The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was an amazing country. July 1, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first earth-orbiting satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit (Humble, 6). The Soviet Union was then the "second largest producer of fuels and energy" in the world. It was admired, and feared across the globe. But the Soviet Union actually hated itself. It was on a path to capitalism, which was the opposite way it wanted to go. The economy was running into trouble, yet after reform, things just got worse (Wright, 120). The state-socialism, which was the Soviet economic system, naturally led down the path to a capitalistic society. This was in contrast to the communistic goals of the Union. Were the Soviet Union to follow the natural order of things, they may of survived. But the Soviet Union would not let nature take its route. They tried increasingly disruptive reforms, up until Mikhail Gorbachev's reform named "Perestroika" (Kotz, Weir, 3). Perestroika ultimately led to the disbandment of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's ending was tragic, but we can learn from it. We can learn from the Soviet Union that the dogmatic pursuit of an idealized society can be destructive.
SE Communism, the ultimate goal of the Soviet Union, is defined as "a stateless and classless society" (Kotz, Weir, 2). The idea behind the formation of the Union was that their "state socialism", where things required for general well-being are owned by the government, would naturally lead towards communism (Gooding, 13). The idea behind socialism is that everyone would be free to pursue their individual goals, while not jeopardizing the goals of others (Gooding, 1). This in itself has been implemented successfully in many other countries, such as Sweden. The Soviet Union, however; would not stop there. They would not rest until they achieved the perfect, stateless, classless society of their dreams, where every personal transaction was controlled by the government. This communist society is in fact unachievable,this is because that the pursuit of personal gain would not be tolerated, yet could not be controlled either. The problem that faced the Soviets in their pursuit of communism is that their society led in the opposite direction. In the 30's, a high class even emerged (Gooding, 12). This lead to the first of several reforms. Instead of accepting capitalism, they just kept on trying to swim against the tide. It is therefore no wonder that the Soviet Union disbanded because of this, and we can learn from the Soviet Union that the dogmatic pursuit of an idealized society can be destructive.
CR The Soviet Union had an admirable economy. It rose up from being a third-world country to a major superpower. The economy was really unstable, yet this was not what really sent it over the edge (Milar, 135). The way that the Soviets dealt with their problems is what really broke them. The economy under Stalin's rule was terrible, yet everybody looked away because of its success in bringing themselves a step closer to true communism (Gooding, 14). After Stalin's death, the economy came under harsh criticism (Wright, 117). In a capitalistic society, action would be taken immediately. The Soviets, however; were so careful about keeping the government's success, that they took too long to act. It was not until Nikita Khrushev had a strong political foothold that the economy was openly discussed. They decided that the system was too de-centralized, and in an effort to save the economy and move closer to communism, Premier Alexi Kosygin outlined a plan to centralize the system, which was implemented in 1965 (Wright, 117). After this plan was introduced, success indicators fell (Wright, 121). Were the Soviet Union less obsessed about their communist dreams, they might have acted sooner and quicker to save their economy. Instead they turned a blind eye to its failures and kept on pretending that everything was acceptable. We can learn from this that the dogmatic pursuit of an idealized society can be destructive.
ET The Soviet Union was going through tough times when Mikhail Gorbachev came into office in 1985. Energy supplies were straining, and coal production peaked in 1978(Hewitt, 8). The economy was failing as ever, and economic growth steadily decreased. But most importantly to the Soviet people, the society has shifted away from its core beliefs of communal growth(Gooding, 15). To stop this, Gorbachev launched a last-ditched effort to move the socialist society back to its Leninist roots (Gooding, 15). They thought that possibly the society might move towards communism as opposed to capitalism this time. This effort, named "Perestroika", worked great at first. The Union then crashed soon afterwards(Gooding, 18). These reforms gave a chance for people who were opposed to socialism speak up, and soon afterwards Gorbachev was forced to disband the union. This happened because the Soviet Union could not accept anything but victory. When the society naturally shifted from its original views they tried to force it back instead of letting it run its course. Instead of running the country first, and moving towards communism secondly, the Soviet Union let their dogmatic pursuit of communism corrupt them, and perestroika was the finishing blow. The rest of the world could only watch the Soviet Union destroy themselves attempting to achieve the perfect society, and we can learn from the Soviet Union that the dogmatic pursuit of an idealized society can be destructive.
!! The Soviet Union started out as an extremely successful nation. They lead the space race, nuclear developments, and economic success. What ultimately destroyed them was their dogmatic pursuit of true communism, a stateless and classless society. True communism was unobtainable, and the pursuit of it is what destroyed the Soviets. Economic successes turned sour as the emergence of classes failed to be repressed. Economic troubles also went unattended, while the Soviets were trying to preserve their socialism. Most importantly, last ditched reforms destroyed the Union, as trying to restart was not the right answer. Overall, we can definitively learn from the Soviet Union that the dogmatic pursuit of an idealized society can be destructive.