Article Review: Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union is Wrong Introduction More than its famous vodka, the Soviet Union has had an equally intoxicating story to tell. Today, the USSR is most associated with the Cold War but there’s more to that than meets the eye…
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Then, right before the century ends, one of the world’s nuclear superpower died a painful death – by its own hands. The USSR was a fruit of a revolution and through revolution it fell to the grounds, rotted away and disintegrated. The Collapse of USSR according to Leon Aron Successful revolutions bank on the element of surprise. Rebels and insurgents launch surprise attacks on government institutions while disillusioned or greedy government officials launch a coup d’etat in an attempt to snatch political powers by force. However, nothing beats the USSR when it surprised the whole world by its unexpected demise. Leon Aron, author of the article entitled, “Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union is Wrong,” discussed extensively that, "In the years leading up to 1991, virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union.” He claims that even the Soviets themselves were not expecting the eventual demise of their country. Then he argued that observers and power players lacked the foresight to predict the demise of a big country and government despite the presence of many tell-tale signs that were available shortly after the election of Michael Gorbachev into power. Such signs which could have been used as a tool to gauge the health and viability of the country were all ignored totally by everyone include the “shortages, food rationing, long lines in stores, and acute poverty.” But then again, Peter Rutland, a distinguished professor at Wesleyan University was quoted as saying that, "Chronic ailments, after all, are not necessarily fatal." The author argued further that the arms race of the cold war as well as the war against Afghanistan took a huge toll on the Soviet Union’s coffers, draining much needed resources towards the maintenance of healthy soldiers on the battlefront as well as the strengthening of its arsenal, particularly its nuclear capabilities. Aptly, he also acknowledged that a mere fiscal deficit will not warrant the disintegration of a country. A country can go bankrupt to the neck but still remain intact. As such, there is a need to also recognize the other “structural reasons – economic, political, social – why the Soviet Union should have collapsed as it did.” However, Aron contends that the real culprit behind the “unexpected” demise of the nuclear superpower that also excels massively in the field of arts and the strategy game of chess is neither the people’s struggle for their basic subsistence nor the politician’s struggle for power. Rather, the former USSR imploded because of the citizen’s hunger for a moral government headed by a moral leader. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic fell on its knees at the weight of its moral “sins”. No less than Gorbachev proposed for “a reappraisal of values and their creative thinking.” He admitted that moral decadence is gnawing at the foundations of the Kremlin much rapidly than any other issues it was facing. Hence, Gorbachev bravely declared that "we couldn't go on like that any longer, and we had to change life radically, break away from the past malpractices.” There is a need for moral change. And change they did. Union of Soviet Socialist Russia is no more. Critique: Leon Aron opened his paper by positing that the collapse of the former archenemy of
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