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JSPES, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter 2007)
pp. 475-518

The USSR in 1990 and its Successor States in 2005: A Statistical Comparison

Ernest Raiklin

Formerly of the Herzen State Pedagogical University
St. Petersburg, Russia

More than one and a half decades have passed since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As a result, its Union Republics have become fifteen independent States. Sixteen years is a sufficient time to permit a comparison between the Soviet past and the post-Soviet present. For this purpose, we have aggregated data relating to the territories, the population and economies of the former Union Republics, which are now
free, and compare these with the corresponding data relating to the USSR prior to its collapse. We then ask: How do the combined economies of today’s nowindependent former Soviet Union Republics, which we will call the Successor States, compare with the economy of the USSR in, say, 1990? This will
enable us to test the validity of an argument we have advanced elsewhere, which is that, other things being equal, the Soviet Union, as a socioeconomic and political entity, was primarily destroyed not by a failure of its economy, but by domestic social factors, notably the behavior of its bureaucracy. The data assembled in this article provides considerable support for this thesis.