USSR has center-left coup, much less cold war, when do humans get to Moon?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by GeographyDude, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    On the one hand, we waste less resources and hopefully fewer proxy wars which stunt the Third World. On the other hand, you don’t have the motivation of national pride and “proving” your system is better.

    So, when do we humans first land on the Moon?
     
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  2. Viralworld Éirí Amach an Ghealach Donor

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    How exactly would a “center-left coup” work in the USSR immediately following Stalinism? It’s dubious that the political landscape of the USSR could plausibly have that at all - it would basically involve alienating everyone in the government and many in the army. Secondly, I don’t think there’d be “less Cold War” and more of “It doesn’t happen” considering the USSR would surely collapse in such an event of rapid ideological change and political coup d’etats
     
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  3. Freedom2018 Well-Known Member

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    Not going to happen,. Policies of the Soviet union and present day Russian federation is governed less by ideology and more by Geo political considerations, I think it was Maxim litvinov who said it doesn't matter who holds power in Russia tsarist or Bolshevik our priority is the Dardanelles . So the same rule applies to a centre left Soviet government ( whatever that means in the Soviet context ) another Geo political goal of the Soviet union was access to warm water ports which has open access to the major oceans . So as long as either remains unfilled the Soviets will build up it's military
     
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  4. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking June 22, 1941, when the Nazi army invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa and Stalin at first ordered Soviet military units not to fight back, hoping upon hope that it was all a mistake and the action of rogue commanders. And then "strong man" Stalin had some kind of break down for at least a number of hours and withdrew to a house in the country like a whipped and sniveling 8-year-old boy.

    Yes, it was a pretty ripe time for a coup and a pretty classic missed opportunity.

    In fact, when members of the Politburo later approached him at his country house, Stalin at first thought he was going to be arrested (he should have been, and a whispering campaign about a sexual peccadillo to further discredit him). If you want me to give rough odds, I'd say about a two-thirds chance there would have been a coup.

    And we just happen to be living in the one-third chance world in which one did not occur.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  5. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Yes, I can see how this would be important to any Russian government left, right, or center.

    So, post-WWII, I can see how a center-left Soviet Union would be highly motivated to keep satellite governments in eastern Europe for the sake of a warm water port.

    But this may not mean lending assistance to the North Koreans early on, or the North Vietnamese, or an array of rebel armies in Africa and Latin America.
     
  6. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Gemini Project space capsule, which people often forget!

    The fact that the cold war ended in 1991 and we haven't been back to the Moon in the twenty-eight years since, well, this tells me that there aren't the incentives there, other than proving the superiority of each superpower's respective system. Even the fact that the south pole area of the Moon has a "cold trap" (permanently-shadowed crater) with water in ice form, not enough economic incentive.

    we as humans tend to worry about the here and now (to a large extent, probably rationally)
     
  7. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    No Stalin at that point in time and the Reich wins WW II, or at least gets a draw.
     
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  8. Viralworld Éirí Amach an Ghealach Donor

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    I'm still not quite sure the Politburo replacing Stalin would result in a center left Soviet Union in 1941. I'd say someone like Beria with his NKVD apparatus or a military general like Rokossovsky or Zhukov would be primed to win the power struggle against the bureaucrats - and I am not sure if I would classify them as Social Democrats or the like by any means. No doubt they'd be more pragmatic and possibly even more timid and prone to defeatism leading to a surrender. With this happening though, I think it fails the PoD laid out originally since it doesn't hardly result in a lesser intensity Cold War - hell, it definitely results in an even more intense one.

    Perhaps an Operation Unthinkable and a short campaign leads the Soviet Politburo to sue for peace following WW2? This would butterfly the Cold War and, after additional destruction, might ideologically neuter the USSR.
     
  9. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I passionately disagree.

    Once Stalin got over his nervous breakdown, which lasted either a matter of hours or days, he was merely an average wartime leader. And even then, the case could be made that he was too much of a damn centralist, and should have learned how to delegate and take chances!
     
  10. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    It’s not really an issue of whether Stalin’s replacement will be a better or worse leader.
    It a matter of having a power vacuum at a critical moment.
    Even a week of political (or literal) infighting before a clear successor is found would be catastrophic for the Soviet defense.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  11. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    It wasn't his military brilliance. Far from it. He was something of a disaster, if anything he added half a million losses to the Red Army's appalling, perhaps more, with his idiotic "not one step back" orders, not to mention the decimation of his own officer corps in a fit of paranoia.

