Was the death of the Soviet Union objective? Numerous predictions of the collapse of the USSR by Western Sovietologists were more of a dystopia than of analytical forecasts. The prophecies about his death were akin to the biblical prophets that were caused by the realization of his own powerlessness, anathemas to the Roman Empire. Few of those who prophesied about the collapse of the Soviet Union really believed in the near prospect of such a scenario. The USSR perished just as suddenly and swiftly as the Russian Empire. So, was the death of the Soviet Union objective?
Systemic causes of the collapse of the USSR
The conclusion obtained in the study of this issue has a dual character. On the one hand, with 1960-x - 1970-x. the latent trend of degradation of the basic potentials of the Soviet statehood is found. First of all, this relates to the sphere of non-force foundations of state existence. However, the fatal predestination of the death of the USSR from the situation of a crisis fracture in its development did not result. From this point of view, the world successful experience in overcoming the phases of the growth crisis was indicative. The USSR needed to include mechanisms for technological modernization, which was not implemented in a timely manner.
Direct power of the state is not an indicator of its viability. Many of the great empires of the past suddenly ceased to exist, unable to cope with the internal destructive processes. The collapse of the USSR, one of the most powerful states in the military and special sense, is by no means the only example of this kind.
The classic algorithm of self-destruction of statehood represents historical experience of the Roman Empire. The breakdown of the non-force foundations of statehood, which fell at the climax of military power, chronologically preceded the crisis of state institutions. Initially, the Roman imperial organism decomposed spiritually, and only then the territory of the empire became the subject of division by external adversaries and internal separatists. A comparative historical analysis of the death of empires suggests that the decomposition phase of non-power bases is a universal stage of the disintegration of any statehood. Not a single (!) Case was discovered when the state ceased to exist solely due to an institutional crisis in the presence of a healthy popular foundation.
The institutional power of the Soviet Union at the end of its existence gave the impression of inviolability. The illusion of state strength has misled not only ordinary citizens, but also many prominent analysts. A year before the beginning of perestroika, a prominent American economist, one of the developers of the theory of convergence, J.-C. Galbraith wrote: "The Russian system passes the exam, because, unlike in Western industry, it fully uses human resources." Many leading Sovietologists, such as S. Bialer of Columbia University, also experienced a delusion about the prospects for the existence of the USSR. “The Soviet Union,” he argued in 1982, “neither now nor the next ten years will be affected by the real crisis of the system, because he is the proud ruler of vast untapped resources that can provide him with political and social stability and allow him to survive even the great difficulties. " He did not believe in the possibility of the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union even by such an experienced strategist of American foreign policy as G. Kissinger. After many years, he confessed that he did not understand the rational incentives that had forced MS. Gorbachev to follow the path of state disintegration.
By the beginning of the process of the collapse of the communist system, the aggregate military potential of the ATS was even higher than the potential of NATO. Of the various types of weapons, the advantage of the North Atlantic Alliance was only in the number of combat helicopters. But neither the USSR nor the Department of Internal Affairs no longer exists, and NATO is actively pushing the limits of its spread to the East.
At what section of the Cold War did the USSR lose? The above comparative indicators of military-technical equipment allow us to state that the Soviet Union, at least, did not lose the arms race. There is a popular point of view that the USSR conceded economically to the West. However, when comparing the dynamics of the economic indicators of the Soviet Union and the United States, it is easy to see that the communist economic system not only did not lose, but gradually bypassed the American one. The growth rates in the last decades of the USSR were not as high as, say, in the era of industrialization, but in the West they had even lower intensity.
Thus, in the economic race the Soviet Union did not lose. The statement of P. Kennedy, the developer of the theory of the death of civilizations, about the “imperial overheating” as a factor of disintegration of the Soviet statehood is not statistically confirmed. The USSR had enough economic resources to maintain high geopolitical ambitions characteristic of the status of a “world empire”. Much worse was the situation with spiritual resources, the readiness of the population for the next mobilization spurt. The defeat of the Soviet Union suffered, therefore, precisely in the sphere of non-force foundations of statehood.
