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    Better USSR (alt. history)

    Walther von Oldenburg
    Walther von Oldenburg

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    Post  Walther von Oldenburg Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:07 pm

    There are several plausible historical scenerios leading to a better 20th century Russia. I want to concentrate on an alternative USSR.

    What about such a scenerio?
    1. Stalin comes to power but he follows Lenin's recommendations that New Economic Policy should stay for at least several decades (it does not matter why he does not revoke it - may even be a quantum fluctuation altering his mind). The Great Patriotic War follows the same course as it did but standard of living is less affected and it's recovery is faster after the war. Other communist countries follow the same model of economy.
    2. After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev comes to power and in mid and late 1950s he introduces minor economic reforms - inspired by NEP's success.

    ... and I have no idea what might've happened next. The goal is to have China-style reforms early or mid 1960s and further reforms in 1970s and 1980s. Trade policy should stay the same - a closed economic system within the communist block, with minimal exports and imports to countries outside the bloc.

    Any ideas?
    KomissarBojanchev
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    Post  KomissarBojanchev Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:48 pm

    1. Stalin listens to his spies and strengthens his border in 1941 quickly thwarting operation barbarossa and thus without the massive nazi genocide and pillaging the USSR becomes the absolute world power and the capitalist powers and anticommunist crusade type imperialism quickly lose popularity.

    2. Stalin lives into the 60s and instead of focusing on an isolationist MAD based policy like khruschev builds a massive blue water fleet and with it's help topples many right wing juntas, thwarts almost all CIA backed coup attempts or NATO invasions around the world and in much of the americas thus stopping economic isolation and getting the upper hand in the cold war. Stalin also wises up and reforms the government to be non noncorrupt and nonbureaucratic. democratic true marxist leninist government. USSR and china stay allied so china gets far more technologicly advanced thus accelarating its economic and military power and the 2 countries together form the most powerful most socially fair power in the world ushering a new age of socialism where the bourgoisie no longer has all the financial and political power, and the working class has meaningful influence.

    3. The 1905 revolution is succesful and a democratuc USSR is formed with the various anticapitalist parties fighting over influence in elections thus causing certain inefficiency. Nevertheless with intelligent technocratic and realistic rule, the USSR doesn't participate in WW1, so it doesn't lose poland(it becomes a loyal soviet republic) and the baltics(there is much less antirussian sentiment there) , nor massive economic and military losses. and instead strengthens in the 1920s to completely crush japan and making it a socialist satellite. Into the 30s it becomes the the premier most supported, technologically and militarily(this uSSR focuses more on naval strength due to a feeling for revenge from teh tsushima defeat) advanced nation on earth, fights several wars with the united western colonial empires, wins them and frees much of the world from anglosaxon bourgois slavery and exploitation. By the 21st century this USSR ushers a new age of united world socialism where ideologies such as economic liberalism, monarchism, all religions and social darwinism are very unpopular.
    KoTeMoRe
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    Post  KoTeMoRe Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:22 am

    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:There are several plausible historical scenerios leading to a better 20th century Russia. I want to concentrate on an alternative USSR.

    What about such a scenerio?
    1. Stalin comes to power but he follows Lenin's recommendations that New Economic Policy should stay for at least several decades (it does not matter why he does not revoke it - may even be a quantum fluctuation altering his mind). The Great Patriotic War follows the same course as it did but standard of living is less affected and it's recovery is faster after the war. Other communist countries follow  the same model of economy.
    2. After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev comes to power and in mid and late 1950s he introduces minor economic reforms - inspired by NEP's success.

    ... and I have no idea what might've happened next. The goal is to have China-style reforms  early or mid 1960s and further reforms in 1970s and 1980s. Trade policy should stay the same - a closed economic system within the communist block, with minimal exports and imports to countries outside the bloc.

    Any ideas?
    *In the following I'll use Russia and SSSR unvariably of their meaning at the time. sorry for the confusion.


