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What caused communism to fall in the Soviet Union?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Apr 2014, 02:29
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Post 24 Apr 2014, 02:31
What was the cause of the fall of the Soviet Union?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
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Post 24 Apr 2014, 04:27
Is this for a school paper?
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Apr 2014, 02:29
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Post 24 Apr 2014, 05:02
Nah! I heard that Communism fell in Russia because the Pope consecrated the USSR to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (See our Lady of Fatima). LOL


I just don't get how the Soviet Union could just collapse without a shot fired. Sure I could google it but I'd like to have discussion here rather than google it and at this time I am ignorant on this topic.

Thanks for your contributions and were you near I would caress you with the most tender affections.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Mar 2005, 20:08
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Post 24 Apr 2014, 05:13
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"Bleh, i don't even know what i'm arguing for. What a stupid rant. Disregard what i wrote." - Loz
"Every time is gyros time" - Stalinista
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Apr 2014, 02:29
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Post 29 Apr 2014, 00:28
Without these Conflicts, would the Soviet Union still have fallen?
tdn
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
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Post 30 Apr 2014, 06:56
I am sure this question has been addressed somewhere in this forum, but I am going to raise my opinion anyway.

I think there are many reasons, including the economic attacks by the Western world and arm race with the USA. Here I just want to talk about the internal factors:

1- The rigidity of Soviet economic model: The world changed continuously but there was almost no change in how the Soviet economy was run.

2- Lack of democracy within the CPSU: Lenin's ideas of Soviet democracy was replaced by heavily centralized mode of control by Stalin. Stalin's way of running the government might be necessary during wars, but it remained in place even in peaceful time. The dictatorship of the proletariat was slowly replaced by the dictatorship of the CPSU, which was in turn replaced by the dictatorship of the Politburo. When ideas were exhausted, so was the vitality of the CPSU and the State.

3- Simplistic intepretation of Marxism as state-run economy: As the Soviet government had absolute economic power, it became an all-powerful and "all-knowing" force, it did not accept criticism well and slowly became alienated from the population. True co-operatives (where surplus would be "exploited" by workers themselves rather than the apparachiks) were not developed. This is why there was no strong popular movements to preserve Soviet socialism in the last days of the USSR.

4- Gerontocracy ruled the CPSU: You know you're in trouble when you have three ailing leaders dying one after the other within just a few years. The August 1991 coup against Gorbachyov to preserve the USSR was also run by these old men. If you watch the press conference after these men declared they suspended the power of the President of the USSR, you will see they were just mumbling (no clear plan, no energetic young leader or at least some young potential next leaders, no convincing argument).

5- Mikhail Gorbachyov, Boris Yeltsin and their allies from the private sector: Perestroika and Glasnost aggressively dismantled the CPSU so Gorbachyov could effectively run the State without consulting anyone. He might be a genuine socialist (as he claimed), but his policies focused too much on destroying the old system before building a new one. In turn, Boris Yeltsin was very eager to dismantle the All Union's state power so he could ruled the RSFSR in his way, which was the neo-liberal way that his private sector allies so desired.
Also, the republics outside the RSFSR were neglected. In my opinion, it is unacceptable that the central Soviet government let thousands die and flee the Armenian SSR due to the earthquake in late 1980s. Also, as the only USSR's top leader with no experience outside of the RSFSR, Gorbachyov did not handle conflicts between nations within the USSR well.

In my opinion, the last reason (5) directly destroyed the USSR. Before Gorbachyov, the USSR was already in trouble. But I think it could have fixed many of the problems not in Perestroika style.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 01 May 2014, 08:54
The main problem which indirectly led to the Soviet Union's dissolution was political institutionalisation (I believe). Stalin managed to redefine democratic centralism (as Trotsky had claimed would happen) as following the leader (he became the centre), and this never changed. The CPSU General Secretary had the power to appoint members to the Secretariat, and through a majority in the Secretariat he had the ability to appoint members to the Politburo. Another problem; during the Brezhnev era, the Politburo became a rubber-stamp decision-making body - Brezhnev decided policy beforehand by discussion policy with his closest associates before (who then formed a majority in the Politburo without consulting their other associates).

