Author Archives: mhlcc

Ron Paul backs tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in …

Posted: August 29, 2016 at 7:30 am

Paul says the candidate supports ‘smaller government and more personal liberties.’

By Associated Press

06/09/14 11:36 AM EDT

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul on Monday added his name to the list of tea party supporters of Chris McDaniel’s effort to deny longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi a seventh term.

McDaniel and Cochran were heading toward a June 24 runoff that illustrates the split within the GOP between its anti-establishment, tea party-flavored wing and its more staid establishment base. Neither candidate captured the required 50 percent of the vote in last week’s primary.

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Tea party and anti-tax groups have rushed to McDaniel’s side in an effort to block Cochran’s reelection. FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express have sent cash and staff to Mississippi to help McDaniel.

The winner of the runoff faces former Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat.

“Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties,” Paul said in a statement released through the McDaniel campaign.

Paul’s son, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has not backed a candidate in Mississippi.

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Ayn Rand Wikipdia, a enciclopdia livre

Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Origem: Wikipdia, a enciclopdia livre.

Ayn Rand, nascida Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum (em cirlico russo: ; So Petersburgo, 2 de fevereiro de 1905 Nova Iorque, 6 de maro de 1982) foi uma escritora, dramaturga, roteirista e filsofa norte-americana de origem judaico-russa, mais conhecida por desenvolver um sistema filosfico chamado de Objetivismo, e por seus romances.

Nascida e educada na Rssia, Rand emigrou para os Estados Unidos em 1926. Ela trabalhou como roteirista em Hollywood, e teve uma pea produzida na Broadway, no perodo de 1935 a 1936.

Alcanou a fama com seu romance The Fountainhead (que foi lanado no Brasil com o ttulo de A Nascente, e deu origem a um filme homnimo conhecido no Brasil por Vontade Indmita), publicado em 1943. Em 1957 lanou seu melhor e mais conhecido trabalho, o romance filosfico Atlas Shrugged (no Brasil, Quem John Galt?, inicialmente lanado em 1987 e, posteriormente, relanado em 2010 como A Revolta de Atlas).

Sua filosofia e sua fico enfatizam, sobretudo, suas noes de individualismo, autossustentao e capitalismo. Seus romances preconizam o individualismo filosfico e a livre iniciativa econmica[1].

Ela ensinava:

Um admirador de Ayn Rand, David Nolan, organizou, em 1971, o Partido Libertrio Americano, cujo programa original tinha os traos que ela mesma defendia nos anos 40.[2] Posteriormente, ela brigou com libertrios como Murray Rothbard[3] e passou a criticar o partido[4] pelo fato da filosofia dela ter se distanciado a da escola austraca.[5][6]

Um de seus principais pupilos foi Alan Greenspan, mais tarde presidente da Reserva Federal (o sistema de bancos centrais dos Estados Unidos).[7][8]

Ela se posicionou tambm como uma anti-arabista e sionista durante o conflito rabe-israelense.[9]

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Space-A travel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: at 4:32 pm

Space-A travel is a means by which members of United States Uniformed Services (United States Military, reservists and retirees, United States Department of Defense civilian personnel (under certain circumstances), and these groups’ family members, are permitted to travel on aircraft under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Defense when excess capability allows.

Space available travel is a privilege that derives, in part, from United States Code, title 10, section 4744, which states, “officers and members of the Military Departments, and their families, when space is available, may be transported on vessels operated by any military transport agency of the Department of Defense”. Space available travel is defined as “travel aboard DoD owned or controlled aircraft and occurs when aircraft are not fully booked with passengers traveling under orders”.

It is a privilege offered to United States Uniformed Services members. Retired members are given the privilege in recognition of their career and because they are eligible for recall to active duty. The criteria for extending the privilege to other categories of passengers is their support to the mission being performed by Uniformed Services members and to the enhancement of active duty Service members’ quality of life.

There are rules and guidelines which apply to such travel. Uniformed personnel may only travel Space-A while on leave or pass for the full duration of their Space-A trip, and Space-A travel can not be used in conjunction with travel required by the service. Space A travel may not be used for personal financial gain or in connection with business enterprises or employment. Other nations’ laws and policies, as well as U.S. foreign policy, may limit the ability to travel using Space-A.

Aside from members of the United States Marine Corps, travelers do not have to be in uniform for their flights.

Eligible passengers wanting to travel using DoD Space-A travel are required to sign up at the departing location and are then placed on a locally managed Space-A register. The registration process varies depending on the location, but most locations allow signups via electronic mail, fax, or postal mail.

Each location’s passenger service center maintains their own Space-A register. Each person signing up is placed on this register using category of travel, signup date and signup time.

Based on status (active duty military, retired military, emergency traveler, etc.), Space-A travel applicants are assigned a category of travel from 1 to 6, which categorizes their priority of movement, 1 being the highest priority. Thus, an applicant with priority 1 will gain a place on an available aircraft over an applicant with priority 4, for example.

