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Soviet Union and de-Stalinization Essays
Soviet Union and de-Stalinization Essays Soviet Union and de-Stalinization Essay Soviet Union and de-Stalinization Essay Soviet Union Leaders in the Post Stalin Era Kareem M. Khalil Fall 2010-2011 Lebanese American University Outline I. The Soviet Union: a. Background about the Soviet Union from 1917-1953. b. Vladimir Lenin. c. Joseph Stalin. II. Nikita Khrushchev: a. Rise to power. b. De-Stalinization. c. Reforms and domestic policies. d. Foreign Policy. e. Expulsion from power. III. Leonid Brezhnev: a. Rise to Power. b. Domestic Policies. c. Brezhnev Stagnation. d. Foreign Policy. e. Death. IV. Yuri Andropov: a. Rise to Power. b. Domestic Policies. c. Foreign Policy. V. Konstantin Cherenko: d. Policies and short office term. VI. Mikhail Gorbachev: e. Domestic policies f. Foreign policy. g. Fall from power. h. End of the Soviet Union. VII. Conclusion Soviet Union Leaders in the Post Stalin Era The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, simply referred to ask the Soviet Union, was a socialist state that spread from Northern and Eastern Europe to various parts of Central Asia. It dated between the 30th of December 1922 and the 26th of December 1991. Until its collapse in 1991, it consisted of almost 15 constituent republics that are acknowledged today as: Ã¢â¬Å"Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and UzbekistanÃ¢â¬ [ (Rosenberg) ]. The father and founder of the Soviet Union was no other than Vladimir Lenin who managed to set the foundations of the USSR after overthrowing Tsar Nicholas II in November of 1917, and finally establishing a Soviet government in 1922. After asserting himself as the Ã¢â¬Å"Chairman of the Council of Peoples Commissars of the Soviet UnionÃ¢â¬ , Lenin began planning and implementing new policies and ideas that would affect the USSR, alter and influence the rest of the world even after he passed away. McCauley (1993) describes some of LeninÃ¢â¬â¢s policies during his reign as the following: nationalizing all banks and important business enterprises, distributing lands to peasants, reintegrating several states into Bolshevik Russia, and exporting the communist ideology. After LeninÃ¢â¬â¢s death in 1924, Joseph Stalin was appointed as the Ã¢â¬Å"General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Ã¢â¬ Stalin, and through outsmarting and slowly banishing his opponents, managed to establish a totalitarian regime and appoint himself as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union in the late 1920Ã¢â¬â¢s. StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s period in office was both devastating and costly to the Soviet Union in especially in its domestic policies. StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s five year economic plan (the rapid industrialization of the USSR) produced remarkable results, but cost the lives of around Ã¢â¬Å"14. 5 million peasantsÃ¢â¬ (Ã¢â¬Å" moreorless. au. com/killers/stalin. html, Ã¢â¬Å"), and reaped the lives of almost twenty million people and deported over twenty five others from their homes. StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s gruesome and horrendous rule ended when he died on the 5th of March, 1953. StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s sudden decease left an important void in which many were eager to fill. The outcome of StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s death resulted in a system of collective leadership. The key figures of this communal rule were: Ã¢â¬Å"Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrenti Beria, Nikoli Bulganin, Georgy Malenkov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and, Lazar KaganovichÃ¢â¬ ( fortunecity. com/victorian/riley/ 787/Soviet/Khrushchev/Krushchev. html). During this period, the struggle to instigate a premier to head the Soviet Union faced many turbulences and changes. At the beginning, Malenkov assumed power as acting Premier, and Khrushchev undertook his predecessorÃ¢â¬â¢s (Stalin) position as First secretary of the CPSU. Subsequently, and by 1955, Georgy Malenkov was forced to relinquish his position as Premier, and was substituted by Nikoli Bulganin (who was supported and favored by Khrushchev). After StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s death, his successors proceeded to diverge from the latterÃ¢â¬â¢s cruel and violent strategies. Surprisingly, and in a six hour speech in the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev criticized and condemned StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s bloody reign. This step forced a considerable amount of pressure to the First Secretary as McCauley (1987) describes, especially with his compatriots in the collective leadership circle. Two assassination attempts later, and a failed expulsion scheme set by Kaganovich, Molotov, and Malenkov against him, Khrushchev still managed to strengthen his power furthermore. Ironically, and in 1958, Nikoli Bulganin was forced to resign by the same man who favored his appointment, and Khrushchev assumed both the position of Premier (on the 27th of March) and First Secretary of the CPSU. Although Khrushchev worked closely and for many years with Stalin, nonetheless he was unusually dissimilar to the latter. Unlike StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s harsh manner and look, Volkogonov (1998) describes Khrushchev as more of a forthcoming, pleasant, humorous, and energetic individual. Their differences are undoubtedly