Collapse of the USSR – Things had to be Different…

The Soviet state that emerged after World War I, has been always seen not as a regularity of the world history (no matter how much Karl Marx wanted that) but rather as a queer and foreign thing in the history, which would not…

The Soviet state that emerged after World War I, has been always seen not as a regularity of the world history (no matter how much Karl Marx wanted that) but rather as a queer and foreign thing in the history, which would not be long-lasting. The analysis of history suggests that right after the so-called October military coup there were many speculations when and how that Soviet government would end. Speculations were changing, since that country did not collapse right away, but got stronger and even became a super-state. It even created theory of the system of global victory. However, even super-states are not everlasting. There are a lot of writings and talks about the future and collapse of the USSR. The whole Sovietology (maybe pseudo-science?) science was serving its investigations…    
Finally, we have what we have.
One prominent geopolitician – George Friedman tartly noted that not many people, who were watching the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980, sincerely believed that the country that organized the Olympic Games had only a decade to survive. Authorities of political sciences told the same. Professor Stephen Cohen from Princeton University described the Soviet system ruled by Yuri Andropov in 1980 as particularly stable. He can be blamed for Russophilia, however even such organizations as Central Intelligence Office then was thinking similarly – it offered plans how to live long and happily with the Soviet state but not to bury it.     
On the other hand, we should say that scenarios of the collapse of the Soviet state appeared very early. Already in 1920 then young Winston Churchill was writing about imperfection and inevitable crash of the Bolshevik system. Austrian liberal economist Ludwig von Mises already in the third decade of the 20 century proved in his own way that the state-run economy has no chances to live through and lives through or is used by the infrastructure and resources created until that time or selling it cheaply. How can you express your opposition? ‘A famous revolutionary’ Leon Trotsky, being already in exile wrote that only another revolution – the ‘real’ one could save Russia. It did not happen; however the USSR did not collapse.  
Russia reached the closest point of destruction in 1841.  Even the whole world almost believed in that. The United States War Department informed the President Theodore Roosevelt that the end of Moscow was inevitable and the General Staff in its memorandum specified that Hitler would win the war within a few weeks’ time. However, the President did not listen to the end… and decided to increase the aid to the Soviet state through so-called Lend-Lease programme. We cannot say that namely this saved Joseph Stalin, however rumours about an early death of the state did not materialize.
One of the most interesting scenarios created during the peak of the Cold War was a study published in 1965 by Michel Garder ‘The Death Struggle of the Regime in the Soviet Russia’ that was anticipating a  conflict of the state ruled without an elementary law with its own intellectuals and saying that dictatorships do not accept compromises, thus it either rules or dies. Soviet experts mostly made fun of the author’s ‘ignorance’ and ‘misapprehension”; experts explained that the Soviet system had been well adopted to the global changes. Garder, a decedent of Russian emigrants, had nothing else to do, just laugh from critics. Although the agony that has been forecasted happened several years later, however it did happen.      
Of course, the famous writer George Orwell in its allegory ‘1984’ had in mind not the fate of some fictitious country but the USSR, that he was talking about in several his writings, but the most important thing to us is that he inspired others. Probably the most famous writing that was inspired by him is (who is now adored) the Russian dissident Andrei Amalrik “Will Soviet Union Survive until 1984?’ Talking about years, Amalrik was appealing to well-known book of George Orwell, however he believed that Orwell’s 1984 would coincide with the same year of the Lord. According to Amalrik, the USSR would not survive until domination of the total dictatorship. It will get involved in the war with China, which it will formally win, however it will be…. the Pyrrhic victory and the beginning of the end. Not a big mistake was made talking about a year and the war with China was not even necessary.
Philosophers, writers and thinkers afforded themselves to produce various, sometimes even curious scenarios, which are quite interesting to read nowadays. We had a lot then – World War III, revolutions and nationalisms in the Central Europe controlled by the USSR, wars with Chinese and Islamists, aliens from space and even sexual revolutions. The scope of the article does not allow to mention everything, however everyone, who check and read, probably will feel happy, knowing what actually happened. 
Politicians-practitioners had their own point of view. The diplomat George Kennan (the famous X diplomacy) in his correspondence from Moscow to Washington insistently instigated not to allow the Soviet Union to expand and expand its area of influence. The strategy of retention of Soviets (later called the Truman doctrine) had to become the road to collapse of the state. Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski, who actually wrote a lot about disruption of the Soviet system (and who actually did something regarding it), produced several probable scenarios of the USSR development and neither of them anticipated a long-lasting survival of the USSR. The state had to face some revolution or social chaos invoked by economic stagnation, or democratization, if there is someone to do this. We can say that Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski anticipated the possibility of perestroika, however as life proved, perestroika did not save the state and it happened too late and not in the way that was necessary then.        
Not all politicians were so optimistic. People say that in private conversations Charles de Gaulle was dreaming about post-soviet Europe, however officially he never wished the end of the Soviet state. Konrad Adenauer, who desired consolidation of Germany, was still thinking that consolidation would not happen without a permission of the USSR and this permission probably will never be given.      
People say that political theories are created after some trigger-happy politicians prove that things. which seem impossible in a theoretical point of view are actually possible. The Western world has been living with an idea how to resist the threat from the USSR for several decades and what to do in order to avoid the war. Ronald Reagan even proved that the war could be won even without starting the war. His colleague Mikhail Gorbachev, maybe even not wishing that, destroyed the Soviet state without a revolution and civil wars. Just destroyed. 
However, why were serious Sovietologists mistaken, why didn’t they believe in Amalrik, why did they mistrust Reagan’s ‘risky undertakings’ and unwillingly accepted the fact of collapse of the USSR?
There are plenty of explanations to that. I have my own remarks about this, too.
Sovietologists wanted to be scholars, thus they as if were referring to objective numbers and facts, which they actually … did not have. Everybody knew that Soviet statistics was false, however no other (no other ‘facts’) one was at hand. Thus, we had a lot of studies about the economic status of the USSR, its relative stability and structure of the budget. It was both sad and funny at the same time to those, who could see everything from the ‘inside’.
Sovietologists, wishing to be scholars, were referring to classical (we should rather say, liberally social) sociology, which treats human communities as emotionless groups of interests. Interests to be happy, healthy and so on can be measured. The desire to be free as an irrational feeling, cannot be examined by the classical sociology and they say that …. it does not exist. However, it was the most important thing…    
Finally, we know that Sovietologists are also persons and they did not want to lose their subject of investigation. Once the USSR does not exist, Sovietology will not be necessary, too. 
From the area of my studies, I will tell that all political social structures after seven-eight decades, undergo a development crisis that they either overcome or… It simply died and nobody cared to reanimate this geopolitical carrion.
Egidijus Vareikis

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