The number of space-available seats may not be known until the flight’s “Roll Call” just prior to the flight departs. After sorting the signup register by category of travel and signup date, the passenger terminal personnel follow a selection procedure. If there is sufficient seating for everyone desiring a seat, then everyone boards; otherwise, a cutoff point is determined.

The branches of service eligible for Space-A travel are:

Space-A travel is not without its pitfalls. Unlike traditional commercial air traffic, military flights are not always assigned predictable takeoff times. Many factors go into planning a military flight, with space-required cargo and passengers forming the basis of planning. There is no consideration given to potential Space-A travelers during the planning process.

The majority of flights that passengers take occur on: C-5, C-17, C-40, C-130, KC-10, and KC-135 aircraft.

Space-A travelers might meet abrupt, sometimes even in-flight, changes in travel. This need for pre-planning has given rise to a small industry surrounding such travel. Non-governmental enterprises (for the most part, publishers) produce products, initially through books and maps, with more recent incarnations as websites which provide travelers with information regarding Space-A travel.

The following information Space-A links are hosted by volunteer retired military:

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Space-A travel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Immortality – Superpower Wiki – Wikia

Posted: at 4:26 pm

Immortality Power/Ability to:

Never die

The power to never age and recover from almost any injury. Opposite to Mortality.

Users possess an infinite life span, and can shrug off virtually any kind of physical damage. Some users are the defensive type, simply preventing such damage from appearing (invulnerability/protection), while others are the regenerative type, surviving and quickly recovering from anything you throw at them.

Some may only possess the power of:

Semi-Immortality

Reliant Immortality (Concept-Dependent Immortality, Self-Puppetry)

Immortality

Unfettered Body

Absolute Immortality

See Also: Immortality and Complete Immortality.

Zeus (Greek mythology) is immortal Father of Gods and ruler of Olympus.

Sun Wukong (Journey Into The West) become unable to die or be harmed in any way after eating both the food of the heavens and erasing his name off death’s register.

Teitoku Kakine (A Certain Magical Index) achieved a form of immortality by creating a human tissues (and a new body) out of his Dark Matter.

Ladylee (A Certain Magical Index) is an immortal, in that when she grew weary of living, she sought to use powerful magic to kill her, which did not work.

Tenzen Yakushiji (Basilisk) having his symbiote “eat” away his wounds and restoring any ravages of time or battle, even reattaching his head by sealing the cut.

Creed Diskenth (Black Cat) possesses the God’s Breath nano-machines within his body, regenerating even fatal wounds in seconds and maintaining his youth, thus granting him immortality aside from any brain damage being irreparable.

Ssuke Aizen (Bleach) gained immortality after fusing with the Hgyoku.

C.C (Code Geass) is immortal.

V.V (Code Geass) is immortal.

Garlic Jr. (Dragon Ball) made a wish via the Dragon Balls for eternal life, and will regenerate from any and all injuries seamlessly.

Kager (Flame of Recca) using a forbidden spell that opens a time portal, but it traps her outside of space-time, rendering her completely immortal.

The Truth (Fullmetal Alchemist) is invincible, immortal and invulnerable.

Utsuro (Gintama) possesses immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Earth to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases.

Kouka (Gintama) possessed immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Kouan to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases. However, when she left the planet for good, she weakened overtime and died.

Yta (Mermaid Saga) is a 500 years old immortal since unwittingly eating mermaid’s flesh.

Mana (Mermaid Saga) is a 15 years old immortal since being fed mermaid’s flesh.

Masato (Mermaid Saga) is an 800 years old immortal since eating mermaid’s flesh.

Orochimaru (Naruto) considers himself immortal with his Living Corpse Reincarnation to transfer his soul to another body and his Cursed Seals as anchors of his conscious.

Hidan’s (Naruto) main advantage is his inability to die by physical damage, though he is vulnerable to death by lack of nutrient.

Kakuzu (Naruto) attained a form of immortality (though he denies to think of it as such) by tearing hearts out of others and integrating them into himself, extending his lifespan. He kept five inside him at all times.

Madara Uchiha (Naruto) claims he has achieved complete immortality due to hosting the Shinju, as he regenerated form his torso being blown apart. Only when the tailed beasts were all pulled out of him did he die.

Kaguya tsutsuki (Naruto) is immortal, in that she has tremendous regenerative powers, and that the only way to defeat her is to seal her person away by splitting her chakra into the nine tailed beasts.

Gemma Himuro (Ninja Scroll) putting his severed body parts back together, even his head is possible, rendering him immortal.

Due to her race, Jibril (No Game No Life) has age 6407 years old, she has incredibly vast knowledge and high magical abilities, in two words; she live with gathering many old and new knowledge, in other words; she can no longer age or die.

Rin Asogi (RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~) is immortal, due to a magic spore from Yggdrasil. she can even handle more alcohol than a normal person.

