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The communist experiences in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China were similar in several ways. The first was the revolutionary path both countries took to communism. Russia under the czars and China, first under the imperial dynasties and then under the Nationalists, both experienced communist revolutions. In both cases, the communists came to power only after initial revolutions overthrew the monarchies. In the case of Russia, czarist rule was initially replaced with a quasi-democratic Provisional Government under Aleksandr Kerensky. Months later, the Bolshevik Revolution overthrew the Provisional Government and proceeded to consolidate its hold on power, only succeeding after its victory in a civil war.
In China, the Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the Nationalists, whose rule would be dominated by anti-Western agitation, Japanese occupation, and, finally, civil war against the communist movement led by Mao Tse-Tung.
Another similarity between the Soviet and Chinese experiences were the policies under Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao of forced collectivization of both countries' massive agricutural sectors. In each country, communist polices of forcibly expelling farm owners from their property and forcing all farmers to work on state-owned collective farms was accompanied by bloodshed on an incomprehensible scale. The death toll from execution of the policies and the mass hunger those polices begat numbered in the tens of millions in each country.
Finally, the communist experiences of both countries involved economic failure. The reasons for the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union are many, but one of the major causes for the country's demise was the total failure of the economic system to support the citizenry. Similarly, in China, Mao's death enabled his successors to undertake a fundamental reevaluation of the merits of strict adherence to Marxist principles. Under Mao's rule, to question economic policy was sufficient to be sent to labor camp or to be executed. His successor, Deng Xiaoping, fundamentally transformed the Chinese economy by introducing capitalist principles that have resulted in the growth of the Chinese economy to become the second largest in the world, behind only the United States.
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