Another problem, the Central Committee died in all but name. The reason, Stalin killed an estimated 80 percent of its membership in the 1930s, and after that it never required its former status. As you may know the Politburo was responsible to the Central Committee, but when the Central Committee stopped to function the Politburo became responsible to no-one. The main problem in the USSR was that there was zero percent democracy in the party, but 100 percent centralism which indirectly led to lower-level party organs becoming responsible to the Politburo. Take another example, to signify the powerlessness of the Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat members barely bothered to show up to Central Committee plenums when they were convened. This is unlike the situation in present-day Vietnam, in which the Central Committee has powers - the main reason being that the central leadership in Vietnam lost a lot of control over the provinces during the late-1980s and early-1990s (the same period as central planning was replaced).

The congress was a rubber-stamp body (it still is in most communist countries), and became so because of Stalin. Under him, congresses were turned into mass cheering exercises. This does not seem to be the case in Vietnam (at least to the same extent). Example at the party's 8th Congress, Tran Trong Tan (a nobody really) delivered a speech in which he stated that establishing a Politburo Standing Committee (as they have presently in Vietnam) which was appointed by the Politburo rather than the Central Committee went counter to democratic centralism. While the Politburo Standing Committee was established, the duties and responsibilities vested in the Standing Committee were reduced considerably. What he did had effect; a delegate at a post-1934 Soviet party congress could never criticize the leadership (if he did he would be thrown in jail).

No retirement age, as the other guy mentioned. No introduction of term limits; people sat for as long as possible. It should be mentioned however, that Khrushchev introduced term limits, but he introduced term limits for everyone else with the exception of himself.

There were many other pressing issues, but these problems led to an ossified leadership structure, a leader-ideal, and the establishment of a gerontocracy (which indirectly killed reform efforts). Its not strange when the young generation finally took power, they felt they had as little time as they did (the generation before Gorbachev should have taken power somewhere in the early 1970s, instead the generation born 1895-1910 kept ruling the country they all died (half of the Politburo members elected at the 1981 Soviet congress) had died (or been forced out because of health issues) by 1985. Says alot.
tdn
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
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Post 01 May 2014, 21:15
leftguy wrote:
Another problem, the Central Committee died in all but name. The reason, Stalin killed an estimated 80 percent of its membership in the 1930s, and after that it never required its former status. As you may know the Politburo was responsible to the Central Committee, but when the Central Committee stopped to function the Politburo became responsible to no-one. The main problem in the USSR was that there was zero percent democracy in the party, but 100 percent centralism which indirectly led to lower-level party organs becoming responsible to the Politburo. Take another example, to signify the powerlessness of the Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat members barely bothered to show up to Central Committee plenums when they were convened. This is unlike the situation in present-day Vietnam, in which the Central Committee has powers - the main reason being that the central leadership in Vietnam lost a lot of control over the provinces during the late-1980s and early-1990s (the same period as central planning was replaced).


It is true that the provincial leaders in Viet Nam have a lot more power. Since late 1980s, the party secretaries of Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City would always be elected to the Politburo.

However, the Politburo still retained significant powers. They share more power with local leaders but they can appoint party secretaries in any city/province. The Politburo, specifically the Central Committee's Commission of Organizational Affairs, also approves candidates for elections to key local positions.

Most recently, the Communist Party of Viet Nam's Politburo has decided to "rotate" 44 persons who were working for the central government to become deputy secretaries of provincial party committees and/or deputy chairs of people's committees (provincial governments). These people are expected to be the next local leaders and become members of the Central Committee in the next national Party Congress. Notably, the Politburo calls this "phase 1" of the rotation, so I think more people will be rotated in the next few years.
I can't find an article in English about this current activity. The most recent article about these rotation activities is in 2012 in which it says "Rotation is seen as a comprehensive training measure for leading and managerial officials, especially those at central and strategic levels, he added": http://vietnamnews.vn/society/229009/govt-employees-under-review.html

leftguy wrote:
The congress was a rubber-stamp body (it still is in most communist countries), and became so because of Stalin. Under him, congresses were turned into mass cheering exercises. This does not seem to be the case in Vietnam (at least to the same extent). Example at the party's 8th Congress, Tran Trong Tan (a nobody really) delivered a speech in which he stated that establishing a Politburo Standing Committee (as they have presently in Vietnam) which was appointed by the Politburo rather than the Central Committee went counter to democratic centralism. While the Politburo Standing Committee was established, the duties and responsibilities vested in the Standing Committee were reduced considerably.