Free (Soul Eater) is a werewolf from the Immortal Clan, and therefore, immortal. He can only be harmed and killed by the “Witch-Hunt”.

Koj Akatsuki (Strike the Blood) is revealed to be immortal, even by vampire standards after regenerating from complete decapitation.

Tta Konoe (UQ Holder) cannot regrow limbs unless they are completely destroyed, but otherwise is immortal and can reattach any of it, including his head.

Karin Yki (UQ Holder) has one of the highest ranked forms of immortality, stating that she’s “not permitted to get hurt or die”

Elder Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho) stated that his regenerative powers enables him from dying. This prevented him from dying from Kurama’s torturous Sinning Tree.

Zeref (Fairy Tail) was cursed by Ankhseram with his contradiction curse which gives him uncontrollable Death Magic and Immortality.

Ban (Nanatsu no Taizai) acquired immortality after drinking the Fountain of Youth.

Porky Minch (Earthbound) has abused Time Travel so much that his body is stuck in the current timeline and cannot age nor die.

It is believed that Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda) is immortal due to the Triforce of Power.

Clockwerk (Sly Cooper) has kept himself alive for millennia thanks to his cybernetic body and his jealousy and hatred of the Cooper Clan.

Solaris (Sonic the Hedgehog) is a super-dimensional life form and the Sun God of Solenna, and exists in all timelines that he is immortal unless he is killed simultaneously in every temporal point.

Presea Combatir (Tales of Symphonia) is immortal and invulnerable because of a combination of her exsphere and her special ability Suppress

Kaguya Houraisan (Touhou Project) drank the Hourai Elixir, which grants her immortal in every sense of the word: she does not age, is immune to disease, and can regenerate from even being completely disintegrated.

Though he can be imprisoned and sealed away, Grima (Fire Emblem) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own hand.

Snow White (Valkyrie Crusade) is a immortal princess that is always trying to die, but nothing works.

Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Chip/Light Gaia (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Dogmeat (Fallout 4) cannot die

Doomsday (DC Comics), being immune to all that once killed him.

Ra’s al Ghl (DC Comics) is granted immortality by the Lazarus Pit’s effects.

Lobo (DC Comics) possessing regenerative powers of such a level that he can recreate his entire body from nothing more than a puddle of his blood, as he is banned from Death.

Resurrection Man (DC Comics) is immortal, and will return to life no matter how many times he is killed, returning with a new power associated to how he was killed.

Hercules (Marvel Comics) an Olympic half God.

Deadpool (Marvel Comics) is in the same boat as Thanos, both banished from death.

Gaea (Marvel Comics), the Elder Goddess of Nature.

Loki (Marvel Comics), the God of Mischief, is immortal.

Zeus (Marvel Comics), the King of the Olympic Gods.

Atlas (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Adam Destine (Marvel Comics) is immortal and invulnerable to physical harm.

Mr. Immortal (Marvel Comics) having evolved beyond death cannot be killed permanently, and will always come back to life without so much as a scar.

Count Nefaria (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Wonder Man (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) is immortal due to his physiology.

Pariah Dark (Danny Phantom) is the powerful immortal, former king of ghosts.

Peter Griffin (Family Guy) Peter Griffin has survived many life threatening situations and came back unscathed.

Ernie the Giant Chicken (Family Guy) always comes back for a rematch despite Peter Griffin always dealing a fatal blow on Ernie.

Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter) acquired immortality by splitting his soul and hiding the fragments in various objects as anchors, though when his body was destroyed, he existed as a spectral form that many others would prefer death over.

Fawkes (Harry Potter) is a phoenix, who will be reborn with all of his memories intact upon death, and thus immortal, being the only known creatures in the wizarding world to have natural immortality.

Adam Monroe (Heroes) possessed immortality due to his tremendously advanced regeneration ability, though once the ability is taken away from him, he died within seconds.

The Dog Talisman (Jackie Chan Adventures) grants its master invincibility.

Nathan Young (MisFits) is immortal.

General Immortus (Teen Titans) knows the strategy of every battle in history because he was there to see it.

Starscream (Transformers G1) possesses an immortal Spark, soul energy, meaning even if his physical vessel is destroyed he will live on.

Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own family members.

The Beast (Doctor Who) claims to have existed before our universe was created

Candyman (Candyman) has lived for centuries

Ashildr AKA Me (Doctor Who) is effectively immortal due to being given a Mire computer chip.

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Immortality – Superpower Wiki – Wikia

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What Explains the Collapse of the USSR?

Posted: August 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

A Critical Analysis into the Different Approaches Explaining the Collapse of the Soviet Union: Was the Nature of the Regimes Collapse Ontological, Conjunctural or Decisional?

Abstract

This investigation seeks to explore the different approaches behind the demise of the Soviet Union. It will draw from Richard Sakwas three approaches with regards to the collapse of the Soviet Union, namely of the ontological, decisional and conjunctural varieties. This dissertation will ultimately demonstrate the necessity of each of these if a complete understanding of the demise is to be acquired.

