The Soviet Union in 2021

What if instead of Mikhail Gorbachev, someone else had taken his place? If Grigory Romanov was instead the gensec he would not have reformed the union and avoid it's collapse. I'm not sure if the Warsaw Pact countries or the USSR would be a giant version NK. Who would have succeed Romanov? Would there be some potential close calls like the berlin crisis of 1961 or the cuban missle crisis happening in the 21st century? If the 9/11 still happens what will the Soviets do? Would the Americans still invade Iraq? Since Saddam was an ally of the Soviets. Do you think it might start another crisis that might lead to war? I know that the living standards is still terrible in this ATL 21st century USSR but would they be willing to modernize? What would their relationship with China be like? It is very unlikely they would be allies because of the Sino-Soviet split. Will they support Nicolás Maduro's regime? Would there be soviet troops being stationed in Venezuela? How will the Soviets respond to the Covid-19 pandemic? I am so sure they could not compete with the US in the future space race because of how poor they are.

 
he would not have reformed the union and avoid it's collapse
Difficult; by the time Gorbachev became premier, the collapse of the USSR- without both good luck and ASB levels of good decision making- was probably inevitable, no matter who was at the helm. The USSR might have chugged along 'till the 90s, and it might have collapsed into civil war rather than peacefully dissolving, but it would have collapsed.
Who would have succeed Romanov?
Even assuming that it didn't, whether to luck or good leadership, Romanov died in 2008. He probably would have been in office for most of that time; a quarter century of development makes it impossible to predict who would be in power at the end.
Would there be some potential close calls like the berlin crisis of 1961 or the cuban missle crisis happening in the 21st century?
Probably. Maybe not between the USA and USSR, though.
If the 9/11 still happens what will the Soviets do? Would the Americans still invade Iraq?
Will they support Nicolás Maduro's regime?
How will the Soviets respond to the Covid-19 pandemic?
These are all probably butterflied completely. Covid required a lot of happenstance, though something similar is inevitable (though not in that time period), while 9/11 was specifically a response to the USSR pulling out of Afghanistan, but the USA keeping a grip on the region.
 
Gorbachev isn’t who you need to replace. You need to kill Charlie Wilson (and any other advocate of ramping up Operation Cyclone that might replace him) before 1982 and you absolutely need to kill Anatoly Dyatlov before 1983.
 

RousseauX

Donor
Difficult; by the time Gorbachev became premier, the collapse of the USSR- without both good luck and ASB levels of good decision making- was probably inevitable, no matter who was at the helm. The USSR might have chugged along 'till the 90s, and it might have collapsed into civil war rather than peacefully dissolving, but it would have collapsed.
No it wasn't, the collapse of the USSR required very bad decision making and some degree of bad luck

The end of history thesis wrote in the aftermath of the collapse, which was an ideological piece about the victory of liberal capitalism over Communism fundamentally poisoned the discussion around the collapse of the USSR. Because it was written as (ironically) as the inevitability of history of the dialectical conflict between ideologies, rather than as a circumstantial political event about the political collapse of the Soviet Union as a country.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
Gorbachev isn’t who you need to replace. You need to kill Charlie Wilson (and any other advocate of ramping up Operation Cyclone that might replace him) before 1982 and you absolutely need to kill Anatoly Dyatlov before 1983.
Afghanistan didn't matter nearly as much as people think.

Comrade Dyatlov ummm yeah, ironically enough he might have being a bigger problem lol. In the sense that Chernobyl was a major reason behind why Perestroika happened.
 

RousseauX

Donor
What if instead of Mikhail Gorbachev, someone else had taken his place? If Grigory Romanov was instead the gensec he would not have reformed the union and avoid it's collapse. I'm not sure if the Warsaw Pact countries or the USSR would be a giant version NK. Who would have succeed Romanov? Would there be some potential close calls like the berlin crisis of 1961 or the cuban missle crisis happening in the 21st century? If the 9/11 still happens what will the Soviets do? Would the Americans still invade Iraq? Since Saddam was an ally of the Soviets. Do you think it might start another crisis that might lead to war? I know that the living standards is still terrible in this ATL 21st century USSR but would they be willing to modernize?

