№ 2, 2021
The article justifies why the collapse of the Soviet Union should be analyzed as the intersection of a number of diverse processes and phenomena. According to the author, the existing discord within the discussion about the reasons for the collapse of the USSR can be largely explained by the fact that researchers are not trying to determine the essence of the phenomenon they are studying and to reveal the totality of its features. The lack of the reflection on what exactly the end of the existence of the USSR was and when it happened, leads to isolating individual components of the process. As a result, some authors associate the collapse of the USSR with the dire economic straits, others consider the rise of nationalism to be the main culprit, others emphasize the role of specific actors, etc.
In order to determine what exactly the collapse of the USSR meant and when it happened, the author identifies the fundamental characteristics of the entity itself, dividing it into the USSR-system and the USSR-state, and traces how these characteristics changed. His research shows that the collapse of the USSR can be divided into at least two different, albeit related processes: the collapse of the system and the collapse of the state. The collapse of the system meant a change in a self-describing narrative, the most important elements of which were the discourse of the indisputable achievements of the 1917 October Revolution, the CPSU’s monopoly of power and its monolithic nature, confrontation with the capitalist countries and the socialist (state-owned) economy. It is the breakdown of these “load-bearing structures” that predetermined the future collapse of the state, making it possible for destructive factors to materialize in the form of a fiscal crisis, intra-elite conflict and mass mobilization.
Shevsky D. S.
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