The main issue is indeed to know whether the system of the Soviet Union could have been reformed in order to last longer. Some reforms could have been conceivable but they were so deep, so huge that it would have led to a complete transformation of the whole system with, for example, redefining the separation between the state and the party bureaucracy. We can say that the collapse of the Soviet Union can be explained by both structural and circumstantial causes. If the structural causes were inescapable in the long run, the mainly avoidable circumstantial causes precipitated the collapse of the USSR.
[...] To conclude, I believe the collapse of communism could not have been avoided because the structural weaknesses of the communist system, mainly the economic inefficiency and the ideological decline, were leading it to its end. However, its collapse might have been postponed because it was mainly precipitated by political decisions: liberalization of the society, introduction of market-economy policies and changing in the foreign policy, especially towards the end of the Cold War with the West. Those reforms were embodied in Gorbachev's policies: Glasnost and Perestroika. [...]
[...] However, if the collapse of the system could certainly have been postponed for a while, I do not think that it could have been avoided because I do not believe that such a system could have been reformed. The structural causes of the collapse of the system were mainly economical and ideological weaknesses. Firstly, the economic sphere was only ruled by the politics which led to the fixation of artificial prices and great problems of lack of productivity and investment in the most profitable parts of the economy. [...]
[...] He was perfectly aware of the economic situation of the USSR and he suggested some reforms which could have changed the system. For example, he wanted to reorganize the bureaucracy, to relax the planning system and to set up a policy of auto- funding for the enterprises. He died too early and we could not see the realization. But I don't think that communism could have been reformed because the whole system only functions with a strong and, in certain cases, authoritarian state. [...]
[...] The chain of events, the “snowball effect” and the numerous implications of each step of the process of disintegration were determining in the eventual collapse of the regime. believe that politics unlatched the process. The socialist economic system as it existed had been failing for a long time but might have gone on “muddling through” indefinitely.” (p.91 Marie Lavigne The Economics of Transition). The circumstantial causes were indeed essentially a series of events by which the USSR came closer to its end. [...]
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