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History of the formation and collapse of the Soviet Union

History of the formation and collapse of the Soviet Union – History of the formation and collapse of the Soviet Union. Many people mistakenly refer to the Soviet Union as a Russian state, which is not true. In fact, the Soviet Union was a territory that stretched across Eurasia and was a union of 15 countries.

Perhaps the cause of the misunderstanding was because the Soviet Union at that time happened to have a capital located in the Moscow region, Russia. In addition, the territory of the Soviet Union was also dominated by the Russian RSFS as the largest and strongest republic.

Then if not Russia, what exactly was the Soviet Union? What is the history of its formation? Does the Soviet Union still exist today?

Getting to know the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was a union or federation of countries that had a socialist-communist ideology and was established from 1922 to 1992. The federation was called the Soviet Socialist Republics (RSS). Initially, the PRS federation consisted of only four countries, namely the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic or the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasia SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR, and the Belorussian SSR.

Starting from four countries, then the Soviet Union grew into 15 countries (in 1956) consisting of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. .

The Soviet Union adhered to a one-party political system, namely the Communist Party, until 1990. Although in fact, the Soviet Union was a political unit of several Soviet republics, but in fact the government system was very centralized and implemented a planned economic system.

History of the formation of the Soviet Union

The Era of Tsar Nicholas II

Before the Soviet Union was formed, there was a forerunner or predecessor, namely the Russian Empire. The Russian Empire was led by an emperor who was nicknamed the Tsar. At that time, the Tsar’s leader often acted arbitrarily to his people.

In 1984, under the leadership of Tsar Nicholas II, the industry developed rapidly. The developed industries included mining, oil, coal, iron, and weapons. In fact, their industrial development is no less rapid than the industry in Western Europe.

From this rapid industrial development, the working class or proletariat also developed. At that time, the workers actually became slaves to the bourgeoisie, causing social inequality in Russian society. Finally, the socialist movement continued to emerge.

The socialist movement against capitalism in Russia continued to struggle until they finally founded the Social Democratic Party in 1898, which was initiated by George Plekhanov. Together with other workers, they fight for equality in the law, the press, independence, and to improve their destiny so that they are prosperous.

Unfortunately, in 1903, the Social Democratic Party split into the Socialist Party led by George Plekhanov and the Communist Party led by Vladimir Lenin.

During the leadership of Tsar II, there was not only industrial development, but also the war between Russia and Japan, precisely in 1904-1905 and then Japan won. This resulted in the public’s trust in Tsar Nicholas II to decline drastically. Well, both the supporters of the Socialist Party and the Communist Party demanded changes to the Russian Empire.

Please note that Tsar Nicholas II’s empire collapsed due to many things, one of which was the Bloody Sunday Event that occurred on January 22, 1905.

At that time, a priest named Georgy Apollonovica Gapon led the workers to the palace to deliver a petition containing demands for a change in fate, especially for the workers and peasants. However, the guards at the palace of Tsar II responded to their arrival with gunfire, causing great anger in the Russian public.

After carrying out a massive strike in the city of St. Petersburg and a rebellion, the workers’ struggle finally reached its peak in 1917. It was also in that year that the February Revolution took place which made Tsar Nicholas II a prisoner and had to abdicate. In February-October 1917, Russia was ruled by liberals.

Exactly in October 1917, the revolution that was aspired by the workers was realized. The Communist Party promised hope and promise to the workers and peasants, namely by suggesting the peasants to seize the land which was then divided up, while the workers confiscated the factories. However, this suggestion turned out to be a bloodbath again, namely between the supporters of Tsar Nicholas II (the White Army) and the communists (the Red Army).

The conflict made the communists or the Red Army victorious, so that power fell to Vladimir Lenin. Subsequently, Vladimir Lenin with Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin formed a triad to become the new leader of the Russian Empire. Now,The Soviet Union was officially declared.

The founding of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was founded right after the October Revolution, namely on October 25, 1917. After the revolution, the Soviet Union, which initially had a socialist ideology, developed into communism.

At that time, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin established itself as a communist state. Then in 1919, Vladimir Lenin even formed the Comintern (Communist International) which would later be tasked with spreading communism throughout the world.

During the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the government tried to break the patriarchal family system, namely by giving freedom of political rights to women. Even Vladimir Lenin also implemented the New Economic Policy (NEP), where farmers were freed from all levies and allowed them to sell their excess products on the open market. The NEP system of course benefited the peasants and was even able to support the economy of the Soviet Union.

However, after Vladimir Lenin died, the leadership of the Soviet Union was then replaced by Joseph Stalin. Unlike the previous leadership, Joseph Stalin actually made a Five-Year Plan, namely the abolition of the NEP system, massive industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, and controlling all economic activities.

During the leadership of Joseph Stalin, the cruelty of the communist government was felt the most. In fact, he did not hesitate to oppress and eliminate his political rivals. Joseph Stalin adopted the steps of Adolf Hitler, namely by setting up a special camp for dissidents called the Gulag. The camp was established to prevent any dangerous attempts to threaten Joseph Stalin’s position.

In fact, Joseph Stalin carried out a “cleansing” by implementing large-scale deportations of ethnic minorities who lived in Central Asia and Siberia. Around the years 1936-1952, these “cleansing” efforts succeeded in deporting about three million people.

After Joseph Stalin died, leadership continued until Mikhail Gorbachev. In this era of leadership, Mikhail Gorbachev formulated a policy on perestroika and glasnost.

