Soviet Union, where'd it go wrong?

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Soviet Union, where'd it go wrong???

Hi all, a few days ago i was thinking about how China is Communist state and i wondered how long it may take for China to become democratic, then i remeabered how Russia used to be a Communist state and eventually became democratic.

I tried to think of how and why Russia became a democracy but i relised i knew very little history about Russia during this transformation. I was wondering if anyone could tell if there was some sort of event or factor that caused Russia to become a democracy and id also like to hear your opinions about Chinas communism and how long you think it may last for.

Thanks in advance for any replies :smile:.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2


It over extended, had a grossly inefficient centrally planned economy and was constantly fighting expensive wars and proxy wars that it couldn't afford. That combined with internal ethnic tensions and a general lack of infastructure to begin with led to the iron curtain going caput.
 
  • #3
Astronuc
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Hi all, a few days ago i was thinking about how China is Communist state and i wondered how long it may take for China to become democratic, then i remeabered how Russia used to be a Communist state and eventually became democratic.
Russia is not exactly democratic. It's more of an oligarchy.

Basically Russia suffers from severe corruption.

The SU collapsed under the weight of the war in Afghanistan and perhaps more importantly, due to the collapse of oil prices in the 1980's in conjunction with the deterioration of it's infrastructure.
 
  • #4
f95toli
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I don't think it is quite correct to compare China and the Soviet Union; China is to a large extent already a capitalist economy trading with the whole world; they are nowhere near as "closed" as the Soviet union was and their economy is still doing quite well.
Moreover, they do not feel the need to spend nearly as much money on defence as the Soviet Union did. One reason the Soviet economy collapsed was that they were trying to keep up with the US/NATO and they simply did not have the economic resources to do so.

As long as the economy keeps growing the regime in China is probably safe.
Also, be careful for what you which for; it is by no means certain that western-style democracy would work in China. There is a real risk possibility that China as it is today would disintegrate into smaller countries/regions if there was no strong central regime to keep it together; the consequences of that could be extremely dangerous.
The best we can hope for is probaly a SLOW movement towards a more democratic China.
 
  • #5


I think you have a point f95toli, China is an industrial country that produces many products for the rest of the world. If democracy were to suddenly kick in there would probably be alot of damage to China's industry and bussiness all around the world. The main reason why China is a extremely popular area for industry is cheap labour and if voting started then the Chinese people would probably gain more rights which would cause alot of damage to the Chinese economy (In otherwords we don't mind dictatorships as long as their on our side).

Thanks for all your replies.
 
  • #6
Wilhelm Marz


Fall of SU Myths...

if you want to understand the fall of the SU, remove the following Myths first from your mind.

1. Gorbachev & Yeltsin knew what they were doing
(Morons backed by the KGB, who wanted to rule like the power elite in the West.)
2. The criminal class bred under the Soviet Union destroyed any hope for Democracy.
(The mafia economy was initiated and funded by Western Capital - Look into Dresdner & CitiCorp)
3. Russians just can't get enough of Fascist strong men to rule them
(Efforts for democracy were and are crushed ruthlessly and the strong men were put forward by the West)
4. Putin is the saviour of Russia
(KGB men started the mess and now they own it)

Now for the answer: Why did the SU fall?

1. The original planning structure under Lenin needed politically independent scientists and engineers cooperating with independent worker soviets.
2. Stalin eliminated the independence of the workers, engineers and scientists and replaced them in the planning structure with poltical "yes-men" loyal only to Stalin. Despite great strides in science they were never able to fully recover from the servile structure of control imposed by Stalin.
3. The Soviets had to starve their own people during the dust bowl thirties to pay the debt to J. P. Morgan and it's affiliates.
4. The secret police structures in the SU and the US seperated themselves from government control. The SU secret police, were thoroughly corrupt and put forward men like Gorbachev that would allow them to own the cow instead just stealing the milk. The US secret police and military extended the war with the Soviets for decades after the threat was over, holding up the bete noir of Bolshevism to get more cash and subserviance from us. So when their secret police dragged down the wall we moved into to fund fascist seperatists and create an orgy of ethnic cleansing, creating the greatest humanitarian disaster since WWII.