Administrative causes of the death of the USSR
As applied to the analysis of political and political reasons for the collapse of the USSR, the strategic mistakes made by the Soviet leadership are investigated. They are united by the tendency to deoptimize the development of the system, by a sharp destruction of the optimum ratio of civilizational traditions and external borrowings. The task of modernizing the system based on national characteristics (the experience of Japan and China) was replaced by a course on extrapolation as a universal of the western model of the functioning of statehood.
The state may be disintegrated due to the strategic leadership of political decisions. They are virtually inevitable in the absence of multi-run miscalculations of gaming combinations. The longer the calculation chain, the less likely the error. The figurative thought of Z. Brzezinski about the “great chessboard” is quite applicable in this case. The level of modern technology allows the enemy to program to commit disastrous strategic mistakes. Arrangement of "strategic traps" is one of the most important components of the modern art of network management. Examples of strategic miscalculations of the restructuring period could serve as material for drawing lessons from modern political leadership, as a warning about the possibility of falling into similar trap situations.
One of these pitfalls was the illusion of an “open economy”. Integration into the world economic system of the international division of labor involves the establishment of external dependence of national economies. Any production failure in one country inevitably leads to a crisis in related production in another. The level of influence of transnational corporations makes it possible to initiate an economic crisis almost anywhere in the world. Therefore, the specialization of the "world-economy", which seems to bring certain dividends, significantly reduces the level of national security. The conjuncture of oil prices in the situation of increasing economic openness of the USSR was a significant factor in its collapse.
The share of raw materials in Soviet exports for a long time did not exceed the threshold value of dependence on them of the national economy as a whole. The provocative role for the USSR was played by the global economic crisis of the beginning of the 1970-s, connected with the sharp rise in prices for oil and oil products. There was a temptation to ensure further material growth through petrodollar infusions. The country was planted on the "oil needle". Weakening the attention of the state to advanced innovative developments that ensured the advanced positions in development in the previous era of the USSR. The consequence of free money in the spiritual sense was the corrosion of labor morality. Labor was replaced by labor imitation. Meanwhile, the share of raw materials and energy resources exceeded by the middle of the 1980-s. half of all Soviet exports, putting the country's economy in direct dependence on this foreign trade component. And it was then that the oil crisis struck. The price of oil, as they say now, by agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia, has plummeted. Included in the proclaimed MS Gorbachev's systemic reform of the USSR without the traditional inflow of petrodollars turned out to be financially exhausted and collapsed, not least because of the unsustainable economic burden.
To date, the subject of transformation of the global financial system has been neglected in the historiography of the collapse of the USSR. Meanwhile, the transition to the Kingston system of organization of finance could not but affect the global rivalry of the superpowers. Financial resources have played in this struggle, at least, not the last role. It is in the depletion of this component of the resource base that many researchers discover the reason for the defeat of the USSR in the “cold war”. A little more than ten years separated Kingston from the collapse of the Soviet statehood. The interrelation of the transition to the Kingston system with the financial exhaustion of the Soviet Union is in the mode of rigid causal-effect dependence. The meaning of the rejection of the gold supply model was determined not so much by the tasks of financial security (a reaction to the trick of Charles de Gaulle, which required a one-time gold cashing of a colossal dollar mass), but rather by an attitude to create a mechanism for global expansion.
Earlier, the money should have been related to the country's stock of precious metals, now the emission of the same dollars could have any scale. The scale was not determined by the power of the real economy, but by its image. Image parameters, as it is known, are shaped by propaganda, i.e. again by means of non-force impact. The American printing press was turned on after Kingston in full swing. At the same time, the propaganda system of the United States has repeatedly increased its momentum.
