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The Dissolution of the Soviet Union

            The collapse of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day of 1991, was a great disappointment to the hopes of many revolutionaries. But the question that flusters even the greatest of communist minds is: why did it collapse? The complicated situation boils down to the primary causes being political and economic and that it was a direct result of the military focused culture. As Joseph Stalin once said, "You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves."1.
             It can be said with reasonable evidence that one of the immediate causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union was economic unrest and peril. During the height of the Cold War (from the 1960s onward), the Soviets unfortunately lost the great race for arms with the West. The United States then took advantage of this situation and were able to profit from The Union's "imperialist exploitation of other countries,"2 while socialism only had an economic loss in that competition. By the end, the Soviet Ruble collapsed as the population turned to their last option, which was imports, to satisfy their needs. An example of this would be the fact that any citizen could not even buy a good pair of leather boots, a good television set or a computer made in the Soviet Union, because all the boots and the electronics were swallowed up by military usage.3 This led to there being few to no quality goods to export in order to balance their imports.
             Another factor was the lack of honest information, the secrecy the government kept amongst themselves, and the massive amounts of propaganda that were implemented. This was central to the "culture" of war in those times. One very famous example of this is the Chernobyl Disaster. Gorbachev himself said, "This nuclear explosion alone is what destroyed the Soviet Union."4 Not single-handedly, of course: this was just another major cause. On the twenty-sixth of April 1986, very poorly trained technicians (classic Soviet move to cut corners) decided to undertake a systems test of the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, at one-thirty in the morning.

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