If the USSR wasn't such a bad thing, then why did it collapse?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,694
San Antonio, Tx
Or are you hinting at the fact that poor, rural people are unlikely to develop a great economy and Russians were particularly resistant to Westernizing? This is kind of a catch 22. Unless a nation is wealthy, capitalism isn't going to be attractive to the people. I sat at the dinner table with a family that had too many children to feed. One did not want to be late for dinner or too polite because that would mean going hungry. I see that as a capitalist family. However, in another poor family, the person who cooked and served the meal portioned it out equitably, and that would be communism.

The west has a bad history of slavery and child labor. It did not get its wealth with strong human values.
Not sure I agree with this. The US wasn’t always “rich” or “wealthy”. For much of its history, life here for the first couple of hundred years was difficult and challenging with few to none social programs to protect citizens against the vagaries of life and the economy. Nor have we reached a Nirvana like state and for many, life is a daily struggle. Some might say that struggle is the source of much of our innovation - build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door. This may be true as far as it goes but you can only invent so many mousetraps.

Rural economies based on farming tend to move to different rhythms that are tied to more or less immutable timetables based on seasonal planting that do not lend itself to any forms of “speeding up”. The kinds of innovation that have changed the modern world have come mostly from cities which have been the crucible of new ideas in a society that rewards practical innovation. That, and a government that has traditionally supported and rewarded new ideas. It has helped a great deal for the US to have been the world’s default asylum for those around the world who have felt oppressed in their home countries, but it has never been particularly easy for immigrants here. The streets have never been paved with gold, but the gold is there for those who worked hard enough to find it.

I would love to be able to say that everything here is sunny and wonderful; it isn’t, but the rewards for those who take initiative and who are willing to build a future, are there.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,694
San Antonio, Tx
The confrontation between the West and the Communist block might have been started by the West or the USSR. It is immaterial. The USSR paid for all the sabre rattling because the ' sabres 'were costly and the economy of the USSR had not recovered from the effects of WW II ; though the Marshall plan possibly helped it to an extent.
The USSR turned down Marshall Plan aid.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,807
Not sure I agree with this. The US wasn’t always “rich” or “wealthy”. For much of its history, life here for the first couple of hundred years was difficult and challenging with few to none social programs to protect citizens against the vagaries of life and the economy.
Unlike Europe it had free land of prime quality for settlers – for the taking, but that was still better than in Europe, which was full. This, in a society where in most places 90% of the population were engaged in farming, meant next to automatic greater wealth in the north American colonies, more evenly distributed, compared to the old countries. Hard work required for sure, but where in history hasn't that been a feature? The US has always been richer than the vast majority of Europe. Americans just might not have felt it, and not have had any real perspective on their relative wealth. The only real American disadvantage was a lack of centuries of accumulated wealth, in particular compared to southern Europe, where people inhabited centuries of legacy real estate fx.

I'm from Sweden, in the 19th c. we used to effectively sell orphaned children at public auctions to the lowest bidder – that was the social security system at work.
 
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
in USSR in 70's and 80's there were also many crackdowns on believers and against religious groups. For example between 1973-75 116 baptists were arrested and in 1984 more than 200 baptists were either in prison or in concentration camps. Hindu groups in Siberia were disbanded in 1981-82. Buddist teacher Bidia Dandaron who was imprisioned under Stalin for 14 years was again sent to labour camp for five years in 1972.

So repression was not just against political dissident and people were slowly becoming fed up with it. However economic failure was the most important factor why USSR collapsed. Communist leaders ordered studies and finally realized that planned economy is not efficient enough. They tried to bring economic reforms in 80's but with keeping communist party in power. That failed...fortunately.

Black book of communism, published in 1997 in Paris/ 1999 in Ljubljana, page 305.

 
Jul 2017
164
Europe
USSR collapsed when the planned economy collapsed. Mills were unable to work unless they received specific orders from the state on how and what to produce, and the country bunkrupted because it was unable to keep up with the advancing economic and technological trends in the world. The state was Investing huge amounts of money trying to maintain the balance of power which exhausted the country.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AnonymousProfesor

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,673
Florania
in USSR in 70's and 80's there were also many crackdowns on believers and against religious groups. For example between 1973-75 116 baptists were arrested and in 1984 more than 200 baptists were either in prison or in concentration camps. Hindu groups in Siberia were disbanded in 1981-82. Buddist teacher Bidia Dandaron who was imprisioned under Stalin for 14 years was again sent to labour camp for five years in 1972.

