End Of Bipolarity Chapter 2 Notes

End of Bipolarity

Soviet Union (USSR – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)

The Russian Revolution was a period of social revolution, which was commencing with the abolition of the monarchy in 1917. 

This social revolution gave birth to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

With the inspiration of socialism based on the principle to ensure a minimum standard of living for all its citizens.

The USSR, a socialist state, spanned most of Europe and Asia during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was generally a federal union of multiple national republics.

After the Second World War, The East European countries came under the control of the USSR.

The country was a one-party state before 1990 which was governed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with Moscow as its capital. Russia dominated everything and people in the region. 

There was massive change in the economic and political system. The Soviet economy became stronger and more developed than the rest of the world except the US.

However, the Soviet system was very bureaucratic and authoritarian.

In the arms race, the USSR managed to match the US from time to time, but at great cost.

End of Bipolarity

Gorbachev And Disintegration Of The USSR

Mikhail Gorbachev, had become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985. He had introduced economic and political reform policies. But reforms were at a very slow pace.

Later his policies were criticized.

The people of the USSR did not want the old-style rule of the Communist Party and wanted freedom.

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, the three major republics of the USSR, declared the Soviet Union disintegrated in December 1991. 

Reasons of The Soviet Union Disintegration

  • Internal weaknesses:  There was very weak Soviet political scenarios
  • Economic institutions failure: Institutions failed to meet the aspirations of the people.
  • Economic stagnation: The economy became stagnant due to high defense expenditure and rampant corruption
  • Rise of Nationalism and desire for sovereignty within various republics including Russia and Baltic republics.
  • Less openness: Lack of openness in government, and the centralisation of authority in a vast land.
  • The rise of nationalism: The rise of nationalism and the desire for sovereignty within various republics.

Consequences of Disintegration

  • End of cold war: Disintegration led to the end of Cold War confrontations
  • Change power relations: Relations in world politics changed which led to change in the relative influence of ideas and institutions.
  • Sole superpower: The United States became the only superpower which also backed the capitalist economy
  • New countries: The end of the Soviet Union made the way for the emergence of many new countries, who had their own independent aspirations and choices.
  • Sole successor: Russia was gain as the successor state of Soviet Union and take over a Soviet seat in UN Security Council

Shock Therapy in Post-Communist Regimes

The transition from an authoritarian socialist system to a democratic capitalist system in Russia, Central Asia, and East Europe came to be known as ‘Shock Therapy’. This was influenced by the World Bank and the International Monetary System.

Shock therapy: It is a sudden, dramatic change in national economic policy that can turn a state-controlled economy into a free-market economy.

Shock therapy is intended to speed up economic production, increase the rate of employment, and improve living conditions of the people.

This process of transition in the USSR was due to the Collapse of Communism.

Shock Therapy involved :-

  • Privatisation of all properties
  • Emergence of private firms Complete switch over to free trade and Foreign
  • Direct Investment, Financial opening up, Currency convertibility
  • Drastic change in the existing trade alliances among the countries of the Soviet Union.

Consequences of Shock Therapy

  1. Shock therapy gave a negative impact on the economy in Soviet Union, causing unemployment
  2. It ruined the economies and disaster upon the people of the entire region.
  3. The value of the Russian currency ‘Ruble’ declined completely. People lost their savings due to the high rate of inflation.
  4. The government withdrew all subsidies which pushed large sections of the people into poverty.
  5. The construction of democratic institutions was not given the same attention Destroyed Old Social Welfare System, Migration of intellectual and educated manpower

Tensions and Conflicts in Former Soviet Republics

  • Most of the former Soviet Republics had civil wars.
  • Civil War took place in Azerbaijan and Georgia. 
  • Czechoslovakia was also split into two. The Czechs and the Slovaks formed independent countries.
  • Yugoslavia divided into several provinces like Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina declaring independence
  • Even countries and provinces like Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia are fighting over river water. 
  • Chechnya and Dagestan have had violent secessionist movements 
  • Tajikistan witnessed a civil war for almost 10 years till 2001. 
  • Central Asia becomes a zone of competition between outside powers and oil companies.

India and Post-Communist Countries

India maintained a friendly relationship with all the post-communist countries. The strongest relation is still with Russia.

