Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How did the Soviet regime survive for so long?

Today I finished up my last lecture for my world history class at city campus. It was on the collapse of the USSR. Rather than just look at why the USSR fell apart I think it is a useful approach to examine how it managed to survive for so long. If you had attempted to convert the British Empire into a similar union it would have failed miserably and rapidly. Of course a big part of this is geography alone. Nonetheless, the very concept applied to empires outside of the Russian Empire appears completely ludicrous. The Soviet experiment does not only because it was successful in many ways for so long. Of course this success was accompanied by the deliberate state murder of millions of people and the incarceration and internal deportation of tens of millions more. More so than any other ideology communism embodies the idea that material progress justifies any and every conceivable atrocity.

2 comments:

Walt Richmond said...

Many of the "nations" had no sense of national identity yet, and so it was easy to keep them in the empire. At least that's one reason I see as a major factor.

J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt:

True, a lot of the Soviet republics became nationalized during the Soviet period and they were constructed in such a way that there was no conflict between their nationalism and being a loyal Soviet patriot. This was particularly true in Central Asia. Only the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Georgia ever had strong independence movements. In contrast local nationalism in the British colonies was only compatible with rule from London in the white commonwealth. Although even here there are revolts for instance the Afrikaners. While strong independence movements existed in India and much of Black Africa.