Iraq would have being a pretty interesting crisis

In otl the Gulf War happened when the USSR still existed but by 1991 the USSR didn't object to US world hegemony anymore.

How does an unreformed USSR deal with one of its clients invading Kuwait? I actually don't know: if they didn't seek Soviet green light for it beforehand the Soviets might just them loose. OTOH some hardline Gen Sec might also decide to force an aggressive confrontation with the west.


What would their relationship with China be like? It is very unlikely they would be allies because of the Sino-Soviet split. Will they support Nicolás Maduro's regime? Would there be soviet troops being stationed in Venezuela? How will the Soviets respond to the Covid-19 pandemic? I am so sure they could not compete with the US in the future space race because of how poor they are.
Both China and USSR were trying to normalize the relationship by the 1980s.

The Sino-Soviet split was in a large part the personal and ideological vendetta between Mao and the post-Stalin Soviet leadership. Deng was trying to improve relations by the 80s. I expect on the long run the PRC and the USSR would have normalized relations, but would have remained regional rivals, just without the venom of the 1960s.
 
required very bad decision making
Who would be making these good decisions, and how would they get the rest of the Soviet bureaucracy to go along with it? In theory, yes, a few sensible people could probably save the USSR- but most of the "bad decisions" had effectively already been made by 1985, which included a degree of blindness to circumstance within the Soviet hierarchy. Because of this, you had cases like this plane crash, caused by a political override on plane loading, and of course the infamous Chernobyl disaster- where the poor reactor design, plus lesser degrees maintenance and training problems, led to a situation where the USSR could use their standard procedure- lie about the problem- and then forcefully get called out on it.

This was an endemic problem, and was a part of such things as the backbone of the Soviet economy; my understanding is that most "managers" in the USSR found it nearly impossible to get accurate information about anything at this point.
The end of history thesis wrote in the aftermath of the collapse, which was an ideological piece about the victory of liberal capitalism over Communism fundamentally poisoned the discussion around the collapse of the USSR. Because it was written as (ironically) as the inevitability of history of the dialectical conflict between ideologies, rather than as a circumstantial political event about the political collapse of the Soviet Union as a country.
I said nothing about either capitalism or communism here, neither directly nor by insinuation. Not sure where this is coming from.
 
The rot begins with Brezhnev, not Gorbachev. Someone has to take Brezhnev's place to avoid collapse; if the August Coup didn't happen the Sovereign States Treaty would probably go into effect but it wouldn't be the USSR we recognize. Dyatlov also probably has to be taken care of or something has to happen to avoid the Chernobyl Incident.

These are all probably butterflied completely. Covid required a lot of happenstance, though something similar is inevitable (though not in that time period), while 9/11 was specifically a response to the USSR pulling out of Afghanistan, but the USA keeping a grip on the region.
I was under the impression that 9/11 was motivated by American support for Israel, not American policies in Afghanistan. I doubt that would change.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
Who would be making these good decisions, and how would they get the rest of the Soviet bureaucracy to go along with it? In theory, yes, a few sensible people could probably save the USSR- but most of the "bad decisions" had effectively already been made by 1985, which included a degree of blindness to circumstance within the Soviet hierarchy. Because of this, you had cases like this plane crash, caused by a political override on plane loading, and of course the infamous Chernobyl disaster- where the poor reactor design, plus lesser degrees maintenance and training problems, led to a situation where the USSR could use their standard procedure- lie about the problem- and then forcefully get called out on it.

This was an endemic problem, and was a part of such things as the backbone of the Soviet economy; my understanding is that most "managers" in the USSR found it nearly impossible to get accurate information about anything at this point.

