With the United States economy being in rough shape due to high inflation, skyrocketing energy costs and the lack of basic food products at the grocery stores, a look at other countries’ economies that collapsed due to the similar conditions need to be given serious consideration.
Two countries initially come to mind; Russia and Venezuela. Since Putin is currently being blamed for everything happening here in the United States, this writer chose to look closer into the history of the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The research material used were from the Britannica Encyclopedias, History.com, World Atlas.com, World Population Reviews and several other websites which contained research articles relating to communism, socialism, and the USSR’s history and fall.
In December 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved, breaking it into fifteen different republics. Mikhail Gorbachev was blamed for this breakup, leaving many scholars with varying views as to why or how it happened. Let’s take a quick high-level overview of the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, then you decide.
The USSR was officially formed in 1922, after a civil war which started in 1917, ending in the Bolsheviks’ victory. Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Bolsheviks, as the destruction of the czar ruled Russia came to an end. Marxist-Leninism was introduced by him as a catalyst for the revolt and is today’s leading model used in communist countries since. Lenin studied Marxism and had grand ideas on how he was going to establish this form of government in lieu of the existing one before his revolution, but like most ideological ideas, the concept of an idea doesn’t always work the way it was laid out and revisions are generally adopted.
Lenin ended up bringing in Marxist-Socialism instead, or a loose form of communism. Even with that loosened form of governing, war communism was adopted between 1918 and 1921 and the state took control of Russia’s whole economy through centralization of the planning and elimination of management from factories. His policies also required a large-scale confiscation of firearms. Anyone caught in possession of one was put in prison for up to 10 years. The Bolsheviks put an end to the free circulation of guns among the public because the leaders of the uprising knew what the masses were capable of if they were armed. Unfortunately, all the measures Lenin took soon led to inefficiency and confusion throughout the country. Essentially, what the people were promised wasn’t what they ended up with.
By the end of 1921, Lenin returned the USSR to a partial market based economy. This stabilized the economy somewhat. During this time, a system of collective and state runfarms was imposed on the peasants. When they opposed this, the government slaughtered livestock, liquidated households, confiscated property and sent many of the people to forced labor camps. To offset this and appease as many as possible, free medical and social services were extended to the entire country but only as the government deemed it was necessary. At the same time, Lenin’s government increased its hold on all political, social and cultural aspects of life.
Education and the media became controlled by his government. Freedom of movement was severely restricted and all criticism of public policy was banned. Secret police became a major instrument of government control. This all culminated into a large and powerful bureaucracy. Religious bodies were severely persecuted, only to be relaxed in the 1930s since anti-religion propaganda had already taken effect in the schools. They first indoctrinated the children to their communist theory, before allowing a controlled opening of religious worship. Personal lives where governed by making divorce and abortions hard to obtain, as well.
When Stalin came to power in 1936, after Lenin’s death, he purged the USSR of all remaining dissidents through death or long terms of hard labor. Stalin took a hard stand with the people and used an iron-hand to control the government officials around him.
Upon his death, Stalin was so hated by the people and many in government that when he was replaced by Khrushchev in 1957 his body was removed from the place of honor at the Kremlin, his name was erased from all geography in the USSR, and pictures and statues of him were removed. As history has shown, no matter how much a country tries to cover up its horrific history, it is always out there and can never go away … you can only learn from it. Stalin remains a figure in history throughout the world. For some he was a hero, for others he remains a monster.
After those measures were taken against Stalin’s legacy, Khrushchev decentralized the management of the economy to reduce inefficiency and bureaucratic delays, disbanded numerous national ministries, opened up vast tracts of virgin land to be cultivated, and exploded a hydrogen bomb while developing advanced military weaponry. He was the Soviet’s leader during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Even with all the changes, not much really changed for the people in the USSR and an innumerable amount of them were slowly falling apart in many ways.
Brezhnev came to power in 1964. By this time, due to discontentment among the people, leading writers, scientists and intellectuals began to protest certain aspects of Soviet life. These professionals and scholars were upset with the corruption in government and its inefficiency, as well as the inability to freely express their ideas. Many of these dissidents were sentenced to terms in prison or forced into exile. Russian socialism was no place for outward displays of discontent among the populous. In 1967, even Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyena, defected to the United States.