At the same time, the leadership of the USSR, bound by imposed stereotypes about the threats of inflation, for a long time refrained from emission mechanisms. Instead of promoting the success of the Soviet economy, a campaign of self-criticism was launched. The “Searchlight of Perestroika” program was broadcast daily on the screens of central television, exposing the systemic flaws of the state, ultimately reducing the rating of its investment attractiveness, and, accordingly, the strength of the ruble's positions. The actions of the USSR in the crucial stage of the Cold War turned out to be directly opposed to the actions of the United States. As a result, the Americans simply "crushed" their opponents in financial and propaganda terms.
The disorganization of the institutional level of power can lead to the destruction of statehood. There are examples in history when the presence of the genius of a national leader and an active political team, with a deficit of other components of the viability of states, turned out to be a factor in saving the corresponding society. On the contrary, one of the ways of randomization is to ensure the superfluidity of personnel rotations. It was in this way that on the eve of the February Revolution, the executive power of the Russian Empire was paralyzed. The process was called “ministerial leapfrog”. It is characteristic that it was organized during the war, when, it would seem, a change in the management team is strictly contraindicated. The goal pursued by the replacement of the minister in each specific case was determined by the aim to optimize the system, but on the whole this led only to its imbalance.
Institutional revolution was, apparently, one of the most important factors in the death of the USSR. From a certain time the number of Soviet ministers began to grow rapidly. Functionally, it looked quite justified. The more ministries, the higher their specialization. However, in the end, by the end of the Brezhnev rule, they turned out to be 70 (not counting the 24 state committees). With so many ministries, the overall management system was paralyzed.
By analogy with the "oil slide" in the management sphere, a kind of "institutional slide" has developed. The analogies continued when, during the period of Gorbachev's reform, it promptly collapsed. In the logic of the proclaimed struggle against bureaucracy, the number of ministries was almost halved by 1989. There was a functional management crisis. He was a double reduction of ministries and could not arise. Many areas were de facto not manageable. Institutional chaos generated appropriate impulses to society. USSR ceased to exist. The reduction in the number of ministries, meanwhile, was continued in the post-Soviet period of Russian history.
Another direction of strategic mistakes is the use of false ideological landmarks. They are served, as a rule, in a catchy demagogic form. It is possible to identify such ideological concepts by the destructive implications for statehood that are contained in them.
An example of this type of ideology was taken on the shield of the fraying intellectuals in the second half of the 1980-x. yy concept of "Great Russia". An appeal to national greatness retorted the possible accusations of anti-patriotism. In fact, the main consequence of the concept being implemented was the disintegration of the union state. The interests of Russia were separated by the adepts of the “Great Russian Project” from the interests of the USSR. In fact, it was about the rejection of the national periphery.
As the most inertial force was characterized by the Central Asian republics, prone to separatist sentiment in the least. The mission of “Great Russia” was seen in transforming it into a single “common European home”. As an indispensable condition for this occurrence, the Asia cut-off requirement was indicated. The problem acquired additional urgency in view of the political process of confrontation between the “Slavic” and the “national” - “Caucasian-Asian” criminality behind the distribution of property.
The separatist insurgencies, although they pose a threat to statehood, are not a death sentence against it. Rebels, after all, can be suppressed by the use of force. But when the reluctance to preserve a single statehood is designated on behalf of the state-forming people, the state system inevitably crumbles.
The project of the “great European country” beat out its bearing structure from the union state. Statehood was ultimately destroyed, and the project goals, however, were not achieved. The desire for Europeanization of the Russian adepts of the project did not correlate with the reluctance of the Europeans themselves to accept Russia into the cohort of countries of the civilizational West.