This dissertation will be split into three different areas of scrutiny with each analysing a different approach. The first chapter will question what elements of the collapse were ontological and will consist of delving into long-term socio-economic and political factors in order to grasp what structural flaws hindered the Soviet Union from its inception. Following this will be an analysis of the decisional approach, this time focusing on short-term factors and how the decisions of Gorbachev contributed to the fall. Finally, this investigation will examine the conjunctural approach, which will provide valuable insight as to how short-term political contingent factors played a leading role in the eventual ruin of the Soviet Union.

Introduction

On December 26th, 1991, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved into fifteen independent republics after six years of political-economic crises. This unanticipated collapse of a super-power that had once shaped the foreign policies of East and West took the international community off-guard. Since the collapse, scholars have attempted to provide insight into the reasons behind the demise of the Soviet state. In 1998 Richard Sakwa published Soviet Politics in Perspective, which categorised the three main approaches adopted by scholars in the study of the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). These were the ontological, decisional and conjunctural approaches and will be the foci of this investigation. Ultimately, my aim is to prove that none of these approaches can thoroughly explain the collapse when viewed individually.

Instead, I will advance that all three are vital in order to acquire a thorough understanding of the Soviet collapse. To prove this, I will be analysing how each approach covers different angles of the fall, but before being able to answer this question of validity, I must begin by arranging each scholar I scrutinize into Sakwas three approaches. In my research I have discovered that the vast majority of scholars have no notion of such schools of thought, which increases the possibility of bias in secondary sources and makes my investigation all the more challenging. Once a solid theoretical basis is set I will then move onto investigating the legitimacy of each approach when considering historical events.

Research Questions

To provide the basis for my hypothesis, my analysis will be subdivided into three research questions.

The first one will address what ontological traits existed in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Following this, the second question will mirror the first by attempting to make sense of decisional aspects of the fall. Finally, my attention will turn to answering in what way was the collapse conjunctural in nature. Although the characteristics of these questions may seem basic it is important not to fall prey to appearances and bear in mind the complexity of each approach. Moreover, the arrangement and formulation of the research questions was carried out in this manner to provide an unbiased evaluation of each approach, eventually displaying the necessity of each in the explanation of fall.

Methodology

The fall of the Soviet Union is a subject that has attracted vast amounts of literature from scholars all over the world. Although this presents a challenge when it comes to working through such a large topic it also helps the researcher elaborate solid explanations behind historical events. Consequently, I will be mainly employing qualitative data, supplemented by quantitative evidence; which will consist of both primary and secondary sources. The quantitative information will draw from various economists such as Lane, Shaffer and Dyker; these will mainly be used to ensure that qualitative explanations are properly backed by statistical data regarding socio-economic factors.

The majority of the qualitative data drawn will be from secondary sources written by contemporary scholars. A few primary sources such as official documents will also be analysed to provide further depth to analysis. Due to the vast amount of information concerning my topic, it is important to focus on literature aiding the question as one can easily deviate from the question regarding the three approaches. The other main challenge will also consist in avoiding to be drawn into deep analysis of the separate independence movements of the Soviet republics.

Theoretical Framework

Before being able to embark on a complete literature review, it is important to understand the theoretical framework that accompanies the analysis, namely Sakwas three approaches. Subsequently, I will then be able to show that all three of these approaches are necessary in explaining the downfall of the Soviet Union.

When looking at the different approaches elaborated by Sakwa, each advances a unique hypothesis as to why the Soviet Union collapsed. Although all three approaches are different in nature, some overlap or inter-connect at times. To begin with, the ontological approach argues that the Soviet Union dissolved because of certain inherent shortcomings of the system [] including [] structural flaws.[1] This approach enhances the premise that the collapse of the Soviet Union lies in long-term systemic factors that were present since the conception of the system. This view is countered by the conjunctural approach, which suggests

that the system did have an evolutionary potential that might have allowed it in time to adapt to changing economic and political circumstances. [] The collapse of the system [is] ascribed to contingent factors, including the strength of internal party opposition [and] the alleged opportunism of the Russian leadership under Boris Yeltsin.[2]

The final approach theorised by Sakwa is the decisional one, and advances the belief that

particular decisions at particular times precipitated the collapse, but that these political choices were made in the context of a system that could only be made viable through transformation of social, economic and political relations. This transformation could have been a long-term gradual process, but required a genuine understanding of the needs of the country.[3]

Although the decisional and conjunctural approaches are different in scope, they nevertheless both focus on the short-term factors of collapse, which at times may cause confusions. As both approaches analyse the same time frame, certain factors behind the collapse may be logically attributed to both. A relevant example may be seen when a contingent factor (factions within the Communist Party) affects the decisions of a leader (Gorbachev). This leads to ambiguities, as it is impossible to know whether certain outcomes should be explained in a conjunctural or decisional light. This type of ambiguity can also cast doubts on certain conjunctural phenomena with historical antecedents. In these cases it becomes unclear as to whether these phenomena are ontological (structural), as they existed since the systems conception or conjunctural as they present contingent obstacles to progress.