    Doesn't matter. What held the Red Army together, all that held the Red Army together, in the first two years of the Eastern War while they effectively faced the Wehrmacht alone in a war of extermination, before the U.S. got untracked, and before the vast bounty of the New World poured into the UK and USSR was that every commander, every non-commissioned officer, every soldier, every washerwoman and everyone else in the USSR was vastly more afraid of Joseph Vissarionovich Jughashvill AKA Joseph Stalin than of anything else on this Earth. Stalin said it best himself (in the "charmingly" sociopath way only he could manage) "In the Soviet Army it takes more courage to retreat than advance".

    The Heer or the Luftwaffe could only kill you, Stalin, on the other hand, through his ever so evil little toady Beria, could wipe out your entire family, out to the first cousin, with a stroke of a pen. everyone knew it, hell he died because no one was willing to check to see if he was friggin' alive. Yes, he ruled by fear, absolutely despicable, irredeemably brutal, and utterly pointless violence in many cases fed exclusively by God knows what evil drove him. However, he led. He held the reins of power after the nervous collapse those first three days through all the months and years of horror (horror made considerably worse by a number of his early decisions) and would not allow common sense (which should have taken the Soviets to the peace table no later than mid 1942) to prevail.

    The reason the rest of the Soviet leadership went to his dacha to beg him to come back and not with a 7.63mm Tokarev was because none of them could picture any other leader. The enemy was literally at the gates, and for any number of reasons, there was NO ONE who could be seen to take Stalin's place. None of the minions who scrambled so hard for the top after Stalin crept off into his special circle of Hell, were willing to do anything except drive out and beg Stalin to come back.

    You can eliminate Stalin at any point prior to 1940 and the USSR might survive, much would depend on who won that very lethal Game of Thrones. Same goes for as soon as the Reich surrenders (although that would likely be signing the death warrants for well over a million people across Asia, outside of Japan, as the Pacific War continued), and certainly by the start of 1946. Hell, Beria wanted to loosen things up with the West back in 1953, he could see the economic handwriting on the wall (as long as he could continue to rape every woman or girl who struck his fancy, he was set).
     
  12. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Well, definitely not Beria.

    I envision a military officer leading a quick coup, and being very middle-of-the-road. That after the war, the default position is that we stay with our system unless we're really convinced that a change is for the better. For example, we already have collective agriculture. Even if a groundswell develops to move back to private ownership, okay, we will do a medium-sized pilot program and we'll take it step-by-goddamn step, thank you very much. That type of conservatism.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  13. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    But we already had a vacuum when Stalin was incapacitated for hours or days (I lean toward days, but am not an expert).

    All the same, your point is extremely well taken. I envision a military leader moving extremely quickly. Okay, we will slow the German attack at defensible points, and will retreat at the judgment of the unit commander. And we will run our production facilities twenty-four hours a day.
     
  14. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And if there's any time fear works best, it's during war time.

    But, as you yourself say, half a million unnecessary losses. So, I very much see a trade off.

    And if the new leader is averagely competent or better, well, he challenges manufacturing leaders, field commanders, can you do better. And usually listens to their judgments. When he clearly sees a better way, he issues an order. If the person doesn't follow it or continues to do a poor job, he replaces them (usually don't have to shoot them, maybe sometimes you do)

    In the immediate days and weeks after the Nazi invasion, the Soviets follow a risk-accepting strategy, they have to. Once the tide turns at Stalingrad (new name, or name kept out of respect for a "formerly great" leader), then the Soviets can follow safer, more conservative, more risk-averse tactics and strategy. Not too risk-averse of course, for always chance Nazis might develop super weapon.
     
  15. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    I am curious exactly who you can see taking Stalin's place while the Wehrmacht is literally chopping the KGB border divisions into furless bits.

    Coups are not spontaneous, just wresting control of all the government organs would require a massive conspiracy, in a country where they literally had a bell that rang in the Congress of Deputies to tell the "leaders of the Party" when it was safe to stop applauding and where a check mark next to a name made that person literally disappear from the pages of history like they had never existed.
     