External targeted impact as one of the reasons for the collapse of the USSR
Purposeful destructive influence towards the USSR by external opponents is a historically natural process of the struggle for geopolitical dominance in the world. The presence of such a struggle can be traced throughout the history of mankind. In this regard, the team of authors, fixing the significance of the factor of external influence, in principle does not accept, however, a conspiracy interpretation of the problem. The study is directed, rather, at the operational side of the likely plan of action of the opposing states, at disclosing the technological chain of its implementation. The closest is the author's approach to assessing the “conspiracy theory” by I.A. Ilyin expressed in relation to attempts at conspiracy interpretation of the October Revolution. Ilyin believed that seeing in her "just the result of a conspiracy" is "a vulgar and demagogic approach", "it is the same as explaining the disease to the maliciously conspired bacteria and their omnipotence ... Bacteria are not the cause of the disease, they are only its causative agents, the cause in the body, its weakness. "
In the era of McCarthyism, the strategy of fighting the USSR was still seen in the West in the traditional force format. The plan of A. Dulles, who was often referred to as one of the first strategic developments in conducting a secret war against the Soviet Union, in reality, represented the concept of “massive nuclear retaliation”. The main means - an atomic strike was provided by accompanying measures, which later came to the fore in the formation of new technologies to combat the Russian (Soviet) statehood.
By the beginning of the 1960's. it became obvious that the stake on force in the confrontation with the USSR did not justify itself. The world socialist system has consistently expanded its country limits. Caribbean Crisis 1962 was historically the latest breakdown of coercive tactics, almost putting the world in a situation of global nuclear catastrophe. He finally convinced the Americans of the need to rethink the technologies of the foreign policy struggle, stating the weakness of physical strength, the failure of the Vietnam War. The first symptoms of the introduction of new technological developments are found even before its completion. Vietnam, which almost turned into a crisis of statehood for the United States, became in this respect a turning point for American management theory.
In the West, by this time there was a firm conviction that it was impossible to defeat the USSR by direct force. The Great Patriotic War demonstrated the failure of plans for an armed victory. The first phase of the Cold War also revealed the futility of betting on the direct rivalry of systems in an arms race. The USSR in both cases emerged victorious, including an additional resource of the people's spiritual potential.
When the rivalry from the rivalry of state institutions and economies turned into a format of struggle between the peoples, the Soviet Union invariably triumphed. Whether the case was in the ideocraticism of the Soviet model of statehood or in the preservation by the Russian people (as the state-builder) of their civilizational savings — a question requiring special study. Within the framework of the solved research problem, the conclusion reached by Western analysts is important. It lies in the fact that victory over Russia (as well as the USSR) can be achieved through the destruction of the non-force resources of people's life. Not only the state and the economy, but the people became one of the main targets in new technological developments. The plan being implemented, judging by American sources, included a number of major strategic initiatives:
secret financial, intelligence and political support for the Polish opposition Solidarity movement;
targeted assistance to the Afghan mojaheds;
a campaign to sharply reduce the inflow of foreign currency in the USSR, implemented through a) reducing world oil prices by agreement with Saudi Arabia, b) restricting Soviet exports of natural gas to Western Europe;
psychological warfare aimed at the emergence of syndromes of fear, insecurity, loss of guidelines both from the communist government and from the population;
the organization of the blockade on the access of the USSR to the acquisition of Western technologies;
massive technical misinformation, causing economic damage to the Soviet economy;
maintaining, through the PIO (strategic defense initiative), the high defense spending of the USSR, which depleted its financial and resource base.
The traditional methods of struggle in this list are only the support of external military opponents and the internal opposition - Sec. 1, 2. The rest of the tools - this is an innovative technological recipe.
The struggle of the USA and the USSR had a systemic character, extending to virtually all the niches of life. One of the methods of this struggle was provoking an opponent to adopt false strategic guidelines.
One of these landmarks was the formation of the illusion about the possibility of a comfortable existence at the expense of oil exports from the leadership of the USSR. Since the Middle East crisis 1973, the oil prices on the world market accelerated. Oil is a non-renewable resource, and the Soviet leadership proceeded from the assumption that oil can only become more expensive in the future. The fact that price conjuncture can be formed artificially was not taken into account. Oil prices are artificially inflated, then to be dropped. At the time of this discharge, the Soviet economy was already sufficiently tied to oil exports. “As if on purpose,” NI Ryzhkov, - on purpose, it was in 1986 that the global market saw a sharp decline in oil and gas prices, and in fact almost all of our exports were based on the sale of energy resources. ” Of course, this alone could not destroy the USSR. But at the same time, a whole complex of factors reducing the financial strength of the Soviet Union was included - the decision to curtail alcohol production, the "star" stage of the arms race, the expansion of the military presence in Afghanistan, etc.
