Reagan and Gorbachev sign the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. December 1987
The collapse of the USSR was prepared by “democrats” and nationalists. Their ideology was based on anti-communism, Westernism and Russophobia.
“Modernization” of public authorities
After the glasnost program (revolution of consciousness), the “reform” of the authorities and administration began. Each stage of the breakdown of the state system was justified in the course of perestroika by different ideological concepts. As they developed, they became more and more radical and more and more deviated from the principles of the Soviet way of life. At the beginning (before the beginning of 1987) the slogan “More socialism!” (return to Leninist principles). Then the slogan “More Democracy!” It was an ideological, cultural preparation for the destruction of Soviet civilization and society.
In 1988, through the so-called. constitutional reform, the structure of the supreme government and the electoral system was changed. A new supreme legislative body was created – the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR (it met once a year). He elected from among its members the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the chairman and first deputy chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The congress consisted of 2,250 deputies: 750 of them from territorial and 750 from national-territorial districts, 750 from all-union organizations (CPSU, trade unions, Komsomol, etc.). The Supreme Soviet of the USSR, as a permanent legislative and administrative body, was elected by people’s deputies from among them for a period of 5 years with an annual renewal of 1/5 of the composition. The Supreme Council consisted of two chambers: the Council of the Union and the Union of Nationalities.
The new electoral law was controversial and poorly developed. The USSR Constitution as amended in 1988 and the new electoral law in terms of democracy were inferior to the basic laws of 1936 and 1977. The elections of deputies were not completely equal and direct. A third of the composition was elected in public organizations, and their delegates. In the constituencies there were over 230 thousand voters for each deputy mandate, and in public organizations – 21.6 voters each. The number of candidates for the deputy’s seat was also smaller. The principle of “one person – one vote” was not observed in the elections. Some categories of citizens could vote several times. Elected in 1989, the USSR Armed Forces was the first in Soviet history, among whose deputies there were almost no workers and peasants. Its members were scientists, journalists and management workers.
In 1990, the post of President of the USSR was established with the introduction of amendments to the Basic Law. Instead of the system of the collegial head of state (the Presidium of the USSR Armed Forces) typical of the Soviet system, the post of president was created with very large powers. He was the supreme commander of the USSR Armed Forces, headed the Security Council and the Federation Council, which included the vice-president and presidents of the republics. The Soviet president was supposed to be elected by direct elections, but for the first time, as an exception, he was elected by the people’s deputies (in 1990, Gorbachev’s victory in direct elections was already very doubtful). In March 1991, the Council of Ministers of the USSR was abolished and a new type of government was created – a cabinet of ministers under the president, with a lower status and narrower opportunities than the previous Council of Ministers. In fact, it was a half-hearted attempt to move from the old control system to the American one.
In 1988, the law “On the elections of people’s deputies of the USSR” was adopted. The elections were held on a competitive basis, the institution of chairmen of Soviets at all levels and presidiums of local councils was introduced. They took over the functions of executive committees. Workers of executive committees and leading party officials could not be elected as deputies to the Soviets. That is, there was a process of removing the party from power. In 1990, the law “On the General Principles of Local Self-Government and Local Economy of the USSR” was adopted. The concept of “communal property” was introduced, it was determined that the economic basis of local Soviets was formed by natural resources and property. The Soviets entered into economic relations with enterprises and other objects. As a result, the division of public property and the decentralization of state power began. It was a victory for the local (in the republics – national) authorities.
“Reform” of the political system
In 1988, with the support of the leadership of the Central Committee of the CPSU in the Baltic republics (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), the first mass anti-Soviet and anti-union political organizations – “People’s Fronts” were created. At first, they were created to protect “glasnost”, but quickly moved to the slogans of economic (republican cost accounting) and political ethnic separatism. That is, if it were not for permission and informational, organizational, material support from Moscow, no mass movements could appear in the Baltic States. The border was closed, that is, the West could only provide moral assistance.
The anti-Soviet opposition at the 1st Congress of People’s Deputies was formed into the Interregional Deputy Group (MDG). MDG immediately began to use “anti-imperial” rhetoric and entered into an alliance with the leaders of the separatists. The MDG program included demands for the abolition of Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution (on the leading role of the party), legalization of strikes, and the slogan “All power to the Soviets!” – undermining the monopoly of the CPSU on power (and later the soviets were declared a refuge for the communists and were liquidated). At the II Congress of People’s Deputies, the issue of abolishing Article 6 was not included in the agenda. Democrats opposed the constitutional oversight law and elections to the constitutional oversight committee. The point was that Article 74 of the Constitution of the USSR proclaimed the priority of the union law over the republican one. This made it difficult for the development of separatism in the country. Thus, it was no longer a question of reform, but of the destruction of the Union.
