Why did the Soviet Union collapse?

+70 votes
asked May 27, 2015 in Culture & Society by Nerijus (1,040 points)
My question is "Why did the Soviet Union collapse?" It was a superpower like US, right? But what caused it collapse finally?

2 Answers

+25 votes
answered Jun 6, 2015 by Hamood (1,430 points)

This is a very complex question that requires the use of a book for better illustrations of all important details. Below are 11 best reasons I got from different sources:

  1. Stagnating economy: The Soviet Union got to a point where it had become too problematic to continue carrying out state planning. It was obvious that the Soviet economy had become too intricate and massive for the state planners to manage effectively. The unwillingness of these state planners to allow autonomy of middle position managers to remain open all the way down to the more localized levels led to the failure of the state and its economic policies.
  2. Afghanistan Quagmire: Anti-communists insurgents threatened the Afghan movement that had sympathy for the Soviet. The number of the insurgents grew to exceed the size of the Afghan army. Thousands of war machines and troops were made available by the USSR. However, the support soon grew into a full blown inversion, and subsequent capture of major towns and cities, which bogged down the Soviets into some guerilla war with a very zealous and increasingly growing afghan movement that provided resistance to the inversions.
  3. Perestroika: This is a term used to refer to the popular economic reform brought about by Gorbachev in 1987, as a way of reviving the sliding economy of the Soviet Union. There were additions of some element of the free market. But these additions were not enough to cause a reform. The policies that came with the free market led to several failed businesses, with massive shortage of goods as there was a strong price control in place.
  4. Decentralization: Tax revenues were withheld when the Soviet Union gave more autonomy to individual republics.
  5. Glasnost: The secrecy of the government led to the disenchantment of the Soviet Union, which Gorbachev tried to balance by exhibiting more transparency and openness with the several media available. But, this move backfired when the public discovered long concealed recent and past wickedness, wrong decisions, health and social failures of the USSR, as well as the real extent of the economic problems facing the nation.
  6. Cherynobyl disaster: The Ukrainian town of Cherynobyl's nuclear plant accident was earlier concealed by the Soviet government, making the health risks more compounded, while increasing the lack of trust across the constituency, when the degree of disaster and cover-up became public knowledge.
  7. Local nationalism: As the Soviet government's perception by the public waned due to its several political miscalculations, nationalism was further enthroned in all the individual nations, which led to the agitations for independence in state like Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
  8. Lack of incentives: There were no provisions of incentives in the government economic plans to encourage innovations and large productivity.
  9. Excessive focus on the military: The USSR focused too much of the build-up of the military, and paid little attention to issues at the home front that could bring the USSR down. This was in a bid to match the United States military build-up.
  10. Reduced fears: In the 70s and 80s, there was a stronger relationship with the U.S, and this reduced the need to stay vigilant and prepared against American inversion.
  11. Ethnic fragmentation: The USSR made use of Pride/Slav Nation half-truths to justify their creation of a united Slav state. Nevertheless, Russia, was the more dominant or favored state, while other states like Central Asia/Turkey were subjected to oppressions. Obviously, Russians saw themselves as being superior to others. They were fast to withdraw from the Soviet government as soon as it hit troubled waters.
+1 vote
answered May 31, 2015 by Betty (500 points)

Why did the Soviet Union collapse? To be brief,

  • Constituting the Soviet Union in 1977, the article made room for the free secession of any member republic.
  • Efforts to decentralize the polity by the home political elites-this include some Russian SSR like B. Yeltsin and others. Reliable documents showed about 75% of the people voting in the 1991 referendum for the continuation of the renewed Soviet Union federation. However, the Soviet Union member republic leaders neglected that. Nationalism was an integral part of this point, especially is the middle Asian and the Baltic republics.
  • The Incompetence of the Moscow Soviet leaders, M. Gorbachev was, perhaps, the most incompetent leader our country has ever produced. This man, despite whatever his intentions might have been, surrendered our national interests repeatedly. That explains why the larger part of the society hates him dearly and still why he Europeans loved him so heartily.
  • Economic woes - oil price reductions, ill imbalanced militarized economic style, economic inadequacies, etc. This reason, is an inherently minor one, because the transformation of the Chinese, brought about by Deng Xiaoping as far back as the late 70s, proved the possibility of reforming the planned economy so eloquently.
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