Wow, you really closely follow the situation in Viet Nam. Actually, the Communist Party of Viet Nam later abolished the Politburo's Standing Committee (the Communist Party of China still has this body). In Viet Nam, when the Central Committee is not in session, we only have the Politburo to make key decisions and the Secretariat to take care of day-by-day affairs.

Also, there was a lot of reform in the activities of the National Assembly of Viet Nam (the legislature). Since the 1990s, cabinet members (including prime ministers) are questioned by deputies when the National Assembly is in session. And since 1998, these questioning sessions are broadcasted live via television and ration nationwide.
Here are some excerpts (the little note "trực tiếp" in the top left corner of the screen means "live"):
- In 2010, Deputy Dương Trung Quốc questioned about the huge bauxite mining project in the Central Highland of Viet Nam and demanded the Government to present this project to the National Assembly for approval (the Government had insisted that this project does not require National Assembly's approval). This project was actually started in the 1980s but was halted because Soviet advisers suggested that the environmental damage would outweigh the economical benefits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeNE7fAmIDY
- In 2012, Deputy Nguyễn Minh Thuyết 'grilled' the Prime Minister (who was standing on the high platform to receive questions) about the disastrous failure of Vinashin, a state-owned maritime corporation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVztLFeFJJ4
- Or one full questioning session in 2013 (there are about ten sessions like this every year): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G0cCyNmAm4

leftguy wrote:
No retirement age, as the other guy mentioned. No introduction of term limits; people sat for as long as possible. It should be mentioned however, that Khrushchev introduced term limits, but he introduced term limits for everyone else with the exception of himself.


Viet Nam learned this lesson and restricts the number of consecutive terms to 2 for top leaders (General Secretary, State President, Prime Minister), and maximum age to 65 for candidates to be elected to the Politburo.


I am sorry for talking too much about Viet Nam in this USSR topic. But I think the Vietnamese have learned the hard way about the failure of an institutionalized socialist system, and a canonized economic doctrine (i.e. taking Marxist-Leninist works as the bible).
I just hope Viet Nam's reform does not slip too far to the capitalistic side (it already does to a significant degree).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 02 May 2014, 12:04
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I am sorry for talking too much about Viet Nam in this USSR topic. But I think the Vietnamese have learned the hard way about the failure of an institutionalized socialist system, and a canonized economic doctrine (i.e. taking Marxist-Leninist works as the bible).

I agree. I've read a ton about the reasons of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but the best I've found are those published by the Communist Party of China. I find it fascinating; especially those published by the CPC Organization Department. Do the CPV publish similar articles, books?

Anyhow, Vietnam is interesting since they many things the Soviet Union should have done (and they had quite a number of chances), and if they did (like introducing term limits), the Soviet Union would probably still exist today. Of the existing socialist states, Vietnam is clearly the most democratic (the most democratic socialist state ever in existence has to go to League of Communists of Yugoslavia; they Central Committee was elected by secret ballots, while at the same time having more than three candidates for each seats, by the republican central committees).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 24 Apr 2014, 02:29
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Post 08 May 2014, 20:27
Would you say the amount of people murdered by Stalinist Governments contributed?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 09 May 2014, 08:01
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Would you say the amount of people murdered by Stalinist Governments contributed?

