How did the USSR fall?

History Nov 21, 2020

In the background of world war II, there is growing struggle between two great powers to shake the most world which ignited the Cold War. Following the surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945 near the close of World War II, the uneasy wartime alliance between the United States and Great Britain on the one hand and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics(USSR) on the other began to unravel. By 1948 the Soviets had installed left-wing governments in the countries of eastern Europe that had been liberated by the Red Army. But this 'Era of USSR' came to an end, when Mikhail Gorbachev became the general secretary.

And rise of the Political Differences in USSR :-

  • When Mikhail Gorbachev was named general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) on March 11th 1985,. His primary domestic goals were to jump-start the moribund Soviet economy and to streamline the cumbersome government bureaucracy.
  • Gorbachev introduced two sets of policies that he hoped would help the USSR become a more prosperous, productive nation. The first policy was known as glasnost (political openness) and the second was Perestroika (restructuring). Which exhibited the worst of the capitalist and communist systems. The price controls were lifted in some markets, but existing bureaucratic structures were left in place, meaning that the Communist officials were able to push back against those policies that did not benefit them personally.
  • But the state lost control of both the media and the public sphere, and democratic reform movements gained stream throughout the Soviet bloc. In the end, Gorbachev’s reforms and his abandonment of the Brezhnev Doctrine hastened the demise of the Soviet empire.
  • By the end of 1989 Hungary had dismantled its border fence with Austria, Solidarity had swept into power in Poland, the Baltic states were taking concrete steps toward independence, and the Berlin Wall had been toppled.

The Economical Crisis :-

  • The Soviet Economy was second largest at that time, but still the shortages of consumer goods were routine and hoarding was commonplace. And it was estimated that the Soviet black market economy was the equivalent of more than 10 percent of the country’s official GDP.
  • Economic stagnation had hobbled the country for years, and the perestroika system by Gorbachev reforms only served to exacerbate the problem. That wage hikes which were supported by printing money, fueling an inflationary spiral.
  • Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, the Soviet Union ranked as one of the world’s top producers of energy resources such as oil and natural gas, and exports of these played a vital role to increase the economy. But when oil prices dropped from $120 a barrel in 1980 to $24 a barrel in March 1986, this vital lifeline to external capital dried up.
  • The price of oil temporarily spiked in the wake of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, but by that point the collapse of the Soviet Union was well under way.

Military invasion of Afghanistan :-

  • The Soviet Union had used Afghanistan as a strategic buffer zone between itself and U.S.-aligned Pakistan and the Persian Gulf. The Soviet Union finally invaded the country in 1979 to solidify its military position, and to access trade and oil routes.
  • The war quickly devolved into a stalemate, and lasted for 10 years. More than 100,000 Soviet troops occupied major urban areas and large towns, and tried to crush the mujahedeen who were engaging in guerrilla war tactics
  • The war drained the Soviet Union’s already-faltering economy, and discredited the strength of both the Soviet army and the government on the global stage. Gorbachev recognized the economical and political situation so he signed a peace treaty to end the war and remove all Soviet troops from Afghanistan by February 1989.

And The Chernobyl Explosion :-

  • On 26th of April 1986, the number 4 reactor in Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near city of Pryp'yat' under USSR exploded. And the main reason behind this tragedy was the use of boron rods containing graphite tips which sparked the explosion in nuclear core.
  • Due to this nuclear disaster, The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that the total number of long-term deaths will be around 4,000. However, this figure is related only to the proximate populations of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus which were exposed to high radiation levels.
  • When a committee was set up to investigate this disaster, they resulted that the RBMK reactors designed by the Soviet Union was cheap and had flaws in it. And when this secret was out to the public, they protested And then sequence of events that hat led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1991.

This article has been written by Atharva Budrukkar for The Paradigm

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