The History of the Soviet Union


The Russian Empire, covering over one-sixth of the world,
is governed by the sovereignty of Czar Ivan the Terrible.
The feudal system oppresses every man, woman and child as
the Czar releases "Tax Collectors" to maintain support for
the nobles in the land. Brigands and financial
extortionists persecute any lower class citizen who refuses
to help contribute to the Czar's regime. 1682-1725
Under Czar Peter I (Peter the Great), the Russian Empire
begins to flourish with traces of traditional social
structure modifications in the country. Observing the
radical advances of western civilizations, Peter orders the
modernization of the army, creation of a navy, encourages
mercantilism and foreign trade, and gives women more
rights. Nevertheless, the Empire remains stricken in
poverty over slow reforms and the overbearing presence of
feudalism. 1825-1861
The feudal system begins to fail when the goals and desires
of the common peasant cannot be achieved through such an
archaic doctrine. Various successive Czars attempt social
reforms which do not leave an impact on the country's
well-being. In December of 1825, an uprising from the
populace occures when they demand changes to the economic
system. With the development of the American, French and
Spanish constitutions, the serfs now demanded the
abolishment of the monarchy dictatorship, communal
ownership of land and many other civil and social reforms.
Unfortunately, their rebellion was quickly dismantled by
the Czar's military faction and the system remained in
tact. 1861-1905
Czar Nicholas II finally realized that his current economic
monarchy was holding back the development of the empire. He
therefore created a parliamentary system in 1905 which
would decrease the number of strikes and violent outbursts
generating from the peasants. This representative assembly
(called a Duma) was convened a total of four times during
the first World War and gave legitimacy to other political
factions within the empire and would hopefully increase
civil rights.
World War I led to the abdication (resignation) of the Czar
as the people revolted against his useless monarchy.
Famine, disease and death were spreading like wildfire as
the Russians aided France against the militia of Germany
during World War I. The population lost its faith in the
monarchy and installed a provisional government that would
keep the country from disintegrating. However, this
government refused to intervene during the fragile years of
the war and lost its power to a communist party called the
Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov
(Nikolai Lenin), overthrew the provisional government and
implemented their style of authority to the empire. Their
objectives were to lead the Russian empire into prosperity
while utilizing Karl Marx's proposed doctrine for a
communal, classless environment where the workers will be
using their abilities to satisfy their own needs. The Union
was now born and the Communist Manifesto was finally going
to be activated. The C zar and his family were captured and
executed, thus ending the oppressive autocracy that had
befallen the empire for hundreds of years. Eventually, the
central government was overtaken by Lenin and his military
leaders, Leon Trotsky and Josef Stalin. Although a minority
party, the Bolsheviks decided to implement capitalistic
modifications to the fragile economy in order to aid the
communistic backlash that would follow. The New Economic
Policy (NEP) created by Lenin would allow peasants to keep
a certain amount of profit for themselves, rather than
having the government subsidize all of it. Unfortunately,
Lenin died just as his policy had started to work. 1925-1953
The two apparent heirs to Lenin's regime were Josef Stalin
and Leon Trotsky. Although Trotsky was better suited for
the position (with his strong political inclinations
towards reasonable social adaptability), Josef Stalin
assumed controlled and subsequently ordered the exile of
all apposing cabinet ministers, including Trotsky. Anyone
in the Union who objected to his decisions was sent to
Siberian prison camps or murdered. He now had full control
without any intervention from other liberal or moderate
parties. He decided to concentrate on improving military
strength and building on improving the Soviet economy,
rather than follow Lenin's revolutionary goal of dominating
the world. In order to obtain the immense amount of money
needed to maintain his militia, he began a series of five
year programs which would force the average farmer to meet
a quota by the end of the harvest and then have the state
subsidize all of the production. This system, aptly named
collectivization, reprimanded all of the average worker's
liberties and created great suffering during the Stalin
regime. Such suffering was magnified during an anti-war
treaty that Stalin had signed with Hitler's Germany in an
effort to avoid a confrontation with the Nazi military.
However, Hitler violated this treaty in an effort to
dominate all of Europe and was denied at the expense of
millions of Soviet lives who fought for freedom against his
tyranny. Not only did this lead to millions of deaths and a
severe decrease in productivity. Stalin eventually passed
away in 1953, and the conservative trend would now shifted
to a more liberal form. 1953-1964
Nikita Krushchev, a dedicated liberal leader, managed to
become the leader of the Soviet Union after a conservative
mogul by the name of Malenkov could not gather enough
support from the Political Bureau. Krushchev proceeded to
moderately alter the rigid, despotic structure of the Union
and dealt vigorously with other foreign countries. The
improvement in foreign relations, outer space developments
and housing/employment allowed Krushchev to improve the
Soviet economy. In 1964, he became the first leader ever to
lose power when the Political Bureau (Politburo) ousted him
due to his extreme radical policies. 1964-1982
Brezhnev had now assumed control of the Union. A rigid
Stalinist with hard-line ethics, Brezhnev's goal was to
make the USSR into one of the strongest political
superpowers in the world. The military was richly funded
and the authoritative influence of Brezhnev could be felt
in the asperity of the population. When Brezhnev died in
1982, he left behind an empire with one of the world's
strongest military sectors, but weakest population morale.
The Soviet Union was an empty superpower with crumbling
financial, social and political sectors. 1985-1991
In the following years, the Union witnessed very little
political reform in terms of enhancing social and
production factors. Yuri Andropov died early before he
could establish any noticeable reforms and Konstantin
Chernenko was inefficient as the leader of the KGB and the
Union. At age 54, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev emerged to
inherit the economically devastated Union and began
establishing political reforms that the world had not
encountered since the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. With
radical ideologies such as Glasnost (Openess) and
Perestroika (long-range capitalistic restructing), along
with improved foreign trade and diplomatic association with
the United States (elimination of most ballistic nuclear
missiles), the reformist had arrived to change the face of
his dominion. Gorbachev's economical strategies had
transformed the Soviet Union from a desolate oppressed
wasteland to a socially liberated jungle. Such radical
policies and reforms not only encouraged the development of
a revolution, but the global transformation of Europe as we
know it. As the hard-line coup was formed in early 1991,
Gorbachev managed to hold on to power thanks in part to his
liberal nemesis, Boris Yeltsin. In return, he had lost all
popularity and support from the people and eventually
witnessed the destruction of the Union and the death of
communism in Russia. 

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