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

Dec 2013
Some say the most damaging economic warfare waged against the Soviets was the Reagan Admin. getting Saudi Arabia to hold down crude oil prices. This helped the U.S. obviously but also deprived the U.S.S.R. of billions upon billions in revenue.
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Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
I am under the impression that the USSR did receive aid from the Marshall Plan. Please correct me if I am wrong. It did receive substantial aid in WW II,did it not ?
I may have answered this before or elsewhere. The USSR turned down Marshall Plan aid for itself and its satellites. They may have seen it as thinly-disguised plot to “turn” the newly-captured eastern bloc into something else. Whatever, turning down this free money was a big error.
Sep 2019
Well USSR did not decline just Marshall plan after WW2, but also help in food in 1919 which was offered by Herbert Hoover and his relief administration. Americans wanted to give help also to those who did not support Bolsheviks which seized power with a coup and did not respect election results held after their coup making another coup against Duma. This in combination with economy of war communism caused another hunger when also a few milion people died. Bolsheviks were seizing food from farmers during war communism and they got little to nothing in return so they were not motivated in production. They were financing primarly their military units on that way. In 1921 Lenin and Bolsheviks had to change their policy allowing some western help and allowing limited free market.


Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
San Antonio, Tx
You are right. And sooner or later the US debt caused by military expenses is likely to bankrupt its economy as well. On a humanitarian level, it is already bankrupt. The US demobilized after every war until the Korean War. Eisenhower was president during the Korean war and he established the Military Industrial Complex with is spiraling expenses and changed focus of consciousness, in direct opposition to its historic commitment of avoiding that expense and working for peace through agreements based on reason and such actions and the Peace Core.
It was Eisenhower who warned about the power of the Military Industrial Complex. I know, because I read it in a newspaper published in the late 50s. As one of the highest general officers in the army, he knew what he was talking about.

I’m quite concerned about the power of the military in the US, or rather, about the power of the Congress and the Senate and the president to substitute military power in place of diplomacy and common sense.


Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
Some earlier writers did not anticipate the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
For example, Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 still assumes that the USSR still existed in 2001.
Let's explain why some people are nostalgic about the USSR:
With the notable exception of the Baltic states, which are widely considered advanced economies today, the rest of the former USSR
still faces the aftershock of the collapse of the USSR.
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Moldava are among the poorest states on the world; how did they fare under the USSR?
Medical care and life expectancy worsened after the immediate years of the USSR
Why did the economy collapse after the fall of the USSR?
How defunct was the Soviet economy in the 1970s?


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
One possible perspective to take, not least re the Central Asian Repubs, is that in the break-up of the USSR Russia walked away with 90% or so of the exploitable resources. The Russian and European parts were rather better developed to start with. Thus Russia had the natural resources to leverage into an economic comeback (Putin credited with), while for the time being having been released from economically carrying the rest of the former USSR, the other new states. It has been broached as one of the factors behind why Russia as the historical imperial centre at the time apparently didn't put in the foot-work to try to maintain more of the empire.

The problem rather seems that it generally assumed, in Russia and in the west, that Russia would remain The Great Soft Power Attractor in its own back-yard, and so eventually Russia might start gathering the other post-Soviet states up in some kind of new formula. (A Russian-led EU-to-the-east or such at least.)

Unfortunately it also assumed that somehow automatically Russia would turn out as another western European democratic state. And underestimated the extent to which, when people have been allowed to run themselves for a while, they tend to be rather less interested in the idea of some kind of imperial centre re-asserting itself.

Or in other words, Putin's Russia has rather 'effed up the post-Soviet situation for itself. It's soft power is disturbingly weak, even within its immediate neighborhood, and it's turn to hard power as an Ersatz hasn't quite had positive results