Under Brezhnev’s leadership, the military’s size and quality increased, including the navy. Regardless of the heavy-handedness for which Brezhnev ran his country, in 1975 the Helsinki Accords was signed by him. This accord declared post war European boundaries inviolate and subject to change only by peaceful means, and provisions were included for human rights. Even with the human rights provision, any Russian citizen caught attempting to monitor the government’s compliance with this were harassed and imprisoned.
By the 1980s, the Stalin-era leadership style was beginning to noticeably fail from within and outside the government. Between 1980 and 1982, Soviet economist’s, who were secretly relying on economic figures and raw material exports to cover up the economy’s deficiencies up to this point, could not disguise their failures anymore. Manufacturing of exports is vital to any developing economy and the Soviet’s had too few of it during the 1970s. This was crushing for their economy. To add insult to injury, life expectancy began to decline due to alcohol abuse, forcing the government to stop reporting life expectancy figures.
By 1984, the public was openly unhappy with the widespread corruption widely recognized within the Soviet state. Living conditions were appalling, the people were hungry and things weren’t improving. Since communist-ruled countries install their leaders, the people were doomed to any fallout a new leader would impose on them.
Per reference.com, an article by a Staff Writer titled ‘How Are Communist Leaders Chosen?’ explains how the doctrine of the communist manifesto was envisioned. Even though communism has a somewhat utopian ideology, it has never been practiced in its purity by communist controlled countries.
“Communist leaders can be chosen in various ways, but they are mostly self-appointed through political revolution. Notable communist leaders like Vladimir Lenin of Russia and Mao Zedong of China seized power by force. According to the Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx, workers should take power from the upper classes, leading to a dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Communist Manifesto’s call for a dictatorship of the workers is one of the primary reasons why most communist revolutionaries take the reigns of authority without consent. With that being said, communists can also be chosen through election or succession.
According to a profile from the BBC, North Korea became a communist dynasty when former leader Kim II-sung died in 1994, with his son, Kim Jong-il, immediately succeeding him. In other cases, communist leaders can be elected, if they choose to campaign in traditional political systems. There are communist parties around the world that compete with other political parties for election.”
Mikhail Gorbachev was the final chosen Russian leader of the communist party and came to power as the country’s problems were reaching a head in 1985. With an economy and foreign policy in decline, he immediately began putting new measures in place. One of those measures was the loosening of social restraints in a pursuit to invigorate the economy. His efforts were an attempt at increasing the free-flow of goods and information. With his efforts, the poverty of the people, waste of the country’s resources and the unpopularity of the Afghan war were being openly discussed for the first time without fear of retaliation.
While he was beginning to open the markets, Chernobyl had a nuclear reactor explode in 1986, releasing 400 times the amount of radioactive fallout as the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. This crisis became the first challenge his new open policies would face. It took 18 days for him to address the disaster and he was weak in his explanation. This response destroyed any remaining trust the people had in the communist party.
Many scholars and economists debate as to whether it was the state of the USSR’s declining economy, the Chernobyl explosion, the Afghanistan war or all of those factors that was the catalyst for their decline. Gorbachev has been blamed by many for his country’s fall, regardless of what history shows. He just happened to be the unfortunate person in charge when it all came to a head. Unfortunately, his attempts at its rescue came too late due to the closed–minded leaders before him wanting to maintain control and power.
A simple person like this humble writer could surmise that the failure of the USSR to maintain control was simply because information was being disseminated throughout the world and this knowledge couldn’t be kept from everyone within their borders, no matter how hard the government tried. It was the intelligence being shared and the people finally standing up to the conditions that a communist government ultimately brought on, which destroyed the country’s communist rule.
With this brief overview of the downfall of the USSR, what similarities are we seeing today in the United States, as well as other countries claiming to be democracies? Suppressing truth, persecuting journalists, corrupt judges and leaders in law enforcement are among the first areas to look at. Taking control of public education to teach subjects the government feels is warranted instead of what is needed. Weapon confiscation, control of free enterprise, takeover of capitalism forcing a government run economy, and control over medical care and who can get it. Control over the family are the other aspects of our lives we have noticed changes over the past several decades. Arresting and prosecuting opposing political affiliates or people who don’t agree with what they are witnessing. Finally, let’s not forget the attempt at erasing parts of our history that made the United States what it is today and has taught us how we should not repeat the mistakes of the past.
Today our political leaders are essentially choosing who to install into office at the command of those who finance their political campaigns. This is taking control away from the people and begins a very slippery slope. This slope ultimately doesn’t bode well for the people, business owners and ultimately the economy. It only benefits the governing body.