Yes, it turned Soviet politicians into bureaucrats and created a fuhrer-principle. As Petro Shelest admitted, a Politburo member during the Brezhnev era, he (and the rest of the Politburo) believed that without a strong leader there would be anarchy . It didn't help either that democratic centralism was turned into centralism only during the Stalin era - from then on until the Gorbachev era, no-one at the bottom had the ability to get in touch with the Central Committee (with the exception of sending a letter to the General Office), but not through party elections (which had turned into turned appointments by the Secretariat, and in which the grassroots members had to accept). Stalin destroyed the democracy within the party, and therefore weakened its ability to rule. While we do talk about Khrushchev's de-Stalnization, people to tend to forget that he never changed the basic system Stalin had created (the party was still ruled by one-man, who had a council of advisors) ... The Politburo members had real-power (just as the Central Committee members had), but the last time the Politburo overturned a decision of General Secretary was in 1937 when it said no to executing Jānis Rudzutaks and Stanislav Kosior (both Politburo members) - this decision didn't help, why? Because Stalin controlled the secret police, at the next Politburo meeting Stalin informed the rest of the members that both Rudzutaks and Kosior had been executed (he actually went against the Politburo, and the Politburo couldn't do shit about it.... says alot) ... Point being, you can hate Gorbachev all you want, but its a reason why called the system after Stalin's rise as "deformed socialism" - because Stalin had effectively put an end to all discussion, all decisions were taken by the GenSec and his favourite advisors .. The only time, in Soviet history, that the party tried to curtail the GenSec's powers was in 1964, when it stated that the GenSec could not simultaneously hold the positions of GenSec and Premier . However, this decision only led to a weak premier (Kosygin was effectively crushed in the 1960s, and during the rest of his career tried to persuade the rest of the Politburo to introduce some economic reforms, there were not radical reforms, but neither were the Chinese ones at the beginning). The point being, much blame goes to Lenin - he was in favour of a centralized party, with democratic forums (the forums being the party congress and the Central Committee), but he never introduced any effective mechanism for those members at the bottom to supervise the central leadership (the duty of establishing such a system became Stalin's responsibility).. One of the main reason why Lenin vehemently attacked Stalin in his last years, was that he failed in these duties (and more) .. Not only could not the party grassroots supervise does on top, in the 1920s, Stalin called for an extreme interpretation of democratic centralism, effectively removing all democratic features of them.

Secondly, this is more subjective, but they shouldn't not have introduced a planned economy, it just doesn't work.
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Post 09 May 2014, 18:50
Planned economy just doesn't work??
I guess it had nothing to do with making the USSR a superpower, developing its science and industry and raising all its living standards faster than any capitalist economy...
Planned economy also worked in many other places such as Great Britain and Argentina, even if the planning was less strict.


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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
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Post 09 May 2014, 20:20
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I guess it had nothing to do with making the USSR a superpower, developing its science and industry and raising all its living standards faster than any capitalist economy...

Living standards didn't rise but fell during Stalinism and later the increase of living standards in the USSR lagged far behind the West and even E. Europe.
Well known fact. Capitalist countries such as Japan etc. had more less the same or even bigger economic growth compared to the USSR that lasted for decades.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 09 May 2014, 20:29
You're failing to see the whole picture. I'm not talking about Stalinism, but the whole period there was a planned economy.
And you're right about Japan. I should have said a "free market capitalist economy", since Japan's economy was planned and directed by the State.


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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 10 May 2014, 18:55
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You're failing to see the whole picture. I'm not talking about Stalinism, but the whole period there was a planned economy.
And you're right about Japan. I should have said a "free market capitalist economy", since Japan's economy was planned and directed by the State.

1. Japan is a free-market capitalist economy which uses indicative planning.. In general, Japan is viewed as one of the most liberal economies in the world ...
2. If you look at the whole period in which the Soviet Union utilized planning, the picture is discouraging to say the least. There is a reason why all socialist states have abandoned planning (or were thinking about it)...
3. Do you know what a capitalist free market economy is?
4. China uses much more indicative planning then Japan, it doesn't make China less capitalist does it?
5. That the USSR never was able to come close to overtaking the West is a big failure; that China had done it "so easily" is just another proof.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
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Post 10 May 2014, 21:20
1. Indicative "planning". There are far more liberal economies in the world, but usually much smaller - really insignificant.
2. Discouraging? I guess turning from an undeveloped country to being a nuclear superpower with a huge space programme doesn't count.
3. Of course I do. I suffered it.
4. Planning has nothing to do with capitalism or socialism. Both can be planned or not.
5. I guess it matters what you mean to "overtake" the West. The USSR had a Gini index in the 80's lower than 0.30, China has 0.47 or even more.