noticeable as Khrushchev embarked on a new policy of De-Stalinization, set to cross out StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s bloody history from the Soviet UnionÃ¢â¬â¢s international image and its peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s minds. As part of his new policy he began with renaming all the cities that carried StalinÃ¢â¬â¢s name and all pictures and statues of Stalin were destroyed (as not to leave any mark to be a remainder of him). By doing so, Khrushchev managed to obtain an approval from the West and appear as a prominent and distinguished leader than his predecessors, in which Stalin would have almost certainly never acquired or achieved. In his domestic policy, Khrushchev set in motion various agricultural, administrative, and industrial reforms. In the farming sector, he launched his virgin land campaign that sought to improve and Ã¢â¬Å"develop the countryÃ¢â¬â¢s virgin land and forestsÃ¢â¬ [ (Sakwa, 1999) ], but his strategy proved disastrous. On the administrative level, Khrushchev began with abolishing the courts undertaken by several governmental agencies. He carried one to make the Central Committee assemblies public and open to a large number of Soviet Officials to speak freely in, and used this to his advantage since any declared opposition to him would be shunned out by the large number of his supporters. In the industrial sector, he tried to decentralize ministries and transform them into local councils to become more receptive to any problems or urgent requirements, but these councils did the opposite of what they were anticipated to do. In spite of his decent image with of the West and his more peaceful and reformist approach in the USSR, perhaps little change occurred in his military-defense/foreign policy. He sought after upholding a powerful Communist Eastern bloc. This is clearly revealed with the Warsaw Pact that was set together during his rule. Furthermore, the cold war tension peaked during his reign specifically at the incident of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which he was utterly disgraced and was forced to withdraw the Russian arsenal from the isle. Following his major failures, and by 1964, Khrushchev was ousted out of office when he was vacationing, and was replaced by another collective leadership composed of Alexei Kosygin, Leonid Brezhnev, and Nikolai Podgorny. However, and between all the members of the Ã¢â¬Å"troikaÃ¢â¬ (three members of the collective leadership system), Brezhnev was the most prominent and influential figure. This reason may be attributed to the simplicity of BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s character. In his book Ã¢â¬Å"Autopsy for an EmpireÃ¢â¬ , Volkogonov (1998) portrays the latter as a traditional, team player, and influential figure able to rally large support to his views in any path he desired. Perhaps the characteristics Brezhnev enjoyed enabled him to further rise over his two fellow rulers, and ultimately break free and become the USSRÃ¢â¬â¢s sole executive. Throughout his rule of the Soviet Union, Brezhnev implemented a policy to protect and sustain his rule as General Secretary of the CPSU, but at the same time brought about important reforms despite his conventional mentality. Kelley (1987) explains that Brezhnev, like Khrushchev, wanted to leave a mark in history, therefore he attempted many policy reforms. What made him different than other leaders was that Brezhnev acted carefully with every step he took n a certain field while balancing it with another field. Consequently, and by doing so, he was able to handle his critics and avoid any conflict with them and promote a balanced progress. BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s domestic policy first focused on Soviet industries. His plan was to merge different factory Ã¢â¬Å"associationsÃ¢â¬ whereby weaker factories could be reinfo rced by stronger ones in order to hasten the process of modernization [ (Kelley, 1987) ]. He then carried out to abolish the decentralization plans carried out by his predecessor Khrushchev His other important reforms stemmed from the agricultural sector. Brezhnev kept on the principle of collective farming, ordered all Soviet owned land to be increased by a half a hectare, and introduced new machineries to further facilitate and accelerate production. Despite BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s intense investment in agriculture, that particular sector was faced with many droughts that affected production. The result of such disasters forced the USSR to Ã¢â¬Å"import large quantities of grain from Western countriesÃ¢â¬ [ (http://countrystudies. us/russia/14. htm) ]. A key feature of BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s rule, was the economic stagnation (referred to as the Brezhnev Stagnation) that the USSRÃ¢â¬â¢s economy passed through in the mid 1970s. The economic progress had reached its peak during that period, and began to go into stalemate. This can be attributed to several factors being: decreasing standards of living, the small numbers of unemployment that resulted in workers working less and getting paid nonetheless, and the abuse of the Soviet population to the cheap consumer goods and government services. With regards to his foreign policy, BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s priority was to reassert the communist influence in the neighboring communist states Ã¢â¬Å"by undermining the influence of ChinaÃ¢â¬ [ (http://countrystudies. s/russia/14. htm) ]. China