The USSR
Why Couldn't It Survive?
By Víctor Ontiveros and Quinton Pepin

Let's learn about some important leaders:

Vladimir Lenin (In office 1922-1924)

Joseph Stalin (In office 1922-1952)

Mikhail Gorbachev (In office 1990-1991)

Vladimir Lenin: Born into a wealthy middle-class family, he opposed the government and took advantage during the Russian Civil War of the collapsing nation. He became the first leader of the USSR and had a government lead by the Bolsheviks, which is now known as the Communist Party.

Problem:

He set up his nation with socialism, believing this was the way to solve the problems caused by the previous monarchy. This eventually lead to communism, setting up the USSR for problems. (Communism doesn't work out well...)

Joseph Stalin: Unlike Lenin, he was born to a poor Georgian family, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union. Before he became a dictator, in order to help establishing the Soviet Union with Bolshevik factions, he performed robberies, kidnapping, and protection rackets. Though he did all of this, he is widely considered one of the most significant and influential figures of the 20th century.

Problem:

He was a dictator, anybody who went against him or his ideas were sent to camps or executed. This is a problem because a lot of people didn't want to become Russianized. He is responsible for the deaths of millions. People had to pent up their criticism for him as they weren't allowed to say anything about how he ran the nation.

Mikhail Gorbachev: This poor guy inherited the Soviet Union and had no idea what to do. (Can't really blame him.) Reform on this country seemed impossible, as in a 1933 memoir of his, he describes his experience of famine and how people were dying in his village.

Problem:

When establishing his new policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, he underestimated what the result would be. People were once again able to own and run businesses but it only resulted in shortages in goods. As a result, people grew to dislike him. So much so, a rebellion formed in order to kidnap him, and broadcast on live television he fell ill and would no longer be leader. With that, the union fell and the power went to the people, not an oligarchy.

Cold War and the United States

During World War II, United States and the USSR were allies against the Axis powers. However, they didn't have the greatest relationship, it was very tense. Americans were wary of Joseph Stalin and how he ran his country, and were worried that with the union expanding into Eastern Europe, they could take over the world. They never fought directly, only in proxy wars.

Problem:

Both parties (US and USSR) had their fair share of suffrage, but with the union's economy declining since day one, this really hurt the nation. The production of food and other necessities were haulted and the country indutrialized itself to produce military items. The USSR lost more than $8 trillion and experienced millions of deaths.

While the USSR was having trouble during the Cold War, US was protecting nations from communism in proxy wars. Doing so, they developed good relationships with multiple countries, shaping America's foreign policy.

Problem:

Ronald Reagan had some tactics in messing with the USSR, by raising its military defense spending. With the USSR already having money problems for decades, they decided to spend more on their military defense than the US was.

And then, there are these guys...

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

In 1918, the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) were under the control of Germany. However, when Germany collapsed that year, these countries were establishing governments. When Germany lost its power, these countries were supposed to become part of Russia but the government they developed withstood Russian influence, and each country became independent in the early 1920's.

Problem:

Russia will find it difficult to extend economic and political influence in the Baltic states and westward because they didn't have power over these countries. They lost access to some resources.
With some republics seeing the Baltic States being independent, they wanted to become independent. Right before the USSR officially collapsed, 11 different republics left the union.

What we sought to learn:

We wanted to find out how and why a country that was once considered a world superpower collapsed and doesn't exist anymore.

What we learned:

The union from the start had problems and collapsed due to its own weight. Whether it be from poor decisions from leaders, communism, or American influence, the union had a hard time.

Why is it important?

The world could be a very different place with another large and different nation such as what the USSR was. For a little while, the USSR had a football (soccer) club, the CCCP. It would influence the world more, like how during the Cold War, the space race caused things like NASA to come into existance.