I sent off a link to what I thought was a germane and relevant piece to our local communist party:

Sarah Palin explains the collapse of the Soviet Union by attributing it to the expenditures they made on the "space race."
I'm perfectly happy to go with the explanation that the Soviet Union did not have a proper system set up along appropriate Marxist-Leninist lines, but I've never accepted the conservative belief that Soviet spending on countering Reagan's missile defense system had anything to do with their collapse.

Ken Heard responds:

Greetings Comrades!

Have always had a problem statement of the "Soviet Union did not have a proper system set up along appropriate Marxist-Leninist lines."

Besides being an ahistorical statement, we have to really sit down and study the Soviet economic system and see what there was on-going before we could make that a viable explanation.  It may be correct, but may also be very incorrect, especially from what we know now of the western incursion into Soviet structures. But that is for another explanation.


Usually it is stated by the right that:

"Reagan brought about the fall of the USSR by out spending them on weapons of war, thus bankrupting their economy."


"The Carter-Reagan military buildup did not defeat the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it prolonged the Cold War. Gorbachev's determination to reform an economy crippled in part by defense spending urged by special interests, but far more by structural rigidities, fueled his persistent search for an accommodation with the West. That persistence, not SDI, ended the Cold War."

But the structural rigidities argument must also be refuted and rejected. (See below the counterfit situation in the USSR.)


But this statement has been a basis of peace movement thinking for more than two score of years.


Have discussed this with Phyllis Gilbert back in the 1990s an she had heard the same dis-information, but she couldn't remember who had told her this tale.

We had an investigation made of United States government information on this situation of the possibility of the military spending being the cause of the defeat of the socialist system in the Soviet Union and found to our surprise that the CIA had made reference to the Soviet budget as having a surplus in the year of the dismantling of socialism in  the Soviet.


Also, there were a set of articles on the Soviet as the votes were taken of the populaces of the Soviets rejected the demise of socialism, and found (with maps) that there was a surplus in the far eastern republics of the Soviets as well.

Most interestingly was the Commerce Departments figures of that time that stated that there was a surplus in the Soviets entirely.

Strangely, haven't been able to locate those last figures on the internet for some time since that first investigation of the US Commerce Department figures.

Most interestingly were statements of the time from the US military that the Soviet was getting about two to three times as much actual armaments for each "dollar spent" than the United States of that time.


Everything about the Soviet military that we can gain from the west was an estimate of the western areas and the west could not get the figures as they were all estimates on the part of the west, especially since the Soviet Union based its accounting on weight and pieces as opposed to the western accounting system of "labor power expression" (dollars, marks, francs, etc.)

Which led  to the really interesting revelation that there was a reason for the inclusion of counterfeit currency into the Soviet structure by western forces attempting to overthrow the Soviets in the 1991 era. The real check as the problem of the Soviet structural overthrow can be found in the situation of one Internal Affairs Minister, Boris Pugo, who had made statements to the effect that the counterfeit problem had come to a head shortly before he was found dead.


"On the morning of 22 August Pugo was arrested in his office. Pugo and his wife committed suicide on 23 August."

So there we have it.

Check the following links for further data:





One author some time ago wrote on the 1970s USSR "Law of Indivudual Labor" as the major instrument in the demise and defeat of the Soviet structure, so there are a number of dieration  to move in to gwet to the essence of this situation of the absence of the USSR presently.

A full discussion of the USSR will not get to our problems to be approached here in the United States.

Lets take more time on those problems here, we need the Socialist solutions here, and maybe, even a Soviet solution or two.

In Love and Struggle
Ken Heard
Onward to Socialism!!!

From Russia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress

[Rich's commentary: It's important to keep in mind, while reading this account, that the reason the American North and South went to war in 1861 was because the agrarian economy of the South was economically incompatible with the industrial economy of the North (Slavery, was of course, the ultimate cause of the war because without slavery, the Sout could not have maintained an agrarian economy). Likewise, the centralized, communist economy of the Soviet Union, simply couldn't survive alongside the capitalist economy of the West.]

Reform and Resistance

During several distinct periods, Soviet leaders attempted to reform the economy to make the Soviet system more efficient. In 1957, for example, Nikita S. Khrushchev (in office 1953-64) tried to decentralize state control by eliminating many national ministries and placing responsibility for implementing plans under the control of newly created regional economic councils. These reforms produced their own inefficiencies. In 1965 Soviet prime minister Aleksey Kosygin (in office 1964-80) introduced a package of reforms that reestablished central government control but reformed prices and established new bonuses and production norms to stimulate economic productivity. Under reforms in the 1970s, Soviet leaders attempted to streamline the decision-making process by combining enterprises into associations, which received some localized decision-making authority.

Because none of these reforms challenged the fundamental notion of state control, the root cause of the inefficiencies remained. Resistance to reform was strong because central planning was heavily embedded in the Soviet economic structure. Its various elements--planned output, state ownership of property, administrative pricing, artificially established wage levels, and currency inconvertibility--were interrelated. Fundamental reforms required changing the whole system rather than one or two elements. Central planning also was heavily entrenched in the Soviet political structure. A huge bureaucracy was in place from the national to the local level in both the party and the government, and officials within that system enjoyed the many privileges of the Soviet elite class. Such vested interests yielded formidable resistance to major changes in the Soviet economic system; the Russian system, in which many of the same figures have prospered, suffers from the same handicap.


Although they were bold in the context of Soviet history, Gorbachev's attempts at economic reform were not radical enough to restart the country's chronically sluggish economy in the late 1980s. The reforms made some inroads in decentralization, but Gorbachev and his team left intact most of the fundamental elements of the Stalinist system--price controls, inconvertibility of the ruble, exclusion of private property ownership, and the government monopoly over most means of production.


Gorbachev's new system bore the characteristics of neither central planning nor a market economy. Instead, the Soviet economy went from stagnation to deterioration. At the end of 1991, when the union officially dissolved, the national economy was in a virtual tailspin. In 1991 the Soviet GDP had declined 17 percent and was declining at an accelerating rate. Overt inflation was becoming a major problem. Between 1990 and 1991, retail prices in the Soviet Union increased 140 percent.

From Ronald Reagan's 30-Year Time Bombs by Robert Parry

However, a strong case can be made that the Cold War was won well before Reagan arrived in the White House. Indeed, in the 1970s, it was a common perception in the U.S. intelligence community that the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union was winding down, largely because the Soviet economic model had lost the technological race with the West.

That was the view of many Kremlinologists in the CIA’s analytical division. Also, I was told by a senior CIA’s operations official that some of the CIA’s best spies inside the Soviet hierarchy supported the view that the Soviet Union was headed toward collapse, not surging toward world supremacy, as Reagan and his foreign policy team insisted in the early 1980s.