the system, and then moving on up the line as efficient systems of propaganda dissemination could be constructed.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 07 Sep 2008, 19:53
Quote:
I never understood why the Soviet Union banned heavy metal.


Oh boy! C'mon , take a pick, any pick, anything bad you've ever heard ANYONE say about it, the PMRC, anyone! Just also add "burgeous degenerate culture", "fascist", etc.

Basically the same things were said about Jazz, then rock and roll, then metal and punk. By the time rap got going in Europe, glastnost was already in effect.

There are some books I'd recommend on rock and popular music in the USSR that are great and go into these issues:

"Back In The USSR - The True Story of Rock in Russia" by Artemy Troitsky

"Rock Around The Bloc" by Timothy Ryback

It's a great 1-2 punch of information and perspectives. One is written by a Russian in '88 the other by a British man in '89. Not too much divergence of facts or anything, just refreshingly different styles and perspectives.

Main differneces the Troitsky book focuses only on the USSR and therefore more detailed about bands there, the Ryback book also covers Warpac countries.
Soviet cogitations: 200
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Apr 2005, 19:00
Pioneer
Post 08 Sep 2008, 19:18
Soviet192491
Quote:
What were the top 5 mistakes that you felt the Soviet Union made that led to its collapse.
1. The Sino-Soviet split
2. Perestroika & Glasnost
3. Khrushchev's virgin lands campaign
4. Stalin allowing republics to declare their independence from the Soviet Union if desired.
5. The Soviet-Afghan War


I think, there is not listed the main reason why SU collapsed.
As SU was established on the violent basis (so-called Civil war in 1918-1920-ies, violent annexation of Baltic states and eastern parts of Hungary, Czeckoslovakia, Romania and Poland in 1940-1947), in the end of 80-ies they (Central Party, KGB, Army) let the things to go downstream. What is established by power should hold the same way - Lenin and Stalin knew how to manage. This was the main reason.
[+-]
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Jul 2006, 00:10
Ideology: Other Leftist
Forum Commissar
Post 08 Sep 2008, 22:17
1. informbiro crisis
2. sino-soviet split
3. letting france, italy, greece and spain slip through their fingers too easly
4. gorbachov and his policies
5. letting the worst kind of dissidents leave the country (trotsky, slozhetsyn, etc)
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Soviet cogitations: 271
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Feb 2008, 04:00
Ideology: Other Leftist
Komsomol
Post 09 Sep 2008, 03:39
My opinion:

1) Arms race/Cold war, coupled with bad planning and economy resulting in consumer goods deficits and low quality consumer goods.

2) Afghan war, on top of above.

3)Virgin lands.

4)1930's expansion, invasions of Finland, "Poland", inclusion of the Baltics. Yes they made perfect sense at the time but ultimately backfired very badly.

5)Conservative policies that led to the need for glastnost.
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 17 Dec 2006, 18:59
Komsomol
Post 09 Sep 2008, 15:09
Quote:
1. The Sino-Soviet split
2. Glasnost
3. Perestroika


4. Boris Yeltsin
5. Mikhail Gorbachev

two terrible men

RE
The revolution will come!
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Soviet cogitations: 10461
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Aug 2006, 17:42
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
R.I.P.
Post 09 Sep 2008, 20:45
Quote:
4. Boris Yeltsin


Yeltsin's Tenure was after the collapse of the USSR.
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