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Russia and the Soviet Union

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by ronki23, Feb 13, 2021.

  1. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    How does Russia operate because it's composed of Administrative Regions, Republics and Oblasts but I don't understand the differences?

    Regarding Soviet Union I read that East Germany, Czechslovakia and Poland weren't officially annexed so that they could have more seats in the U.N. If this is true then why does today's Russia come under just one seat: Russian Federation?
     
  2. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a Federal Republic composed of 15 different nations. The Soviet Union broke up in to those 15 states in 1991.

    The Russian Federation (what was formerly the "Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic" or RSFSR in Soviet times) has over 190 ethnic groups. Consequently certain allowances are made in terms of governance to reflect the ethnic diversity within the country so they have a degree of self-government. [Beyond that I don't know many details of how the Russian Federation governs itself today, but that's the basic ideas behind it]

    In Western anti-communist accounts of the period, the Soviet Union is often refereed to as an "Empire" (notably as the "Evil Empire" by a speech in Ronald Reagan). The reality was much more complex because the Soviet Union professed to be anti-imperialist. The USSR would have insisted that all the countries in eastern Europe were sovereign and equal partners in the process of socialist construction. Whether you believe that is up to you, but the Soviets went to great lengths to maintain that pretence.

    The Red Army conquered Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War and remained in the region until the end of Communism in the late 1980's and 1990's. The USSR and Eastern European countries formed part of the Warsaw Pact. There were several uprisings in Eastern Europe against Communist rule, notably East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. These were repressed by the Soviet Red Army and Warsaw Pact countries (the Soviet Union having the largest army).

    Officially, these repressions were in the name of "socialist internationalism" in what became the Brezhnev doctrine in which a threat to any socialist nation would be treated as a threat to all of them. It was treated as an expression of Solidarity against counter-revolutionaries. The language is different, but basically it's the same as if the UK had a Communist Revolution and the United States "intervened" in the name of defending freedom, democracy and human rights.

    Basically, they weren't annexed because Communist ideology, as it had developed at the time, said so. Whilst some accounts say Lenin may have supported the formation of the USSR as a prelude to a communist world state, Stalin had been the Commissar of Nationalities responsible for dealing with questions of national independence and sovereignty. If you look more closely at the history, there were significant boundary changes between the USSR, Poland and East Germany after world war II with major population displacement and relocation between them so that each countries ethnic group would "fit" in it's territory. These changes would be roughly in line with Stalin's thinking on issues relating to nature of the nation state and hence represented communist thinking at the time.

    Stalin's position would be more in favour of these countries retaining nominal independence even if they were occupied by the red army and had purges to eliminate "titoists" in the late 1940's who didn't follow Moscow's line (General Tito was a gurrella resistance leader in world war II who fought nazi occupation and then became leader of Communist Yugoslavia. Hence the red army didn't play such a significant role in the liberation from Nazi rule and could defy Stalin and took an independent course between West and East during the Cold War).

    Stalin submitted a document to the Western allies in March 1952, now known as the "Stalin note", which offered to unify Germany on condition it was neutral in the Cold War. The West didn't respond because they didn't think it was sincere and the implications of if it was sincere would unthinkable because it would mean losing West Germany as an ally.

    Purely as a personal guess as to why he might have done that, I think it's worth keeping in mind that this was during the middle of the Korean War (1950-1953) and Stalin may have been concerned about Soviet involvement in a German civil war. A United and neutral Germany was preferable to a German civil war escalating in to a third world war as the Soviets and Americans would be drawn in to the conflict.
     
    #2 Laika, Feb 13, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2021
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  3. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    What was the Warsaw Pact ? Was that also the reason Romania wasn't annexed ?

    How do we know Russia was in charge of East Germany,Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania ?
     
  4. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    The Warsaw Pact was a collective defence agreement (i.e. if one of them was attacked, the others would come to their defence).

    Roumania is a nation, the same as all the others. Hence, communists assumed it should be self-governing.

    honestly, I don't know how you would prove it. The presence of the Red Army was probably the major factor, as Gorbachev decided not to use it to crush anti-communist rebellions in the late 1980's- hence why communism fell so quickly in eastern europe.
     
  5. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    I'm more inclined to think Warsaw pact 2.0
     
  6. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    I think it was created as a counter to NATO as well.
     
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  7. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    Don't you mean counter to NATO ?

    I thought if the UN doesn't recognise a country then it's not a country
     
  8. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    So today we have Siberia, Chechnya and Dagestan to name a few: they're officially part of Russia but have their own Presidents.

    One example I don't understand is Putin is in charge so why doesn't he punish the Presidents if they step out of line ?

    Report: Fedor’s daughter attacked after criticism against Kadyrov
     
  9. Inquire of God

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    Regarding your last paragraph I would insert that he was likely also very concerned about the infant status of Russia's nuclear program as compared to the US even though just a few years later they fielded the world's first medium range ballistic missile in 1956. The man was all about power, that is extremely clear.
     
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  10. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    Not a clue. This is news to me. Where are you getting this information?
     
  11. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    I used to do MMA so this is an article I read: Fedor is one of Russia's sporting heroes (as is Alexander Karelin and the Klitschkos even though Klitshchkos are Ukranian) and friends with Putin so I'd have thought Putin would've punished those responsible
     
  12. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    The Warsaw Pact was formed in response to the West's formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, otherwise known as "NATO." As @Laika mentioned above, these nations were nominally independent, although they had a close relationship with the Soviet Union and were ruled by the Communist Party.

