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Previous Year: Long Questions with Answers - The End of Bipolarity Notes | Study Political Science Class 12 - Humanities/Arts

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Q. 1. Read the passage given below carefully and answer the following questions:
Each of these countries was required to make a total shift to a capitalist economy, which meant rooting out completely any structures evolved during this period. Above all, it meant that private ownership was to be the dominant pattern of ownership of property. Privatisation of state assets and corporate ownership patterns were to be immediately brought in. Collective farms were to be replaced out by any alternative or ‘third way’.
(i) Name any two countries which were required to make a total shift.
(ii) Why were the collective farms to be replaced by private farming?
(iii) Since the ‘third way ’ had been ruled out, what were the only two ways of controlling the economy?
Ans. 
(i) a. Armenia
b. Georgia
c. Uzbekistan or any other country created after disintegration of USSR.
(ii) Due to the end of the state controlled economy and introduction of privatisation and liberalisation.
(iii) Two ways—(a) State controlled economy (socialism) (b) Capitalism.

Q. 2. Highlight any three positive and three negative features each of the Soviet System in the Soviet Union.
Or
Describe any three features of the Soviet System.
Ans. 
Positive features (i) Soviet System was more developed than the rest of the world except USA.
(ii) Minimum standard of living was insured for all the citizens.
(iii) The government subsidised the basic needs including health, education, etc. (iv) There was no unemployment.

Negative features (i) System was very bureaucratic and authoritarian.
(ii) Lack of democracy and absence of freedom in many fields.
(iii) There was only one party system.
(iv) The party did not recognise the aspirations and feelings of people.

Detailed Answer : The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics came into being after the socialist revolution in Russia in the year 1917. The revolution was inspired by the ideals of socialism as opposed to capitalism and the need for an egalitarian society. This was perhaps the biggest attempt in human history to abolish the institution of private property and consciously design a society based on principles of equality and this came to be known as the Soviet System.
Following are three positive points of the Soviet System:
(a) The Soviet Union became a great power after the Second World War. The Soviet economy was then more developed than the rest of the world except for the US. It had a complex communication network, vast energy resources including oil, iron and steel, machinery production and a transport sector that connected its remotest areas with efficiency.
(b) The Soviet System ensured a minimum standard of living for all citizens and the government subsidised basic necessities including health, education, child care and other welfare schemes.
(c) There was no unemployment. State ownership was the dominant form of ownership, land and productive assets were owned and controlled by the Soviet state.

Following are the negative points of the Soviet System:
(a) The Soviet System became very bureaucratic and authoritarian, making life very difficult for the citizens.
(b) Lack of democracy and the absence of freedom of speech hushed people who often expressed their dissent in jokes and cartoons.
(c) The one party system represented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had tight control over all institutions and was unaccountable to the people.

Q. 3. What was the Soviet System? Assess any four features of the Soviet Union.
Ans. 
The Soviet System gave primacy to the state and institution of the party. This system centred around the Communist Party and no other political party was allowed. The economy was planned and controlled by the state.
Features of the Soviet System:
(i) The Soviet System became very bureaucratic and authoritarian.
(ii) Lack of democracy and absence of freedom of speech.
(iii) Tight control over all institutions.
(iv) Russia dominated everything and people from other regions felt neglected and often suppressed.
(v) The Soviet Union lagged behinds the western technology.
Detailed Answer: The Soviet System became very bureaucratic and authoritarian, making life very difficult for the citizens.
(i) Lack of democracy and the absence of freedom of speech stifled people, who often expressed their dissent in jokes and cartoons.
(ii) The one party system represented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had tight control over all institutions and was unaccountable to the people.
(iii) The Soviet Union lagged behind the western technology, infrastructure and most importantly, in fulfilling the political or economic aspirations of citizens.
(iv) The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 weakened the system even further.

Q. 4. Mention the limitations of USSR that led to its disintegration.
Ans. 
Limitations of USSR that led to its disintegration
(i) The Political limitations of Soviet Union
(a) The Soviet System became very bureaucratic and authoritarian making life very difficult or its citizens. Lack of democracy and the absence of freedom of speech hushed people who often expressed their dissent in jokes and cartoons.
(b) Most of the institutions of the Soviet state needed reform: the one party system represented by the communist party of the Soviet Union had tight control over all institutions and was unaccountable to the people. The party refused to recognise the urge of people in the fifteen different republics that formed the Soviet Union to manage their own affairs including their cultural affairs.
(c) Although on paper Russia was only one of the fifteen republics that together constituted the USSR, in reality Russia dominated everything and people from other regions felt neglected and often suppressed.
(ii) The Economic limitations of Soviet Union
(a) In the arms race, the Soviet Union managed to match the US from time to time but at great cost. The Soviet Union lagged behind the West in technology, infrastructure (e.g. transport, power) and most importantly in fulfilling the political or economic aspirations of the citizens.
(b) The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 weakened the system even further. Through wages continued to grow, productivity and technology fell considerably behind that of the West. This led to shortages in all consumer goods. Food imports increased every year.