was a growing communist influence in the Asian region, and Mao publicly denounced the Soviet foreign policy at the time. The relations between the USSR and China severely deteriorated to an extent that the armies of both countries went to a small confrontation. On the Eastern side Brezhnev created the Ã¢â¬Å"Brezhnev DoctrineÃ¢â¬ , as a result of some events that took place in Cz echoslovakia. Notably in 1979, Brezhnev declared war against Afghanistan (to enforce a communist government) and the issue remained unsettled until the 1980Ã¢â¬â¢s. Several important treaties were signed by Brezhnev at that time including: The Treaty on the Ã¢â¬Å"Nonproliferation of Nuclear WeaponsÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Strategic Arms Limitation TalksÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Anti-Ballistic Missile TreatyÃ¢â¬ , Ã¢â¬Å"Interim Agreement on the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. Ã¢â¬ These treaties helped ease the rising tension of the Cold War Khrushchev initiated and delay the ongoing arms race. Perhaps the most important accomplishment of Brezhnev detente period was the signing of the 1975 Helsinki accord, which strengthened the communists in the Eastern Bloc and raised more antagonism against the US and the West. On November 10th 1982, Brezhnev passed away, and his successor would be Yuri Andropov. The two most notable heirs to the General Secretary of the CPSU position were Konstantin Cherenko and Yuri Andropov. In this short race for to gain the executive position, Andropov had apparent advantage. Ã¢â¬Å"After fifteen years of leading the KGBÃ¢â¬ [ (Mrose, 2010) ], he possessed a prolonged experience in both foreign and defense policies and had the advantage to gain support and form a strong and large to replace Brezhnev. Therefore on the 12th of November 1982, Andropov was elected to be the next leader of the Soviet Union. Although his term lasted about fifteen months, his policies and some notable events should be mentioned. BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s rule resulted in massive corruption amongst several Soviet officials, and as a result, AndropovÃ¢â¬â¢s first policy was to reintroduce party regulations to counter this phenomenon. Furthermore, Andropov wanted to Ã¢â¬Å"boost labor disciplineÃ¢â¬ (http://countrystudies. us/russia/15. htm,Ã¢â¬ ). To further explain this point, we refer to the section about how workers became less efficient in BrezhnevÃ¢â¬â¢s rule, therefore Andropov provisioned and implemented new rules to regenerate a strong workforce. On the foreign policy level, his rule witnessed even more decline with the U. S especially after the SovietÃ¢â¬â¢s shot down a Korean commercial airplane and killed all its passengers (one being a U. S senator). Perhaps his most important success was finding Mikhail Gorbachev and advancing him towards a higher ranking in the Communist regime. Andropov passed away on the 9th of February, 1984, and was replaced by Konstantin Chernenko. Although AndropovÃ¢â¬â¢s wishes was for Gorbachev to replace him, Chernenko (and after a long series of deliberation) was elected to become the new leader of the Soviet Union on the 13th of February, 1984. Kelley (1987) describes the process in which Chernenko reached power as way for the old members of the central committee to preserve their interests on one hand, and because younger member did not figure out their stable path in politics. Due to his very short stay in office, old age, and illness; Chernenko did not have any notable foreign or domestic foreign policy plans. Perhaps the most important event of his time, was the initiation of Gorbachev to replace him. Chernenko passed away on the 10th of March 1985, and was replaced by the final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, on the same day. Mikhail Gorbachev was the youngest elected General Secretary to assume command in the history of the USSR. Volkogonov (1998) describes him to be the 2nd famous worldwide leader Soviet leader after Lenin, and the most contemporary individual amongst them. Gorbachev launched a wide scale reform policy that affected different sectors of the country. His strategy could be summarized into the following: reorganization, more freedom, democratisation, and hastening economic growth. The first goal one GorbachevÃ¢â¬â¢s agenda was to introduce better scientific and technological means and methods in industry and agriculture. Through this means, he aimed at eliminating the long economic stagnation present since the Brezhnev era He soon realized that his aspirations will not have the desired effect unless he changes the political system from within. Therefore Gorbachev replaced several key and old Soviet officials with new energetic and younger ones. He went on to issue laws that control quality production goods, to render the sale of low-grade products. Throughout his industrial/agricultural reform phase, Gorbachev did not abandon his predecessorsÃ¢â¬â¢ idea of a central planned economy, and tried to promote and strengthen it even more. With regards to reorganizing party ranks, democratisation, and reducing government control, GorbachevÃ¢â¬â¢s second step was to dissolve the Soviet Supreme rule within itself. What began as changes in members of the Central Committee and keys ministries, evolved to draft plans of multi-candidate elections and assign non- party individuals to several governmental ranks. In 1989, he established Ã¢â¬Å"the Congress of PeopleÃ¢â¬â¢s DeputiesÃ¢â¬ (a new legislative body) in an attempt to