May I suggest you stop reading the shlock from the US Sovietologists and the NED and find out what really happened.
 
  • #7
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I think the biggest myth is that ronnie raygun caused the USSR to fall

in fact the poles had the start of the movement
that spread thru out eastern europe
and into the USSR itself
once the russian leadership decided to allow a crack
the whole structure shattered
 
  • #8
Office_Shredder
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Where'd it go wrong? Where'd it go right? They were never a super power to begin with - the country's economy sucked, the government was shackled by high debt... it wasn't as sudden a collapse as many people make it out to be; besides their nukes and their space program (both designed to compete with the US and maintain the superpower status) the USSR didn't have a whole lot going for it
 
  • #9
1,838
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It went wrong because they could not isolate their economy from the rest of the world. Then, the fact that a communist system is economically less efficient will matter. Also, the indoctrination of the people to fully cooporate with the system did not work well enough, so the people were not satisfied with the system.

In the West, the indoctrination is more succeful, because the system is one where the government has a minimal role, so if there is dissent, it is in the direction of government taking a larger role, so it is not directed against the government.


E.g.:

In the Soviet Union people complained of lack of freedoms, there were dissidents and people wanted to have the opportunity to earn more and be able to buy more luxery goods.

In the US, you have 50 million people who do not have health unsurence and you have hundreds of thousands of people living in "tent cities".
 
  • #10
Wilhelm Marz


Although I have not done as much research on China as I have on Russia/Soviet Union I can offer the following points that show some differences:

1) The capitalist economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan & the Special Development Zones are inter-related and dependent upon the political economic stability of China.
2) The large affluent class of managers and middle managers in China are dependent upon the Communist party to protect them from independent trade unions, ethnic nationalists and anything that even comes close to real communist revolutionaries.
3) 80% of the ShangHai Stock Exchange is controled by the Peoples liberation Army (PLA), through nested and interlocking companies.
4) The elites of China are well compensated if they are good and tow the line and executed if they don't.
5) The west has shown no real interest in overthrowing the Chinese government like they did with the Soviets.
6) The memory of imperialist sabotage on their country is still very fresh so they are hardly likely to welcome outside suggestions. Before the outsiders messed things up the Chinese economy accounted for 30% of global GDP. Within a hundred years of imperialist agression that share was down to 5%. Not to mention of course the massacres, invaisions, the drug lords, war lords, the famines etc that were all visited upon them when they were weak.

Because of these reasons I think it hardly likely China will go the same way as the Soviet Union. Considering the 10 million dead and the millions more left as refugees because of the fall of the SU, lets all hope China doesn't go the same way.
 
  • #11
MATLABdude
Science Advisor
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(The following is semi-satirical)

[SATIRE]

Insufficient brutality?

Maybe it's just the glaring examples, but let's take a look at some well-known Russian / Soviet leaders and empires throughout history (who also either modernized or greatly expanded Russia / the Soviet Union):