The Soviet economy was faltering in the late 1970s and became stagnant.
(c) The Soviet economy used much of its resources in maintaining a nuclear and military arsenal and the development of its satellite states in Eastern Europe and within the Soviet System (The five Central Asian Republics in particular.) This led to a huge economic burden that the system could not cope with.

Q. 5. Describe the factors that led to the disintegration of USSR.
Ans. 
Factors that led to the disintegration of USSR are:

(i) Internal weaknesses of political and economic institutions that have failed to meet the aspirations of the people.
(ii) The government was concentrating to produce more weapons and arsenals, rather than concentrating on the basic needs of the citizens.
(iii) Since the Communist Party was not accountable to people, it was reluctant to rectify its mistakes which led to the failure of administration eventually.
(iv) Many parts of USSR had the desire of getting sovereignty by separating from USSR.
(v) Mikhail Gorbachev wanted to reform the system which boosted up the disintegration.(vi) Nationalist movements in Republics.

Q. 6. Describe the role of Gorbachev to reform the Soviet System and the effects of these reforms on the USSR.
Ans. 
Role of Gorbachev to reform the Soviet System Gorbachev initiated:
(i) The policies of economic and political reforms
(a) Perestroika (Restructuring)
(b) Glasnost–(Openness)
(ii) To stop the arms race with the US.
(iii) The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and Eastern Europe.
Detailed Answer: Gorbachev initiated the policies of economic and political reform and democratisation within the country. These reforms were known as Perestroika and Glasnost. The reforms were opposed by leaders within the Communist Party.

Gorbachev initiated:
(i) The policies of economic and political reforms
(a) Perestroika (restructuring)
(b) Glasnost–(Openness)
(ii) To stop the arms race with the US.
(iii)The withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan and Eastern Europe. When Gorbachev carried out his reforms and loosened the system, he set in motion forces and expectations that few could have predicted and became virtually impossible to control. There were sections of Soviet society which felt that Gorbachev should have moved much faster and got disappointed and impatient with his methods.
The policies of Gorbachev led to the rise of nationalism and the desire for sovereignty within various republics including Russia and the Baltic Republics. Ukraine, Georgia and others proved to be the final and the most important blow to the disintegration of the USSR.

Q. 7. If the Soviet Union had not disintegrated and the world had remained bipolar, how would that situation have affected the world politics?
Ans. 
If the Soviet Union had not disintegrated, it would definitely have affected the following developments:
(i) Cold War confrontations would not have ended and United States of America would not have become the only superpower of the world.
(ii) Most of the countries which were part of erstwhile USSR would have never got independence.
(iii) Accumulation of nuclear weapons would have continued endlessly.
Detailed Answer: If the Soviet Union had not disintegrated, it would definitely have affected the following developments.
(a) Cold War confrontations would not have ended and United States of America would not have become the only superpower of the world. The Cold War might have continued with the association of arms race.
(b) The dominance of the US as economic and military power could not have taken place.(c) Most of the countries which were part of erstwhile USSR would have never got independence.
(d) Civil wars in Soviet Republics and Eastern Europe could have been avoided.
(e) Many internationally serious problems like terrorism, neo-colonialism, global warming, etc. would have been tackled by both the superpowers.
(f) Accumulation of nuclear weapons would have continued and threat of war situation would have arisen any time.

Q. 8. How far was Gorbachev responsible for the disintegration of the Soviet Union? Explain.
Ans. 
Mikhail Gorbachev, who had become General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985, sought to reform the prevailing system in the Soviet Union. Reforms were necessary to keep the USSR abreast of the information and technological revolutions taking place in the West. However, Gorbachev’s decision to normalise relations with the West and democratise and reform the Soviet Union had some other effects that neither he nor anyone else intended or anticipated. The people in the East European countries which were part of the Soviet bloc started to protest against their own governments and Soviet control. Gorbachev initiated the policies of economic and political reform and democratisation within the country. The reforms were opposed by leaders within the Communist Party. When Gorbachev carried out his reforms and loosened the system, he set in motion forces and expectations that few could have predicted and became virtually impossible to control. The policies of Gorbachev led to the rise of nationalism and the desire for sovereignty within various republics including Russia and the Baltic Republics. Ukraine, Georgia and others proved to be the final and the most important blow to the disintegration of the USSR.The above reasons are sufficient to show that Gorbachev was responsible for the disintegration of the USSR to a good extent.

