Taking you through AQA A2 History of the Soviet Union in as little time and as little pain as possible... see you on results day!


16 June 2010, AM

4 June 2010

Unit Four - Gorbachev

Back to some semi-interesting history! Yay! :)

The rise of Gorbachev

- rapid
- orthodox political apprenticeship
- cautious change within clearly defined paramaters
took control during Chernenko's dying months
- leadership style more relaxed and Western

Problems facing the USSR

- stagnation
- 25% of the economy on military spending
- Afghan war

- vested interests
- bureaucracy
- links to economy
- age of party members
- inbuilt system; inability to alter it
- problems faced by previous reformers, eg Khrushchev

- living standards ~
- consumer goods
- alcoholism
- inequality

- Cold War
- Star Wars
- Afghanistan

Which were the most significant problems faced by the USSR at this point?

Motives for change

- not a radical agenda
- focus on reforming the party and economy for efficiency

- established party elite
- lower ranks of party
- intellectuals, scientists etc
- vested interests
- Military-Industrial Complex

Why were these people opposed?


- reminiscent of FYPs
- growth rate actually declined
- problems of old system to be addressed
- innovations - campaign against corruption & alcoholism; regrouping of industrial miniteries for efficiency; joint enterprises law 1986 allows foreign industry in
- unpopular

- tinkering!
- no change to centralisation
- political reform - change to party power to interfere with economy; 1988 State Enterprises (workers can sack managers); 1988 co-operatives (effectively legalised black market)
- food rationing reintroduced
- 1990, poverty rising

- political change affects economic activity
- central planning often ignored, esp. in Republics
- growth of unrest, eg strikes

- Shatalin plan rejected
- compromise reached - commercialisation of state enterprises; relaxation of state control; rouble becomes fully convertible
- satisfied few
- ends Jan 1991 with the law on private property ownership, effectively nullifying communism

- most often translated as "openness", REALLY means "publicity"
- PRAVDA: "the timely and frank release of information shows trust in people, respect for their intelligence and their ability to assess events"

How significant were Glasnost and Perestroika in facilitating the end of the USSR?

Why the economy failed

- poor planning
- confusing administrative organisation
- arbitrary decision making
- unrest in the work force
- costly projects, eg Afghan war
- existing problems

Was economic failure a significant cause of unrest?

Political developments

- perestroika showed the need for political change
- legal changes made the law-making system independent of the party
- new constitution - never finished
- congress of people's deputies
- Supreme Soviet to become working parliament
- 2-tier system at all-Union level
- local Soviets to be more accountable
- contradictions
- party reform
- presidency, March 1990
- growth of opposition
- results of change lead to collapse and loosening of Soviet grip on republics etc

How significant were political reforms under Gorbachev in the collapse of the USSR?

Social conditions

- raised expectations
- culture ~
- black market
- alcohol abuse
- medical improvements
- different across republics

And... you guessed it! How significant were these?

Only one more section of this unit left! Hooray! :)

Any questions? Get in touch!

- HistGrrl x

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got a burning question? Did I get it wrong? Got something to ask?