  • Khazars - Noted for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Russia#Pre-Slavic_inhabitants" often immortalized in tales of alternate history. Along with all the other coulda, woulda, shouldas relegated to history's loser pile.
  • Kievan Rus, precursor of modern Russia - Vikings. 'Nuf said.
  • Ivan IV, the Terrible - expanded the Tsarhood, started the expansion of Russia into Siberia, made enemy, common folk, and erstwhile (to him) ally tremble alike with the fear of his retribution and/or paranoia.
  • Michael Romanov - first ruler of the line of Romanovs. Establishes serfdom.
  • Peter the Great - the man singly responsible for dragging Russia into the 17th century (in the 17-18th century, no less!) Builds St. Petersburg, Window to Europe, on the bones of the 40,000 serfs a year he 'conscripts' to build the city (many of whom die of exposure / starvation / suicide by guard). Establishes absolutist rule. Considered a hero of Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, and the modern Russian Federation, and an ideal of Russian leadership.
  • Catherine the Great - expands Russia further into Europe and the dying Ottoman Empire. Russia reaches its cultural heights under her reign, and corresponds with many leading Enlightenment figures. Serfdom becomes even more slave-like as she allows the buying and selling of serfs, disjointed from the buying and selling of territory, thus establishing a precedent for post-Communist Russia. Along with Potempkin, exemplifies the Russian / Soviet tendency to kill the messenger.
  • Nicholas I - put down the Decembrist Revolution (liberal--owing to Western upbringing / travel--Russian military / aristocratic attempt to bring down Absolutism, ameliorate the condition of the Russian average Joseph, and foist a Constitution upon the Tsar). Supposedly "a good man" who hated and loathed serfdom, and did attempt to improve the lot of the average Russian. Poisoned for his troubles, and considered to be amongst the most inept and terrible of the Tsars.
  • Nicholas II - a family man. (Although at the point of a gun) brought back the Duma, allowed elections and a constitution. Killed, along with his family, for his troubles.
  • Joseph Stalin - delighted in the gulag inhabitant's dilemma, quoted as saying, "Repeat after me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chappelle%27s_Show_skits#Season_2" [Broken]"
  • Mikhail Gorbachev - a reformer (within the system), allowed his wife to appear in public as First Lady, engaged the West, and, in the end, insufficient 'Без перевода' (think Stephen Colbert) to crush the revolutionaries and resist the fall of the Soviet Union without a bang (or few). Currently sells pizza with his grandkids on behalf of the Imperialists (now featuring thin, pan, and Stuff-Crust!)
  • Vladimir Putin - may, or may not follow in the footsteps of the great Russian leaders cited above. Jury's still out, but creativity in getting his way and dealing with his enemies, (all with an "O RLY" smirk) points to "Yes"

(End satire) [/SATIRE]

It's apocryphal, but supposedly Hitler, when asked who he'd want to "administer" the Russians after the invasion, replied "Joseph Stalin! He understands the way the Russians need to be treated."
 
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  • #12
Wilhelm Marz


Wow, such amazing orientalist visions of the super-evil bogey man, we call Russia. Its the ultimate pornography how the west loves to revel in their dirt. My advice is that we should only indulge in such licence in private.

Actually Russians are not that bad once you get to know them. (Go on, try to get over your prejudices.) And, perhaps their rulers really were insufficiently brutal to match the power of the West's empires?

As far as quantity of historical brutality goes Russia does not even compare to the over all winners in that contest: Britain and Spain.

Just consider the 90 million erased in the genocidal invasion the Americas. Western Europe in general was and to a large extent today is far more genocidal in its policies. Consider the West's actions in Africa; from treating 20 million people as machine parts over 300 years to today's western mercernaries forcing villages at gunpoint to mine precious minerals - their guns of course bought thanks to Western stock markets.

To correct the balance a bit here are ten non-brutal aspects of Russians that do suggest they brutal enough to be like the western empires:

1) Russia is incredibly ethinically diverse. 10% are Muslim and their are significant minorities of Jews, Budhists, native religions etc
2) Some of the best science and mathematics in the past 200 years has been produced by Russians
3) Their comedies are hilarious - Check out the Adventures of Shurik or the plays of Gorin
4) No nation has done more to address global underdevelopment than Russia under the Soviet Union - giving help for free or at a minimal cost - building destroyed economies at their own expense such as Chinas. This help was given without the strangle hold of debt arrangements the west imposes on third world countries.
5) Without Russian under the Soviet Union Hitler would not have been defeated
6) Surveys show that the Russians do not have the xenophobic fear of outsiders trying to destroy them as can be found in the west. There was no movies like "Red Dawn" in the Soviet Union. If they had more fear of the West, their problems might not have been so great.
7) The west were the people who supported and supplied the most evil dictators in the 20th century, while the Russians under the Soviets opposed them. Take the example of the Khmer Rouge, the west backed them, and they opposed them - They backed the Vietnamese who finally removed the Khmer Rouge from power.

These are just a few bits, get out of your western prison of a mind and explore the world and its history that you know nothing about. All power the Land that produced Lomonosov and Gogol!
 
