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The Collapse

Shankar Das had returned to India in 1983, after spending more than 13 years in the erstwhile Soviet Union, where he earned a Doctoral Degree in Chemistry. Upon his arrival in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, he joined the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB) as a Pool Officer. Das was often called upon to serve as a translator, when the Soviet delegates visited Kolkata for official purposes. At that period of time, many in India used to consider the Soviet Union a dream country. Everything in that country seemed to be an infallible model.

However, Das had reportedly mentioned to his IICB colleague Shyamal Dana in 1983 that the fall of the Soviet was inevitable. He stressed: “Soviet workers do not work during working hours so that they get an opportunity to work overtime, and earn more. A worker earns much more than a professor. This system cannot last long.” His words seemed unbelievable on that day, but they turned out to be true a few years later.

Moscow during Soviet times

The Heirs of the Bolsheviks, it may be conjectured, destroyed the glorious history of Russia, as they tried to adhere to hard-core Marxism. The proletariat was supposed to get justice; however, the Democratic Centralism had helped loyal leaders and workers of the Party take full control of the Soviet System. They did so under the direction of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (December 18, 1878 – March 5, 1953), the then Party Chief. It had reportedly been mentioned by Vladimir Lenin‘s wife Nadezhda Krupskaya, during the final days of Lenin (April 22, 1870 – January 21, 1924).

Hence, it is not difficult to understand why most of the Central Committee officials of Lenin’s time faced firing squads or arrived in Gulag during Stalin’s regime. Also, the Party did not allow Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (January 29, 1890 – May 30, 1960), the author of 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago, to receive the Nobel Prize. It may be noted that although Konstantin Georgiyevich Paustovsky was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1965, Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov received the Prize “for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people“. All these were not Marxism. The Soviet Union was born during the First World War, and it experienced the Second World War within the next two and half decades. Many argue that Stalin had to be ruthless in order to maintain the completely new Socialist System.

Lenin (L) & Stalin

Stalin, who resorted to inhuman activities in order to protect the sovereignty of the Soviet Union, had signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945). It was also astonishing that a Powerful State, like the Soviet Union, was formed with the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, including Russia. The successors of Stalin triggered a catastrophe there in 1989-90. It may be said that the development certainly gave relief to Capitalism.

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union

Incidentally, Russia has failed to normalise its ties with the US in the last three decades. One should keep in her/his mind that the history of 74 years of Socialism and the next 30 years of (so-called) Democracy is not an easy one to study. Furthermore, the developments in Eastern Europe triggered a disaster in 1989-90. Something similar happened in China’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, and student-led demonstrations were brutally suppressed. However, the Soviet Union did not follow that path, thanks to Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the eighth and final Soviet leader.

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