The causes and reasons for the decline and ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union are many and of a vastly varying nature. Yet, despite the various schools of thought on this issue, these causes can generally be placed into two differing scopes, those being the domestic and international arenas. Much emphasis is placed on the role that international factors played in the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). But particular domestic factors that the Soviet Empire was faced with during its relatively brief historical existence, were possibly the most damaging elements when speaking in relation to the long-term endurance of the USSR. There is no doubt what so ever that international factors – such as the Cold War, or the US Government's policy of'containment' – played a role in the dissolution of the USSR. But at the same time the Soviet Union faced huge domestic problems such as a rapidly failing economy and a one party political system that was not very adaptable to the political and social conditions that the country existed in. These elements, which placed a huge amount of internal pressure on the Soviet system, combined with these international factors and created a mixture of external and internal pressure that ultimately saw the USSR collapse under it's own weight. In attempting to identify the main reasons behind the collapse of the Soviet Union, this essay will show that it was not a result of clear cut and definitive elements. The manor in which these elements influenced the Soviet Union made the political, economic and social environment in which the Empire operated quite inappropriate.
A stable and effective economy is a prerequisite for any country endeavouring to achieve world leader status. The main focus of thefirst section of this essay will subsequently be on the economic policies and systems that were implemented in the USSR in its relatively brief history.It will be …