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Taking Any One 'Empire', Explain Why You Think It Collapsed?

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Taking Any One 'Empire', Explain Why You Think It Collapsed? This essay will discuss the fall of the Soviet Empire, and how and why I believe it collapsed. The Soviet Union began in 1917 with abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the fall of the Romanov Dynasty in February and March of that year, and the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin in October and November, first establishing the Communist State. "For well over half a century the Soviet Union...was one of the most powerful empires in history"1 and during its most successful years, it spanned 15 national republics, and it existed until 1991 under the rule of Mikhall Gorbachev. Many theories try to explain the fall of one of the greatest empires in modern history, however this essay shall focus on the rule of Gorbachev, and the changes he made that I believe caused the chain of events that led to the collapse of Communism and the USSR. It is clear that there has been opposition to the Communist regime from the very beginning of the Soviet Union, as illustrated by the Russian Civil War (1918-1920) ...read more.


The Novocherkassk incident (1962) is one such illustration of this, also the Czech revolt in 1968, known as the Prague Spring, and the Solidarity labour movement founded by Lech Walesa in Poland (1980-81). One possible reason for these uprisings is that the populace were becoming more educated. More and more people were "engaged in 'the production of either new ideas or new things' which add[ed] up to a total of 'approximately 700,000 highly educated people formally engaged in creative activity' in the USSR."3 These educated people saw that communism in its current guise did not work and that it had not provided everything that it had promised, and these people began to lose faith in the system which is when the regime began to lose its legitimacy. Gorbachev, elected as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985, was a firm believer in the ideologies of Leninism. That is, he believed that a Marxist-Communist state would provide a utopia for the Russian people. He saw that, although the Stalin way of doing things had been necessary to bring about Communism within the Union, reform was needed to achieve the ideal society that Marx and Lenin envisioned. ...read more.


However, "Gorbachev's policies gradually became more radical as he embraced most of the agenda of the Prague Spring, to achieve a type of democratic renewed socialism."10 This earned him a loss of support within the party, as seen by the failed coup in 1991 when eight party dissenters placed him under house arrest. "His clear signals that the East European countries could go their own way precipitated the various negotiated revolutions...mass movements...and popular uprisings...that put an end to the Communist experiment in Eastern Europe in 1989 and in the USSR itself in 1991"11 In conclusion, it is obvious that Gorbachev was undoubtedly unaware of the effects his policies would have on the system, and how many people longed for a move away from Communism and a socialist society. They had learned from experience that Communism was a system that did not work in a practical sense, but had seen, however, by looking to the West, that there was a system that worked, in the form of Capitalism. In essence, Communism and Democracy are incompatible systems, and by Gorbachev's attempt to merge the two, to create the ideal Marxist society, he inadvertently caused its collapse. ...read more.

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