Factors Contributing to the demise of the U.S.S.R.
Many factors contributed to the downfall of the U.S.S.R. One of the main things was the lack of leadership that the country had. This is not to say that it did not have a leader, only to say that the leadership itself had difficulties that the leaders tried to hide but ultimately could not. It was not the people that were flawed, although they were certainly not perfect, but it was the leadership ideals that the country held that were the problem. This was the main reason that the country fell, but a lack of leadership contributed to a great many other things that worked against the country as well.
For example, divorce, corruption, alcoholism, and economic problems were prevalent, and no one was really doing anything to prevent them from getting worse. This helped work toward the demise of the country, because none of the people were very happy with the way things were. They wanted things changed, and so there were rebellions and other problems that often come from poor leadership and unhappy individuals who are forced to live by rules that they don't agree with.
The economic problems were some of the worst problems that the country faced. There was not enough money and not enough goods, and everyone suffered. One of the main things that caused this problem with the economy was the lack of technology that the country had. Another problem was excessive military spending that allowed so much money and provisions to go to the military that there was nothing left for the citizens to have. This made them very bitter, and it set the economy on the verge of collapse.
The position of the U.S.S.R. In the international marketplace was weakening, too, and this was another contributor to the eventual collapse. The country really wasn't friendly with other countries, and because of this it was often difficult to trade or exchange any kind of ideas of goods and services. This put the country well behind many others when it came to technology, and technology is not used only for military applications and computers, but also for growing and harvesting crops, among other things. The U.S.S.R. essentially brought about their own collapse by turning down and friendships or help from other countries, and by making their people miserable by not allowing them any kind of real freedom, such as the freedoms that Americans and others enjoy.
2) Russia's Difficulties with Establishing Institutions
Russia doesn't do very well when it comes to establishing institutions. It doesn't matter if these institutions are democratic or not, they still fail miserably. I think this is because the Russian government still hasn't realized how to treat people properly. There have been many changes in Russia, and many of the things that they do now have become more democratic, but they still run their country very differently from the way that America and many other countries are run. That is not necessarily bad, and there are probably plenty of people, in Russia and elsewhere, that think the Russians are doing things exactly right.
However, just because some think that things are working well doesn't mean that they are, and the failure of many Russian institutions is indicative of the fact that things aren't working the way that they really should be. It seems as though the Russians are still very concerned about control, and they haven't learned that people will police themselves and their neighbors to some extent if they are simply left along long enough to do it. That is not to say that there shouldn't be laws and rules. Obviously, there has to be some form of law and government in any society.
It does seem, though, that too much control can actually have the opposite of the intended effect, and can actually cause people to rebel and cause more trouble than they would have if they would have been allowed the freedom to make their own choices. Nobody likes choices that don't feel like choices because somebody has given a list of bad ideas and forced you to pick one. This is what the Russians live with a great deal of the time, and it is no wonder that they get upset, and that the institutions that the government creates are not utilized, and therefore don't survive.
Yeltsin and Putin have both tried to help with this problem by appearing concerned about the people and trying to make themselves more accessible. They have tried to created more freedoms for the average Russian citizen, so that things can be discussed and compromises can be reached. However, not all of their efforts have been successful, and Russia remains troubled it's their lack of ability to establish efficient institutions.
3) The "Transitions" of Russia
Russia's "transitions" have been talked about a great deal in recent years. These transitions are basically the change in Russia from a completely communist country to a country that is attempting to become more democratic, both in its political arena and with its economy. Russia is attempting to become more liberal. By that, I do not mean the kind of liberal that one normally thinks of, where it is acceptable to carry an idea way off into uncharted territory, or take a 'freedom' and carry it so far that it gets one into trouble; and then sue over it. Instead, what Russia means by 'liberal' most of us would call 'democratic.' Russia, however, is still a communist country.
There is some 'democratization' going on in Russia, however, as the political and economic arenas indicate. The Russian people have more power in politics than they once did, and they have the ability to speak up and speak out, without fear of being jailed or killed. They do not fear for their families as much as they once did, especially if they oppose the ruling party. They are not 'democratic,' at least not the way we use the word, but they are not as communist as they once were.
Many of the problems they have had have succeeded in changing the way that many Russians think about their country and the communist ideals that so many of them had for many years. This has helped the country greatly, both politically and economically, but they have not come as far as they could toward allowing their people freedoms. They have a better political ideal now, and the Russian economy has improved. No longer does everyone struggle to find money and food. There will be poor people in every country, but the entire country is no longer poor.
It seems that 'democratization' is halting, but at least it does not seem to be reversing yet. Russia is still not a willing ally of other countries, and they seem to want to keep to themselves. In order to help themselves further, the Russian people need to get involved not only in their country, but in the rest of the world as well. This will help the country, and it will help other countries feel that perhaps Russia is worth dealing with after all.
This may help the Russians boost their economy and could strengthen the country a great deal if they would just reach out to others. Unfortunately, this does not look to be happening just yet, but there is certainly hope and patient good will that these things might come about in the future.
4) China Compared with the Soviet Union
In China, the economy has been reformed, but the political system remains the same. I think that this might have helped China out, but that in the long run, both systems need to be reformed to really keep the country moving forward. Their…