The inclusion of Riyadh in the American project for the disintegration of the USSR now refers to generally accepted historical facts. The actions of Saudi Arabia, which had 40% of oil production in OPEC countries, were determined by the concerns of the royal family regarding the likelihood of Iranian and Soviet expansion (the latter could be spread from Yemen and Syria). The effect of a sharp decline in oil prices began its effect on the Soviet economy in August 1985. From two million barrels per day, its daily production by the Saudis increased to fall to 9 million barrels. “The decline in oil prices,” commented Yevgeny Novikov, a former member of the Central Committee, “was for us a crushing blow, just a crushing blow. It was a disaster. We lost tens of billions. ”
The script is soon repeated. The share of raw materials in Soviet exports for a long time did not exceed the threshold value of dependence on them of the national economy as a whole. The provocative role for the USSR was played by the global economic crisis of the beginning of the 1970-s, connected with the sharp rise in prices for oil and oil products. There was a temptation to ensure further material growth through petrodollar infusions. The country was planted on the "oil needle". Weakening the attention of the state to advanced innovative developments that ensured the advanced positions in development in the previous era of the USSR. The consequence of free money in the spiritual sense was the corrosion of labor morality. Labor was replaced by labor imitation. Meanwhile, the share of raw materials and energy resources exceeded by the middle of the 1980-s. half of all Soviet exports, putting the country's economy in direct dependence on this foreign trade component. And it was then that the oil crisis struck. The price of oil, as they say now, by agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia, has plummeted. Included in the proclaimed MS Gorbachev's systemic reform of the USSR without the traditional inflow of petrodollars turned out to be financially exhausted and collapsed, not least because of the unsustainable economic burden. The raw material component in the export of the Russian Federation was initially substantially lower than the late Soviet level. However, under the influence of a new, unprecedented increase in oil prices, the country since the end of the 1990-s. once again began to rapidly climb the "oil slide". The maximum marks for the share of raw materials and energy resources in the exports of the USSR were significantly exceeded. The question, in essence, was how long it would take to repeat the operation of dropping oil prices, and accordingly with it, about the long-term existence of modern Russian statehood.
Opponents objected - today the operation to reset the prices of hydrocarbons is technologically impossible. However, the crisis year 2008 made our predictions a reality. Prices for Russian oil rushed to its cost. A new formulation of the question of the future of the Russian economy is now in the long-term maintenance of this price situation.
Through a special operation of psychological pressure (PSYOP), the Americans achieved the formation of the Soviet leadership's understanding of the ability of the Reagan administration to launch a nuclear strike. The image of R. Reagan was imposed as a sort of “dashing cowboy” who was ready at any moment to pull the trigger of the pistol. To keep the Soviets in the belief that the President of the United States "slightly out of his mind" was, by definition, R. Allen, one of the strategies of American policy toward the Soviet Union. Who wants to play the game with a madman? Even allegedly accidental filming of Reagan before an official interview, when he “tried” a voice on the phrase “I ordered two minutes ago about a nuclear strike on the USSR”, and supposedly accidentally caught in a wide circulation in the specified context looks like a well-planned psychological provocation.
In order to enhance the psychological impact of the Americans actively used the tactics of weekly violation by combat aircraft of the airspace of the USSR. Such actions were held during the entire period of R. Reagan’s presidency. In the opinion of P. Schweitzer, it was they who, having created an appropriate feeling of insecurity among the Soviet leadership, forced him to refrain from sending troops into Poland.
Having predicted the desire of the USSR to eliminate the technological lag behind the West, the United States, through secret diplomacy, organized a blockade of the socialist camp for the export of innovative technologies. Corresponding amendments have been made to the Export Charter of the United States of America. Until 40% of US exports were allowed to be sold abroad only on the basis of appropriate licenses. The nominated principles of an “open society” did not become an insurmountable obstacle to the establishment of US trade restrictions on the USSR and its allies.