  16. Freedom2018 Well-Known Member

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    You are forgetting the Russian/ Soviet Geo political imperative !
    Russia is a land based continental power which has no access to warm water ports , the United States is a continental naval power due to its unique geographic location.
    Besides it's location the USA has series of islands in the Pacific and the Atlantic more so in the Pacific , post world war two USA established a series of military bases around the USSR for what ? To contain Soviet expansion, the whole cold war can be summed up as Soviet union going on an offensive defence that is to break out of the encirclement the USA created and USA being on defensive offence trying to encircle the USSR so the distant wars that USSR supported was an attempt to break out of the chock hold that USA was administering. By controlling or influencing lands in Yemen, Somalia, Vietnam, Cuba , etc the Soviet union was trying to encircle the USA and it's allies as well as deprive western Europe of its resources in the colonies , the anti colonial stance of USSR wasn't due to ideology of communism but more pragmatic reason of weakening it's opponents in the west West and to gain markets for its vast military industrial complex.
    Why do you think Putin wants to expand ? Why do you think the Tsar's of Russia created a 23 million square kilometre empire ? The main reason was the Eurasian landmass at those areas has no formidable natural barriers, no oceans , no Himalayan mountains or no great sandy deserts . Look at the borders of the old USSR or Russian Empire , in the east they anchored in Mongolia because of the gobi desert , they wanted to expand in the manchurian borders because there was no Natural barriers, in the central there was the Kara kum and the Pamir mountains and I want you to think for a moment, a continental European power was on the borders of the Indian subcontinent , in the western borders they had the Caucasus mountains which is quite difficult to govern but they govern by divide and rule strategy by playing the Caucasus people against each other and in the West you have the Baltic sea and the Carpathian mountain and the only point of entry was the Poland . And through out the cold war the USSR tried to establish satellite states in each of these anchor points sometimes it succeeded sometimes it failed or try to find allies in each of these areas so by this logic they were involved in Geo politics of East Asia , South Asia , middle East and Europe
    Beyond that circle the Soviet intervened but the goal was either to break out of the encirclement or to distract the United States so that Soviets can have easy time in strengthen its satellite states and allies near to the border
    Just apply the same logic to Russia but factor in its weak economy and demographics

    And since you are talking about space travel , the rocket that put sputnik into space was a modified inter continental ballistic missile, the message was to show technological advances in the USSR but to send a message to the us military of the United States that they can strike mainland USA without a need to have a military base near its border because until then nuclear bombs could be delivered by bombers only
    So if you want a space travel early just convince the Soviet high command that it's easier to launch nukes from the moon , you will a base in moon by 1965
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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  17. Freedom2018 Well-Known Member

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    That's not how Soviet politics work especially at that time , in USA or UK heck even Germany if a new leader in installed the military and industrial leaders will obey orders of the newly appointed leaders . Because they have a tradition of transfer of power democratically or otherwise. So removing Stalin is not a good idea and who would replace him ? Beria was new he was appointed head of NKVD in 1939 , General Zhukov was in Mongolia I think at that time, and as for the rest well it doesn't matter cause they are not leadership material.

    One way to have a more " liberal " Soviet union is to
    A) Famines are less severe a lot of people live and those that survive some of them make way into powerful leadership positions
    B) have the purge of 1937-38 less severe , instead of a million skilled and experienced individual being killed or executed and 2-3 million in gulags have 100,000 are excecuted and some 300,000 in gulags that way Stalin establish his grip over the nation but still have competent personale survive . This would have a massive impact on the war , the industrial production in 1937-38 was disrupted because of the purge and that's why the purge was discontinued, so with the industrial production going along with medium scale disruption especially in the military industrial complex the Soviets would produce more tanks and guns at the start of the war and the war effort would be more co ordinates because of better personnel and less fear of being sent to as the Soviets would say " tribunale "

