Was the Geopolitical Catastrophe of the USSR Man-Made?

Toshchenko Zh.T.

Corresponding Member of RAS, Head of Department of Theory and History of Sociology, Russian State University for the Humanities; Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia zhantosch@mail.ru

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250016071-1
ID of the Article:

The paper is written under RNF project No. 18-18-00024.

For citation:

Toshchenko Zh.T. Was the Geopolitical Catastrophe of the USSR Man-Made?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2021. No 8. P. 3-13


The article analyzes causes, conditions and factors of the 1991 events, which became the starting point for the collapse of the USSR, liquidation of the first socialist state and rejected the possibility to realize socialism and communism ideas. Various attempts are analyzed from different worldview and ideological positions to explain the course that returned Russia to the capitalist path of development. Challenging and rejecting many of these explanations, created under the influence of both purposeful and speculative reasoning and spontaneous conscientious delusions, the article focuses on the absence in most publications and political statements of an analysis of such key factors as ignoring the will of the people and scholarly conclusions and recommendations that focused on rational, balanced and reasonable means and methods of overcoming the crisis-ridden state of society. A significant place is given to the subjective factor – poverty of imagination, limited vision, primitive thought of those ruling the country who failed to offer a scientifically grounded development strategy. As a result, the country evolved in the framework neither of a revolutionary, nor an evolutionary path, but embarked on a turbulent, chaotic and contradictory path of development leading to what the author calls society of trauma. In conclusion, it is stated that the geopolitical catastrophe was largely man-made, caused by subjective factors that played a decisive role in the destruction of the great country. These conclusions are based on the results of 1985–1991 all-Union studies of social consciousness carried out by sociologists of the Academy of Social Sciences under the Central Committee of the CPSU.

USSR; socialism; capitalism; perestroika; revolution; evolution; social consciousness; soviet man


Akhiezer A.S. (1997) Russia: Critique of Historical Experience. Vol. 1. Novosibirsk: Sibirskii khronograf. (In Russ.)

Aven P., Koch A. (2013) Gaidar's Revolution: A First-hand History of the Reforms of the 1990s. Moscow: Alpina Publisher. (In Russ.)

Berelovich A. (2005) Pro domo sua (E.T. Gaidar. For a Long Time. Russia in the World...). Review. Otechestvennye zapiski [Domestic Notes]. No. 6(26). URL: http://www.strana-oz.ru/2005/6/prodomo-sua-e-t-gaydar-dolgoe-vremya-rossiya-v-mire-ocherki-ekonomicheskoy-istorii (accessed 27.05.2021). (In Russ.)

Butenko A.P. (1990) Where from and Where We Go: A Philosopher's View of the History of Soviet Society. Leningrad: Lenizdat. (In Russ.)

Restructuring Economic Consciousness and Increasing its Role in Accelerating Socio-economic Development. (1987) Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Gaidar E.T. (2005) For a Long Time. Russia in the World: Essays in Economic History. Moscow: Delo. (In Russ.)

Gaidar E.T. (1997) State and Evolution. St. Petersburg: Norma. (In Russ.)

Inozemtsev V.L. (1998) Outside the Economic Society: Post-Industrial Theory and Post-Economic Trends in the Present World. Moscow: Academia; Nauka. (In Russ.)

Kotelenets E.A. (2017) Battle for Lenin: Latest Research and Discussion. Moscow: AIRO-XXI. (In Russ.)

Latysh Yu.V. (2015) The Conspiracy Theories of Perestroika and the Collapse of the USSR. Izvestiya Irkutskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya “Istoriya” [The Bulletin of Irkutsk State University. Series “History”]. Vol. 13: 83–91. (In Russ.)

Neklessa A. (2019) Who will Overcome the Post-industrial Barrier? Nezavisimaya gazeta – Nauka [Independent Newspaper – Science]. September 11. (In Russ.)

Platonov O.A. (2013) High Treason. Moscow: Rodnaya strana. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (ed.) (1990) Man and Economics (The Results of Sociological Analysis). Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (ed.) (1991) Man and Market: Socio-Political Aspects. News-bulletin No. 5.14. Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (2016) Phantoms of Russian Society. Moscow: TsSPiM. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (ed.) (1990) Political Struggle and Political Choice of the Masses (The Results of Sociological Analysis). News-bulletin No. 8. Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T. (2020) Society of Trauma: Between Evolution and Revolution (An Experience of Theoretical and Empirical Analysis). Moscow: Ves’ Mir. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T., Boykov V.E., Chernyshova L.D. (eds) (1989) Economic Consciousness of Workers (The Results of Comparative Research, 1986, 1988 and 1989). Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T., Boykov V.E. et al. (eds) (1988) State and Trends in the Development of Economic Consciousness at the First Stage of Perestroika (The Results of a Comparative Study in 1986 and 1988). Moscow: AON. (In Russ.)

Toshchenko Zh.T., Shchegortsov V.A., Yakovlev A.I. (eds) (1990) Political Consciousness of the Working People in the Conditions of Perestroika and the Acceleration of Socio-economic Development. Moscow: AON pri TsK KPSS. (In Russ.)

Tsypko A. (2020) Why the Freedom Granted is of Little Value? Mir Peremen [The World of Transformations]. No. 1: 8–22. (In Russ.)

Yakovlev A. (2001) Bolshevism is a Social Disease of the 20th Century. In: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Moscow: Tri veka istorii: 5–32. (In Russ.)

Zinoviev A.A. (2003) Catastroyka. Moscow: Algoritm. (In Russ.) Zyuganov G.A. (1995) The Drama of Power. Moscow: Paleya. (In Russ.)

Content No 8, 2021