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The Real Reason the USSR Fell


Every revolution is a surprise. Still, the latest Russian Revolution must be counted among the greatest of surprises. In the years leading up to 1991, virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it one-party dictatorship, the state-owned economy, and the Kremlin's control over its domestic and Eastern European empires. Neither, with one exception, did Soviet dissidents nor, judging by their memoirs, future revolutionaries themselves. When Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in March 1985, none of his contemporaries anticipated a revolutionary crisis. Although there were disagreements over the size and depth of the Soviet system's problems, no one thought them to be life-threatening, at least not anytime soon. – Foreign Policy

Dominant Social Theme: The fall of the USSR was due to moral failure.

Free-Market Analysis: This article entitled, Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong (And why it matters today in a new age of revolution) is interesting simply for the sheer scope of its ambition. The author Leon Aron, is director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute and has also written a forthcoming book, Roads to the Temple: Truth, Memory, Ideas, and Ideals in the Making of the Russian Revolution, 1987-1991. Presumably the article is drawn from the book.

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