    C) because of the purge being less severe a lot of the officer corps who are trained in modern warfare survive ( bonus if Marshall tukachevsky survives the purge ) , these officers know how to counter the biltzkreig because these officers were the one who invented it in the first place , look up Soviet German military co operation in the era from 1922-1933 .
    Anyway getting back to the point these officers knew very well how to counter the Blitz. And because the officer corps survive the Soviet war performance in the finish soviet war would be a single sided affair with the Soviets dominating the war and this gives an impression to Hitler that Soviets are quite competent and thus delays plans for invasion of USSR by atleast a year giving precious time for the Soviet to fortify their new borders following the expansion in the 1939 and there is also a possibility of Stalin making preparations for the war based on the intelligence reports that he receives , say better evidence may be
    Anyway the war begins in the year 1942 but the Germans don't get a easy going, the defence lines are formidable and troops well lead and supplied however the Soviet loose territory but not so much as in our time line instead of Stalingrad or Moscow or Leningrad it fighting will be centred around Minsk , Kiev , Riga , with the defence lines being the strongest around the Dnieper river , the importance of this is huge , since the black earth region remains firmly under Soviet rule the country doesn't suffer a famine or mass executions which Nazis did deep inside Russia, the western region of the USSR was not exactly pro Soviet so you won't have a lot of execution but unfortunately holocaust does take place because the pale of settlement is firmly under the Nazis.
    War by 1943 will be a stalemate with little change in the front line , the war will be a mix of blitzkrieg and trench warfare but the Soviet union is gradually building up it's strength with massive assistance from lend lease programs but by late 1944 the war would turn in Soviets favour and the front line begin to collapse at many fronts and will eventually lead to soviet victory by late 1945 or early 1946 depends upon how well the western allies perform .
    The results are the Soviet military casualty is less than 4 million unlike 9 million in our time line and the civilian casualty is around 6 million unlike the 18 million that you see in our time line , the industrial base of USSR is intact and has expanded during the war which will expand even further ones the war reparations start flowing in . The USSR retains its massive trained educated population who combined with the class of 1938 ( those people who died during the purges ) may make a lot of Breakthrough in the field of economics politics and science and technology.
     
  18. GenericAltHistorian The AS of B

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    The whole '"center-left USSR" thing is borderline ASB, unless if you're talking about the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev.
     
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  19. fasquardon Cosmonaut

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    OK, so that's not history, that is soundly debunked mythology.

    There was no Stalin breakdown. Stalin just didn't make any public appearances for a while. Not surprising as suddenly he had rather alot of urgent work. We have both hard evidence (in the form of a paper trail) and credible witnesses that all tell us that Stalin was at the tiller. The story about him thinking he was about to be arrested when a delegation arrives at his dacha is not from a credible source. There was no chance of a coup at this time. There was no "lost opportunity" to oust Stalin.

    Further, there's really no chance of a coup ousting the Bolsheviks after the military purges, and there probably wasn't a chance before then either. Unless of course you buy the idea that Tukachevsky really was plotting against Stalin after the utter shambles of the Holodomor. Which may be true, but equally, it may just be Stalin's paranoia. Certainly we can be sure that people were horrified at how bad the famine in Ukraine, South Russia and Kazakhstan was, and certainly we can be sure that the regime thought that it was under threat after the disaster. But horror doesn't necessarily mean people were ready to try and overthrow the Politburo and the paranoia of Stalin (and indeed the whole Bolshevik regime) is not evidence that there was a real threat.

    There is evidence to show that the timing of the purges was connected to the famine, so a less severe famine, or a better state response to the famine, could delay the purges. However, the evidence is not conclusive, so we can't be certain.

    Also, I say "delay" the purges, because if you look at Stalin's actions, he's basically acting like a cult leader who reacts to circumstances outside of his control by purging his followers. This leads me to believe that even if Stalin gets super lucky, if he lives long enough and has absolute power, he will start a deadly purge eventually. But again, that's not a certain thing. I can make the argument that Stalin being kept from absolute power for longer and facing less crises will mean less deadly purging, but it's just an argument.

    I doubt a less extreme USSR saves the world from the Cold War let alone proxy wars in the 3rd World.

    1) Those proxy wars were very much against Marxist-Leninist doctrine. The reason the Soviets engaged in them was not out of its own desire, but because it was the only state willing to oppose the USA, which was allied to all of the colonial powers, so local "freedom fighters" were going to beg the Soviets for help. So even though it was against their ideology and not very much in their interest, for the cost of some obsolete weapons (which the USSR had plenty of, having substantial amounts of ageing WW2 weapons of their own make and German make) they could harness local nationalist groups and oblige the US to either acquiesce or spend its own resources to oppose or buy off those local nationalists. And connecting the US with colonialism was also an ideological win. To avoid the proxy wars, you really need the imperialist powers to recognize that their time is up and they can either be a vassal of the USSR or the USA. And that wasn't really something they wanted to do. Britain and France had been peer powers to the US until very recently and both were in many ways still superior to the USSR when the Cold War began.

