The collapse of the USSR was caused by internal problems and had nothing to do with the cold war. Assess this view.
The collapse of the USSR refers to the process of a gradual loss of legitimacy and appeal of the communist ideology and the CPSU since 1985 culminating in the disintegration of the USSR Empire from 1989 and the eventual dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. While “internal problems” refer to the inefficiencies of the Soviet command economy which stemmed from poor resource allocation, an overemphasis on quantity instead of quality and an over-commitment to defence and military build-up. It also refers to the policies implaced by Gorbachev of Perestroika, Glasnost and New thinking and how the subsequent backlash of these policies led to the USSR’s downfall. This question hence asserts that the primary and only reason for the collapse of the USSR was caused due to these internal problems and cold war aggression such as the Reagan doctrine, the containment policy had no part to play with it’s collapse. However, this assertion in itself is myopic and fails to take into account the impact cold war politics such as the containment policy and the Reagan doctrine had on the USSR. Hence, this essay will argue that while the collapse of the cold war was caused by internal problems, such as the inefficiency of the command economy which was a fundamental factor and the implementation of Gorbachev’s policies, a catalyst, cold war politics also played an important role, with the Containment policy as a foundational factor and the Reagan doctrine as a catalyst.
The collapse of the USSR was due to the inefficiencies of the command economy which led to the USSR haemorrhaging money due to the inefficient channelling of resources as well as the stagnation of the economy. •
This is evidenced Soviet manufacturing industry had not updated it’s machinery since Stalin leading to low qualities and quantities of goods being produced in comparison to the western European nations •
Additionally the products being manufactured were not based on the trends of the global market but instead on the decisions of the central planning committee which overemphasised on military, spending 40% of the GNP on military expenditure and hard goods such as iron, coal and steel •
This is significant as it highlights the inefficiencies of centralized control, which is a chief aspect of the command economy •
The central planning agency placed all power and decision-making authority in the hands of the government which saw the manufacture of consumer goods, goods which generated the country money and revenue as redundant and instead channelled most of the resources into building up the USSR’s defence industry •
And even when it exported consumer products, individuals were disincentivised from purchasing these products due to their low quality which led to low revenues earned from them •
Building up the defence industry of the USSR came at the expense of the quality of life of soviet citizens and it’s economy •
The gradual decline of the soviet economy meant that the USSR was unable to finance it’s satellite states and provide them with needed subsidies through COMECON or even keep the peace and it’s control within these states with the use of it’s military •
Additionally the state of the economy placing power into the hands of a few people caused inertia within the economy, preventing any reforms from taking place due to the fear of these individuals of losing their power and their status •
This prevented the needed reforms from taking place and caused the system to continue to rot in it’s stagnancy •
This was the main reason why the later implaced policy of Perestroika was unable to work and failed miserably, causing the system to degenerate further •
Furthermore these economic problems later evolved into social problems, where the inefficient channelling of resources led to the total food imports of the country to be higher than it’s exports •...
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