In most cases, when ambiguities arise, scholars may adopt a rhetoric that is inherently ontological, decisional or conjunctural and then base most of their judgements and analysis around it. Kalashnikov supplements this, stating that studies tend to opt for one factor as being most important in bringing about collapse [] [and] do not engage other standpoints.[4] This is a trait I have noticed in certain works that were written by scholars more inclined to analyse events through a certain approach, such as Kotkin with the ontological approach, Goldman with the decisional one, or Steele regarding the conjunctural approach. In my analysis, I will scrutinise the fall through the theoretical lens of each approach, and from this will prove the indispensability of each of these in the explanation of the downfall. The fact that certain approaches overlap is testament to the necessity of this theoretical categorisation.

Literature Review

The first approach to be investigated will be the ontological one: a school of thought espoused by scholars who focus on systemic long-term factors of collapse. Kotkin is one such author, providing valuable insight into the ontological dissolution of Soviet ideology and society, which will figure as the first element of analysis in that chapter. He advances the theory that the Soviet Union was condemned from an early age due to its ideological duty in providing a better alternative to capitalism. From its inception, the Soviet Union had claimed to be an experiment in socialism []. If socialism was not superior to capitalism, its existence could not be justified.[5] Kotkin elaborates that ideological credibility crumbled from the beginning as the USSR failed to fulfil expectations during Stalins post-war leadership. Kotkin goes on and couples ideological deterioration with emphasis on societal non-reforming tendency that flourished after the 1921 ban on factions, setting a precedent where reform was ironically seen as a form of anti-revolutionary dissidence.

Kenez and Sakwa also supplement the above argument with insight on the suppression of critical political thinking, notably in Soviet satellite states, showing that any possibility of reforming towards a more viable Communist rhetoric was stifled early on and continuously supressed throughout the 1950s and 60s. This characteristic of non-reform can be seen as an ontological centre-point, as after the brutal repression seen in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968), no feedback mechanism existed wherein leadership could comprehend the social, political and economic problems that were gradually amassing. The invasion of 1968 represented the destruction of the sources of renewal within the Soviet system itself.[6] Consequently, this led the Kremlin into a state of somewhat ignorance vis–vis the reality of life in the Soviet Union. Adding to the explanation of the Soviet Unions ontological demise, Sakwa links the tendency of non-reform to the overlapping of party and polity that occurred in the leadership structure of the USSR. The CPSU was in effect a parallel administration, shadowing the official departments of state: a party-state emerged undermining the functional adaptability of both.[7] Sakwa then develops that this led to the mis-modernisation of the command structure of the country, and coupled with non-reform, contributed to its demise. Furthermore, ontologically tending scholars also view the republican independence movements of the USSR as a factor destined to occur since the conception of the union.

The second section concerning the ontological approach analyses the economic factors of collapse. Here, Derbyshire, Kotkin and Remnick provide a quantitative and qualitative explanation of the failure of centralisation in the agricultural and industrial sectors. Derbyshire and Remnick also provide conclusive insight into ontological reasons for the failure of industrial and agricultural collectivization, which played a leading role in the overall demise of the Soviet Union.

Finally, in my third area of investigation, Remnick and Sakwa claim that the dissolution came about due to widespread discontent in individual republics regarding exploitation of their natural resources as well as Stalins detrimental policy of pitting different republics against each other.

Moscow had turned all of Central Asia into a vast cotton plantation [] [and in] the Baltic States, the official discovery of the secret protocols to the Nazi-Soviet pact was the key moment.[8]

Although I will explore how independence movements played a role in the dissolution, I will ensure the focus remains on the USSR as a whole, as it is easy to digress due to the sheer amount of information on independence movements. Upon this, although evidence proves that certain factors of collapse were long-term ontological ones, other scholars, namely Goldman and Galeotti go in another direction and accentuate that the key to understanding the downfall of the USSR lies in the analysis of short-term factors such as the decisional approach.

