Jumping the Shark: An Explanation of Why it Was Ultimately During Brezhnev’s Regime That the Soviet Union Began to Collapse

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The Soviet Union (USSR): one of the most feared and powerful countries in the 20th century; a union known, largely, for its highly centralized government and, usually, its totalitarian rulers like Josef Stalin. The USSR remained a powerhouse republic through the Second World War and the Cold War; however its prosperity began to suffer as the turn of the century neared. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the USSR began its descent into what ultimately became the separation of the union and the independence of states such as Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, among others. Some scholars blame Stalin, known for his Draconian ruling tactics. Others lay the blame on Leonid Brezhnev for destroying the proven-right command-control economy set into place by Stalin and his regime. Lastly, Mikhail Gorbachev may be blamed for the collapse due to his attempted reversal to Stalinism by means of purging his possible successors out of office without attempting to fix the economy, along with his policies that encouraged public expression and freedom. When attempting to determine under whose power the USSR began to collapse, one much first determine under what principles the masses begin to seek revolution. Does revolution stem from unhappiness? If so, were Soviets truly unhappy when they were being oppressed by Stalin and his reign of terror, or under Brezhnev and his steadily failing economy? From a moral perspective, one would assume that the masses would be their unhappiest under a totalitarian, fear-mongering ruler, however, as can be seen in countries that were part of the Arab Spring, and, on the other side of the spectrum of economic wealth, in China, humans are truly unhappy when they are forced to endure a truly failing economy.... ... middle of paper ... ...lution and sparked it altogether was indeed Gorbachev’s policy changes that he introduced shortly after entering office. There is no doubt that without not only perestroika, but possibly more importantly glasnost and demokratizatsiia, the revolution may not have happened. However, if it had occurred, there would have been more of a struggle to maintain power and a possible reversion to the brutality of Stalin. Works Cited Bacon, Edwin, and Mark Sandle. Brezhnev Reconsidered. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. Kesselman. POLS 2313 Comparative Politics of Developing Areas. Comp. Mikhail Molchanov. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2010. Print. Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. New York: Knopf Group, 2006. Print. White, Gregory L. "Putin Aide Cites Brezhnev as 'Plus' for Russia." The Wall Street Journal, Europe 6 Oct. 2011.

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