lighten the governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s grip. Gorbachev was elected to become the head of state in the same year (General Secretary position was no longer the supreme executive position), and in 1991 he was elected to become the President of the USSR. GorbachevÃ¢â¬â¢s policy of giving more freedom to the Soviet citizenÃ¢â¬â¢s was a new method of rule. For the first time perhaps in the USSRÃ¢â¬â¢s history, he decreed private ownership laws that enabled individuals to possess their own businesses. He carried on to divide the government owned airlines at that time to several autonomous airlines. Surprisingly, Gorbachev paved the way to a vast and wide Ã¢â¬Å"freedom of speechÃ¢â¬ policy to the Soviet citizens. This was used as a tool to silence the conservatives who opposed his reforms. GorbachevÃ¢â¬â¢s new motto with regards to foreign policy was Ã¢â¬Å"new political thinking in international relationsÃ¢â¬ (Holloway, 1988). He first began with normalization of relations with the West and especially the United States in order to reduce Cold War tensions. By doing so, he also wished to enhance both economic and diplomatic relations with the West to reach his goals, rather than confrontation or isolation. This step also helped him promote his domestic policies of reform because the United States at that time had the solution to many of MoscowÃ¢â¬â¢s problems. n the December 1987 Washington Summit, both countries met to endorse the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In 1990, the Washington summit was held between the two nations where both countries showed willingness to participate in improving relations on many levels. In addition Gorbachev pursued more diplomatic means with t he United States with regards to arms control. In 1991, both states met in Moscow to sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Furthermore, Gorbachev enhanced the Soviet UnionÃ¢â¬â¢s relations on many sensitive fronts. He engaged in process of improving the relations with China, after the crisis in the Brezhnev era, and succeeded in doing so. The first Soviet-Chinese summit was held on May 1989. Gorbachev carried on to improve relations with Europe where he gave an important speech on the 7th of July, 1987 where Ã¢â¬Å"he insisted on the sovereign right of each people to choose their own social system (Ã¢â¬Å" country-data. com/cgi-bin/query/r-11378. htmlÃ¢â¬ , 1996). Finally, the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 in accordance with the agreement signed by the US, Pakistan, the USSR, and Afghanistan in 1988. As much as GorbachevÃ¢â¬â¢s foreign and domestic policies seem constructive, yet they yielded several disastrous results. The economic policy brought about by the government resulted in several food and supply scarcities. The decentralization and loosening the governments grip policy outcome was the disintegration of the Soviet Union within itself, and many of its former states declaring independence. Soon enough, and after severe weakening of the Soviet Union, the August coup of 1991, and the creation of the Ã¢â¬Å"Commonwealth of independent statesÃ¢â¬ ; Gorbachev dissolved the Soviet Union nd Boris Yeltsin became the first president of the non-communist Russia. All great empires must come to an end as history as clearly shown us. Its fair to say that although the communist ideology was promoted as the best alternative to the imperial and capitalist means, its implementation was not close to its teachings. As shown in the above, each leader in the long chain of command in the S oviet Union partially or to a high extent drifted away from the original thoughts of Lenin. Each had his own goals, ways of thought, and policies that he projected in different means. Some even went to the extent of shunning the original foundations of communism and rejecting and insulting old leaders. They all had their different agendas, they just hid behind the shadow of the regime in order to reach higher ranks, implement their goals, and leave their own mark in Russian and international history. Bibliography (n. d. ). Retrieved from fortunecity. com/victorian/riley/787/Soviet/Khrushchev/Krushchev. html. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://countrystudies. us/russia/14. htm. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://countrystudies. s/russia/15. htm (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://countrystudies. us/russia/17. htm (2001, May 23). Retrieved from moreorless. au. com/killers/stalin. html. Holloway, D. (1988). Gorbachevs new thinking. America and the World 1988 , 68 (1). http://countrystudies. us/russia/17. htm. (n. d. ). country-data. com/cgi-bin/query/r-11378. html. (1996, July). Kelley, D. R. (1987). Soviet politics from brezhnev to gorbachev. New York: Praeger Publishers. Mccauley, M. (1987). Khrushchev and khrushchevism. Great Britain: School of Slavonic and Eat European Studies, University of London. McCauley, M. (1993). The soviet union: 1917-1991. London and New York: Longman. Mrose, C. (2010, November 12). Retrieved from https://www. libertycentral. org/today-in-history-yuri-andropov-assumes-power-in-the-soviet-union-2010-11 Rosenberg, M. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://geography. about. com/od/countryinformation/a/ussr. htm. Sakwa, R. (1999). The rise and fall of the soviet union 1917-1991. New York: Routledge. Volkogonov, D. (1998). Autopsy for an empire. New York: The Free If you need a kind of write my essay online help with another paper topic, contact us right now!