Indo-Russian relation is one of the important aspects of India’s foreign policy. Both India  and Russia have collaborated over many scientific projects.

Russia and India share a vision of:

  • Multipolar world order
  • Collective security
  • Greater regionalism
  • Negotiated settlements of international conflicts on independent foreign policy

India is benefited from Russia on issues of:

  1. Kashmir
  2. Energy supplies
  3. Sharing information on international terrorism
  4. Access to Central Asia and balancing its relations with China.

Russia has also benefited from India on the ground of the second largest arms market for Russia.

Arab Spring

The 21st century observed the emergence of new developments for democracies in West Asian countries, one such event is characterized as Arab Spring that began in 2009.

  • The Arab Spring was a sequence of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world.
  • It began in response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, starting with protests in Tunisia.
  • The Arab Spring was started by the public where they struggled against corruption, unemployment and poverty which turned into a political movement. 
  • The people considered all such problems as the outcome of an autocratic dictatorship.
  • The demand for democracy which was started in Tunisia spread throughout the Muslim-dominated Arab countries in West Asia.
  • It has also spread in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria where similar protests by the people led to democratic awakening throughout the region.
  • Hosni Mubarak, former president  of Egypt since 1979, also collapsed as a result of the massive democratic protests.

Keywords To Remember

? Soviet System: Soviet system was introduced after Russian Revolution in 1917. It was based on the principles of egalitarian society and a planned economy controlled by the state.

? Capitalist Economy: In this type of economy, land and productive assets are owned and controlled by the Capitalists.

? Socialist Bloc: All the east European countries were known as Socialist Bloc. These countries were liberated from the fascist forces and their political and economic systems were based on this bloc only.

? Unipolar System: All Affairs at international level are dominated by only one superpower.

? Multi-polar System: All affairs at international level can not be dominated by one superpower only, instead a group of countries play an important role.

? Largest Garage Sale: This sale was caused due to Shock Therapy to undervalue the valuable industries of the USSR to sell them at throwaway prices.

? Shock Therapy: This therapy was the model of transition from authoritarian socialist system to a democratic capitalist system in Russia, Central Asia and East Europe under the influence of the World Bank and IMF.

? Egalitarian Society: This society believes that all people are equally important and should have the same rights and opportunities in life.

Important Dates

  • March 1985:  Mikhail Gorbachev was elected as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He appoints Boris Yeltsin as the head of the Communist Party in Moscow and initiates a series of reforms in the Soviet Union.
  • 1988: Independence movement begins in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
  • October 1989: Soviet Union declares that the Warsaw Pact members are free to decide their own future.
  • 1989: The Berlin Wall falls in November.
  • February 1990: Gorbachev clears the Soviet Communist Party of its 72-year long monopoly on power by calling on the Soviet Parliament (Duma) to permit multiparty politics.
  • March 1990: Lithuania becomes independent among the 15 Soviet republics 
  • June 1990: Russian parliament declares its dependence on the Soviet Union.
  • June 1991: Yeltsin becomes the President of Russia.
  • August 1991: The Communist Party hardliners stage an unsuccessful coup against Gorbachev.
  • September 1991: Three Baltic republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania become UN members (Later join NATO in March 2004).
  • December 1991: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine decided to nullify the 1992 Treaty on the creation of the USSR and establish the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan joined the CIS (Georgia joined later in 1993); Russia took ones the USSR seat in the United Nations.
  • 25 December 1991: Gorbachev resigns as the President of the Soviet Union

It was the end of the Soviet Union.

MCQ & Syllabus Notes


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What were the reasons of the Soviet Union Disintegration ?

– Internal weaknesses
– Economic institutions failure
– Economic stagnation
– Rise of Nationalism and desire for sovereignty
– Less openness
– Sole successor

Q2. What was Shock Therapy in Post-Communist Regimes?

Answer: The transition from an authoritarian socialist system to a democratic capitalist system in Russia, Central Asia and East Europe came to be known as ‘Shock Therapy’. This was influenced by the World 
Bank and the International Monetary System

End of Bipolarity Unit 2 CBSE, class 12 Political science notes. This cbse Political Science class 12 notes has a brief explanation of every topic that NCERT  syllabus has. You will also get ncert solutions, cbse class 12 Political Science sample paper, cbse Political Science class 12 previous year paper.

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