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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 May 2014, 02:13
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Post 19 May 2014, 05:23
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1- The rigidity of Soviet economic model: The world changed continuously but there was almost no change in how the Soviet economy was run.

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Source: CIA
This isn't true. Begining in 1965 the Kosygin reforms began to move away from Planned Economies and instead use market forces to determine the economic coarse to take. This was the begining of what even Capitalist economists recognise as the "era of Stagnation". As soon as Brezhnev/Kosygin got into power the Soviet Economy's growth rate began to slow down. It was capitalist reforms, not Socialism that lead to the collaspe of Socialism.

Quote:
2- Lack of democracy within the CPSU: Lenin's ideas of Soviet democracy was replaced by heavily centralized mode of control by Stalin. Stalin's way of running the government might be necessary during wars, but it remained in place even in peaceful time. The dictatorship of the proletariat was slowly replaced by the dictatorship of the CPSU, which was in turn replaced by the dictatorship of the Politburo. When ideas were exhausted, so was the vitality of the CPSU and the State.

I agree that one of the Major criticisms to be made about the Soviet Union was that they didn't embrace Soviet Democracy after the revolutionary period of Lenin and Trotsky. Worker self manegment wansn't promoted as much as it should have been and the upper layers of the CPSU and later politburo did take control. I don't think this actually lead to the collaspe of the Soviet Union or Socialism. But it did hurt the democratic participation of the country. Salin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gorbachev and all the other members of the Politburo were guilty of this though as it wasn't just Stalin but all you came after and perpetuated the system. It was infinitly better however, than what Russia, Eastern Europe and former Socialist States had.

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3- Simplistic intepretation of Marxism as state-run economy: As the Soviet government had absolute economic power, it became an all-powerful and "all-knowing" force, it did not accept criticism well and slowly became alienated from the population. True co-operatives (where surplus would be "exploited" by workers themselves rather than the apparachiks) were not developed. This is why there was no strong popular movements to preserve Soviet socialism in the last days of the USSR.

In this regard I mostly disagree. The Soviet Union did quickly lose the vibrant Direct Democracy it had throuh Worker Self Manegment, Soviet Democracy/Worker's Councils and the Communist Party. However, while there are legitimit criticisms to be made about the Soviet Government the planned economy was not one of them. It worked beautifully, turning a backwards semi-feudal agricultural country, nearly destroyed by WW1 and then nearly destroyed again by imperialism in the Russian Civil War and nearly destroyed again by WW2 and the Nazis into a modern industrialized nation, with a standard of living higher than was ever thought possible. It had a space program that outcompeted the US in many ways! The Soviet Economy's long list of successes would be too numorous to name. The life expectancy, the literacy rates, the low income inequality ect ect. When Brezhnev/Kosygin came to power they did stupidly spend waaay tooo much on Military spending (although the US threat only partially justified it).

4-
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Gerontocracy ruled the CPSU: You know you're in trouble when you have three ailing leaders dying one after the other within just a few years. The August 1991 coup against Gorbachyov to preserve the USSR was also run by these old men. If you watch the press conference after these men declared they suspended the power of the President of the USSR, you will see they were just mumbling (no clear plan, no energetic young leader or at least some young potential next leaders, no convincing argument).

Agreed. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were all relatively young in the early period of the 1917-1920s period. By the 1950s/1960s Khrushchev was in his 60s. Even this wasn't too bad as he was a very vibrant and passionit leader in my opinion but the rest of the CPSU Politburo eventually became even older than him! Unfortunately Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltson were both quite young and they did 100 times worse. I'd rather have a 70 year old Communist than a 50 year old Capitalist!

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5- Mikhail Gorbachyov, Boris Yeltsin and their allies from the private sector: Perestroika and Glasnost aggressively dismantled the CPSU so Gorbachyov could effectively run the State without consulting anyone. He might be a genuine socialist (as he claimed), but his policies focused too much on destroying the old system before building a new one. In turn, Boris Yeltsin was very eager to dismantle the All Union's state power so he could ruled the RSFSR in his way, which was the neo-liberal way that his private sector allies so desired.
Also, the republics outside the RSFSR were neglected. In my opinion, it is unacceptable that the central Soviet government let thousands die and flee the Armenian SSR due to the earthquake in late 1980s. Also, as the only USSR's top leader with no experience outside of the RSFSR, Gorbachyov did not handle conflicts between nations within the USSR well.

