Soviet Union

In 1917, Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Communist Party took control of the government and economy after The Russian Revolution which ended the Czars ruling. In October 1017, The Bolsheviks (a mass organization consisting primarily of workers under a democratic internal hierarchy governed by the principle of democratic centralism who considered themselves the leaders of the revolutionary working class of Russia was founded by Vladimir Lenin and Alexander Bogdanov in 1905) overthrow provisional government. In 1918, the Civil War between the Reds (Bolvheviks) and the Whites (any other group that opposed Bolvheviks) broke out. The Reds controlled the industrial centres and railway networks while the Whites were supported by outsiders from other nations that were also against the Reds. The Reds won over the Whites and remained in control because of the military genius who is also the leader of the Reds, Leon Tortsky. Also in 1918, the policy of  “War Communism” was enforced, with the state taking control of the whole economy; compulsory labour was introduced, private trade was suppressed and the nature of war communism. Workers were forced to work and were moved to better suit the government, while millions other starved to death as the army confiscated grain for its own needs. In 1921, War Communism was failing which result Lenin to introduce the New Economic Policy. The New Economic Policy provided a period of stability and the return of market economic.

In 1922, the Communist Party had tied all of the countries that were taken by Russia into one name, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics or in short, Soviet Union. Germany recognises the Soviet Union. Soviet Unions adopted the constitutions based on the dictatorship of the proletariat and stipulating the public ownership of land the means of production. Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin took over the power and committed the state ideology to Marxism-Leninism and initiated a centrally planned economy. The Stalin’s Five-Year Plan, with the state setting goals and priorities for the whole economy, signifies the end of the New Economic Policy.

When World War II broke out, Stalin led the S.U in the fight against Germany. Despite their common enemy, the S.U. has worsening relations with its allies (which includes the United States.) This contributes to the rise of communism by further distancing itself from democratic countries. In 1940, The Cold War was a conflict between the S.U. and the United States in which both superpowers struggled to show they they were more developed. As it would continue, economic and social power would be returned little by little to the people, thus starting the fall of communism. In 1953, Stalin dies and is succeeded by Georgi Malenkov as prime minister and by Nikita Khrushchev as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. Shortly after, in 1955, Nikolay Bulganin replaces Malenkov as prime minister and the Warsaw Treaty Organisation or Warsaw Pact was set up.

Khrushchev made a secret speech during the 20th Communist Party congress denouncing Stalin’s dictatorial rule and cult of personality. In 1958, Khrushchev became the prime minster and also the Chief of Communist Party dismissing Bulganin. Soviet Union signed a treaty banning atmospheric nuclear tests alongside with US and Britain.  In 1964, Khrushchev is replaced as first secretary of the Communist Party by Leonid Brezhev; Aleksy Kosygin becomes prime minister. Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia to stem a trend towards liberalisation in 1968. Soviet Union and US signed SALT-1 arms control agreement, heralding the start of dentente in 1972 and signed SALT-2 agreement in 1979. Brezhev was elected as president under the new constitution in 1977. When Kosygin died in 1980, Nikolay Tikhonov became the prime minister. Not long after, Brezhev dies and was replaced by KGB chief Yuri Andropv. However 2 years later, in 1984, Andropov died and was replaced by Konstantin Chernenko.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev replaced Chernenko as the general secretary of Communist Party after Chernenko’s death; Andrey Gromyko became the president. Gorbachev begins an anti-alcohol campaign and promulgates the polices of openness or glasnost, and restructuring, or perestroiko. In 1988, Gorbachev replaces Gromyko as president; challenges nationalists in Kazakhstan, the Baltic republics, Armenia and Azerbaijian; speicla Communist Party conference agrees to allow private sector. Soviet troops leave Afganistan; the nationlist riost put down in Georgia; Lithunian Communist Party declares its independence from the Soviet communist Party; first openly contested elections for new Congress of People;s Deuties or parliament all happened in 1989.

In 1990, Yeltsin elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic by the latter’s parliament and leaves the Soviet Communist Party. While in 1991, Gorbachev as detained by the senior officials including Defence Minister Dmitry Yazov, Vice-President Gennadiy Yanayev and the heads of the Interior Ministry and the KGB at his holiday villa in Crimea. 3days later, they themselves were arrested. Yeltsin bans the Soviet Communist Party in Russia and seizes its assets. Yeltsin recognises the independence of the Baltic republics while, Ukraine and other republics, declares itself independent.

Congress of People’s Deputies voted for the dissoliton of the Soviet Union in September 1991. Also in September 1991, Leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed agreement setting up Commonwealth of Independent States. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigns as Soviet president, while US recognises independence of remaining Soviet republics. Russian government takes over offices of USSR in Russia.

Foong Lin Liew


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