Dissimilar to the ontological approach, within the decisional realm, scholars more frequently ascribe the factors of the collapse to certain events or movements, which allows them to have minute precision in their explanations of the fall. Goldman is a full-fledged decisional scholar with the conviction that Gorbachev orchestrated the collapse through his lack of comprehensive approach,[9] a view espousing Sakwas definition of the decisional approach. In order to allow for a comprehensive analysis, this chapter will start off with an examination of Gorbachevs economic reforms in chronological order, allowing the reader to be guided through the decisions that affected the collapse. Goldman will be the main literary pillar of this section, supplemented by Sakwa and Galeotti. Having accomplished this, it will be possible to investigate how economic failure inter-linked with political decisions (Glasnost and Perestroika) outside of the Party created an aura of social turmoil. Here, Galeotti and Goldman will look into the events and more importantly, the decisions, that discredited Gorbachevs rule and created disillusion in Soviet society. My final section of the chapter will scrutinize the affects of Glasnost and Perestroika within the Communist Party, which will stand as a primordial step in light of the independence movements; seen as a by-product of Gorbachevs policies. Due to the inter-linked nature of the political, social and economic spheres, it will be possible to see how policy sectors affected each other in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Overall, this chapter will end with an analysis of how Gorbachevs incoherence pushed certain republics onto the path of independence, which is perceived as a major factor behind the fall by Goldman.

In the chapter regarding the conjunctural approach, I will be looking into the key contingent factors that scholars believe are behind the fall of the Soviet Union. The first will be the conservatives of the Communist Party who obstructed the reform process since Brezhnevs rule, meaning that up until the collapse, reform efforts had run headlong into the opposition of entrenched bureaucratic interests who resisted any threat to their power.[10] Due to the broadness of this topic I will draw from two scholars, namely Kelley and Remnick, for supplementary insight. Moving on, I will also investigate the inception of the reformist left, a term encapsulating those within and outside the party striving to bring democratic reform to the USSR. Here the main conjunctural scholar used will be Steele, who explains that Gorbachevs hopes for this reformist left to support him against the Communist conservatives evaporated once Yeltsin took the lead and crossed the boundaries of socialist pluralism set by Gorbachev. A concept coined by the leader himself, which implied that there should be a wide exchange of views and organizations, provided they all accepted socialism.[11] This brought about enormous pressure and sapped social support from Gorbachev at a time when he needed political backing. Once the political scene is evaluated through conjunctural evidence, I will divide my chapter chronologically, first exploring the 1989 radicalisation of the political movements with the significant arrival of Yeltsin as the major obstacle to Gorbachevs reforms to the left. In this section I will be mainly citing Remnick due to his detailed accounts of events. Ultimately I will be attempting to vary my analysis with approach-specific scholars and more neutral ones who provide thorough accounts, such as Remnicks and Sakwas. The analysis will continue with insight in the 1990-1991 period of political turmoil and the effects it had on Gorbachevs reforms; I will be citing Galeotti, Remnick and Tedstrom as these provide varying viewpoints regarding political changes of the time. My chapter will then finally end with a scrutiny of Yeltsins Democratic Russia and the August 1991 Coup and how both of these independent action groups operated as mutual contingent factors in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Chapter One: Was the Collapse of the USSR Ontological in Nature?

When analysing the collapse of the USSR, it is undeniable that vital ontological problems took form during the early days of its foundation. Here I will analyse these flaws and demonstrate how the collapse occurred due to ontological reasons, hence proving the necessity of this approach. In order to provide a concrete answer I will begin by scrutinizing how the erosion of the Communist ideology acted as a systemic flaw where the Soviet Unions legitimacy was put into question. I will then analyse how a non-reformist tendency was created in society and also acted as an ontological flaw that would play a part in the fall. From there I will explore how ontological defects plagued the economic sector in the industrial and agricultural areas, leading the country to the brink of economic collapse. Finally I will analyse the independence movements, as certain scholars, especially Remnick and Kotkin, argue that these movements pushed towards ontological dissolution. It is imperative to recall that this chapter will analyse symptoms of the collapse that are of an ontological nature, namely long-term issues that manifested themselves in a negative manner on the longevity of the Soviet Union. As a result it is vital to bear in mind that the ontological factors to be analysed are usually seen as having all progressively converged together over the decades, provoking the cataclysmic collapse.

The Untimely Death of an Ideology

Since its early days, the Soviet Union was a political-economic experiment built to prove that the Communist-Socialist ideology could rival and even overtake Capitalism. It promoted itself as a superior model, and thus was condemned to surpassing capitalism if it did not want to lose its legitimacy. However, during Stalins tenure, the ideological legitimacy of the Soviet Union crumbled due to two reasons: the first one being the aforementioned premiers rule and the other being Capitalisms success, which both ultimately played a part in its demise.

The early leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) such as Lenin, Trotsky, Kamenev, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Stalin all had different views regarding how to attain socio-economic prosperity, but Stalin would silence these after the 1921 to 1924 power struggle. Following this period, which saw the death of Lenin, Stalin emerged as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union. With the exile of Trotsky, and isolation of Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin from the party, no effective opposition was left to obstruct the arrival of Stalins fledging dictatorship. Subsequently, Stalin was able to go about effectively appropriating the Communist ideology for himself; with his personality cult he became the sole curator of what was Communist or reactionary (anti-Communist). Subsequently, to protect his hold on power, he turned the Soviet Union away from Marxist Communist internationalism by introducing his doctrine of Socialism in One Country, after Lenins death in 1924.