I couldn't agree with you more. While the loss of Worker Self Manegment, Soviet Democracy, Councils, Direct-Democracy and Vibrant Particiation in the 1920s/1930s was a significant setback for Socialism it was ultimately Brezhnev/Kosygin who brought the decline of the Soviet Union and Gorbachev/Yeltson who utterly destroyed it. Your assesment of Gorbachev/Yeltson is probabley the best explanation I've seen. He didn't handle conflicts between other nations well atall! He basically allowed Capitalism overtake every single Socialist nation in Europe, Asia and Africa.

What the Soviet Union needed in 1985 was Democratization that maintained the CPSU and revitalized Soviet Democracy and Worker Self Manegment. It needed to reduce the military budget (which they did) while also revitalizing the Soviet Planned Economy and reversing the Kosygin Reforms and Brezhnev's stagnation. It needed a foreign policy that would decisively beat the Islamists in Afghanistan (by sending waay more troops than the half-intervention they decided to do) and maintain Socialism around the World.

Even if they had done nothing it couldn't be worse than what Gorbachev did. Gorbachev's cure (Market Capitalism) killed the patient (The Soviet Union and Socialism).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Feb 2014, 12:33
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Post 31 May 2014, 09:56
Quote:
This isn't true. Begining in 1965 the Kosygin reforms began to move away from Planned Economies and instead use market forces to determine the economic coarse to take. This was the begining of what even Capitalist economists recognise as the "era of Stagnation". As soon as Brezhnev/Kosygin got into power the Soviet Economy's growth rate began to slow down. It was capitalist reforms, not Socialism that lead to the collaspe of Socialism.

Wrong, the reforms were introduced to return the Soviet economy to the growth rates of the 1950s. When Kosygin introduced market reforms the economy was already lagging behind. Secondly, not much came of the reforms; the reforms were halted by Brezhnev and co, and so the reforms didn't change the system in any radical way. Prices were still controlled. What Kosygin tried to do was to create a superficial market without a market - that is, improving the planning in the plan (and not adding a market to the planned economy, as the Chinese and the Hungarians did).. The Soviet growth rate (even according to official statistics) began declining under Khrushchev (the reason for all the reforms), during the seventh five-year plan... Secondly, again, according to official statistics, during the eighth five-year plan (1966-1971), the Soviet growth rate actually increased, before it began to stagnate (and then decline slowly...) .. At last, governments introduce reforms for a reason - to solve something that doesn't work. Don't think they just introduced reform for reform sake. Don't blame Kosygin, if Kosygin had actually been allowed to introduce his reforms, the USSR would probably still be alive. ... Know you're history before you write; the Soviet economy was structurally filled with inefficiencies.

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I agree that one of the Major criticisms to be made about the Soviet Union was that they didn't embrace Soviet Democracy after the revolutionary period of Lenin and Trotsky. Worker self manegment wansn't promoted as much as it should have been and the upper layers of the CPSU and later politburo did take control. I don't think this actually lead to the collaspe of the Soviet Union or Socialism. But it did hurt the democratic participation of the country. Salin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gorbachev and all the other members of the Politburo were guilty of this though as it wasn't just Stalin but all you came after and perpetuated the system. It was infinitly better however, than what Russia, Eastern Europe and former Socialist States had.