Q. 9. Examine any six consequences of disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Ans. 
Consequences of disintegration of the Soviet Union :
(i) End of Cold War confrontations.
(ii) End to arms race and a possible new peace.
(iii) Power relations changed in the world.
(iv) US became the sole power. Capitalism became the dominant philosophy.
(v) Emergence of many new countries.
(vi) The international system saw many new players emerge, each with its own identity, interests and economic and political difficulties.
Detailed Answer: The collapse of the Second World of the USSR and the socialist system in Eastern Europe had profound consequences for the world politics. Following were some consequences of the disintegration of the USSR:
(a) The disintegration of the USSR meant the end of the Cold War. The ideological dispute over whether the socialist system would beat the capitalist system, was not an issue any more.
(b) The Cold War had engaged the military of the two blocs and had triggered a massive arms race and accumulation of nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War brought an end to this arms race and a possible new peace.
(c) Power relations in world politics changed and as a result, the relative influence of ideas and institutions also changed.
(d) The end of the Cold War left only two possibilities. It was either the remaining superpower would dominate and create a unipolar system or different countries or groups of countries could become important players in the international system, thereby bringing in a multipolar system where no power could dominate and in due course, the US became the sole superpower.
(e) The capitalist economy became the dominant economic system internationally which was backed by the power of the US.
(f) Institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund became powerful advisors to all countries which adopted capitalism as they gave them loans for their transitions to capitalism.
(g) The notion of liberal democracy emerged as the best way to organise political life.
(h) The end of the Soviet bloc meant the emergence of many new countries.
(i) The international system saw many new players emerge, each with its own identity, interests and economic and political difficulties.

Q. 10. What were the factors that forced Gorbachev to initiate the reforms in the USSR?
Ans. 
Following factors forced Gorbachev to initiate the reforms in the USSR:
(i) The Soviet System became very bureaucratic and authoritarian, making life very difficult for its citizens.
(ii) Lack of democracy and the absence of freedom of speech hushed people who often expressed their dissent in jokes and cartoons.
(iii) Most of the institutions of the Soviet state needed reform, the one party system represented by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had tight control over all institutions and was unaccountable to the people.
(iv) The Party was not willing to recognise the urge of people in the fifteen different republics that formed the Soviet Union to manage their own affairs including their cultural affairs.
(v) Russia dominated everything and people from other regions felt neglected and often suppressed.
(vi) The Soviet Union lagged behind the West in technology, infrastructure and most importantly, in fulfilling the political or economic aspirations of citizens.
(vii) The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 weakened the system even further.
(viii) Shortage in consumer goods appeared.
(ix) The Soviet economy was faltering in the late 1970s and became stagnant.

Q. 11. What were the major consequences of the disintegration of the Soviet Union for countries like India?
Ans. 
The disintegration of the Soviet Union did not bring any major consequence for countries like India. India has maintained good relations with all the post-communist countries. But the strongest relations are still those between Russia, the successor of the Soviet Union, and India. India’s relations with Russia are important aspects of India’s foreign policy. Indo-Russian relations are based on history of trust and common interests are matched by popular perceptions. Indian film personalities like Raj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan are household names in Russia and many postSoviet countries. Hindi songs are heard all over the region. Russia and India share a vision of a multipolar world order. India stands to benefit from its relations with Russia on issues like Kashmir, energy supplies, sharing information on international terrorism, access to Central Asia and balancing its relations with China. Russia has also been beneficial from this relationship because India is the second largest arms market for Russia. The Indian military gets most of its hardware from Russia. Russia and India have collaborated on many scientific projects.

Q. 12. The value of the Russian currency declined dramatically. The rate of inflation was so high that people lost all their savings. The collective farm system disintegrated leaving people without food security, and Russia started to import food. The real GDP of Russia in 1999, was below what it was in 1989. The old trading structure broke down with no alternative in its place. The old system of social welfare was systematically destroyed. The withdrawal of government subsidies pushed large sections of the people into poverty. The middle classes were pushed to the periphery of society and the academic and intellectual manpower disintegrated or migrated. A mafia emerged in most of these countries and started controlling many economic activities. Privatisation led to new disparities. Post-Soviet states, especially Russia, were divided between rich and poor regions. Unlike the earlier system, there was now great economic inequality between people. Read the passage given above carefully and answer the questions that follow:
(i) Name the Russian currency.
(ii) What is meant by collective farming?
(iii) How did disintegration of collective farming adversely affect the Russian people?
(iv) Give full form of GDP.
(v) What does the withdrawal of subsidy mean?
(vi) What does ‘the earlier system’ referred to in the passage mean?
Ans. 
(i) Ruble is the Russian currency.
(ii) In collective farming, the land belonged to the government and people ploughed the field not as individual.
(iii) The disintegration of collective farming left the people without food security and Russia started to import food.
(iv) Gross Domestic Product.
(v) The withdrawal of subsidy means the withdrawal of support by the government to reduce the costs of producing goods so that prices can be kept low.
(vi) The earlier system refers to the socialist system of Russia which was based on the ideals of socialism.

