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Equally significant is the rapid changing of the domestic and international conditions and circumstances which have shaped the character of the past decade and a half. At the same time, one is not persuaded that they judge this system suitable or desirable for a developed Western society. Indeed, Fogle's case—almost too bizarre to be believed—seems to be the stuff of contemporary television shows like The Americans, which depicts KGB spies living in U.S. suburbs in the late 80s. The ability of the Soviet leadership in the 1970s to contain the nationality problem was partly related to the fact that the nationality areas enjoyed more rapid growth than the rest of the country, especially in the standard of living and the conditions of the rural sector. Its past experience in responding to economic difficulties was based on a mass mobilization of capital and labor-a policy of the hammerblow, not the scalpel. To this already potent challenge to the West in the next decade, however, one must add the disquieting prospect that a new economic rationale may soon join the traditional spurs to Soviet expansion. Second, that the tilt toward the Soviet Union in the military balance, established in the 1970s, would continue. -The Soviet Union has become a global power, feared by friend and foe alike. I must reiterate that the differences between the optimistic and pessimistic scenarios are a matter of great importance; they signify the difference between a difficult situation and a deep crisis. Given the fragmentary evidence at our disposal, we must at the outset underscore the tentativeness of this profile of the post-Stalin generation. Yet it is a burden that the Soviets cannot avoid and can neglect only at their own peril. It is probable that even without major agricultural disasters or a particularly severe energy crisis, Soviet consumption may stagnate in the 1980s. We were constantly watched. Another contentious issue, with an even greater potential for divisiveness, concerns the entire complex of questions connected with the rate of growth and the direction of Soviet non-military investment resources. In the post-Stalin period, the Soviet economy grew at about six percent a year. It is difficult to envisage how the Soviet leadership can reduce the difficulties brought about by the limitations of the existing pattern of extensive growth without keeping the percentage of investment in the economy, and even the growth rate of investments, at high levels. Everyone was forced to go to work 2. This curious mixture of power and insecurity places a special imprint on Soviet foreign policy and international behavior. Meanwhile, it confronts a China which is no longer pursuing a self-destructive course of permanent revolution but is concentrating on modernization and the pursuit of virtual alliance with the United States, Japan and NATO. Reserved. Now that the Soviet Union and its satellite states are a distant memory, he seems less relevant. The 1980s were truly the golden age of Soviet discos. At the same time it probably stands confident of its own ability to do so. In the 1980s, foreigners were kept strictly segregated from Russians. Fifth, that the basic balance in Europe would be frozen on both sides and that, while no major changes in Soviet influence in Western Europe could be expected, no major dangers to the stability of the East European empire would develop. The development of the Siberian oil and gas reserves will constitute a new, major-and increasing-burden on Soviet investment resources. 1. Moreover, during the time of extreme stringencies and particularly sharp one-sided development, the system was guarded by a mass terror apparatus, introduced by Stalin and dismantled by his successors. The two most important consequences will be a sharply intensified competition for scarce resources among sectors, and an equally intense competition among regions. The Soviets have not yet devised a way to assure even the present inadequate levels of agricultural production without infusions of long-range massive investments. The shape of Soviet politics and policies changes very slowly. To maintain the rate of growth in military spending at the level of the last decade (around four percent) would necessitate a redirection of resources from other sectors. Although the CIA no longer estimates that the U.S.S.R. will be a net oil importer by the mid-1980s and other economists dispute the extent of the projected decline, they agree that Soviet oil production will decline. Of course, not only competition for resources among sectors but also competition for specific priorities within sectors will be much sharper in this decade. By the end of the decade, the previously favorable situation had begun to unravel. In the new situation, the nationality problem may also become aggravated. Click here to learn more. The virulence of conflict over these economic realities will be intensified to an incalculable degree by the unavoidable onset of yet another unprecedented set of political circumstances-the conjuncture of the replacement of the top leadership and virtually the entire core elite group in the principal hierarchies. Please enable JavaScript for this site to function properly. Such an ambiguous balance of gains and losses leaves the Soviets with undiminished appetites, but also with a sense of deep frustration. My father was an American reporter, a fluent Russian speaker, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest, and the grandson of White Russian refugees, and he was instantly considered highly suspicious. On the other hand, certain pressures will work to limit military growth and to make the leadership more willing to entertain timely and realistic Western proposals for arms limitations and reductions. It is a generation that perceives the inability of the Brezhnev administration in recent years to lay out a direction for Soviet development. One such effort might seek to recreate the atmosphere of a besieged fortress, to rally around the theme of external enemies, and to foster public xenophobia. By failing to prepare in even a rudimentary way for change at the top and directly below the top levels of the leadership, the aged Soviet oligarchs are delegitimizing their own rule and increasing the chances of a disorderly struggle for power and of the emergence of alternative policies when they leave the scene. This seems to be particularly true for the most influential European country, West Germany. One of the most significant accomplishments of the Brezhnev era was the prolonged and substantial growth of Soviet mass consumption. The West will have to deal in the 1980s, perhaps even in the very near future, with new Soviet leaders who have limited knowledge of international relations and who will have to learn on the job. In terms of global interests, the Soviet Union is, after all, still a young and expanding power, fighting for its place in the sun. Soviet rule over its empire was legitimized internationally and the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine-implying the right and obligation of the Soviet Union to intervene in any communist state to maintain the communist system intact-was developed to secure continuation of that empire by any means. The Soviets expected that while the West might attempt to make