The collapse of the Soviet Union’s historic moment gained the attention of different groups of people in society. It has been perceived by many to stem from the lack of the soviet Union to embrace technology and keep up with its pace as well as the cold war and the arm’s race. The disintegration of the Soviet Union can be attributed to various factors. However, the manipulation of the Russian presidency by Boris Yeltsin and the rise of the Soviet national republics contributed massively to its collapse. This research aims to examine the factors that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
(2016) suggests a multitude of events that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union but first discussed the different perspectives of other analysts. Marples explains how the end of the U.S.S.R. signaled the end of the Cold War and resulted in a victory for the United States. However, this did not signify that the United States was responsible for the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Marples highlights how the pressures of the arms race with the U.S. were not the cause of the economic collapse of the U.S.S.R. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the consequent end of the U.S.S.R. resulted in a drastic improvement of the relationship between Western countries and the former northern Eurasian empire.
One of the factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union was the economic instability brought about by the fluctuation of global fuel prices. According to Marple theory, the communist party politician Mikhael Gorbachev took over the U.S.S.R. when its economy stagnated. Even though the economy of the Soviet comprised of hoarding and consequent shortage of consumer goods, it still stood out as the second-largest economy In 1990. Ten percent of the country’s G.D.P. originated from the black market economy of the Soviets. For this reason, the country experienced an economic stagnation that worsened by the day. Mikhael Gorbachev developed two policies hoping that they would revive the economy. The two policies adopted are the perestroika and the glasnost policies. Under the perestroika policy, the Soviet Union shifted to the communalist-capitalist hybrid economic system under the command of Gorbachev. Politburo, the policy-making committee of the capitalist movement, was in charge of the economy. Regardless, the government still allowed the market to influence the development decisions and production processes. The establishment and implementation of the perestroika reforms to combat the effects of economic stagnation worsened the market condition. The government printed money to support wage hikes, an action that led to the inflationary spiral. A sharp drop in global oil prices threatened the Soviet Union. In addition, the failure by the key players to develop and manage fiscal policies that would otherwise enhance the economy made the country vulnerable to external factors.
In the 80s and 90s, the Soviets ranked as one of the largest energy resources producers, producing natural gas and oil, which played a crucial role in its market dominance and being the world’s largest economy command. In March 1986, the oil prices experienced a drastic drop from 120 dollars per barrel in 1980 to 24 dollars a barrel. Therefore, the external capital fueling the Soviet Union economy was limited. Consequently, oil prices skyrocketed in 1990, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraque. The Soviet Union’s economic constraints contributed to its collapse as it had already shown cracks in the economy and signs of instability and at the verge of collapsing.
Marples’ theory surrounding the collapse of the U.S.S.R. revolves around what he calls a coup from within. Marples states the collapse of the U.S.S.R. was partly due to the rise of national republics versus the central Moscow Soviets. Marples suggests this ideology was initiated by introducing the Glasnost policy. Gorbachev aimed to achieve political openness with the Soviet people through the Glasnost policy. The policy addressed personal restrictions on the people of the Soviet by eliminating the Stalinist repression remaining traces. He banned books like the Nobel-winning prize book, Dr. Zhivago, written by Boris Pasternak. The much-loathed secret police The fall of many communist regimes in eastern Europe and the refusal from Gorbachev to counter the fall of these with the considerable force created an undermining of Gorbachev’s authority. Marples also explains how the economic collapse of 1990-1992 also played a crucial role but states the most critical event was the rise of a new Russia under the elected president Yeltsin. Yeltsin had the backing of his party members that became spiteful of previous encounters with Gorbachev and the policies introduced into Russia. Marples explains how it was a revolt from within instead of a civil conflict, with evidence from the composition of post-soviet leadership where all of the newly independent states had former communist leaders. With Marples giving the example of Belarus and their elected leader, Alyaksander Lukashenka, in which he openly stated that the collapse of the U.S.S.R. was an act of ‘treachery.’ Marples describes how many of these party leaders transformed from communist to nationalist to maintain their power. The only leader to not do this was the Georgian leader, later termed power-hungry and consequently lost his leadership. Marples explains how the final compounding factor was the role of Gorbachev, in which communists refer to him as the reason the soviet empire was destroyed. Marples states that Gorbachev took on too many tasks and lacked a solid long-term vision. Marples’ final point explains how Gorbachev was not solely to blame despite his many errors in leadership. He explains how the main factor attributing to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. was the rise of nationalist republics and the coup from Yeltsin that caused a severe undermining of Gorbachev’s power. Ultimately it was the rise of a new Russia, separate from the Soviets.