    I think the actions of the Soviet Union are explainable from a geopolitical standpoint, at least when looking at the overall scope of Russian history, the boundaries and spheres of influence of the Russian Empire, which the Soviet Union inherited to a large degree as the successor to the Russian Empire. That they were Communist was, more or less, incidental to their actions. They probably would have taken the same actions if they were still ruled by the Tsar, under the circumstances they faced in WW2.

    One of the major sticky points between the USSR and the Western Allies was a serious disagreement over what to do with post-war Germany. Considering how much damage, destruction, and loss of life the Germans wrought upon Russia, the Russians most definitely wanted their pound of flesh. They also had practical reasons to demand that Germany never ever be allowed to have the means to build up huge armies as they did. They wanted to completely dismantle German industry and turn it into a giant goat pasture. The French and a few Americans felt the same way, but the prevailing view among US and British policymakers was that the Western part of occupied Germany be rebuilt and turned into an ally against the Soviet Union.

    Naturally, the Soviets would have seen that as a treacherous betrayal, to side with their former enemies which had done so much damage to them. There's a reason why so many Nazis rushed westward so they would be captured by the Americans, since they definitely didn't want to be captured by the Soviets.

    With the Americans in sole possession of the atomic bomb - and clearly demonstrating a willingness to use it on live targets - it's understandable that the Soviets would want to hedge their bets and create a defensive buffer zone in Europe. There were also some Americans who actually wanted to attack the Soviet Union at that point, such as Generals Patton and MacArthur, but they were overruled.

    They didn't actually annex the nations of the Warsaw Pact, which also included Romania. They did annex the Baltic Republics in 1940, although that also may have been a more strategic maneuver, being that Germany had already pushed into Poland, which the Soviets and Germans partitioned in 1939. The Soviets also annexed Bessarabia in 1940, which had been part of Romania, and is now the independent nation of Moldova. However, they did not annex the remainder of Romania, which also became a member of the Axis (along with Bulgaria and Hungary).

    Since those nations were all along the Eastern Front - and with Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary already fighting on the Germans' side - the Red Army pushed all along into all of these nations, including Czechoslovakia and Poland, which had been under German occupation. The occupation zones and post-war plans were decided at the various Allied conferences, such as Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam.

    The main complaint on the Americans' side was that the Soviets agreed to hold free elections in these countries, but the widely held belief was that they weren't free elections and that the Soviets installed Communist puppet regimes. The Red Army maintained an active military presence throughout the region, ostensibly to defend against potential threats from the West. In that sense, they saw the Western Allied outpost in West Berlin as another potential threat, but they were clearly reluctant to attack it directly. It was kind of touch-and-go for a while, and neither side really knew how far the other might go.

    There were times when some of the nations of Eastern Europe asserted some measure of independence and tried to extricate itself from Moscow's grasp. Eventually, the post-Stalinist thaw took greater hold and the Soviets softened up many of their previous hardline attitudes.
     
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  13. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    So did the Chechnyans and Dagestanis object to the Soviet Union's war with Afghanistan ?

    What about the Bosnian genocide- did the Chechnyans and Dagestanis help ?
     
  14. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    As far as the UN seats go, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic were given seats in the General Assembly, even though they were officially part of the Soviet Union and not independent at that time. I think it may have been done as an inducement to get the Soviet Union to join. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the newly independent Ukrainian and Belarus republics retained their UN seat, and the Russian Federation inherited the seat previously held by the USSR. Other former Soviet Republics also joined the UN eventually, and the Baltic Republics even joined NATO.
     
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  15. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    That is an indicator but not the sole determinant.
     
  16. Inquire of God

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    F. V. Emelianenko is the man.
     
  17. ronki23

    ronki23 Well-Known Member

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    #17 ronki23, Feb 16, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
  18. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    Czechslovakia, Poland and the German Democratic Republic were sovereign states tied to the USSR through a series of military and economic treaties, primarily the Warzaw Pact and COMECON, so their relationship somewhat mirrors that of NATO states and the US pre-1990s.

    The primary distinction between NATO and the WP was that the latter's treaties included clauses that allowed its member states to ask for help not just to combat military threats, but also for internal matters such as coups, riots etc. So while the US had to work with anti-communist forces clandestinely via Operation GLADIO and similar underground networks, the USSR had an official mandate to move against dissenters of allied communist regimes.

    Regarding the UN seats, due to the one-state one-seat rule, and the simple numerical superiority of the Western Allies, the USSR raised concerns that could have led to the whole project being dropped, so in an effort to placate them they were granted three seats in the general assembly (for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus) while permanent Security Council members gained veto powers (which both the US and the USSR would make liberal use of during the Cold War).


    Yeltsin was, to put it mildly, an incompetent drunk who seemed to have been utterly overwhelmed by the monumental task of transitioning the former USSR to a functioning market economy. A lot of people also seemed to dislike his overt fondness for Western economic consultants, and the ensueing economic crisis did not earn him any favors either, nor was the privatization (and subsequent concentration in the hands of a few influential oligarchs) of former USSR industry particularly popular.

    Put simply, Russia's economy was turning into a basket case due to rampant corruption and mismanagemenz, and people mostly blamed Yeltsin for it.

    Putin came to power as a political nobody during the twilight years of Yeltsin's administration, but he was quick to make himself look good as a strong leader during the Chechnia Conflict, which resulted in numerous atrocities but a nominal Russian victory. From this early political victory, he built a network of supportive rich people, outmaneuvered or assassinated political enemies, and leveraged his position in government to gain control over the pillars of Russian state power - the secret service, the oligarchs, and the state oil concern GazProm.
     
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