Additional Information In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Hewett The Soviet Union began the s in a state of political paralysis and economic stagnation, both of which posed an unmistakable threat to the basic foundations of the Soviet system. It is for this reason that the question—"Is Soviet socialism reformable? At the core of what might be called "perestroika-pessimism" is a gloomy assessment ofthe prospects for economic reform which might be summarized in the following way:
The dictator ruled by terror with a series of brutal policies, which left millions of his own citizens dead. During his reign—which lasted until his death in —Stalin transformed the Soviet Union from an agrarian society to an industrial and military superpower.
Stalin implemented a series of Five-Year Plans to spur economic growth and transformation in the Soviet Union. The first Five-Year Plan focused on collectivizing agriculture and rapid industrialization. Subsequent Five-Year Plans focused on the production of armaments and military build-up.
Between andStalin enforced the collectivization of the agricultural sector. Rural peasants were forced to join collective farms. Those that owned land or livestock were stripped of their holdings.
Hundreds of thousands of higher-income farmers, called kulaks, were rounded up and executed, their property confiscated. The Communists believed that consolidating Was the soviet union reformable owned farms into a series of large state-run collective farms would increase agricultural productivity.
The opposite was true. The Great Purge Amid confusion and resistance to collectivization in the countryside, agricultural productivity dropped. This led to devastating food shortages. Millions died during the Great Famine of For many years the USSR denied the Great Famine, keeping secret the results of a census that would have revealed the extent of loss.
Stalin eliminated all likely opposition to his leadership by terrorizing Communist Party officials and the public through his secret police. Millions more were deported, or imprisoned in forced labor camps known as Gulags. The Americans and British feared the spread of communism into Western Europe and worldwide.
Inthe U. The alliance between countries of the Western bloc was a political show of force against the USSR and its allies. The Cold War power struggle—waged on political, economic and propaganda fronts between the Eastern and Western blocs—would persist in various forms until the fall of the Soviet Union in He became Communist Party secretary in and premier in At home, however, Khrushchev initiated a series of political reforms that made Soviet society less repressive.
During this period, later known as de-Stalinization, Khrushchev criticized Stalin for arresting and deporting opponents, took steps to raise living conditions, freed many political prisoners, loosened artistic censorship, and closed the Gulag labor camps.
Members of his own political party removed Khrushchev from office in Many early projects were tied to the Soviet military and kept secret, but by the s, space would become another dramatic arena for competition between dueling world superpowers.
The success of Sputnik made Americans fear that the U. He inherited a stagnant economy and a crumbling political system. He introduced two sets of policies he hoped would reform the political system and help the USSR become a more prosperous, productive nation.
These policies were called glasnost and perestroika. It addressed personal restrictions of the Soviet people. Glasnost eliminated remaining traces of Stalinist repression, such as the banning of books and the much-loathed secret police.
Newspapers could criticize the government, and parties other than the Communist Party could participate in elections. Under perestroika, the Soviet Union began to move toward a hybrid communist-capitalist system, much like modern China.
The policy-making committee of the Communist Party, called the Politburo, would still control the direction of the economy. Yet the government would allow market forces to dictate some production and development decisions. Collapse of the Soviet Union During the s and s, the Communist Party elite rapidly gained wealth and power while millions of average Soviet citizens faced starvation.
Bread lines were common throughout the s and s. Soviet citizens often did not have access to basic needs, such as clothing or shoes.Was the Soviet system reformable? Were there historical alternatives to Stalinism?
These are the questions that Stephen F. Cohen raises in Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.
IS SOVIET SOCIALISM REFORMABLE? Ed A. Hewett T he Soviet Union began the s in a state ofpolitical paralysis and economic stagnation, both of which posed an unmistakable threat to the.
Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War. With conflicts again dividing Russia and the United States, the need for balanced, accessible scholarship that benefits from new materials and critical perspectives is imperative.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), commonly known as the Soviet Union or Russia, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December to 26 December Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized.
The. The second problem’s connected with a question of whether the Soviet system was reformable. This question has been a matter of a big and promising discussion going on both in Russian and in the West. In China they began after the death of Mao Tse Tung, and in the Soviet Union it was with Gorbachev, a new leader not tied to the Stalinist past like Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko were.
In Vietnam, Doi Moi (renewal) was introduced by a new generation of leaders.