The main aim is to provide an argument on the collapse of the U.S.S.R. The collapse was mainly a result of two interconnected factors: the rise of the Soviet national republics and the manipulation of the new Russian presidency by Boris Yeltsin in what became a direct power struggle between Yeltsin and the Soviet leader, Gorbachev. Marples follows a clear outlay in which he explains how the national question became a dominant topic in Soviet politics. He provides an analysis of the economic crisis in the late 1980s, explanations of the referendum to reform the Soviet Union, and how it led to the termination of the U.S.S.R. In addition, he addresses the final discussion of the two conflicting powers, Yeltsin and Gorbachev.
Marples’ chapter on the economy supports his main argument. Through his detailed explanation of Gorbachev reforms and Mining strikes, Marples explains how the economic crisis created growing discontent among the republics of the Soviet with Marples. He highlights Gorbachev’s leadership limitations, which revolved around his lack of delegation to experts and consequently a period of great economic regression.
Barnes (2014) produces a piece of work titled ‘Unpacking the “Collapse” of the Soviet Union.’ In his work, Barnes’ argument explains how the fall of the U.S.S.R. can be explained as a combination of regime change, state decline, and territorial disintegration. Barnes states how this allows scholars to make a formal judgment on other potential explanations. In his work Barnes (2014) explains how many people see the collapse of the U.S.S.R. as a single phenomenon and states that his article disaggregates the event into three separate though interconnected processes. Barne’s attribution of the collapse of the Soviet Union to a combination of events is similar to the work of Marples (2016). However, there is a difference in their approaches on the contributing factors to the collapse. While Marples (2016) and Barnes (2014) have differing arguments, they both have similarities in the argument. Marples’ rise of national question can be seen as similar to the territorial disintegration that Barnes talks about. With the rise of national republics, many Soviet republics sought independence, and therefore, once independent, they were no longer a part of the territory belonging to the U.S.S.R.
The work from Barnes (2014) allows for an understanding of the events from 1985-1991. It provides explanations in which we can reject arguments from other scholars, such as an economic decline or major faults with the Soviet system. It also highlights how the three factors mentioned could not single-handedly cause the collapse of the Soviet Union but only in conjunction with one another have the power to destroy the U.S.S.R. However, Barnes’ work seeks to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union to apply a framework for future political campaigns and predict political movements. This places a different perspective on his work as it focuses on political reasoning. It also provides a lack of information surrounding the impact of the people of the Soviet Union in the collapse of the U.S.S.R., for example the pressures for working conditions to be improved, or the increase in price of many goods and how this created growing discontent among the general public.
The collapse of the Soviet Union has widely been seen as the result of the arms race and Cold War, and the failure of the Soviet side to keep pace with new technology. Written in a clear and accessible manner, the book provides an explanation of how the national question came to dominate Soviet politics by 1990. Gorbachev believd that the explosion of the nuclear bomb over a year after he had taken over power contributed to the collapse of the Souviet Union. The nuclear bomb explosion at the Chernobyl power station caused massive distraction and cost the lives of people. Gorbachev’s official response to the disaster was a test of his glasnost policy of openness. The communist party committies did their best to cover the severiority of the bombing to reduce tesnsion among the people and renounce any doubts on the leadership and integrity of Gorbachev. One of the mechanisms adopted by the officials to suppress the disatter information was the proception of celebrations and May day parades in the affected areas despite the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. Western reports regarding the severiority of the explosions and the chemical exposure were downplayed and termed as gossip. The trust of the people in the Soviet system gradually reduced and shattered as more people dealing with the effects of the radioactive poisoning continued to increase, yet the communialist party officials were spreading propaganda about the issue. The lost faith in the Soviet system by the people contributed to its collapse.
