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The Fall of Soviet Communism: A Brief Overview

1. Introduction

This paper discusses the definition of communism, the principles of soviet communism, and explanation of factors that led to the fall of soviet communism. The word ‘communism’ has been used in many different contexts and has been associated with a wide variety of ideologies and political movements. This paper will provide a brief overview of the development of communist thought, with a focus on its 20th-century manifestations in the form of Russian Marxism and Soviet communism. It will then go on to discuss the collapse of Soviet communism in the late 1980s and the reasons for its demise.

2. What is Communism?

The word ‘communism’ is derived from the Latin communis, meaning ‘common’ or ‘shared’. In its broadest sense, communism is a social and economic doctrine that advocates the shared ownership of resources and the elimination of private property. The ultimate goal of communism is to create a classless society in which all people are equal and share equally in the benefits of industrialization and progress.

The first recorded use of the term ‘communism’ was by French philosopher Voltaire in his 1762 book Candide, where he described a fictional society based on common ownership and equality. However, it was not until the early 19th century that communism began to develop as a distinct political ideology. The first major communist thinker was German philosopher Karl Marx, who formulated the theory of historical materialism. Marx believed that history was determined by economic factors, and that capitalism would inevitably give way to socialism, which would in turn lead to communism.

3. The Principles of Soviet Communism

Soviet communism was an ideologically based political system that emerged from the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Soviet Communist Party (SCP) was founded in 1912 by Vladimir Lenin, and it was the party that led the Bolshevik Revolution which overthrew the Tsarist regime in Russia in 1917. After coming to power, the SCP set about implementing a new economic system based on Marx’s ideas, which they called ‘socialism in one country’. This involved nationalizing all industries, collectivizing agriculture, and creating a centrally planned economy.

The principles of Soviet communism were embodied in the constitution of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), which was ratified in 1924. The constitution guaranteed equality for all citizens, regardless of race or gender, and it also enshrined the principle of collective rather than individual ownership of property. It also established the supremacy of the Communist Party as the ruling party of the state.

4. The Fall of Soviet Communism

Soviet communism began to unravel in the late 1980s, culminating in its collapse in 1991. There were a number of factors that contributed to this process, including economic problems, political reform movements, and international pressure. One of the main causes of Soviet economic decline was the inefficient centrally planned economy, which was unable to keep up with changing technology or consumer demand. This led to widespread shortages of goods and services, as well as widespread discontent among ordinary citizens.

Another factor that contributed to Soviet decline was the rise of reformist leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev, who came to power in 1985 with a mandate to reform the socialist system. Gorbachev introduced a number policies designed to liberalize the economy and society, including glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). These reforms proved to be unsuccessful, and instead served to further weakening the Soviet system.

The final straw for Soviet communism came from outside its borders, with the rise of anti-communist governments in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990. These events undermined the Soviet Union’s political and military hegemony in Europe, and ultimately led to its collapse in 1991.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, communism is a social and economic doctrine that advocates the shared ownership of resources and the elimination of private property. Soviet communism was an ideologically based political system that emerged from the Russian Revolution of 1917. The Soviet Communist Party (SCP) was founded in 1912 by Vladimir Lenin, and it was the party that led the Bolshevik Revolution which overthrew the Tsarist regime in Russia in 1917. After coming to power, the SCP set about implementing a new economic system based on Marx’s ideas, which they called ‘socialism in one country’. This involved nationalizing all industries, collectivizing agriculture, and creating a centrally planned economy.

Soviet communism began to unravel in the late 1980s, culminating in its collapse in 1991. There were a number of factors that contributed to this process, including economic problems, political reform movements, and international pressure. One of the main causes of Soviet economic decline was the inefficient centrally planned economy, which was unable to keep up with changing technology or consumer demand. This led to widespread shortages of goods and services, as well as widespread discontent among ordinary citizens.

Another factor that contributed to Soviet decline was the rise of reformist leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev, who came to power in 1985 with a mandate to reform the socialist system. Gorbachev introduced a number policies designed to liberalize the economy and society, including glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). These reforms proved to be unsuccessful, and instead served to further weakening the Soviet system.

The final straw for Soviet communism came from outside its borders, with the rise of anti-communist governments in Eastern Europe in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990. These events undermined the Soviet Union’s political and military hegemony in Europe, and ultimately led to its collapse in 1991.

FAQ

The main reason for communism's collapse was the failure of communist societies to deliver on their promises of economic prosperity and social justice.

The Soviet Union's fall had a devastating impact on communism globally, as it demonstrated that communist societies were not viable in the long term.

There is no way that communism could have been salvaged, as the fundamental problems with communist societies are insurmountable.

Some of the key problems with communist societies include poor economic performance, lack of political freedom, and human rights abuses.

The lessons that can be learned from communism's collapse include the importance of democracy and free markets, and the need to respect human rights.

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