Insisting that Soviet Russia could [] begin the building of socialism [] by its own efforts. [] [Thus treading on] Marxs view that socialism was an international socialist movement or nothing.[12]

As a result, the USSR under Stalin alienated the possibilities of ideological renewal with other Communist states and even went as far as to claim, that the interests of the Soviet Union were the interests of socialism.[13] Sakwa sees these actions as ones that locked the Soviet Union into a Stalinist mind-set early on and thus built the wrong ideological mechanisms that halted the advent of Communist ideology according to Marx. As a result, it is fair to acknowledge that when looking at ontological reasons for collapse, one of them can be mentioned as the Soviet Union being built upon an ambiguous ideological platform wherein it espoused elements of Communism but was severely tainted and handicapped by Stalinist rhetoric.

In addition to the debilitating effects Stalins political manipulations had on the ideological foundations of the USSR, capitalisms successful reform dealt a supplementary blow to Soviet ideological credibility.

Instead of a final economic crisis anticipated by Stalin and others, Capitalism experienced an unprecedented boom [] all leading capitalist countries embraced the welfare state [] stabilising their social orders and challenging Socialism on its own turf.[14]

Adding to the changing nature of capitalism was the onset of de-colonisation during the 1960s, taking away more legitimacy with every new independence agreement. By the end of the 1960s, the metamorphosis of capitalism had very much undermined the Soviet Unions ideological raison dtre, as the differences between capitalism in the Great Depression [which the USSR had moulded itself against,] and capitalism in the post-war world were nothing short of earth shattering.[15] Here the ontological approach generally elaborates that Capitalism and incoherent ideological foundations brought about the disproving of the very political foundations the Soviet state rested upon and thus any social unrest leading to the collapse during Gorbachevs rule can be interpreted as logical by-products of the previous point. From this, it is possible to better understand how the crumbling of the legitimacy of the Communist ideology was a fundamental ontological factor behind the collapse of the USSR. Building on this, I will now look into how the establishment of society during Stalins rule also played a role in the collapse due to the shaping of a non-reforming society.

The Foundations of a Non-Reforming Society

One defect that would remain etched in the Soviet political-economic mind-set was the ontological tendency for non-reform. This trait would plague the very infrastructure of the Soviet Union until its dying days. The emergence of such a debilitating characteristic appeared during the very inception of the Soviet Union with the Kronstadt Sailors Uprising. This uprising occurred during the Tenth Party Congress in 1921 and would have severe repercussion for the Soviet Unions future as Congress delegates [] accepted a resolution that outlawed factions within the Party.[16] Thus, by stifling critical thinking and opposing views, this would effectively cancel out a major source of reform and act as an ontological shortcoming for future Soviet political-economic progress. This non-reformist trait was reinforced during Stalins rule with the constant pressure the Communist Party exerted on agricultural and industrial planners. Here, the party demanded not careful planning [] but enthusiasm; the leaders considered it treason when economists pointed out irrationalities in their plans.[17] Subsequently, planners were forced into a habit of drawing up unmanageable targets, which were within the partys political dictate. This meant, central planners established planning targets that could only be achieved at enormous human cost and sacrifice. [] [and lacked] effective feedback mechanism[18], which would provide insight to the flaws that existed in their plans. In the short-run this would only hinder the economy, but in the long-term it would lock the Soviet Union in a tangent where it could not reform itself in accordance to existent problems[19], thus leading it to a practically technologically obsolete state with a backwards economy by the time it collapsed.

Nevertheless, repression of critical thinking did not limit itself to the economic realm; it also occurred in the social sector where calls for the reform of the Socialist ideology were mercilessly crushed in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968. It is possible to see a link here with the previous section of this chapter with regards to Stalins hijacking of the Communist ideology. In the two social movements cited, both pushed towards a shift away from Stalinist rhetoric towards an actual adoption of Marxist Socialism. In Czechoslovakia this social push came under the name of Socialism with a Human Face and wanted to permit the dynamic development of socialist social relations, combine broad democracy with a scientific, highly qualified management, [and] strengthen the social order.[20] Although these were only Soviet satellite states, the fact that they were repressed showed that by the 1960s, the Soviet Unions non-reforming characteristic had consolidated itself to the point that any divergence from the official party line in the economic or social sectors was seen as high treason. This leads us to the ambiguous area of Soviet polity and how it jeopardised the existence of the USSR when merged with ontological non-reform.

Polity is the term I use here because it remains implausibly unclear as to who essentially governed the USSR during its sixty-nine years of existence. It seems that both the CPSU and the Soviet government occupied the same position of authority, thus creating

a permanent crisis of governance. [Wherein] the party itself was never designed as an instrument of government and the formulation that the party rules but the government governs allowed endless overlapping jurisdictions.[21]

Adding to the confusion was the CPSUs role in society, defined by Article Six of the USSRs 1977 Constitution: The leading and guiding force of the Soviet society and the nucleus of its political system, of all state organisations and public organisations, is the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.[22] From here a profound ambiguity is seen surrounding the role of politics in the social realm. Accordingly, these two traits would create a profound ontological factor for collapse when merged with the non-reforming tendency of society. Due to the fact that when a more efficient leadership mechanism was sought out, it was impossible to identify how and what elements of the polity had to be changed.