  • #13
Wilhelm Marz


As I said ten - so here the last three are

8) Best fashion sense anywhere - Go to Moscow and see. Western Europeans and Americans are walking brutal fashion crimes by comparison
9) The food is terrific and much healthier. The West's dietary habits and agribusiness is far worse than theirs.
10) The Russians, espeically under the Soviets were far more ecologically friendly than the West.
 
  • #14
mheslep
Gold Member
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...
3. The Soviets had to starve their own people during the dust bowl thirties to pay the debt to J. P. Morgan and it's affiliates.
...
Ten's of millions dead under Lenin and Stalin, and this attributes it to the omnipotent JP Morgan?

Misinformation
 
  • #15
mheslep
Gold Member
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728


If it is not acceptable to host a 'Where did the Nazis go wrong?' thread including some posts about how US financiers forced them to exterminate Jews, then why is this apologia for brutal mass murder should not be acceptable.
 
  • #16
mheslep
Gold Member
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I think the biggest myth is that ronnie raygun caused the USSR to fall

in fact the poles had the start of the movement
In fact the Catholic church helped start the movement in Poland, and there's evidence that Ronnie raygun and Pope John Paul planned it that way.

cable from Holy See to Sec State Haig 1982 said:
The Vatican recognizes that the U.S. is a great power with global responsibilities. The United States must operate on the political plane and the Holy See does not comment on the political positions taken by governments. It is for each government to decide its political policies. The Holy See for its part operates on the moral plane. The two planes (politics and morality) can be complementary when they have the same objective. In this case they are complementary because both the Holy See and the United States have the same objective: the restoration of liberty to Poland.
 
  • #17
MATLABdude
Science Advisor
1,655
4


Wow, such amazing orientalist visions of the super-evil bogey man, we call Russia. Its the ultimate pornography how the west loves to revel in their dirt. My advice is that we should only indulge in such licence in private.

Actually Russians are not that bad once you get to know them. (Go on, try to get over your prejudices.) And, perhaps their rulers really were insufficiently brutal to match the power of the West's empires?

As far as quantity of historical brutality goes Russia does not even compare to the over all winners in that contest: Britain and Spain.

Just consider the 90 million erased in the genocidal invasion the Americas. Western Europe in general was and to a large extent today is far more genocidal in its policies. Consider the West's actions in Africa; from treating 20 million people as machine parts over 300 years to today's western mercernaries forcing villages at gunpoint to mine precious minerals - their guns of course bought thanks to Western stock markets.

To correct the balance a bit here are ten non-brutal aspects of Russians that do suggest they brutal enough to be like the western empires:

1) Russia is incredibly ethinically diverse. 10% are Muslim and their are significant minorities of Jews, Budhists, native religions etc
2) Some of the best science and mathematics in the past 200 years has been produced by Russians
3) Their comedies are hilarious - Check out the Adventures of Shurik or the plays of Gorin
4) No nation has done more to address global underdevelopment than Russia under the Soviet Union - giving help for free or at a minimal cost - building destroyed economies at their own expense such as Chinas. This help was given without the strangle hold of debt arrangements the west imposes on third world countries.
5) Without Russian under the Soviet Union Hitler would not have been defeated
6) Surveys show that the Russians do not have the xenophobic fear of outsiders trying to destroy them as can be found in the west. There was no movies like "Red Dawn" in the Soviet Union. If they had more fear of the West, their problems might not have been so great.
7) The west were the people who supported and supplied the most evil dictators in the 20th century, while the Russians under the Soviets opposed them. Take the example of the Khmer Rouge, the west backed them, and they opposed them - They backed the Vietnamese who finally removed the Khmer Rouge from power.

