Factors That Culminated In the Eventual Collapse of Communism and the Demise of the Soviet Union Purnea Gillani
Author Note This report was prepared for International Relations Practice, BS (Hons) Major in Political Science and Minor in Management, taught by Professor Sajaad Naseer
ABSTRACT The collapse of the soviet empire is often heralded in the West as a triumph of capitalism and democracy, as though this event was a direct result of the policies of the Reagan and Thatcher governments. This analysis has little relation to measurable facts, circumstances and internal political dynamics that were the real historical causes of the deterioration of the Soviet empire. The key to understanding the
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But the Soviet Union had known far greater calamities and coped without sacrificing an iota of the state's grip on society and economy, much less surrendering it. From 1981 to 1985 the growth of the country's GDP, though slowing down compared with the 1960s and 1970s, averaged 1.9 percent a year. The same lackadaisical but hardly catastrophic pattern continued through 1989. Budget deficits equaled less than 2 percent of GDP in 1985. Although growing rapidly, the gap remained under 9 percent through 1989. The sharp drop in oil prices, from $66 a barrel in 1980 to $20 a barrel in 1986 certainly was a heavy blow to Soviet finances. Still, adjusted for inflation, oil was more expensive in the world markets in 1985 than in 1972, and only one-third lower than throughout the 1970s. And at the same time, Soviet incomes increased more than 2 percent in 1985, and inflation-adjusted wages continued to rise in the next five years through 1990 at an average of over 7 percent. From the regime's point of view, the political circumstances were even less troublesome. After 20 years of relentless suppression of political opposition, virtually all the prominent dissidents had been imprisoned, exiled, forced to emigrate, or had died in camps and jails.
There did not seem to be any other signs of a pre-revolutionary crisis either, including the other traditionally assigned cause of state failure external pressure. On