The Fall of the Soviet Union

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The Soviet Union which was also known as Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a union of nations that were supporting communism ideologies. In this case all the nations that were in this union had their economies and governance structures centralized under one government. The Soviet Union was formed in in the year 1922 and it late came to collapse in the year 1991.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s policies

Mikhail Gorbachev ruled the Soviet Union between 1988 and 1991. He also served as the secretary general of the communist party from 1985 until 1991 a period that he immensely contributed to development of the union’s military structures which was to a great extent negatively affected the economy. Gorbachev’s push for reforms while in power was remarkable as the Soviet Union citizens had lived under strict authoritarian leadership whose aim was to ensure that there were no rebellions.

[2]Gorbachev’s reforms cannot be entirely the reason as to why Soviet Union collapsed since there also other injustices that had been committed by his predecessors and his efforts of creating an open democratic society ended up reopening the past grievances. Before 1985, citizens in the Soviet Union did not have freedom as most of their fundamental rights were curtailed by the authorities. The governments had the control of all the information that was to be available to the public through managing and curtailing the freedom of the press. People were also closely monitored on whatever they said as it was an offence to criticize government positions or activities. All these were meant to ensure that the soviet union remained at all costs in order to compete with the united states of America which was already an established powerful nation in terms of military and also economically.   During the 1980s, Soviet Union was undergoing major problems economically as its agricultural sector was on the verge of collapsing while the industrial sector was also facing major inefficiencies dues to lack of technological advancements. This had forced consumers to go for cheap sub-standard goods that were available for them.

[3]To correct the anomalies of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev adopted perestroika policies which were fundamental reforms targeting economic growth and creating a democratic open society as was the case in other western economic stable nations.  These policies were to restructure the whole system of governance in order to create an environment that could bring in more people to participate in pushing economic, democratic and social growth. This enabled the citizens to access a variety of goods as opposed to during strict government control system.

In the spirit of restructuring, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union passed laws that allowed all state enterprises to run their affairs freely and determine their business activities based on their areas of operations and the demands of the population. Having an open market space would create more business opportunities through the diversified demands. The enterprises were allowed to buy goods from suppliers at negotiated prices. The enterprises were also given the mandate to cover for their own operations costs from their sales. However the government continued to control the means of production from which the enterprises bought their goods.

[4]In May 1988, the law on cooperatives was passed which allowed private ownership of businesses across all sectors. This encouraged development of the private sector which would in return complement government in driving the economy of the Soviet Union. The enactment of this law was a huge statement considering that that the foundations of the Soviet Union was communism where the government would control production and distribution of all goods and services. The law on cooperatives further allowed individual state enterprises to engage in foreign trade thus opening up for further economic growth and strong international ties.

The most significant step towards opening up for economic development and trade was when the Soviet Union authorities welcomed foreign investors to invest in various industries within the Soviet Union. This was seen as big and bold step since it appeared to digress from the communism policies and moving towards capitalism as more capitalist nations established their business interests within the communist nation.  By the year 1990, the Soviet Union government had given up most of its roles to do with economic conditions control and as such most of the state enterprises were being pushed out of business since the government could no longer support the provision of subsidized goods. This created more problems as various regional authorities within the Soviet Union were gearing towards gaining economic independence.

Gorbachev also introduced policies that were based on Sinatra doctrine. Under this doctrine the east bloc regional governments were allowed to enjoy autonomy or self-governance and therefore they were no longer to receive governance directions from the Soviet Union government. This move received mixed reactions from different quarters where those who were pro communism or socialism criticized the move as it somehow weakened the Soviet Union and the unity of socialist’s societies.

Having a government that is more transparent and open was also among the key policies in Gorbachev transformation agenda for the Soviet Union. He adopted and implemented glasnost ideas which allowed for freedom of speech and expression to the citizens of the Soviet Union. This allowed the citizens to discuss government performance and criticize where they felt that the government did not perform as expected. This also allowed the media to focus on present and past government activities and through this, more information that was withheld during the authoritarian dark days was brought out to the open. The free media platform provided revelations that made the masses to push for self-governance and to be free from the Soviet Union. This is the policy that is mainly said to have led to the collapsing of the Soviet Union since it enabled people to enjoy liberty and hence it became easier for them to express their wishes in a comprehensive way. The media revealed the dishonesty of the Soviet Union in each and every aspect and as such many people including the Russians wanted to move out of the union.

Gorbachev’s system of governance approach was the best thing that had happened to the Soviet Union since his efforts were meant to modernize its governance system by moving away from the authoritarian system and embracing a more liberal and open one. The fall of soviet union was as a result of past governments failure that came to properly revealed under the new leadership style of Gorbachev which was more open making it easier for the people to see the weaknesses and dishonesty of the soviet union.

It can also be argued that the fall of the Soviet Union was as a result of Gorbachev’s new system of governance which gave people the space to and liberty to decide on their future. The new policies also created confusions as the real actualization of the new policies would take time to be experienced as was the case with the changes in trade policies where in the end the government could no longer support its local business and production systems.

The fall of the Soviet Union was largely celebrated and welcomed by capitalists’ states especially the United States of America and her allies who were experiencing conflicts in their home countries due to the increased activities of pro communism organizations. The collapse was also significant since it marked the end of the cold war which was being activated by the ideological differences that existed between the capitalists and the socialists.

References

Gorbachev, Mikhail. 1988. "Gorbachev's Speech To The U.N.". https://astro.temple.edu/~rimmerma/gorbachev_speech_to_UN.htm.

Gitomirski, Sasha. 2010. "Cold War Museum". Coldwar.Org. http://www.coldwar.org/articles/80s/glasnostandperestroika.asp.

Gessen, Keith. 2018. "Mikhail Gorbachev’S New Thinking". The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/mikhail-gorbachevs-new-thinking/[5].

"Gorbachev And New Thinking In Soviet Foreign Policy, 1987-88". 2001. 2001-2009.State.Gov. https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/rd/108225.htm.

Siegelbaum, Lewis. 2018. "Perestroika And Glasnost". Seventeen Moments In Soviet History. Accessed October 27. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/perestroika-and-glasnost/.

[2]

Siegelbaum, Lewis. 2018. "Perestroika And Glasnost". Seventeen Moments In Soviet History. Accessed October 27. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/perestroika-and-glasnost/

    [3] "Gorbachev And New Thinking In Soviet Foreign Policy, 1987-88". 2001. 2001-    2009.State.Gov. https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/rd/108225.htm

[4]

Gessen, Keith. 2018. "Mikhail Gorbachev’S New Thinking". The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/mikhail-gorbachevs-new-thinking/

November 13, 2023
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