These are just a few bits, get out of your western prison of a mind and explore the world and its history that you know nothing about. All power the Land that produced Lomonosov and Gogol!
As I said ten - so here the last three are

8) Best fashion sense anywhere - Go to Moscow and see. Western Europeans and Americans are walking brutal fashion crimes by comparison
9) The food is terrific and much healthier. The West's dietary habits and agribusiness is far worse than theirs.
10) The Russians, espeically under the Soviets were far more ecologically friendly than the West.
Dictionary.com said:
sat⋅ire /ˈsætaɪər/
–noun
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.
Where'd I put down the Russian (or former Soviet) people(s)? However, point 10 is categorically wrong. Environmental considerations weren't even on the radar where industrial development, or good of the country was concerned (nor could you really complain enough that either someone with real concern, or someone willing to capitalize on the sentiment would be elected). It's the same mentality that drove the worst polluters in the West, only the government was the one doing it (and could do so without recourse).

Sumgayit (World's most polluted place, according to Blackwell):
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1661031_1661028_1661024,00.html

Nuclear dumping into the Sea of Japan:
http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/AI14Ag01.html
 
  • #18
283
3


Ten's of millions dead under Lenin and Stalin, and this attributes it to the omnipotent JP Morgan?

Misinformation
I'm sorry but the ones that have died under Lenin were from the revolution. Can you think of any goverment overthrowing that didn't result in a lot of deaths?

I believe that the fall of the Soviet Union began after Lenin's death. All they did was to overthrow one elite class and put an other in its place (such as the party members and their associates). There was also very very brutal dictatorship by Stalin who killed anyone that didn't agree with his views (such as Trotsky) and forced people to labour. This resulted in unhappy people and poor production rate and quality. There was also a lot of hatred towards the Soviets from the rest of the world. Closed economy and no allies was a big disaster (the ties with China were never really good).

I think people are harsh on the Soviet Union. Saying they wern't a superpower is crazy. They have had great scientific achivements. The first man in space was a Soviet. Many great mathematicians also came from the Soviet times. Their intelligence service was the best in the world.
 
  • #19
mheslep
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I'm sorry but the ones that have died under Lenin were from the revolution. Can you think of any goverment overthrowing that didn't result in a lot of deaths?
Most of the deaths occurred well after the 1917 revolution. And prior to the Soviets, no there had never been any revolution anywhere that approached this level of mass slaughter.

Focus said:
I think people are harsh on the Soviet Union. Saying they wern't a superpower is crazy. They have had great scientific achievements.
So did the Nazis - the dirigibles, first long range rockets, first practical jet plane, etc.

The Russian people did, and still do, have many characteristic that I'd admire. The Soviet political system was one of the most evil catastrophes ever to befall mankind.
 
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  • #20
ideasrule
Homework Helper
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So did the Nazis - the dirigibles, first long range rockets, first practical jet plane, etc.
That's why the Nazis were also a superpower.
 
  • #21
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Most of the deaths occurred well after the revolution. And prior to the Soviets, no there had never been any revolution anywhere that approached this level of mass slaughter.
Please reference any sources that indicate a mass murder by Lenin after the revolution. Also Russia is a big country, a revolution in a big country is going to kill more people than in other countries. Please again reference sources. Stalin was post revolution, his slaughterings do not count.

The Russian people did, and still do, have many characteristic that I'd admire. The Soviet political system was one of the most evil catastrophes ever to befall mankind.
Really? What makes you claim that? There were a lot of people who were happy with the USSR. Clearly the people wanted the revolution in 1907-1923 and were happy with their leaders. I would bet this is something to do with being American and hating anyone else who thinks that democracy is not the best method of goverment. Yes, America around that time were so great, funding dictators and terrorist extremists. In all honesty, American foreign policy was much worse than the Soviet domestic policy.
 
  • #22
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Yes, America around that time were so great, funding dictators and terrorist extremists. In all honesty, American foreign policy was much worse than the Soviet domestic policy.

The US started to believe in its own Cold War propaganda that life behind the Iron Curtain was horrible. It wasn't very good, of course, but there is still a difference between living in Moskou in 1980 (I've been there around that time, I doubt mheslep has ever visited an Eastern Block country given what he writes) and living in Cambodja under Pol Pot.

Then, this false idea about life under the communist system may have motivated the US to support what the US today would call "terrorist groups" like the Contras to overthrow even elected leaders like Ortega.
 
  • #23
russ_watters
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Closed pending moderation.
 

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