Today, communism is followed in China, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, even though they consider their form of governing as socialism. Marxist Socialism and communism are terms often used in tandem. Communism is simply a more intense version of socialism. North Korea practices the worst version of historical communism today.
There are many countries in the world that are considered socialist. These countries are: Algeria, Angola, Argentia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bolivia, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, St. Vicent of the Grenadines, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Many of those countries have extreme poverty and out of control crime. Sure, visiting them for a vacation can be enjoyable because the government generally controls where the visitors can go and what they are allowed to do within their country, but what the workers go home to are conditions no American would tolerate. There’s a reason why many from those countries attempt to illegally immigrate to the United States on a daily basis. So this writer asks … Why would anyone want to bring socialism to their country, when you can see how well it’s not working in the ones it exists in?
The United States is showing signs of struggle from within. We have what many deem as corrupt politicians installed in Washington DC, and many local governments that are allowing lawlessness to become a normal way of life by not recognizing laws that have been established.
Many conspiracy theories are circulating through social media and within neighborhoods about how shadow-people, often referred to as the Deep State, in the background are financing much of the chaos with drugs, shootings and trafficking currently taking place. It’s as if this organization has groomed certain Americans to be its own sleeper cell, waiting to perform what their masters have charged them with. Instead of being offered 13 virgins upon death, because Americans don’t believe in that philosophy, they are given material things to enjoy until they are called to action. Crazy, right? Just remember, within every conspiracy theory there is always an element of truth.
Questions as to how our politicians in Washington DC can go into office with minor means and become multi-millionaires within a few years of being elected are being asked more frequently. So, how is that possible? Is insider-trading happening because they control the laws? Are they getting kickbacks for manipulating laws? Are they being financially rewarded for taking out political dissidents? Why aren’t more people in government being pursued or prosecuted for crimes that are obvious among the people? Why aren’t their family members being held to the same legal standards as any average citizen? Why aren’t politicians and their immediate family being audited every year they hold office?
Why aren’t our educational institutions teaching about our Constitution, how it came about and all the bumps this country has faced and fixed over the years? Why aren’t the laws in the country and the state a child lives in not being taught? Why aren’t children being taught how to respect authorities and adults? Why aren’t children being taught basic finances and balancing something as simple as a checking account?
Why isn’t the media reporting objectively on all sides of a political position or issue? Why are some politicians drilled more vigorously by the media than others? Why are there so many why’s that aren’t being answered or at a minimum, why isn’t the media addressing these basic questions head-on 24/7?
When we lose sight of what our Republic stands for due to what it was built on, the world loses the last refuge for people wanting to have some control and freedoms in their lives. The only reason any political leader would want to change our Republic would be to amass more personal control, wealth and power for themselves.
It’s easy to lecture and preach about spreading the wealth and people paying their ‘fair share’ only if those lecturing are leading by example. Currently, those leading the charge are some of the richest people in the country who are unwilling to give up one piece of property or even donate a significant part of their taxpayer backed paychecks, which are subsidized by their illicit stock market investments and kickbacks behind closed doors. Again, Why?
Maybe it’s because the extreme left’s attempts at indoctrinating our children in K-12 then college has failed to a certain extent. Maybe the extreme progressives are becoming desperate in bringing about the end from which America was built on.
By not teaching real world or American history, many coming out of public school and college don’t really understand how bad socialism, and by association communism, really is. They don’t understand that they will not be allowed the radical voice they are granted today, let alone safe-spaces, they will simply be silenced.
Why the mainstream media falls in line with the progressive agenda is another area many often wonder about. Is it that they received such a poor education that they don’t truly understand what that would mean to them? They would become state controlled, but then again they somewhat are today already.
Never in the history of the world has communism or socialism ever worked out well for the common people, and many times for the people in power when it comes around. But … that type of take over always began with the confiscation of guns, then the silencing of free speech and religion. It always begins by a revolution from within, whether by good or bad people. Does anyone see a pattern here?
Citizens and especially politicians need to start being judged by their actions, not their gender or color of their skin. The laws of this country need to start being applied equally to all and not just the few. If you break a law, you will be prosecuted regardless of political or sexual ideology, skin color, national origin, religion, or gender. All politicians need to be subjected to term limits in order to keep them from building an unreasonable power base and to keep them focused on the people instead of themselves or their families.
* * * * *
You can follow Ms. Creason on Twitter @CreasonJana