The referendum to reform the Soviet Union in 1991 is the first in the history of Russia. Its aim was to maintain the U.S.S.R. as a renewed federation. It was one of its kind because it came in place of the renewed federation that was prevented by a coup in August. It resulted in the dissolution of the Soveity Union in December 1991. 80% of voters approved the referendum in question Moreover, the intention of the memomrandum was to give Gorchabev the popular mandate to pressure the newly elected Balstic state legislatures and the soviet republics who sought a greater sovereighnity. Gorbachev attemped undermine the outcome of democracy using democratic methods. The Helsinki commission sent his tough to monitor the Soviet republics and Baltic states parliamentary elections, in line with the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. They aimed to gather substantial reports about Baltic states and perestroika, as a representation of the soviet politics democratization. In December 1990, a compendium report of the Baltics States and soviet republics elections were documented and published.
Based on the observations made by the staff members of the Helsinki commission in the , the soviet and the Baltic states elections reports, the international media and the soviet republics paid little attention to the historic refurundum. The lack of attention from this partis reflected the minimal impact the referendum had on the people. The jurisdictional battles in U.S.S.R. between the republics and the center was a clear indication that the stategem was flawed and irrelevant as a policy. The referundum helped to generate the ‘April Pact’ between the leaders of the nine republics and Gorchabev. This consequences displayed a failure of the referendum in casuing the impact initially thought about the establishers, which was a historic contribution to the soviet politics. The strict adherence of the leaders to the agreement would have resulted in the most epic and historic democratization and discentralization of the soviet Union. Thorught pushing the referendum and advocating fot it, Gorchabev demosntartd his interest in using it as a weapon against his political enemies and the lower government bodies in the federal structure. The application of the referendum by Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev impacted the usage of the device after communisim in the post-soviet states. The collision between Yeltsin, the president of Russia and Gorbachev contributed massively to the collapse of the Soveity Union. The two statemen had a strained relationship and none took the other seriously. The passionate dislike of the two political leaders accelerated the collapse of the soveity Union. The failing of the coup in 1991 December was a clearindication that Yeltsin had more control and an upper hand in the whole situtiation. There different personalities was peharphs the main cause of their rivalry. There relationship was more of an intense rivalry than a competition. According to Yeltsin, Gorbachev was born for compromise and diplomacy. On the other hand, Yeltsin was perecievd as impetuous, impatient for negotaiations and preferred brinkmanship risks. Despite Gorbachev being the first to alter the Soviet politics rules, Yeltsin was quck to play by the rules and consequently defeated Gorchabev. Yeltsin was able to convert his political career to and extended his rule that would have otherwise ended in 1987, thanks to the alterations introduced by Gorchabev into the political system.
Unlike Marple and Barnes Seliktar (2015) focuses on how the involment of Soviet Union in the Afghnistan war and its financial budgetry for the military troups resulted in the collapse of the Union. Seliktar point out that, the involvement of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan between 1979 to 1989 was among the key casues of the disengagement of the U.S.S.R. The Soviet army settled in the Graveyard of Empires as they took over their role in world war II and repressed the Prague spring and the Hungrarian revolution. Millions of Soviet troops took part in the occupations that lasted for ten years. In the line of duty, over fifteen thousand troops lost their lives. More than a million Afghanistan civilians were also killed in the battle. Since the government controlled the press, the information about the war remained muted until the glasnost created an opportunity for the vocalization of the Afghanistan war weariness. With this move, Gorbarchev reform efforts opponents lost their leverage aginst him. The Afghan conflict veterans in Soviet republics were agitated aginst the Moscow war.
Seliktar notes that protets broke in Asian republics in support of Afghanistan because many souldiers felt more closely attached to Afghanistan in terms their religion and ethnic background. The cleavge with Moscow by the Europena republics was more dramatic. The Baltic republic’ opposition forces resulted in the Anti-war demonstartions held in Ukraine. In 1990, the secessionist movements fueled by the Baltic Repblic saw the independence declaration of three Baltic states. The west was not responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite rigors and pressures of the arms race it didn’t suffer economic collapse as a result of the competition. Relations with the west had increased with personal friendships between the leaders of former cold war enemies, with the U.S. wanting Gorbachev to maintain leadership. It is important to note that Soviet involvement in war did not entirely contribute to the collapse of the Union. Seliktar argues that it was a major contributor but other factors played part in its collapse as well.
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