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The Collapse of the Soviet Union

It appears to be the judgement of history that the Soviet Union collapsed not from exterior forces, but from internal deterioration of its communist-based economy and social system. The books describing that process are legion and based in large part on speculation; the Soviet Union was notably unreliable in its accountings of economic and social indicators. It has now been roughly five years since the Soviet Union was replaced by a very loose confederation of independent states; Russia, just as it was during the days of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, remains the giant of the region. Theoretically, the new state of Russia is now "democratic" and "open" - and, as a consequence, there are available a number of indicators describing the status of the Russian economy and its society as a whole. It will be the purpose of this brief paper to recount a number of those indicators for the past five years, and to use those indicators to drawn some general conclusions about how Russia and its people have fared since the demise of the U.S.S.R.

Before presentation of those indicators, it should be noted at once that they are not the final word; "it's hard to read the Russian economy" (Rubin, 1995, p. 30). "There are more statistics available now," according to Valery Makerov, director of TsEMI (sic), a leading Russian economic and mathematical institute, "but their reliability is lower" because no one has yet devised an effective measuring tool for gauging the Russian economy (Rubin, 1995, p. 30). This is largely due to the fact that key sectors of the Russian economy, principally in energy and transport, remain under government control (Bergson, 1994, p. 56). In the government-controlled sector of the economy handwritten data remains the norm (Rubin, 1995, p. 30) - and old-style reluctance to admit poor performance is still commonplace (Bergson, 1994, p. 56). More importantly, Russia is running on "somewhat of a barter syste...

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The Collapse of the Soviet Union. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:23, September 20, 2019, from