USSR: An empire which came to an end


If you are well read in history then you must be aware of the rise and fall of USSR. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a massive confederation of 15 republic nations with Russia as their leader. It was operated and was at its height from 1922 to 1991. After that, it got disintegrated into smaller nations.


The Russian Empire was one of the most powerful empires ever. But it got overthrown by the Russian Revolution in 1917. And later Russia faced a major Civil war which led to the formation of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1992. The USSR was a vast Confederate as it consisted of 15 republics. The group included Georgia, Estonia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

However, their political ideologies were completely different from the western front. USSR followed the principals of socialism and communism. Most of the republics were under the German rule before USSR liberated them. Therefore, they came under the direct control of USSR’s ideologies. Then the USSR established the WARSAW pact, a military alliance meant for the socialist countries. On the other hand, the western countries had NATO in their favor.

So what were the main problems in the USSR?

  • USSR had a bureaucratic and authoritarian system. It muzzled any voice raised against its ideologies and system. There was no freedom of expression. For this reason, the government could conduct anything they liked.
  • The lack of democracy also contributed to the disintegration of the USSR. People literally had no role in the decision-making process of the country. They couldn’t participate in the political process as only the elite group had the access. This made people more helpless and frustrated.
  • The USSR was managed by the communist party. And surprisingly there was no other contender to their party. Which made people totally cut off from their country’s political system. And there was no fair competition in the political process. It was just like a monopoly, the government did what felt doing.
  • Only Russia played the important role in the group of the republics. Most of the nations were usually ignored due to their small land and poor infrastructure. Russia dominated and enforced their own ideologies upon the rest without their consent.
  • To manage the arms race with the advanced western countries like the USA or UK, USSR had increased their expenditure on defense rapidly. However, their infrastructure and technology were still lacking behind the western counterparts. The constant arms race created various flaws in their system.

Important events which might have affected the USSR:

  • Quarrel with the eastern block of the union: 

    The USSR faced challenges and protests against their governments in the eastern European block. As people started to realize the fact that Russia forcefully captured their land after the Second World War. This constant tension led to the collapse of several communist governments in the eastern European block.

  • The fall of the mighty Berlin wall: 

    After the Second World war, Germany was divided into two blocks. First, the Socialist block acquired by the USSR. Second, the capitalist western block. The fall of the wall meant the blend of both ideologies.

  • Political and economic reforms in USSR: 

    Russia was doing bad both economically and politically. Gorbachev realized both the problems of USSR. Therefore, he started a series of reforms to revive country’s crippling economy. But he had to devoid himself from the traditional communist beliefs. Then he started to investigate the market economy. As a result, the communist party of USSR widely opposed his reforms for the country.

  • The shift of power from the Soviet center to the republics: 

    Countries like Ukraine, Belarus were emerging well as powerful nations. They gave a huge competition to the Soviet ideologies. And created the demand that the USSR was disbanded.

Factors led to the disintegration of the USSR:

  1. Economic backwardness: 

    Communist ideologies didn’t allow the state to earn good money. As there was always a shortage of consumer items in the country. However, they were not importing or exporting to their country. Everything was manufactured in their country, from a pin to a full-size car. Furthermore, the country faced weak economy due to the high expenditure on the military budget. This became rampant after USSR had to spend a lot to main their Asian republic nations (as they were staggeringly backward at the time).

  2. No political competition: 

    The communist party was very similar to the fascist government of the Nazi Germany. The communist party ruled over the USSR. And the party managed to rule for 70 years over the country. This made USSR a victim of corruption, nepotism, and lack of transparency. However, Gorbachev tried to change it into a multi-party system and planned for a democratic system. But the communist party only criticized his efforts towards the country.

  3. USSR started to face nationalism: 

    Most of the republic got frustrated over the authoritarian rule of Russia over their land. Countries like Ukraine and Georgia face massive uprising movements against the regime of USSR. This feeling of nationalism was more evident in the European countries of USSR. As a result, many people started to protest against the authoritarian regime. The policies of the USSR made people incapable of doing what they wanted to do or what they wanted to own. The people saw that their country is falling behind as compared to the western countries.

So what happened after the disintegration of USSR?

Do we have a better world? well, the answer totally depends on certain perspectives.

  • The disintegration of USSR meant the fall of the second world. Now the world has only one superpower, the USA.
  • After the disintegration of USSR, many communist governments got dissolved. Just like a chain reaction.
  • The disintegration of USSR also meant the end of cold war. Which includes arms race and ideological confrontations.
  • It also shifted the flow of power. Now the world runs on a capitalist ideology which created an unipolar world. Now we have more international organizations like the IMF and World Bank etc.
  • The independent nations from USSR signed their alliance up with the NATO.



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