    NEP would have exhausted the SSSR on the long term. The primarily agricultural nation that what Russia then, had three flaws.

    a. It's main exports are raw materials and agricultural products.
    b. Those are affected under typical Market consideration by the terms of trade. Badly. So while Russia could have exported its grain and ore for a good price initially, the terms of exchange would have worsened to imports, since Russia was in dire need of modernization.
    c. That modernization leads to a urban exodus, inevitably. One that is far less controllable with the NEP and hurts the basis of the NEP as follows. As the terms of exchange worsen for the raw material exporters in favour of high value goods (look at today) and substitution takes time, Russia would have slowly needed more people to both work at the fields and become workers. This is the typical paradox of transforming economies. It is often solved by a mix of population growth and gradual modernization of the agriculture and/or bigger import penetration to sustain the needs of the population.
    d. Then you have the balancing of the market. If the NEP works for the farmers, the industry will raise its prices to keep up the revenue, plus political pressure to perform. Why work in factory when you earn more by working on a farm?

    You have then to take in account the Soviet nature, it is a socialist country and has VERY little room to breathe internationally. This was evident at the Genoa Conference when the Allies asked the SSSR to pay the Imperial pre-war debt. In lieu, the Soviets went on to sign the Rapallo treaty that would ultimately be very beneficial the Germany and the SSSR, but that would show the limits of a raw material exporter scheme for modernization overtime.

    Now the SSSR wasn't a desert, it had brains and potential, but with the NEP the transition would have been longer and probably as (or even more chaotic).

    While criminal, the dekulakisation was a product of the NEP "shortcomings" and helped stifle dissent and reorganize a Russian traditional country that had not moved since the early 20th century.

    Furthermore the Georgian MOFO had this illumination about the 1929 crisis that contributed to the aura, big mustache would have among intellectuals. Bukharin fell of his chair during Black Thursday and Tuesday. Literally. So no, the NEP was a dead end, Stalin knew it, it wasn't a politically viable option for the Soviet leadership. And it would have aggravated the cost of modernization overtime. Dutch disease redux...

    On the Chinese reforms during the 70's, how can you have a Chinese styled reform while your potential big investor is your biggest challenger and declared enemy. Furthermore, how would you like to develop the said reforms if your EcoPol is about Close Circuitry? China made that quantum leap in late 70's because the Chinese geared towards a State controlled economy serving as an export base, earning hard cash.

    Russia never ever tried so by playing with oil prices. Even when it could in the early 70's. This was a mistake and a costly one. Soviets playing nice with the capitalist pigs during oil crisis in 73 would have eased some tensions and MAYBE allowed some Chinese style reforming and investment....
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    type055

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    Post  type055 Tue May 05, 2015 11:17 am

    KoTeMoRe wrote:
    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:There are several plausible historical scenerios leading to a better 20th century Russia. I want to concentrate on an alternative USSR.

    What about such a scenerio?
    1. Stalin comes to power but he follows Lenin's recommendations that New Economic Policy should stay for at least several decades (it does not matter why he does not revoke it - may even be a quantum fluctuation altering his mind). The Great Patriotic War follows the same course as it did but standard of living is less affected and it's recovery is faster after the war. Other communist countries follow  the same model of economy.
    2. After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev comes to power and in mid and late 1950s he introduces minor economic reforms - inspired by NEP's success.

    ... and I have no idea what might've happened next. The goal is to have China-style reforms  early or mid 1960s and further reforms in 1970s and 1980s. Trade policy should stay the same - a closed economic system within the communist block, with minimal exports and imports to countries outside the bloc.

    Any ideas?
    *In the following I'll use Russia and SSSR unvariably of their meaning at the time. sorry for the confusion.


    NEP would have exhausted the SSSR on the long term. The primarily agricultural nation that what Russia then, had three flaws.

    a. It's main exports are raw materials and agricultural products.
    b. Those are affected under typical Market consideration by the terms of trade. Badly. So while Russia could have exported its grain and ore for a good price initially, the terms of exchange would have worsened to imports, since Russia was in dire need of modernization.
    c. That modernization leads to a urban exodus, inevitably. One that is far less controllable with the NEP and hurts the basis of the NEP as follows. As the terms of exchange worsen for the raw material exporters in favour of high value goods (look at today) and substitution takes time, Russia would have slowly needed more people to both work at the fields and become workers. This is the typical paradox of transforming economies. It is often solved by a mix of population growth and gradual modernization of the agriculture and/or bigger import penetration to sustain the needs of the population.
    d. Then you have the balancing of the market. If the NEP works for the farmers, the industry will raise its prices to keep up the revenue, plus political pressure to perform. Why work in factory when you earn more by working on a farm?

