Equally significant is the rapid changing of the domestic and international conditions and circumstances which have shaped the character of the past decade and a half. The band were fans of the Smiths from early on (quite a phenomenon for such music to reach the Union that quickly), ... especially dating back to the 1980s. Foreign Affairs, Published by the Council on Foreign Relations. This seems to be particularly true for the most influential European country, West Germany. Click here to learn more. Sixth, the international climate may well be affected by increased use of coercive means to resolve domestic political and economic problems. The government decided what job you would have from the time you were born 3. The approaching succession is in many respects different from those in the past, and combines a number of characteristics which make it fraught with very important political implications in the 1980s, for better or for worse from the Western point of view. The situation will be further complicated by changes in the composition of the new labor force, which will be overwhelmingly non-Russian. Today the Soviet Union faces a United States that has for the most part left behind its post-Vietnam and post-Watergate doubts and uncertainties. The movie a "Heart of a pog" was a famous 1988 tv movie in the soviet union. The shape of Soviet politics and policies changes very slowly. The coming decade may well bring the coincidence of outbursts among increasingly restive elites and populations in several East European countries at the same time. I only suggest that the new generation seems to be different from the old. Looking back on how people in the Soviet Union used to spend their time after work, the first thing that comes to mind is the discotheque. The West will have to deal in the 1980s, perhaps even in the very near future, with new Soviet leaders who have limited knowledge of international relations and who will have to learn on the job. Yet it has ceased to draw economic benefits from that empire and must even support it economically. The only began to appear a lot of movies where the main character is an alcoholic or a person who does not want to work. Of course, Soviet foreign policy may pursue other solutions to its energy problem apart from expansion into oil-rich regions. These matters will acquire an importance for the Soviet leadership surpassing even that of the 1970s. On the road to power, such programs and alliances often prove transitory and tactical in nature. 1) In the 1980s the Soviet Union will face a secular decline in the growth rates of its economy in almost all sectors. In 1980, the year Moscow hosted the Summer Olympic Games, I packed my Russian life into a 20kg suitcase and boarded an Aeroflot flight across the Atlantic to join my new American husband. Such change will originate in the impending turnover of the leaders and elites, a turnover that will inject a more pronounced element of unpredictability and uncertainty into the overall Soviet political process than is characteristic of its operation in "normal" times. The consequences for the political system are profound. Soviet foreign policy in the 1980s will probably try to serve economic as well as political interests by decoupling the détente with the United States from that with its Western allies. Yet one thing seems fairly certain about this new generation. After that the IMR gradually decreased and by 1989 it had fallen to 22.7, which was lower than had been reported in any previous year (though close to the figure of 22.9 in 1971). The two most important consequences will be a sharply intensified competition for scarce resources among sectors, and an equally intense competition among regions. Due to the years of Soviet military buildup at the expense of domestic development, economic growth stagnated. The post-Stalin generation's entrance into Soviet politics coincided as well with open recognition of the gross inadequacies of Soviet development and the backwardness of Soviet technology and, at the same time, with extravagant predictions of matching Western achievements in the foreseeable future, predictions that collapsed with no little embarrassment. Of course, much will depend on the conduct of American leaders, who must steer the difficult course between the unquestionable need to safeguard American strengths and interests and the no less important need to appreciate new Soviet dilemmas and avoid belligerent actions. Such needs, however, through the working of the domestic political process, will exert additional pressure to restore détente with the United States and to preserve and enlarge by means of both intimidation and concession the economic relations with American and European allies. In the Soviet Union, vending machines selling soda were at every corner. Vast portions of Siberia where the natural resources are located offer virtually no labor resources and lack any infrastructure; investments here will be extremely expensive and difficult to manage. But even if this symbiotic relationship between the political and military leadership threatens to weaken or break down, one should not doubt that a military buildup regardless of cost and sacrifice will meet any perceived danger to the basic security interests of the Soviet Union or to the hard-won parity with the West. All Rights 1980 period (Table 1), as Soviet leaders allowed consumption to grow relatively rapidly until the early 1980s. It is even highly probable that in the political mood of the 1980s the Soviet leaders will try to increase persuasive, normative efforts for the purpose of mobilizing the population and promoting sacrifice. Contenders for top leadership almost always advance programs on which alliances within the Politburo and among various elite groups can be built. One of the most significant accomplishments of the Brezhnev era was the prolonged and substantial growth of Soviet mass consumption. One has the impression that the specter of the "Polonization" of the Soviet working class is never far from the minds of the Soviet leadership and the elites. The consequences of such stagnation are difficult to assess, but they will undeniably be negative. Specific elite constituencies represent each of these priorities in the national leadership. This appeal to international legality dating to 1940 would frustrate the attempts of Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to control Estonia and the other Baltic states in the late 1980s. It is an open question whether such policies will suffice to maintain order under conditions of new and prolonged economic stringencies. It is a generation that deplores the backwardness of Soviet society, the functional deficiencies of the system, and the inability of the present leadership to make progress in rectifying the situation. Please enable JavaScript for this site to function properly. It is probable that even without major agricultural disasters or a particularly severe energy crisis, Soviet consumption may stagnate in the 1980s. Until now, fortune has favored the Soviet Union in its dealings with the empire. Nor do I expect them to favor the highly ideological, frantic, campaign-like reforms associated with Khrushchev. If they seem to feel stronger, more self-confident, they are at the same time more conscious than their predecessors of the failures, shortcomings and backwardness of the Soviet polity and society and less willing to overlook them. As achievement in other fields declines, the military might could well become to an even greater extent the showcase of the state's success and glory. Scanned at 200dpi at 12mb in size. At the same time, however, the sharply increased competition for resources among and within sectors will be enmeshed in and complicated by a stronger, more tenacious competition for resources among the various regions of the Soviet Union. Given the projected decline of economic muscle available to hold Eastern Europe, a situation will develop in the next decade where most East European countries will remain politically dependent on the Soviet Union but will become economically more dependent on the West. Especially notable in this achievement was the fact that it occurred simultaneously with the rapid growth of Soviet military power. Now that the Soviet Union and its satellite states are a distant memory, he seems less relevant. Historically, the Soviet political system, in both its micro- and its macroeconomic decision-making levels, has been used to scarcities, shortages and stringencies; dealing with such problems has been its normal modus operandi. Jazz and classical music declined in the 1980s due to the rise of rock and roll. It is a generation that perceives the inability of the Brezhnev administration in recent years to lay out a direction for Soviet development. Yet we base our expectations of the approaching end of the Brezhnev era not only on the passing of the Brezhnev generation, which must ultimately occur. The situation will be further complicated by changes in the composition of the new labor force, which will … The economic viability of the East European empire, moreover, depends to a large extent on economic help from and interchange with Western adversaries of the Soviet Union. Even so, there was a string of scandals in the 80s that caused both the Americans and Soviets to increase their vigilance. Ill-prepared for such competition, the East European countries have very limited exportable resources and hard-currency reserves. Our family received a scare when a fellow American journalist was arrested by the KGB in 1986 and accused of espionage, apparently in retaliation for the arrest of a Soviet UN diplomat in New York City. Without a very substantial, persistent, and creditable effort in this direction, there is little chance that any increased productivity of Soviet labor will overcome the downward pull of the exhaustion of the extensive factors of growth. 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