This is apologism. Stalin created the system, turned it into something different. Of course, Lenin opened the doors to the possibilities, but it didn't have to happen that way. Lenin supported excessive centralization, which indirectly led to no inner-party democracy. Its a reason why nearly all communist parties in the post-Soviet countries, at the very beginning at least, created organizational checks and balances to safeguard the grassroots from the centralizing powers of the Politburo/Presidium and the Central Committee. This was an extreme problem, and even devoted communists didn't feel they could participate in government (if weren't already in it)... Soviet democracy does not mean inner-party democracy, Soviet democracy meant more power to the Soviets (the councils)... Lenin actively fought against workers-self management (he supported it at the beginning, but with the failure of the revolutions in Europe he backtracked; he didn't believe Russia was technologically, morally ready for workers-self management).. After 1919-1920, Lenin actively supported one-man control over enterprises (the manager; the centralization of power). That Khrushchev and Brezhnev let the system stay as it was just proves the problem; Brezhnev came to power in a rebellion against Khrushchev's "anti"-elite reforms.. He supported rotation of members in all offices, and even supported two four year terms for Central Committee membership. This and more caused the Central Committee to oust him and replace him with Brezhnev, who supported the opposite policy; "stability of cadres" (cadres would keep their position, and their would be no term limits)... Its extremely sad; why in gods name were they never able to introduce political reforms? The Chinese have done it, the Vietnamese have done it, the Cubans have done it, the Laotians have done it, I mean for frag sake, bourgeoise democracies reform institutions constantly. Why in gods name couldn't the Soviet Union pass one on radical political reform from 1929 to 1987 which changed how the central leadership acted towards the grassroots, which constrained the powers of the top, which increased the powers of the party congress, revitalized the Central Committee or so on? .. The answer; power hunger (I can see no other explanations, since the alarm bell was ringing in the late 1970s and pre-Gorbachev 1980s when gerontocracies were ruling all the Eastern European communist regimes (with the exception of Poland that is)

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In this regard I mostly disagree. The Soviet Union did quickly lose the vibrant Direct Democracy it had throuh Worker Self Manegment, Soviet Democracy/Worker's Councils and the Communist Party. However, while there are legitimit criticisms to be made about the Soviet Government the planned economy was not one of them. It worked beautifully, turning a backwards semi-feudal agricultural country, nearly destroyed by WW1 and then nearly destroyed again by imperialism in the Russian Civil War and nearly destroyed again by WW2 and the Nazis into a modern industrialized nation, with a standard of living higher than was ever thought possible. It had a space program that outcompeted the US in many ways! The Soviet Economy's long list of successes would be too numorous to name. The life expectancy, the literacy rates, the low income inequality ect ect. When Brezhnev/Kosygin came to power they did stupidly spend waaay tooo much on Military spending (although the US threat only partially justified it).

The planned economy you are referring to, immediately after WWI, i guess is War Communism (which the Soviet leadership abandoned because it was an extreme failure)... The post-WWI Russian economy was restored by the policies of the New Economic Policy (mixed economy with a heavy dose of state involvement; ala China, Vietnam...) ... The standard of living was 10,000 per capita, the standard of living of present day Kazakhstan is higher, and I don't see anyone praise the standard of living in Kazakhstan (when the USSR collapsed it was around 3,000 per capita If i remember correctly).... Who cares if they had space programs if they weren't able to produce enough toilet paper for the populace, or that most of the food they produced rotted before they reached the shelfs (shoddy work ethic...) ... Considering that the USSR had one of the worlds most educated populace (one of the few achievements of the Soviet Union, and which proves that public education can be great if done right), it was a complete economic failure (they should have done much better with the base they had...) ... That they used much money on the military is OK, since it was the most efficient sector of the Soviet economy, and probably the most bought Soviet commodities in the international trade systems were produced by the Soviet military .. Funny, during the 1960s, the Soviet leadership concluded that since the civilian economy was so inefficient, the military needed to be given greater responisibilities (so they began producing consumer goods... and they became the most sought after Soviet produced consumer goods in the country...)
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Agreed. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin were all relatively young in the early period of the 1917-1920s period. By the 1950s/1960s Khrushchev was in his 60s. Even this wasn't too bad as he was a very vibrant and passionit leader in my opinion but the rest of the CPSU Politburo eventually became even older than him! Unfortunately Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltson were both quite young and they did 100 times worse. I'd rather have a 70 year old Communist than a 50 year old Capitalist!