adjustments in the military balance, there would be no new effort by the United States to regain strategic superiority, and that attempts to redress significantly the European theater balance would be successfully resisted by America's allies. At the same time I should not be surprised if they were reform-minded within the limits of the Soviet framework or if they were dissatisfied with the thoroughly conservative attitudes toward innovation which pervade the present Brezhnev administration. Any significant reforms must be accepted and endorsed by the Communist Party and the Soviet government, where communist hardliners held sway. It was a period when the Soviets increased their influence in the international arena and, at the same time, witnessed the economic and political decline of their chief adversary, the United States. Even our dog was enlisted—when we took him for walks he would run happily to our mortified minder, seeking the treats he was obviously used to getting. Castle If successful-and they might well be-such agreements would be clearly political in nature, since any civilian goods involved in the barter would not be competitive on the world market. It may well be that they will be less cautious, more prone to take risks than the present leadership, precisely because they have no first-hand experience of the costs of building Soviet might and are used to the Soviet Union's great-power status. Aspects of Soviet Secondary Education: School Performance and Teacher Accountability 10-13 FRIEDRICH KUEBART, University of Bochum IV. The Soviet citizen-worker, peasant and professional-has become accustomed in the Brezhnev period to an uninterrupted upward trend in his well-being and more demanding in what he expects from the government in terms of goods and services. The Central Asian region has a limited infrastructure, especially in the technological sector. The stress on law and order, social discipline, unswerving loyalty, nationalism, and punitive and restrictive measures against anti-social behavior may become more pronounced than it was in the 1970s. by Guest Blogger for Women Around the World. It will also involve a rapid and massive influx of Russian bureaucrats into those regions, with all the attendant dissatisfactions and tensions between local, native elites and the newcomers. Fourth, that the Soviet Union would continue to exploit targets of opportunity presented by the turmoil in the less developed countries. But in this respect, the leadership's manner of responding to the dilemma posed by the new demographic trend in the growth of Soviet labor resources will be the most important issue on the Soviet agenda concerning the nationality question in the 1980s. We may expect, however, that this inertia will be interrupted in the 1980s, and that a new Soviet policy will start to emerge. In view of the major claims on Soviet resources by other sectors in a period of declining growth, it will be extremely difficult for the Soviet leadership to continue its policy of consumption growth, even at the lower rates of the most recent Five Year Plan announced in February. Without a very substantial, persistent, and creditable effort in this direction, there is little chance that any increased productivity of Soviet labor will overcome the downward pull of the exhaustion of the extensive factors of growth. But even according to the more optimistic scenarios, the Soviet Union will face an economic crunch far more severe than anything it encountered in the 1960s and 1970s. Tallinn street scenesEstonia. The desire of the Soviet population for a better life has never to our knowledge become unmanageable, has never assumed the form of a revolution or a vicious spiral of rising expectations. Foreign Affairs, Published by the Council on Foreign Relations. In Kundera’s case, his decline into obscurity is probably connected to the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the same time, however, the sharply increased competition for resources among and within sectors will be enmeshed in and complicated by a stronger, more tenacious competition for resources among the various regions of the Soviet Union. The top end of the Soviet nomenklaturawere given the country’s finest cars, usually in the form of a GAZ Volga (the Soviet equivalent of a Mercedes-Benz), a vehicle luxurious enough for President Vladimir Putin to show off to U.S. President George Bush in 2005. According to the worst-case scenarios, it will be a period of low growth combined with economic stagnation. Second, the stagnation of the standard of living will be felt by the working population at a time when the other basic avenue of betterment, upward mobility, will also show a downward tendency because of a relative decline in expenditures on the educational system. I have no doubt that with the new generation in positions of power a major effort will be made by the Soviet leadership to reform the antiquated economic system that is no longer able to deal with new priorities and demands. 3) The Soviet Union in the 1980s will also face unfavorable demographic trends, such as the very rapid projected decline in the availability of new labor resources. 1) In the 1980s the Soviet Union will face a secular decline in the growth rates of its economy in almost all sectors. Jazz and classical music declined in the 1980s due to the rise of rock and roll. In all areas of domestic, military and foreign policy, the Soviet Union stands at a crossroads no less significant than that at the end of the New Economic Policy in the late 1920s and at the death of Stalin in 1953. The chances for deep personal and policy conflicts within the top leadership structure are increased, as are the possibilities for resolving these conflicts in more extreme ways. Anonymous Guest. With regard to the question of how to stimulate higher growth rates and how to overcome critical bottlenecks, the Soviet system is ill prepared to deal with these problems for exactly the same reason that growth has decreased: the decline in the effectiveness-or the exhaustion-of the extensive factors of growth. By the early 1980s, many Soviet experts and politicians accepted that major reforms were needed to kick-start the ailing economy. At the same time, the Soviet policy of offering carrots may not preclude a simultaneous policy of using sticks. Soviet state propaganda. Anna’s account is not a detached political analysis of the situation in the former Soviet Union but rather a story of her personal experiences, which illustrate the deep contradictions that marked the society and the everyday lives of the people. It faces a new Administration whose policies toward the Soviet Union and the world may constitute a major departure from those of its predecessors, in assertiveness in the international arena and willingness to steer a collision course with the Soviet Union where vital interests are concerned. These matters will acquire an importance for the Soviet leadership surpassing even that of the 1970s. It lacks, however, any long-range vision regarding the means to resolve them. Yet if ever there was a period when the Soviet Union needed substantial large-scale investment in the national economy, it is now. The consequences of such stagnation are difficult to assess, but they will undeniably be negative. 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