So repression was not just against political dissident and people were slowly becoming fed up with it. However economic failure was the most important factor why USSR collapsed. Communist leaders ordered studies and finally realized that planned economy is not efficient enough. They tried to bring economic reforms in 80's but with keeping communist party in power. That failed...fortunately.

Black book of communism, published in 1997 in Paris/ 1999 in Ljubljana, page 305.

In Eastern Europe (including Russia), Eastern Orthodox Church revived pretty much after the collapse of the USSR and communist regimes; ironically, it wanes again today, is it hardly surprising?
 
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
@rvsakhadeo USSR not just rejected Marshall plan but also ordered its satellite states in Eastern Europe that they must reject it. They promised them like their own help known as Molotov plan.


However during WW2 USSR was indeed receiving big help from the USA yes.

If Germany defeated the Soviet Union, the most significant front in Europe would be closed. Roosevelt believed that if the Soviets were defeated the Allies would be far more likely to lose. Roosevelt concluded that the United States needed to help the Soviets fight against the Germans. Soviet Ambassador Maxim Litvinov ( purged by Stalin during the time of his pact with Hitler 1939-41 but in November 1941 so after Hitler's attack he was named ambassador to USA ) significantly contributed to the Lend-Lease agreement of 1941. American deliveries to the Soviet Union can be divided into the following phases:

  • "Pre Lend-lease" June 22, 1941, to September 30, 1941 (paid for in gold and other minerals)
  • First protocol period from October 1, 1941, to June 30, 1942 (signed October 7, 1941), these supplies were to be manufactured and delivered by the UK with US credit financing.
  • Second protocol period from July 1, 1942, to June 30, 1943 (signed October 6, 1942)
  • Third protocol period from July 1, 1943, to June 30, 1944 (signed October 19, 1943)
  • Fourth protocol period from July 1, 1944 (signed April 17, 1945), formally ended May 12, 1945, but deliveries continued for the duration of the war with Japan (which the Soviet Union entered on August 8, 1945) under the "Milepost" agreement until September 2, 1945, when Japan capitulated. On September 20, 1945, all Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union was terminated.
 
  • Like
Reactions: andyferdinard
Sep 2019
310
Slovenia
Concerning USSR in 70's or 80's it should be said also that still not all nations which were displaced and expelled by force under Stalin were able to return to their homeland. During the repression period(1944–1957), deported nations were not allowed to change places without special permit taken from local authority. Names of repressed nations were totally erased from all books and encyclopedias. Chechen-language libraries were destroyed, many Chechen books and manuscripts were burned. Many families were divided and not allowed to travel to each other even if they found out where their relatives were. Chechens were allowed to return in 1957 four years after the death of Stalin. Mortality rate between Chechens during deportation time was very high. Estimates for deaths of the Chechens alone, range from about 170,000 to 200,000.

However others were not allowed to return even later. For example Crimean Tatars. All 240,000 Crimean Tatars were deported en masse, in a form of collective punishment, on 17–18 May 1944 to the Soviet Uzbekistan and other distant parts of the USSR. The few who escaped were shot on sight or drowned in scuttled barges, and within months half their number had died of cold, hunger, exhaustion and disease. Many of them were re-located to toil as forced laboures in the Soviet gulag system.

Although a 1967 Soviet decree removed the charges against Crimean Tatars, the Soviet government did nothing to facilitate their resettlement in Crimea and to make reparations for lost lives and confiscated property. The abolition of the special settlement regime made it possible for Crimean Tatar rights activists to mobilize. The primary method of raising grievances with the government was petitioning. Many for the right of return gained over 100,000 signatures; although other methods of protest were occasionally used, the movement remained completely non-violent. When only a small percentage of Crimean Tatars were allowed to Crimea, those that were not granted residence permits would return to Crimea and try to live under the radar. However, the lack of a residence permit resulted in a second deportation for them. A last-resort method to avoid a second deportation was self-immolation, famously used by Crimean Tatar national hero Musa mamut, one of those who moved to Crimea without permission. He doused himself with gasoline and committed self-immolation in front of police trying to deport him on 23 June 1978. Mamut died of severe burns several days later, but expressed no regret for having committed self-immolation.

Black book of communism, published in Ljubljana 1999, page 306.


 
  • Like
Reactions: andyferdinard