As a result, the planned Soviet modernization, due to technological failure, as the project failed. “This,” recalled the situation, was one of the Soviet experts who worked at the USSR Ministry of Oil Industry, “was not the usual excuse when the blame for the delay in construction was attributed to US sanctions. It was true. Chaos reigned. At first we did not have turbines, then we tried to produce our own, then we were able to purchase turbines again. What a mess, what a doomsday! It cost us two years and billions of dollars. ”
The trade embargo, predicted by analysts of the CIA, will determine the transition of the Soviets to the tactics of industrial espionage. As a means of countering and further destabilizing the economy of the USSR, a mechanism was developed for system technological disinformation. In many ways, thanks to him, Soviet science stalled for several years on the spot. “Everything went like clockwork,” Mr. Schweitzer quotes the recognition of one of the American technological disinformers. “In the field of gas and oil production technologies, we have so confused them that they still still do not seem to come to their senses.”
The PIO program is regarded by many modern researchers as a kind of “bluff” by the American administration. Possessing information about the fear caused by the Kremlin leaders by the “star warrior” project, R. Reagan was bluffing. The Soviet Union did not have the resources to create a similar SOI system. P. Schweitzer believes that the SOI-syndrome was an important factor in foreign and domestic policy of M.S. Gorbachev. From here, he believed, the chain of Gorbachev's concessions lined up. The PIO, testified by the informed adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Bessmertnykh from the rostrum of the conference in Princeton, certainly accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The task of destroying the USSR is indicated by the authors of the book “Export Revolutions”, “served both samizdat, and radio stations specially created in the West”, mass production of jokes, and the work of popular comedians, and the KVN student movement. To date, a number of studies have been published in the United States, including dissertations on the special role of the “anti-institutional theater” in undermining the cultural values of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe.
The entire list of the Reagan administration's stratigam against the USSR thus found practical implementation.
Thus, one cannot agree with the modern ideologeme about the fatal doom of the Soviet system. During the seventy-year history of the USSR, there were more difficult times in all respects than the crisis of the end of 1980x - the beginning of 1990x. Successfully overcoming them, the Soviet model proved its viability. It was not the preservation of the system that led to the death of statehood, but, on the contrary, a deviation from the principles of its functioning, which was found in the restructuring policy. These principles were not so much the immanent features of socialism as the paradigm of the Russian civilization model. When the system innovations exceeded the critical mass, control paralyzed. It was not the absence of transformations that led to the collapse of the USSR, but the reform itself.
The reasons for the collapse of the USSR will be quite obvious, given the fact that there was a world cold war, and the disintegration of the Soviet space is carried out with its completion. It was a new type of war, conducted not only at the level of armed clashes (although they did take place on the periphery), but going beyond the military department and covering all areas of state functioning. It is not about competition of systems, but about the war, which included operations to undermine the financial resources of the enemy, support of opposition groups towards it, and incorporation of representatives into its power structures. Now a lot is being written about the fact that the Soviet residency was introduced into the highest echelons of power in the USA, Germany, Great Britain, not to mention the third world countries and the satellites. The fact that Moscow’s large-scale support of the communist movement in the West is not disputed. The hand of the Kremlin is estimated as the leading condition for the organizational formation of the left opposition. Why, then, do not allow similar actions to be taken by the opposite side? If the Soviet Union supported the communist movement, therefore, the United States should at least contribute to the development of the latent Soviet opposition. Discredited bestseller N.N. Yakovlev, the CIA against the USSR, tendentious in particular, offered correct conclusions on the merits. At present, references to this book threaten ostracism on the part of the scientific community. But if the Soviet residency was part of the American establishment, then it would be a significant derogation of the CIA’s ability to believe that its representatives were absent from the Kremlin elite.
The USSR was defeated in the war. The result of the defeat, as is known, is the dismemberment, or rejection of territories from the losing state; and, at the worst outcome for him, the establishment of a regime dependent on the enemy.