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The USSR was one of the worst countries in the world.
in History

By Nathaniel_BNathaniel_B 156 Pts
The Soviet Union was responsible for oppressing millions of people, and responsible in helping communist governments grow, they were nothing but communist fools. The Soviet Union was one of the worst countries to have ever existed.
  1. Was the USSR one of the worst countries in the world?

    5 votes
    1. Yes
    2. Not really
“Communism is evil. Its driving forces are the deadly sins of envy and hatred.” ~Peter Drucker 

"It's not a gun control problem, it's a cultural control problem."
Bob Barr

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  • It really depends on what criteria of "goodness" are used. From different perspectives, the USSR was one of the worst (if not the worst period), average and one of the best countries in the world. Here is why.

    WORST: In terms of the long-term negative impact on the world, I would say that the USSR simply has no contestants in the recorded history. Not only did it bring one of the most poisonous ideologies (socialism) into the mainstream political space, but it also revived totalitarianism which, many thought, was finished with the coming of Renaissance. USSR is easily, directly or indirectly, responsible for the vast majority of unneeded deaths and cases of extreme poverty in the last century.

    Socialism has been tried in probably half of the Earth's territory by now, leading to suffering and misery for billions people over the last century. USSR popularized this populist ideology, making it one of the favorite choices of dictators all around the world in order to buy popular support and consequently subdue the population with the power it granted the regime. Even Hitler mainly won German support by playing the "We must oppose communists at all cost" card, without which nobody would listen to this little bitter guy.

    Totalitarianism majorly died with Renaissance, after which the general idea of a dictatorship was "The king does whatever he wants and kills everyone who disagrees". Soviet Union revived the old totalitarian system, where multiple institutes directly controlled by the central power employ systematic ideological coercion of the population in the area - something that has not seen much use in the world since old Christian theocracies, with churches doing what Party commissaries were doing now.
    This, again, inspired dictators all over the world to do the same, proving the notion that "Ideological propaganda cannot work in the modern enlightened state of humanity" wrong.

    Not only that, but Soviet Union conquered half Europe and installed puppet regimes all over the world, some of which are still around (North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, China), which led to entire continents set on fire (Africa is just the most popular example, but a significant part of Latin American, Middle-Eastern and East-Asian suffering was also caused by this effect). Even some developed democracies had to resort to semi-authoritarian measures (McCarthyism in the US, anti-communism cleansings in Australia, radio-propaganda in Europe, etc.) in order to contain the threat.

    Soviet Union also boasts one of the top records in exterminating and starving to death its own population. While Mao's China, Pol Pot's Kampuchea and Rwanda during the Genocide period beat the USSR at the absolute number, relative number or absolute/relative rate of murders, and Mao's China and Kims' North Korea surpass it in starvation victim rows - the USSR seems to be the only one to combine both in such demonic proportions. And, again, let us not forget that it was historically the first too. It was the one that started it all.

    So, what states in human history compare to the USSR in this regard? Italian fascism, Alexander's empire, the Rashidun Caliphate, Ottoman's empire, Mongol empire, Aztec empire, Russian empire, Chinese empire were all extremely expansionist and ideologically monstrous, but the first two existed for a very short time and did not leave a very lasting impact, and the others had mostly regional influence and definitely did not spawn influence bastions across the whole planet. Some would say that the British Empire was horrible in how it treated the native colony populations, but that Empire also brought civilization and modern technology to so many places that, at best, you can objectively say that it had mixed effect on the world.
    I think USSR pretty clearly is absolutely the worst state in human history in terms of lasting negative impact on the world population.

    AVERAGE: I will mention quality of life here, with some clarification. During Lenin and Stalin periods, the country was a mess, with mass starvation or physical extermination of people - and the general living conditions were worse even than those serfs experienced in pre-Napoleonic times, which is really an achievement. However, in Khrushchev and, especially, Brezhnev and onward periods the USSR was actually somewhere in the middle, maybe slightly below the middle.

    It was not, however, because of any special achievements on the USSR part. It was just that the world as a whole was burning at the time, with revolutions or natural economical collapses happening all over the world. There was the whole Africa, the whole China, the whole India, half of Middle East, half of Eastern Asia which were in such a poor state that the USSR seemed a small upgrade next to them.

    To get an idea of what quality of life in USSR was, say, in 70-s, look at North Korea and assume that people have several times more food, several times more technology, several times less brainwashing, several times more freedoms - and you will come pretty close to the average Soviet neighborhood.
    Miserable, sure, but the world was not exactly a great place as a whole at the time.

    BEST: This is something many will disagree with, and I am not sure I buy my own narrative here, but... I think the USSR "was so bad, it was actually good".

    You see, before World War II the world, while having relatively civilized states (the US, the UK, France, Canada, Switzerland...), was very... chaotic. There was a lot of nationalist sentiments everywhere, and while some globalization ideas were slowly gaining a footing, mostly states were extremely opportunistic, ready to take advantage of each other for any minuscule gain. This is something Stalin, Hitler and Hirohito used to their advantage, taking the popular sentiments to the extreme and going over the world, setting earthquakes everywhere.

    At the end of World War II, the planet was exhausted. People wanted to just rest and not have to deal with a burning world. They were tired of killing each other for a decade so soon after the previous World War, so they started looking into building positive relations, to try to rebuild together.

    Soviet Union took advantage of this tiredness and apathy, doing a quick blitzkrieg over Europe, taking land faster than the yesterday's allies could realize what happened. The allies managed to stop the madness by taking a strong diplomatic and military stand by the Berlin wall. But it was too late, and a lot of nations were already doomed.

    At this point, the leading nations realized that they are now facing an existential threat. Soviet Union was something much more powerful, much more sinister than the enemy they fought together yesterday, sacrificing everything in order to bring it down. In order to survive the challenge, they had to make some things clear: old nationalist model no longer worked. They could only survive this by uniting around certain civilized principles and fighting the evil back.

    This is when the notions on individual freedom, on human rights, on free and wide international trade and movement became dominant on the First World's political landscape. Nobody knows if those sentiments ever gained such a traction, were the young democracies not facing an existential crisis in the shape of a monstrous totalitarian empire - in a way, the USSR forced them to take a next step in the evolution of civilization, because that was the only step that did not lead to falling down a canyon.

    We can see nowadays what happens when such an existential threat does not exist. Now that Soviet Union is a thing of the past and Russia barely has anything to bite with, and that China is mostly self-contained and does not challenge the world order - old good authoritarian ideologies are on the rise. Instead of remembering what is important and why, nations are trying to get some minor chunks off each other by following selfish policies, by giving a lot of power to centralized governments in order to get these chunks faster and easier. Nationalism and socialism as ideologies are back in talks, even when it seemed we were done with that part of our history.

    Maybe it would be good for the world to see a new existential threat. Maybe China will wake up from slumber and start its own crusade. Maybe Russia will return to its glory days. Maybe ISIS or some other similar group takes over half the Middle East. What is clear to me is that without an axis of evil, democracies have lost direction, they are now too focused on short-term gains to recognize the importance of general principles. So, unless some sort of a new existential crisis happens soon, everything that has been built over the past 70 years may be lost to the pages of history.

    Sometimes evil is needed to strengthen the good. And this is something that the USSR did perfectly.
  • @MayCaesar
    for the millionth time look up socialism
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