Q.13. What is meant by ‘Shock Therapy ’? Explain any four consequences of Shock Therapy.
Ans. 
(i) Shock Therapy : means a painful process of transition from an authoritarian socialist system to a democratic capitalist system in Russia, Central Asia and East Europe that was influenced by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
(ii) Consequences of Shock Therapy:
(a) Collapse of the state controlled large Industrial complex.
(b) 90 per cent industries were put up for sale at throwaway prices.
(c) Value of Ruble declined.
(d) Inflation was high.
(e) Gross Domestic Product of Russia declined.
(f) Withdrawal of government subsidies pushed people into poverty.
(g) Academic and intellectual manpower disintegrated or migrated.
(h) Mafia emerged and started controlling economic activities.

Q. 14. Describe the factors that make most of the former Soviet Republics prone to conflicts and threats.
Ans. 
Factors that make most of the former Soviet Republics prone to conflicts and threats : (i) There were internal weaknesses of Soviet political and economic institutions which failed to meet the aspirations of the people.
(ii) Economic stagnation for many years led to severe shortage of consumer items and a large section of Soviet society began to doubt and question the system and do so openly. (iii) The Soviet economy used much of its resources in maintaining a nuclear and military arsenal.
(iv) The development of its satellite states in Eastern Europe and within the Soviet System (the five Central Asian Republics in particular). This led to a huge economic burden that the system could not cope up with.
(v) They could see the disparities between their system and the systems of the West. After years of being told that the Soviet System was better than Western capitalism, the reality of its backwardness came as a political and psychological shock.
(vi) The Soviet Union had become stagnant in an administrative and political sense as well.
(vii) The rise of nationalism and the desire for sovereignty within various republics including Russia and the Baltic Republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Ukraine and Gerogia.
(viii) Nationalist urges and feelings were very much at work throughout the history of the Soviet Union given the size and diversity and its growing internal problems.

Q. 15. Give any three examples to show that most of the former Soviet Republics were prone to conflicts and tensions.
Ans. 
Most of the former Soviet Republics, were prone to conflicts. e.g.-In Russia, two republics, Chechnya and Dagestan, have violent secessionist movements. The Russian government used force that has lead to many human rights violations.
(i) In Central Asia, Tajikistan witnessed a civil war for 10 years.
(ii) Separatist movements in Azerbaizan.
(iii) Demand of independence from two provinces of Georgia.
(iv) Fight over river waters leading to instability.
(v) Movements against existing regimes in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia.
Detailed Answer: Most of the former Soviet Republics were prone to conflicts e.g. In Russia, two republics, Chechnya and Dagestan, have violent secessionist movements. The Russian government used force that has lead to many human rights violations.
(a) The Soviet economy used much of its resources in maintaining a nuclear and military arsenal.
(b) The development of its satellite states in Eastern Europe and within the Soviet System  (the five Central Asian Republics in particular). This led to a huge economic burden that the system could not cope up with.
(c) They could see the disparities between their system and the systems of the West. After years of being told that the Soviet System was better than Western capitalism, the reality of its backwardness came as a political and psychological shock.

Q. 16. Read the passage given below carefully and answer the following questions: India stands to benefit from its relationship with Russia on issues like Kashmir, energy supplies, sharing information on internal terrorism, access to Central Asia and balancing its relations with China. Russia stands to benefit from this relationship because India is the second largest arms market for Russia. The Indian military gets most of its hardware from Russia. Since, India is an oil importing nation, India is important to Russia and has repeatedly come to the assistance of India during its oil crisis. India is seeking to increase its energy imports from Russia and the republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Co-operation with these republics includes partnership and investment in oilfields. Russia is important for India’s nuclear energy plans and assisted India’s space industry also.
(i) How did Russia help India on Kashmir issue?
(ii) How do good relations with Russia help India to balance its relations with China?
(iii) In what way did Russia help the space industry of India?
(iv) How did India and Russia get benefitted from each other? Give one example from each side.
Ans. 
(i) In the United Nations Security Council, Russia came to India’s rescue and used Veto Power many times.
(ii) Supply of arms and hardware to Indian army, assistance in space industry and nuclear energy plans have strengthened India’s position and enabled India to have balanced relationship with China.
(iii) Russia helped space industry of India by giving cryogenic rocket.
(iv) (a) India is a large market for Russian arms, military hardware, crude oil, etc.
(b) India has benefitted from Russian Veto Power in UN Security Council on the issue of Kashmir.

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