The Collapse of the Soviet Union Cause and Effect Essay by NMcRae

The Collapse of the Soviet Union
A look at the causes behind the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
# 114241 | 2,634 words | 16 sources | MLA | 2007 | AU
Published on Jun 03, 2009 in European Studies (Collapse of the Soviet Empire) , History (Russian)

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The paper argues that the collapse of the Soviet Union was fundamentally a result of economic inefficiency, rampant corruption and increased contact with the west, and their combined effect of causing widespread disillusionment among the Soviet population with the regime. The paper further argues that Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms and the events which followed simply provided a perfect opportunity for these seeds of disillusionment to sprout.

From the Paper:

"Following the Stalinist era, the Soviet Union saw a stagnation of its economy and a subsequent widening of the gap between the living standards of the capitalist west and the Soviet Union. Although, due to the untrustworthy nature of Soviet archives, it is hard, if not impossible, to gain concrete evidence in the form of economic statistics to back this argument, other forms of research such as that done by D. Chirot and A. Dallin provide just as valid proof for this argument. It is hard to define the exact causes of this economic stagnation, however, a broad but good explanation is that it was a result of both the flaws of a socialist economy and poor decisions by the regime. Chirot argued that the socialist economy was fundamentally flawed because; investment and production decisions were made by political will, quantities and prices of goods and services were fixed by administrative order, international trade was controlled, and finally that the measure of success for firms depended on its ability to build more, maintain employment and attract political directed investment."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Address by Mikhail Gorbachev to UN, 7 December 1988.
  • Bergson A. 'The USSR Before the Fall: How Poor and Why'. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 5 Iss. 4, 1991, pp. 29-44, 16p, table 1 and 3.
  • Best A. (et al), International History of the Twentieth Century, Routledge, London, 2004.
  • Chirot D. 'What happened in Eastern Europe in 1989?', in Tismaneanu. V. (ed), The Revolutions of 1989, Routledge, New York, 199, pp. 19-50.
  • Dallin A. 'Causes of the Collapse of the USSR', in Dallin A. and Lapidus G. W. (ed), The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse, revised edition, Westview Press, Boulder, 1995, pp. 673-695.

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