    2) While the largest portion of the responsibility for the Cold War can be laid at Stalin's feet due to a completely wrong-headed ideological interpretation of international diplomacy and for good measure, a complete failure to understand what kind of country the USA was (the USA was not an imperialist state, it was a revolutionary state, that is, the way it saw the world was more like the Soviets than the British, and it's not like Marxist-Leninist theory modelled the British well either). However, the US and the British also acted to steer the world towards Cold War. The British (as well as other less powerful actors, who I won't mention for the sake of brevity) wanted to keep the distant US engaged in Europe in order to counter-act the Soviets, who had rocketed to pre-eminence on the continent (and who were nearby, thus more able to dominate the continent). And the US itself was acting to spread its own revolutionary ideology across Europe (including to the Soviet Union). Now, the US weren't doing this because they were evil capitalists or chuckling revolutionary ideologues. They simply saw their own system as superior to the systems in Europe and the export of those systems a move that would weave together the war-torn continent and guarantee peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, since the US was the best at doing things the American way, that meant accepting the United States as the economic hegemon of Europe, which was a tough pill for the British and the French, let alone the Soviets who had sacrificed millions of lives in the course of the Russian civil war, the purges of the 30s and in WW2 to build a completely incompatible system.

    One can imagine a situation where Stalin dies near the end of WW2 and somehow Beria manages to come out on top (at least for a few years) and pursues a highly liberal course in order to distance himself from all the crimes he committed under Stalin. So Eastern Europe is allowed to have real democracy so long as whoever wins the election supports a continued alliance with the USSR (so they all get to be like OTL Finland), the USSR is a member of all the post WW2 institutions, including the IMF and if there is an alt-Marshall Plan (there may not be with the Soviets being so cooperative, of course) the Soviets apply to it and allow the countries they are occupying to apply to it as well. If we assume that the US Congress is willing to trust this cooperative Soviet Union run by a man they know is responsible for unspeakable things under Stalin (which I see as preeeetty unlikely) then suddenly Beria needs to re-introduce capitalism to the USSR in order to allow the Americans access to the Soviet economy (needless to say, his political enemies will have a field day with this, and even if he's murdered the others who were important under Stalin, all of his subordinates will have cut their teeth as middle-managers for the great Stalin, so I wouldn't count on their loyalty). So the odds of the USSR getting alt-Marshall Aid are low and it's easy to see the débâcle turning the US and USSR against each-other.

    But let's say that there is no Marshall Aid. Maybe the US does a few bilateral deals with Britain, lends money to the most desperately damaged parts of Western Europe, there's plenty of ways even a liberal Soviet Union can fall out with the US over how to occupy Germany. The Soviet economy is a wreck, so they have huge incentives to over-print German money, which hurts the economies of the areas the US, UK and France are occupying. But if the US does what they did in OTL, and advocate for a new West German currency, the Soviets will see this as not only an attack on their over-printing, but also an effort by the US to revive German power. Relations can easily collapse here.

    But maybe the Soviets and the other occupiers can work out a mutually acceptable compromise. But what about China? Mao isn't going to stop for no-one and the Soviets, as much as they hate Mao, have to accept his legitimacy if he wins the revolution, and in any case, by the end of WW2, they'd fallen out with Chiang bad. So the odds are good that Mao still wins the civil war in China and that the USSR accepts Communist China as a brother revolutionaries. In OTL, this started the first Red Scare in the US. Even if relations in TTL are better with the Soviets, it could easily drive a wedge between the US and the Soviets that starts a Cold War.

    Or what about Korea, where both sides were determined to re-unite their country and destroy the other side? Or the decaying colonial empires, which are still full of nationalists looking for a patron? Or what about Israel, the Arab states, Iran and the rich prize of the oil of the middle east?

    I think it is possible to get a less severe Cold War, but I think it is nearly impossible to avoid a Cold War.

    fasquardon
     
  20. Freedom2018 Well-Known Member

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    The popular theory is that purge was a response to the assassination of Sergey Kirov who was a Stalin loyalist but Stalin views him as a threat so he ordered assassination of Kirov then framed certain anti Stalin faction member of the Bolshevik party then things got out of hand . Another opinion is that the purge was in response to the disorganization of the industrialization and collective farming combined with the threat of war as Soviet leadership felt war was imminent and they had to remove the proverbial fifth column which was actually an excuse for a all out power grab . Any minor purge will involve the death of old Bolshevik, certain prominent leaders , members of arts and culture etc , what I argued was that a all out major purge of everyone and everybody should not take place for a chance of " liberal " Soviet union to appear somewhere in the 1990s .
    Cold war will take place and may last longer if a liberal Soviet union post Stalin death is established by successor, liberal is not in the western sense but slightly more freedoms than what existed in otl , a democratic centre left Soviet union who avoids the cold war is near impossible.