I said nothing about either capitalism or communism here, neither directly nor by insinuation. Not sure where this is coming from.
The bad decision making was late-stage Perestroika and the attempt to democratize and liberalize the Soviet system, especially post-1989: that was the actual problem. And what led to the destruction of the old Union Treaty. Gorbachev willingly relinquished one party rule over the USSR and tried to transform it into a Social democracy. Paradoxically, what destroyed the Soviet Union wasn't so much the problems of 1985, but reforms attempting to -correct- the problems of 1985.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
The rot begins with Brezhnev, not Gorbachev. Someone has to take Brezhnev's place to avoid collapse; if the August Coup didn't happen the Sovereign States Treaty would probably go into effect but it wouldn't be the USSR we recognize. Dyatlov also probably has to be taken care of or something has to happen to avoid the Chernobyl Incident.
The August coup was also result of inexplicably bad decision making.

Gorbachev was super scared of a repeat of 1964 and the CPSU central committee voting to remove him, so he defanged the Communist party and purged the hardliners from key positions. But then he inexplicably left Yazov and Kryuchkov in charge of the military and the KGB respectively, and thus giving the moderates (by 1985 standards) a chance to coup him out of power.
 

RousseauX

Donor
POD is almost 40 years ago. OTL USSR dissolved already some 30 + some weeks ago. These top-ranking politicians only Gorbachev is still alive. There is not way this thread being current politics.
Also, it's amazing that Gorbachev is still alive
 
The bad decision making was late-stage Perestroika and the attempt to democratize and liberalize the Soviet system, especially post-1989: that was the actual problem. And what led to the destruction of the old Union Treaty. Gorbachev willingly relinquished one party rule over the USSR and tried to transform it into a Social democracy. Paradoxically, what destroyed the Soviet Union wasn't so much the problems of 1985, but reforms attempting to -correct- the problems of 1985.
True, the attempted reforms backfired, but that was a mixture of inexperience with them on Gorbachev's part, and bad decisions dating back decades leading to the problems of 1985. The latter leads to far more "destruction" scenarios than the former, especially considering how few alternatives could actually be offered; to my knowledge, the only other realistic option would have been for Soviet hardliners (including, as I understand it, Romanov) to have taken power. I have a hard time seeing them taking the long-term steps needed to preserve the USSR, especially without the benefit of hindsight; most likely, their industry collapses to near-1990s levels anyway, along with news of both Chernobyl and Afghanistan breaking much of the remaining loyalty in the satellite states, then a series of coups and rebellions (reformist, nationalist or otherwise) rocks the USSR if they don't turn militarily outwards.

Bottom line, I don't think this is a problem Romanov alone can really solve.
 

RousseauX

Donor
their industry collapses to near-1990s levels anyway, along with news of both Chernobyl and Afghanistan breaking much of the remaining loyalty in the satellite states, then a series of coups and rebellions (reformist, nationalist or otherwise) rocks the USSR if they don't turn militarily outwards.

Bottom line, I don't think this is a problem Romanov alone can really solve.
Why do you think this is inevitable, or even the most likely scenario
 
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Why do you think this is inevitable, or even the most likely scenario
This
bad decisions dating back decades leading to the problems of 1985
The USSR situation was already in place by the time either Gorbachev or Romanov would take power; very little either man would do could change things. Gorbachev was the reformer; his policies backfired, but allowed for the USSR to dissolve peacefully, and placed the blame for economic crash on the successor governments at the expense of worsening them. Romanov, by my reading, would have led some (more effectual) organizational reforms, but would have failed to solve the long-running systemic problems, leading to an economic crisis in the 90s.

My "violence" reading comes from knowledge of how hardliners often acted (including the coup) and the fact that governments usually fight to preserve themselves. (The peaceful dissolution, IMO, was one of history's luckiest strikes.)

Trying to prevent the collapse of the USSR in 1985 would be like trying to prevent Decolonization in 1930- technically possible, but difficult and next-to-impossible with the people, information and attitudes present at the time.
 

