My message and preface to Systemic Disorder’s blog posting:
There is much truth in what you say. I don’t want to make too many excuses for the Soviet Union’s failures, but I would like to point out that they didn’t operate in a vacuum. Many of their failures should be laid at their own doorstep, but it is undoubtedly true that they faced enormous opposition from the imperial powers. At the end of WW2 the US became the new leader of the capitalist imperialist world and unleashed hell on the USSR. They never knew a moment’s peace. The Soviet Union continued to operate under a siege mentality, and for good reason. Throughout the duration of the Cold War the Americans would embark on many provocations such as flying nuclear-armed B-52 bombers up to the borders of the Soviet Union and then turn back at the last minute. There were war games, economic boycotts, sanctions, propaganda, psychological warfare, literal sabotage of oil and gas pipelines to Europe, and encouragement and assistance of black markets to undermine the centrally planned economy. This is why the Soviets persisted in their bureaucratic and top-down control of the country. Once you understand the facts it’s easy to sympathize with their plight, and their heavy-handed response.
Also, Yuri Andropov, who took over the leadership after Brezhnev’s death, did recognize the failures in the economy and many other issues and shortcomings. He had a plan to deal with it, but his life was cut short. Shortly thereafter, that traitorous scoundrel Gorbachev came to power and very quickly began to dismantle the socialist system. I really think that the CIA was able to thoroughly penetrate the Communist Party by that time and assassinated Andropov and put their guy, Gorbachev, in power. It may not ever be proved, but there is some circumstantial evidence to support it. See the links below:
History does not travel in a straight line. I won’t argue against that sentence being a cliché. Yet it is still true. If it weren’t, we wouldn’t be still debating the meaning of the October Revolution on its centenary, and more than a quarter-century after its demise.
Neither the Bolsheviks or any other party had played a direct role in the February revolution that toppled the tsar, for leaders of those organizations were in exile abroad or in Siberia, or in jail. Nonetheless the tireless work of activists laid the groundwork. The Bolsheviks were a minority even among the active workers of Russia’s cities then, but later in the year, their candidates steadily gained majorities in all the working class organizations — factory committees, unions and soviets. The slogan of “peace, bread, land” resonated powerfully.
The time had come for the working class to take power. Should they really do…
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