Thursday, October 29, 2020

The USSR Died Because Soviet Citizens Ceased to Believe Its Message, Mirovich Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 27 – Debates about the causes of the collapse of the USSR and its disintegration continue unabated. Maksim Mirovich, a contrarian blogger, argues that the real reason is that for a variety of reasons, the explanation for what happened in 1991 is relatively simply: the Soviet Union was an ideocratic state, and its population simply ceased to believe.

            In a new post, he makes four points: First, Soviet ideology itself, something that had taken on the form of a civil religion, no longer was credible for the increasingly educated and urbanized population of the USSR. They dismissed it and simply ceased to believe (

            Second, Soviet citizens for the first time ever were able to draw comparisons between their own lives and those of people in the West. Moscow’s insistence that they were better off than anyone else was shown to be a myth as people read more or came into contact with the West with the spread of information about it on television and in the streets.

            Third, Mirovich says, the regime itself committed suicide by changing its message from specifically Soviet to one based on “all human values.” If the USSR was not special but rather a country like any other, there was no reason for its residents to support a regime that was keeping them in poverty.

            And fourth, at the end of Soviet times, “a boom” in the spread of information replaced the deficit which Soviet citizens had experienced from the 1920s to the 1950s. People knew more about what was happening elsewhere but also more about what was happening in their own country. That gave them a chance to independently evaluate the situation.

            For these four reasons, which constitute “the arrival of an information society,” the Soviet Union could not survive. By the end, no one believed in it anymore, and as the events of 1991 showed, only a microscopic handful of people were prepared to try to defend what had become indefensible. 

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