RousseauX

Donor
This

The USSR situation was already in place by the time either Gorbachev or Romanov would take power; very little either man would do could change things. Gorbachev was the reformer; his policies backfired, but allowed for the USSR to dissolve peacefully, and placed the blame for economic crash on the successor governments at the expense of worsening them. Romanov, by my reading, would have led some (more effectual) organizational reforms, but would have failed to solve the long-running systemic problems, leading to an economic crisis in the 90s.
But the worst claims made about the Soviet economy in 1985 is that it's stagnating, not collapsing

What actually led a crisis worse than stagnation was Gorbachev's reforms at decentralizing and marketizing the system which destabilized the entire economy

The actual economic collapse occurred, as you note, came AFTER the Soviets collapsed and this was caused by Yeltsin privatized the system entirely, followed by the to-be-oligarchs systematically looting the system.

Funnily enough, despite the level of suffering inflicted on the Russian people worse than anything which happened in the USSR since the 1930s: the Russian state did not collapse. Which runs really contradictory to the claims that a failing economy will cause state collapse.

My "violence" reading comes from knowledge of how hardliners often acted (including the coup) and the fact that governments usually fight to preserve themselves. (The peaceful dissolution, IMO, was one of history's luckiest strikes.)
of course authoritarian regimes are violent, but the violence also worked in preserving regimes.

See Cuba, Egypt or North Korea.
 
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But the worst claims made about the Soviet economy in 1985 is that it's stagnating, not collapsing
And the problems that led it there were already compounding, weren't receiving proper solutions, and are unlikely to do so. Don't try to solve them at all, and they don't lead to an immediate crisis, but they will do so eventually. To my knowledge, both Romanov and Gorbachev understood this, but failed to fully understand the problems; in Gorbachev's case, he tried to solve them, but botched the execution while alienating some of his own supporters. Also note that "problems," in this case, are not only economic, but also contains a multitude of others, such as runaway military spending and corrupt or aging administrators.

Or, to bring it back to the thread topic: given Romanov's position and ideology, as well as the administrators around him, how should he prevent the collapse of the USSR? (Because honestly, we have kinda gotten away from the thread topic- but it's admittedly difficult to proceed without knowing what precisely changed to keep th eUSSR afloat until 2021.)
Yeltsin privatized the system entirely, followed by the to-be-oligarchs systematically looting the system.
Weren't those largely the same people who'd been in positions of power in the USSR in the first place?
the Russian state did not collapse. Which runs really contradictory to the claims that a failing economy will cause state collapse.
I'm fairly certain that the Russian Federation is not, nor has it ever been, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Putin also pulled Russia out of the worst of her economic slump after 2000, as well as restoring some national glory.
of course authoritarian regimes are violent, but the violence also worked in preserving regimes.

See Cuba, Egypt or North Korea.
Violence preserves authoritarian regimes until it doesn't. See both the February and October Revolutions. Usually it stops working at the worst possible times, generally because "the worst possible times" are also when the authoritarian regime's focus is divided enough between different problems that they can't put enough energy into suppressing rebellions. Of course, different authoritarian regimes over different countries are different, so the exact factors are complicated.

For all three examples, they are both smaller and more ethnically homogenous than the USSR, so are less liable to face regional agitation.
Cuba: Not an expert, but IIRC, probably one of the "nicest" Communist regimes, and "opening up" since the collapse of the USSR.
Egypt: The current government is less than a decade old, and was created- in part- because of a violent uprising beginning 2/3 years prior to its institution.
North Korea: Supported by multiple regimes throughout its history, including- in part- its enemies.

The PRC would probably have been a better example, especially since they probably better represent how a 21st-century USSR would look in terms of propaganda etc..
 
The rot begins with Brezhnev, not Gorbachev. Someone has to take Brezhnev's place to avoid collapse; if the August Coup didn't happen the Sovereign States Treaty would probably go into effect but it wouldn't be the USSR we recognize. Dyatlov also probably has to be taken care of or something has to happen to avoid the Chernobyl Incident.


I was under the impression that 9/11 was motivated by American support for Israel, not American policies in Afghanistan. I doubt that would change.
There's always the Camp David car crash option...
 
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