The Fall of Communism in Russia

Communism in the USSR was doomed from the
onset. Communism was condemned due to lack of support
from other nations, condemned due to corruption within its
leadership, condemned due to the moral weakness of
humanity, making what is perfect on paper, ineffective in
the real world. The end of this system was very violent. It
left one of the two most powerful nations in the world
fearful of what was to come. Communism can either be
called a concept or system of society. In a society that
follows the communist beliefs groups own the major
resources and means of production, rather than a certain
individual. In theory, Communism is to provide equal work,
and benefits to all in a specific society. Communism is
derived from many ancient resources, including Plato’s
Republic and early Christian communities. In 1917, Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engels in their Communist Manifesto
finalized the philosophy of Communism. ("Communism,"
Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia) In the
beginning, people in Russia thought of Communism as a
utopian ideal. (Funk & Wagnall’s) The elimination of social
classes, and guaranteed employment sounded outstanding
to the people who lived in Russia. Communism did call for
a role of socialist dictatorship to help control any form of
protest. Through persuasive tactics this new government
seized power and in 1917 Vladimir Ilich Lenin came to
power. Under his control the Soviet Union underwent
many radical changes that led to the development of NEP
(New Economic Policy). This policy called for some
private ownership of the means of production and business.
Still the government controlled the majority of production.
Throughout Lenin’s government there were many
achievements. It ended a long civil war against the remnants
of the old Czarist military system and established institutions
in government. He later died in 1924, and was quickly
succeeded. In 1924 Joseph Stalin became head of the
Soviet Communist Party. He soon became the most
powerful man in Russia. He ran the Soviet Union with brut
power, removing all that opposed him and the Communist
beliefs. This time period was known as the “Great Purge.”
Stalin systemically executed anyone who stood in his path.
Stalin had millions of people arrested and killed. The
government once again changed in its economic status. All
private ownership was ended. Industrialization
commenced, and the strength of the Soviet’s Military
significantly increased. The only downfall was agriculture
production slowly diminished. This eventually led to food
shortages. During this time period the Second World War
broke out and drained most of what was left of the already
impoverished state. However after the war, national unity
was improved and the Soviet Union once again became a
super power of the world. (" Stalin and World War II,"
Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 99 Encyclopedia) Stalin’s death
in 1953 marked the end of the supreme power for the head
of the Soviet party. Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushev,
marked the beginning of the fall of Communism in the
Soviet Union. Khrushev became the first Secretary of the
Communists party ("Nikita Khrushev," Microsoft(R)
Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia). He believed Stalin’s actions
were unnecessary and harmful to the process of moving the
Socialist government to its goal of complete Communism.
During his period of control the public was given some say
in the government. A new policy of economy was brought
in known as “New Course.” It helped to balance the
agriculture and increase food production so there were less
food shortages. Although Nikita Khrushev started a
process of reform he was dismissed due to massive
shortage of dairy products, and the fact that he failed to
meet any of his initial objectives. After the dismissal of
Khrushev, Leonid Brezhnev became the Soviet Communist
Party Secretary General in October of 1964. Under his
control central power was brought back into effect. Stalin’s
disciplinary policies were restored. One of the causes of
Brezhnev’s loss of power was in the way he controlled the
land of Russia. During this time there was an inefficient use
of land, which resulted in an economic slacking once again.
The 1980’s saw a dramatic drop in the standards of the
Soviet citizens. This led to strikes against the government,
which greatly threatened the stability of the Soviet Union.
The people were angered at the fact that the Communist
Party had not lived up to what it had promised which was
in return for their obedience. (B, Ulam, “Looking at the
Past: The Unraveling of the Soviet Union” pg.112) March
1985 marked a turning point in the Communist Rule of
Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev was elevated to the position of
General Secretary. He was fully aware of what he had to
do to keep Communism alive in Russia. He began a
program called “Perestroika” which was intended to help
rebuild the government and military, but the main