The Collapse Of Communism In The Soviet

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The Collapse Of Communism In The Soviet Union Essay, Research Paper THESIS STATEMENT Three equally powerful and great forces eroded at the Soviet Union and created a sense of desperation that eventually brought the country to the knees of capitalism. The economic dire straits that plagued the country for so may years, the innate failure of Communism as a political idea for the twentieth century and a weak central government, amalgamated to create an atmosphere of nervousness and uncertainty which eventually led to the fall of Communism. ARGUMENTS ECONOMIC By the middle of 1991 the Soviet Union s economy had plummeted drastically. Foreign trade was down 32 per cent. The 1991 budget deficit planned to be 26 billion rubles was now estimated at 125 billion. GNP in the first

quarter of 1991 was down by 10 per cent. Living standards were estimated to have fallen by between 15 and 20 percent. On July 22 1987 The Guardian, a British newspaper, published a document secretly circulated amongst some of the elite in November 1986: The Soviet Union lags 10 to 15 years behind the capitalist countries in its economic development and this lag is growing…the Soviet people s standard of living is one of the lowest in the industrially developed world…Low pay is vitiated by difficult living conditions. Chronic shortages of basic foodstuffs like meat, milk and butter in a number of areas, and frequent stoppages of products all together in others have a bad effect on people s health, especially children s, and create an atmosphere of nervousness and uncertainty

with people wasting their free time, and taking time off work to search for food…the USSR is now on the path of becoming an underdeveloped nation. Arms Race In 1987-88, the Reagan administration in the US launched a massive escalation in the arms race known as Star Wars . This policy aimed to put weapons into orbit which would provide an effective shield against an attack by intercontinental missiles. In reality, even for the USA this was a prohibitively expensive strategy. For the USSR it meant that if its nuclear arsenal was to maintain even the appearance of being an effective deterrent, there would have to be an increase in investment. The military and weapons sector of the economy was however already absorbing a crippling portion of the country s resources. By the

mid-1980s, it had become painfully obvious – not just to the Soviet leadership but to the average citizen – that the Soviet Union could no longer postpone the choice between guns and butter. That is to say, the Soviet Union could no longer pursue an approach of increasing defense spending while also indulging consumers through an extensive social support network. In trying to satisfy these two conflicting and increasingly urgent demands, investment in infrastructure outside the military-industrial complex was neglected and the economy was left anemic and brittle. Organized Crime The Soviet economy failed to satisfy the basic needs of the Soviet people, and fell behind the productivity of labor in the rest of the world. Because of this, an illegal economy grew in weight and

social influence. Inevitably, the growth of the black market actually undermined and corrupted the official economy. The bureaucratic command economy failed to deliver for the USSR, and it inevitably opened the door to the growth of capitalism in the form of illicit commodity trade, which in turn opened the way to the growth of organized crime – soviet capitalism . Class Gap The immunity of the bureaucracy from any kind of political or economic control and their privileged lifestyle, inherited from one generation to the next – all contributed to a bureaucratic culture utterly remote from the conditions of the masses, arrogant and deeply cynical. The working class meanwhile saw its living standards decline while isolated from workers in the developed capitalist counties whom