    You have then to take in account the Soviet nature, it is a socialist country and has VERY little room to breathe internationally. This was evident at the Genoa Conference when the Allies asked the SSSR to pay the Imperial pre-war debt. In lieu, the Soviets went on to sign the Rapallo treaty that would ultimately be very beneficial the Germany and the SSSR, but that would show the limits of a raw material exporter scheme for modernization overtime.

    Now the SSSR wasn't a desert, it had brains and potential, but with the NEP the transition would have been longer and probably as (or even more chaotic).

    While criminal, the dekulakisation was a product of the NEP "shortcomings" and helped stifle dissent and reorganize a Russian traditional country that had not moved since the early 20th century.

    Furthermore the Georgian MOFO had this illumination about the 1929 crisis that contributed to the aura, big mustache would have among intellectuals. Bukharin fell of his chair during Black Thursday and Tuesday. Literally. So no, the NEP was a dead end, Stalin knew it, it wasn't a politically viable option for the Soviet leadership. And it would have aggravated the cost of modernization overtime. Dutch disease redux...

    On the Chinese reforms during the 70's, how can you have a Chinese styled reform while your potential big investor is your biggest challenger and declared enemy. Furthermore, how would you like to develop the said reforms if your EcoPol is about Close Circuitry? China made that quantum leap in late 70's because the Chinese geared towards a State controlled economy serving as an export base, earning hard cash.

    Russia never ever tried so by playing with oil prices. Even when it could in the early 70's. This was a mistake and a costly one. Soviets playing nice with the capitalist pigs during oil crisis in 73 would have eased some tensions and MAYBE allowed some Chinese style reforming and investment....
    In 1970s Russia and China were enemy, they both put millions of troops along the border. When China start economy reform, USSR call it revisionism. The nature of capitalism is to chase profit maximization. It has a possibilty other countries will invest Russia.
    Maybe Chinese style econmy reform don't fit Russia. But I think USSR should reform gradually like China.
    KoTeMoRe
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    Post  KoTeMoRe Tue May 05, 2015 11:46 am

    type055 wrote:
    KoTeMoRe wrote:
    Walther von Oldenburg wrote:There are several plausible historical scenerios leading to a better 20th century Russia. I want to concentrate on an alternative USSR.

    What about such a scenerio?
    1. Stalin comes to power but he follows Lenin's recommendations that New Economic Policy should stay for at least several decades (it does not matter why he does not revoke it - may even be a quantum fluctuation altering his mind). The Great Patriotic War follows the same course as it did but standard of living is less affected and it's recovery is faster after the war. Other communist countries follow  the same model of economy.
    2. After Stalin's death in 1953, Khrushchev comes to power and in mid and late 1950s he introduces minor economic reforms - inspired by NEP's success.

    ... and I have no idea what might've happened next. The goal is to have China-style reforms  early or mid 1960s and further reforms in 1970s and 1980s. Trade policy should stay the same - a closed economic system within the communist block, with minimal exports and imports to countries outside the bloc.

    Any ideas?
    *In the following I'll use Russia and SSSR unvariably of their meaning at the time. sorry for the confusion.


    NEP would have exhausted the SSSR on the long term. The primarily agricultural nation that what Russia then, had three flaws.

    a. It's main exports are raw materials and agricultural products.
    b. Those are affected under typical Market consideration by the terms of trade. Badly. So while Russia could have exported its grain and ore for a good price initially, the terms of exchange would have worsened to imports, since Russia was in dire need of modernization.
    c. That modernization leads to a urban exodus, inevitably. One that is far less controllable with the NEP and hurts the basis of the NEP as follows. As the terms of exchange worsen for the raw material exporters in favour of high value goods (look at today) and substitution takes time, Russia would have slowly needed more people to both work at the fields and become workers. This is the typical paradox of transforming economies. It is often solved by a mix of population growth and gradual modernization of the agriculture and/or bigger import penetration to sustain the needs of the population.
    d. Then you have the balancing of the market. If the NEP works for the farmers, the industry will raise its prices to keep up the revenue, plus political pressure to perform. Why work in factory when you earn more by working on a farm?