At the III Congress, the Communist Party itself amended the Constitution on issues of the political system – Article 6 was abolished. The law was passed. The legal basis on which the party’s leadership role was built was destroyed. This destroyed the main political pivot of the USSR. The President of the USSR got out of the control of the party, the Politburo and the Central Committee of the CPSU were barred from making decisions. The party now could not influence the personnel policy. National-republican and local elites freed themselves from the control of the Communist Party. The state apparatus began to turn into a complex amalgamation of various groups and clans. Strikes were also legalized. They became a powerful lever of influence of the republican and local authorities on the union center. As a result, the strikes of the same miners played a big role in undermining the Soviet state. In fact, the workers were simply used.
In early 1990, the radical movement Democratic Russia was created. His ideology was based on anti-communism. That is, the Russian democrats adopted the ideas and slogans of the West during the Cold War. They became “enemies of the people”, destroying the Soviet state and leading the people to colonial dependence. In the sphere of creating a new state, the Democrats advocated a strong authoritarian-oligarchic power. It is clear that they did not speak directly about the power of big business (the oligarchy). The authoritarian regime (up to the dictatorship) had to suppress the possible resistance of the people. Thus, the Western Democrats of the 1990 model were repeating the “white draft” of 1917-1920. When a strong authoritarian regime (dictator) had to suppress the Bolsheviks, who relied on most of the people. Create a pro-Western, liberal-democratic regime in Russia, make the country a part of “enlightened Europe.”
The second leading anti-Soviet movement was various nationalist organizations. They led business to the creation of new principalities and khanates on the territory of the USSR, independent banana republics. They were preparing for a break with the union center and for the suppression of national minorities within the republics. Moreover, these minorities often determined the cultural, educational, scientific and economic appearance of the republics. For example, Russians in the Baltics, Russians (including Little Russians) and Germans in Kazakhstan, etc. In fact, the experience of the collapse of the Russian Empire with the “parade of sovereignties” and the emergence of artificial and Russophobic regimes was repeated at a new level.
A blow to the security forces
All the main power structures of the USSR were subjected to a powerful information attack: the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the army. They were considered the most conservative part of the Soviet state. Therefore, the democratic perestroika tried to psychologically crush the siloviki. There was a process of destroying the positive image of all the armed forces in the public consciousness and undermining the self-esteem of the Soviet officers. After all, Soviet officers could very quickly and easily neutralize all destructive forces in the USSR. Officers, the armed forces were one of the main foundations of the USSR-Russia. In fact, the experience of denigrating and decaying the imperial army in the period before 1917, which was the main stronghold of the autocracy, was repeated.
To destroy the tsarist army, the First World War plus an information attack was used: “democratization”, the destruction of one-man command, officers. The Soviet Army was beaten in a similar way. The Afghan war was used to denigrate soldiers and officers: drunkenness, drugs, “war crimes”, allegedly very high losses, hazing, etc. The image of an officer, defender of the Fatherland, was blackened. Now the officers and the military were represented as alcoholics, thieves, murderers and “obscurantists” opposed to freedom and democracy. Democrats, human rights activists and the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers attacked the Armed Forces from all sides. The priority of democratic, civil, “universal” ideals and values over military discipline was asserted. The idea was actively introduced that soldiers should not follow orders that contradict the ideas of peace and democracy. The republics demanded that conscripts serve on the ground (preparation for the dismemberment of the Soviet Army on a national basis, informational and ideological training of future personnel of the national armies).
A powerful informational, psychological blow to the USSR Armed Forces was inflicted by the processes of defeat in the Cold War (World War III), unilateral disarmament, reduction of troops, elimination of the Warsaw Pact, withdrawal of the army from Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. Conversion is essentially a defeat of the military-industrial complex. The growing economic crisis, which worsened the provision, supply of soldiers and officers, the social arrangement of the demobilized military (they were simply thrown out into the street). Various political and interethnic conflicts were organized, in which the army was involved.
The military leadership was removed from the solution of the most important military-political issues. In particular, Gorbachev’s statement of January 15, 1986 on the USSR’s nuclear disarmament program came as a complete surprise to the generals. Decisions on the disarmament of the USSR were taken by the top of the USSR, headed by Gorbachev, without the consent of the military. It was practically unilateral disarmament, demilitarization. Moscow surrendered to the West, although it had the best armed forces in the world and such new weapons and equipment that made it possible to overtake the whole world for decades and ensure the complete security of the USSR-Russia. The Soviet Army was destroyed without a fight.
As part of the Internal Affairs Directorate in 1987, special police detachments (OMON) were created to protect public order. In 1989, the OMON was armed with rubber truncheons, which had an important symbolic meaning. The militia from the people began to transform into a capitalist police (that is, to protect the interests of big business and its political servants). In 1989-1991. a personnel “revolution” took place in the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB, the courts and the prosecutor’s office. A significant part of the qualified, most ideological cadres resigned. This was caused by personnel policy, information pressure (discrediting the authorities) and economic difficulties.