The Causes of the Soviet Union's Collapse

1000 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
The Causes of the Soviet Union's Collapse Following the collapse of the Soviet Union a great deal of debate has ensued as to what caused the Soviet empire's demise both within the former Soviet Union and amongst scholars worldwide. Various theories have been published amongst scholars attempting to explain and pinpoint the flaws in the Soviet system and the forces that drove the Soviet Union to a brisk and catastrophic collapse. Economic weakness is commonly argued to be the cause of the collapse but others argue that political decisions made by Gorbachev and his supporters should bear most of the blame for the collapse. Another subset of scholars argue that the diverse ethnic composition of the Soviet empire lead to divided…show more content…
In Chapter four of their book they describe a Soviet system struggling to survive and provide for its people. According Dallin and Lapidus the Soviet economy was collapsing under the pressure of several economic realities; chief among them were “an accelerating decline in production, worsening inflation, a breakdown in inter-regional trade .” Chronic shortages were also a major issue and according to the authors and were driving dissatisfaction among Soviet consumers. Dallin and Lapidus argue that this breakdown in the economy drove wedges between political leaders and the various Soviet states. With the economy in dire straits political leaders across the Union attempted to protect their national economies from the worst of the shortages so they could placate domestic political constituents. These protectionist policies took the form of Soviet satellite states ignoring the centrally planned targets set by Russia and hording the goods for themselves. For example, Georgia's restrictions on some of its major exports such as citrus fruit and tea are an example the protectionist policies that were taking root. The authors also claim that Ukraine and Kazakhstan were ignoring targets set by the central government and failed to meet targets for grain deliveries. Protectionism became endemic to the Soviet economy according to Dallin and Lapidus. The economic scarcity and protectionist tendencies that arose due to the Soviet Union's economic weakness was also the source of

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