I'm no fan of Gorbachev, but he was no capitalist. He still rejects the label capitalism, and calls himself a socialist (albeit, he probably isn't a Marxist any longer).. Gorbachev actually tried to solve the crisis which had befallen the Soviet Union (unlike Brezhnev who, instead of actually trying to solve the crisis, believed waiting "for the inevitable collapse of capitalism" was a better strategy; he was proven wrong...) By the 19th Conference of the CPSU Gorbachev had used all methods available in trying to rescue the Soviet state economy (anyone reading about the first years; 1985-1987 will notice that Gorbachev and Ryzhkov tried). By the 19th Conference Gorbachev concluded that to save the Soviet Union, one needed to introduce Soviet democracy; that is, he introduced free elections for half the seats of the Supreme Soviet (the other half were appointed by the CPSU, so that the communists could always have a majority).. As the crisis continued, and new crisis began, communists began to lose faith in communism which turned the USSR into a multi-party system in 1990.. This is a very short description of events, but to say that Gorbachev was a capitalist when he took power is stupid, wrong, false.
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I couldn't agree with you more. While the loss of Worker Self Manegment, Soviet Democracy, Councils, Direct-Democracy and Vibrant Particiation in the 1920s/1930s was a significant setback for Socialism it was ultimately Brezhnev/Kosygin who brought the decline of the Soviet Union and Gorbachev/Yeltson who utterly destroyed it. Your assesment of Gorbachev/Yeltson is probabley the best explanation I've seen. He didn't handle conflicts between other nations well atall! He basically allowed Capitalism overtake every single Socialist nation in Europe, Asia and Africa.

What the Soviet Union needed in 1985 was Democratization that maintained the CPSU and revitalized Soviet Democracy and Worker Self Manegment. It needed to reduce the military budget (which they did) while also revitalizing the Soviet Planned Economy and reversing the Kosygin Reforms and Brezhnev's stagnation. It needed a foreign policy that would decisively beat the Islamists in Afghanistan (by sending waay more troops than the half-intervention they decided to do) and maintain Socialism around the World.

Even if they had done nothing it couldn't be worse than what Gorbachev did. Gorbachev's cure (Market Capitalism) killed the patient (The Soviet Union and Socialism).

Gorbachev never introduced capitalism, its a reason why the post-Soviet countries introduced shock therapy after the Soviet Union's dissolution, because capitalism had not been introduced. one of the partial reasons for the USSR's collapse economically, is that by 1989, the Soviet Union did not have a planned economy any longer, but neither did they have a form of market economy. The economy was in a sort of purgatory.
Soviet cogitations: 4
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Oct 2016, 17:15
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 27 Oct 2016, 16:07
I believe, in no particular time sequence:

(a) Pressure from USA and the West Europe
(b) Killings, esp. during Joseph Stalin's rule "Great Purge"
(c) The Soviet Govt. should have focused something on how to make technology more reachable to the public, just like Microsoft (USA) invented/made MS WORD etc. which is used by many many people.
(d) The Soviet Govt. should have allowed a limited private property

(a)-(d) refer to some major causes, in my opinion.
Soviet cogitations: 674
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2011, 14:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 10 Nov 2016, 07:16
Here's what I wrote a little while back:
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There was no "ruling class" in the USSR distinct from the working-class. Neither Party officials nor managers owned the means of production or exhibited any of the behavior of the bourgeoisie as Marx defined it. Employees of the state, as should be reasonably obvious, are its servants.

Now it is entirely possible for employees at the same time to be corrupt, morally lackluster, or whatever. But at the end of the day they're stealing from and otherwise abusing their job, provided by the state whose class interests they must serve unless they want to lose that job.

What happened in the late 80s was that the black market, which expanded throughout the 1970s and 80s, was practically legalized through Gorbachev's policy of promoting business "cooperatives" in towns and cities which promptly ignored the fairly benign rules regulating them and proceeded to hire labor and exhibit other capitalist practices. This was followed by the dismantling of nationwide economic planning and the privatization of state assets, which allowed managers and Party officials to turn into capitalists overnight.

Thus developed a situation where state officials had every incentive to "quit their job" by overthrowing the socialist state and the property forms it represented. If you read news reports, books and articles back in the day, the owners of those aforementioned "cooperatives" lived in fear that all the policies allowing them to become capitalists could be revoked at once if the political wind in the CPSU blew leftward again. A new state, sworn to protect the interests of private property and ruled by the bourgeoisie, was necessary.
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