The Cold War in Russia: The Soviet Union’s Strengths, Weaknesses and Strategies


The cold war was the conflict between communist nations led by the Soviet Union, and capitalist nations led by America. Russia had some strength in that it had extended its influence in Europe. By the end of 1945, Russia had controlled some parts of Poland and Eastern Germany. The Red Army changed the voting system as they desired and hence got more votes than non-communists. The economy of the Soviet Union was so well that, urban dwellers got all the appliances needed, the standard of living rose and wages increased hence making it an economic super power. There was the mighty army which was formed as a result of communist ministers dominating the coalition government and hence taking the ministries of defense and military police. Despite the strengths, there were economic and political weaknesses. Russia economically could not sustain military mighty. Russia’s strategies were to make the whole world communist. Most of the funds were channeled to the defense and military police ministry. Extending its boundaries to Asia was a way to fight capitalism.

Divisions between the Communist bloc nations during the Cold War

The communist bloc nations were divided into eastern and western blocs. The eastern bloc was a communist state while the western one was a non-communist state. Germany was divided into two, eastern {communist} and western {non-communist}, the two states were rivals where one wanted to dominate the other.

US-Soviet Union nuclear arms race

When the war ended, resources and funds spent developing nuclear weapons were now used in repairing the environmental damage which was made and the major production sites became clean-up sites. ‘Essentials of post-cold war differences’ was a document outlining the policy and strategy regarding nuclear proliferation in the United States. In 1945, two atomic bombs were dropped in Japanese cities-Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Before world war 11, the USA and Soviet Union had good relationships interns of weapons and economic resources. The liberation of Europe made the two nations to be rivals. When the war ended, the two nations cooperated. Russia was invited to the congregation of the world’s major fiscal powers including it in the G7 as the G-8.

The phases of the Soviet relationships with Eastern European states

The relations between America and Russia were eased during the cold war. Detente means relaxation in international affairs. Both the USA and Russia had an economic crisis as a result of the war which had drained the government finances. The Soviets believed that the economic exchange with Europe’s eastern would be feasible as a result of the detente. Several anti-nuclear activists supported détente as the relations had become treacherous. Treaties were signed to reduce each nation’s nuclear arsenals. The human rights violation in Russia encouraged people to come against the relations. The increased tension between the two superpowers in the developing nations disrupted détente. No clear definition of how friendly these two allies were to become. American president aided the communist nations to end communism.

The significance of Afghanistan in Soviet foreign policy

The soviet war in Afghanistan brought the disruption of the détente. The Soviets built up armed strength to fight any other nation which led to the cold war. Communists in Afghanistan supported the Soviets while the capitalists supported the USA. When the Soviets moved away, US concern in Afghanistan stopped. The Soviets could now tell the nations which were on her side from how they supported the fight.

Theories and explanations of the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union

Economic theory is one of the theories explaining the decline and collapse of the Soviet Union. Fiscal stagnation led to political changes towards social equality. The oil consumption increased and the prices hiked. Secondly, Soviet ideology had lost the capacity to inspire this was led by old fashioned contrast between theory and practice. The soviet political class was hypocrites. Soviets had lost their military might through subsequent wars.

Policies of Gorbachev and the events leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union

Gorbachev’s political initiatives were for democracy in Russia and the Eastern blocs. His policies were to surpass the U.S. in per capita production. Perestroika-reconstruction was a policy for the development of democracy. The other policy was glasnost-freedom to the people especially freedom of speech. Severe shortages of basic needs led to wars; there was the thought of creating anti-Russian feelings in the Soviet Union.

Schools of thought about the key influences on the formation of Soviet foreign policy during the Cold War

The economic school of thought about the formation of soviet foreign policy, states that, as the economy stagnated in the soviet, they decided to stop the fight and concentrated on their economy. Russia supported financially the communist nations and gave aids to third world nations to join communism. The political school of thought states that politically and militarily Russia was preparing for an invasion from their capitalist counterparts. The American war in Vietnam made the soviets ready to help the communist nations. The soviet was incurably destabilized by a futile coup and some republics threatened to move away.


In Russia, there was fragmentation in social and cultural life as a result of the disappearance of unifying external threats. She had lost her economic power as a result of economic stagnation and hence needed aids. The military might have declined drastically as a result of subsequent fights. On the other hand, Russia was superior as she had gained many colonies. For Russia to raise money for the war the citizens faced an economic crisis and this became a challenge to her. Russia faced an inadequate supply of oil as the sources had started to diminish and their prices hiked. Lack of adequate weaponry also was a challenge to Russia.


Roskin, M., & Berry, N. (2010).The New World of International Relations (8th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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