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Crisis in communism PowerPoint Presentation
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Crisis in communism

Crisis in communism

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Crisis in communism

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  1. The Brezhnev Era Crisis in communism

  2. Domestic Problems • Economic stagnation – standard of living began to decline beginning in 1970 • Crop failures in 1972 lead to food shortages • From 1964-1982 over 25% of the Soviet GNP was spent on military growth to compete with the US • Socialist centralized economic planning (command economy) was NOT meeting the needs of ordinary citizens (guns vs. butter)

  3. Brezhnev’s Reforms • Incentives to farmers working on state-owned plots – keep or sell surplus! • Promoted the use of market forces to determine production • Reforms were blocked by Soviet hard-liners who feared a shift to capitalism

  4. Things Get Worse • Consumer goods are only readily available on the black market (except for those with the right connections) • Morale and productivity decline – high rates of absenteeism and alcoholism • 1975 – another bad grain harvest • USSR has to import food - from the US!

  5. Political Stagnation • Same organization and hierarchy as the days of Stalin • Leadership was ageing and out of touch with new generation of Soviet youth (gerontocracy – form of rule in which the leadership is significantly older than the adult population. Politburo average age – 73!) • Party elites (nomenklatura) and military leaders were often corrupt and benefited from their position at ordinary citizens’ expense

  6. Foreign Problems • Nationalist movements behind the Iron Curtain • 1968 – The Prague Spring: socialism with a human face! • The Brezhnev Doctrine – “..every Communist party is responsible not only to its own people, but also to all the socialist countries and the entire Communist movement….” • In Poland the Solidarity workers’ union begins staging strikes and protest marches

  7. The Cold War Arms Race • The missile race, the space race, the technology race, conventional arms race, etc. etc. – very expensive • Détente – Soviets motivated by economic as well as geo-political pressures

  8. Afghanistan • Invoking the Brezhnev Doctrine the Soviets invaded in 1979 to prop up the leftist regime on their southern border • By 1982 it was a lost cause – and increasingly expensive in both economic and political terms

  9. The End of an Era • 1982 – Brezhnev dies and Andropov (age 68) takes over • 1984 – Andropov dies and Chernenko takes over • Early 1985 – Chernenko dies • March 1985 – Mikhail Gorbachev, a spritely 54, becomes General Secretary