    You have then to take in account the Soviet nature, it is a socialist country and has VERY little room to breathe internationally. This was evident at the Genoa Conference when the Allies asked the SSSR to pay the Imperial pre-war debt. In lieu, the Soviets went on to sign the Rapallo treaty that would ultimately be very beneficial the Germany and the SSSR, but that would show the limits of a raw material exporter scheme for modernization overtime.

    Now the SSSR wasn't a desert, it had brains and potential, but with the NEP the transition would have been longer and probably as (or even more chaotic).

    While criminal, the dekulakisation was a product of the NEP "shortcomings" and helped stifle dissent and reorganize a Russian traditional country that had not moved since the early 20th century.

    Furthermore the Georgian MOFO had this illumination about the 1929 crisis that contributed to the aura, big mustache would have among intellectuals. Bukharin fell of his chair during Black Thursday and Tuesday. Literally. So no, the NEP was a dead end, Stalin knew it, it wasn't a politically viable option for the Soviet leadership. And it would have aggravated the cost of modernization overtime. Dutch disease redux...

    On the Chinese reforms during the 70's, how can you have a Chinese styled reform while your potential big investor is your biggest challenger and declared enemy. Furthermore, how would you like to develop the said reforms if your EcoPol is about Close Circuitry? China made that quantum leap in late 70's because the Chinese geared towards a State controlled economy serving as an export base, earning hard cash.

    Russia never ever tried so by playing with oil prices. Even when it could in the early 70's. This was a mistake and a costly one. Soviets playing nice with the capitalist pigs during oil crisis in 73 would have eased some tensions and MAYBE allowed some Chinese style reforming and investment....
    In 1970s Russia and China were enemy, they both put millions of  troops along the border. When China start economy reform, USSR call it revisionism.  The nature of capitalism is to chase profit maximization. It has a possibilty other countries will invest Russia.
    Maybe Chinese style econmy reform don't fit Russia.  But I think  USSR should reform gradually like China.

    Again, this wasn't possible then. The "reforms" were basically a carrot that the West used towards the PRC with the belief that it would, as some point not only back the West against the USSR, but also drop the CCP and become "normal". This for a range of reasons failed and here we are.

    But back to the topic. As I said, the USSR couldn't have been the "alternative", because it was the MAIN enemy. The Chinese gamble, the DFI's, the loans, the gradual barrier lifting, the thaw that happened during the Carter administration up to the death of Deng Xiao Ping (albeit there was the Tien An Men stall politically) were all an experiment that is turning awry. It has to be a rare occasion, that the big dog in international policy empowers its successor this way.

    So the USSR could not have transformed like China, because unlike China it had attained the same bottleneck than the Western States it was opposing. It had created a middle class, which was stalling. The Soviet middle class, very large compared to the Western one, was actually far more privileged on statute than the western one.

    I'll leave this here to understand, that what the Soviet state did, was as crazy as absurdly wonderful. Through, blood, tears and hatred, it elevated TOO MANY people to a condition that couldn't be afforded in the same time with an Arms Race, a quasi imperialistic foreign policy and a very problematic supply and distribution chain.

    http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2002-08-30-turovskaya-en.html

    In other words, the Soviet Union had become an Utopia for the best and worst reasons. None of this in China, that was massively rural. So the only possible exit for a non-Perestroïka USSR would have been to flog the country with Kossigyn reforms on steroids, actually embrace the Prague spring and control it, instead of killing it. It was very easy to do so. Central Europe was going to hurt Western Europe anyway with lower cost and an equally qualified manpower. Trade barriers would have done the rest and those countries would have lagged behind all the same like now.

    The Prague spring was a lost opportunity and it effectively alienated the whole Central European countries from the USSR. For good.

    Having lived in a shithole of a system compared to the Soviet one, I thoroughly find myself at the description. It is something that is dying, difference. Daring to be different is dying in the world. And ironically it isn't Communism that is killing it.

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