The Perestroika (restructuring) policy was concerned with changing social and economic policies for the betterment of the Soviet Union. In the social sector, namely by increasing the discipline of party cadres and workers, as well as anti-alcohol consumption campaigns.

Then in the economic field, namely international trade and strict foreign investment, will be reduced little by little. In addition, there is a reduction in state control of companies.

Meanwhile, Glasnost’s policy (transparency/openness) is related to the ease with which the public can access information freely and eliminate censorship that was previously enforced.

The climax was when Mikhail Gorbachev made an amendment to the Election Law in 1998. The amendment stated that candidates outside the Communist Party had the right to run for office at national and local levels. This was of course welcomed by the people of the Soviet Union.

Article 72 of the Soviet Union’s constitution (which is a “product” of Mikhail Gorbachev), states “states have the freedom to disengage”. On the basis of this article, the states are separated one by one.

The collapse of the Soviet Union

As a result of article 72 of the constitution of the Soviet Union, which was previously described, the states separated one by one and formed their own independent state. Actually, the collapse of the Soviet Union was not solely caused by article 72 of the USSR Constitution. There were many factors that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Even Glasnost’s policy related to people’s freedom to access information actually made the Soviet Union change, for example the easing of disputes between the eastern bloc (Soviet Union) and the western bloc (United States).

Even though the policy of freedom and openness made the disputes between the east and west blocs subside, in fact, social conflicts emerged within the community groups.

These groups of people compete for influence and power. There are moderate groups who agree to reform but communism must still be carried out. There are conservative groups who oppose reform and want communism to be maintained. There are also radical groups who support reform and want to leave communism.

Until finally on August 19, 1991, the conservative group, then led by Vice President Gennady Yanayev, launched a coup against the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup action was successfully thwarted by a radical group, namely Boris Yeltsin.

Although Mikhail Gorbachev survived the coup action, he had to face the economic difficulties that occurred in the Soviet Union. In addition, the military group also began to divide, even many states are also demanding independence.

Eventually, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and left a government vacuum. Then, Boris Yeltsin as the leader of the radicals took power. However, this action was not supported by several states, notably Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Maldova, which later separated from the Soviet Union and gained independence.

Due to these various conflicts, finally on September 6, 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved. The collapse of the Soviet Union was then divided into several sovereign countries and made the Russian Federation the “heir” of the greatness of the Soviet Union. Countries that were previously under the Soviet Union (except the Balkan countries), then formed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) organization under the leadership of Russia.

Factors That Caused the Collapse of the Soviet Union

1. The Failure to Understand Marxism-Communism and the Impact of the Cold War

In 1946, there was a Cold War between the two sides which led to a war between technologies. At that time, the Soviet Union succeeded in becoming the first country to fly humans into space so that it gained a positive outlook in the international world.

However, it turned out that the Cold War had a negative impact on the continuation of the economy in the Soviet Union. Starting from the inefficiency (waste) of work to the weakness of infrastructure caused the people of the Soviet Union to experience difficulties and all policies had no meaning.

Well, that was the beginning of the failure of Marxism-Communism, which apparently did not have effective control in the political and economic fields. This understanding was considered unable to make the Soviet Union adapt in the face of changing times.

2. Perestroika and Glasnost . Policy

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced an economic and political crisis that escalated every year. The existence of the crisis, of course, increased crime and corruption. Well, to overcome this, Mikhail Gorbachev tried to rebuild the Soviet Union with the policies of Perestroika and Glasnost.

Unfortunately, these policies actually lead to things that are not expected. The impact of this policy is a decrease in the level of people’s lives. Starting from the occurrence of strikes, demonstrations, to criminal acts that continue to increase.

Even the most visible impact of Glasnost’s policy is the freedom of the media in providing information to the public. The media slowly began to reveal all social and economic problems that had been covered up by the Soviet Union government, one of which was Joseph Stalin’s “cleansing” efforts. This of course made public confidence in the Soviet Union’s communist system to decline drastically.

3. Separation of the State from the Soviet Union

The aftermath of the Perestroika and Glasnost policies turned out to have an effect on the separatist movement (the movement to separate themselves and establish their own state). Especially in Article 72 of the USSR Constitution which directly supports the legality of the separatist movement, because it reads “Every Union Republic has the right to freely leave the USSR”.

4. Dissolution of the Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact is an international organization in the field of defense especially for the Eastern Bloc countries. This organization was launched by Nikita Khrushchev as a politician who previously led the Soviet Union during the early Cold War.

The collapse of the Soviet Union also indirectly led to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact on July 1, 1991. All former members of this organization, except for Russia, immediately joined their old “enemy” alliance, namely NATO.

Mikhail Gorbachev has relinquished control over the affairs of this member of the Warsaw Pact. He argues that this alliance can still serve political purposes, but not the military. However, this view seems “not applicable”.

Impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union

Indirectly, the collapse of the Soviet Union clearly had a major impact on the world situation. This is because the Soviet Union was a superpower so of course in its collapse it also had an influence on other countries.

Well, here are the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union:

  • The end of the Cold War between the Western Bloc (United States) and the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union)
  • Communist countries turn into democracies
  • Reduced world anxiety about the possibility of World War III
  • The United States “appears” as a superpower
  • The fall of communism in several Eastern European countries

Well, that’s an explanation of the history formed until the collapse of the Soviet Union. If there is a question whether the Soviet Union still exists, the answer is no because it has been officially dissolved. However, the country that became the “heir” of the greatness of the Soviet Union still exists, namely Russia.

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