It is here that an inter-linkage of approaches can be identified as the politys ontological inability to reform according to Gorbachevs decisional re-shaping of society contributed to the demise of the USSR.

The one-party regime ultimately fell owing to its inability to respond to immense social changes that had taken place in Soviet society- ironically, social changes that the Party itself had set in motion.[23]

Because Soviet polity was ontologically ill defined, when time came to reform it, the notion of what was to be changed obstructed the reform process. From this analysis, it is possible to see how ontological weaknesses in the over-lapping areas of politics and the social sector seriously hindered the Soviet Union. In the following section I will explore how ontological defects were of similar importance in the economic realm and were also interwoven with previously explained shortcomings.

An Economy in Perpetual Crisis

When looking at the economic realm there are a number of weaknesses that took root from the early days of the Soviet Union, the first aspect of scrutiny will be the ontological failure of economic centralisation and its contribution to the fall. In both the agricultural and industrial sectors, the USSR was unable to progress towards economic prosperity due to its flawed centralised economy. Agriculturally, centralisation meant that peasants were compelled to fulfil farming quotas set by the ministry in Moscow on land that solely belonged to the state. Consequently this generated two problems, the first one being a lack of incentive from the farmers and secondly, the inability of central authorities to cope with the myriad of different orders that had to be issued.

Central planners in Moscow seldom know in advance what needs to be done in the different regions of the country. Because of this [] sometimes as much as 40 to 50 per cent of some crops rot in the field or in the distribution process.[24]

Worsening this was the partys non-reforming tendency, which meant that the Soviet Union protected its misconceived collective and state farming network and made up for its agricultural ineptness by importing up to 20 per cent of the grain it needed.[25] This patching-up of ontological agricultural problems would result in an unpredictable and inconsistent agricultural sector as the decades passed, thus rendering it unreliable. This can be seen in the post-war agricultural growth rates that continuously fluctuated from 13.8 per cent in 1955 to -1.5 per cent in 1959 and finally -12.8 per cent in 1963![26] Such a notoriously unpredictable agricultural sector [] consistently failed to meet planned targets[27] and would remain an unresolved problem until the fall of the regime.

As for the industrial sector, the situation was difficult; with the disappearance of a demand and supply mechanism, the central authorities were unable to properly satisfy the material demands of society. Moreover, because of centralisation, most factories were the sole manufacturers of certain products in the whole of the USSR, meaning that an enormous amount of time and money was wasted in transport-logistics costs. Without the demand and supply mechanism, the whole economy had to be planned by central authorities, which proved to be excruciatingly difficult.

Prices of inputs and outputs, the sources of supply, and markets for sale were strictly stipulated by the central ministries. [] [and] detailed regulation of factory level activities by remote ministries [] led to a dangerously narrow view of priorities at factory level.[28]

Consequently, central ministries frequently misallocated resources and factories took advantage of this by hoarding larger quantities of raw materials than they needed. Although the ontological failure of centralisation did not have as immediate effects as certain short-term conjunctural or decisional factors, its contribution to the fall can be seen in how, combined with the economic shortcomings to be highlighted hereon, it gradually deteriorated the economy of the country.

In addition to the failure of centralisation was the failure of agricultural collectivization, which would have an even greater negative effect on the Soviet Union. When looking at collectivization we can see how its affects were multi-layered, as it was a politically motivated campaign that would socially harm society and destroy the economy. Agriculturally, Stalin hindered the Soviet farming complex from its very beginnings by forcing collectivisation on farmers and publicly antagonising those who resisted as anti-revolutionary kulaks. After the winter of 1929, Stalin defined the meaning of kulak as anyone refusing to enter collectives. Kulaks were subsequently persecuted and sent to Siberian gulags, the attack on the kulaks was an essential element in coercing the peasants to give up their farms.[29] These repeated attacks came from a Bolshevik perception that peasants were regarded with suspicion as prone to petty-bourgeois individualist leanings.[30] Due to these traumatic acts of violence, the peasantry was entirely driven into collectivisation by 1937; however, this only bolstered peasant hatred of the government and can be seen as the basis for the agricultural problem of rural depopulation that gradually encroached the country-side. By the 1980s,

The legacy of collectivization was everywhere in the Soviet Union. In the Vologda region alone, there were more than seven thousand ruined villages [] For decades, the young had been abandoning the wasted villages in droves.[31]

This agricultural depopulation can be seen in how the number of collective farms gradually shrank from 235,500 in 1940 to merely 25,900 in 1981[32]; causing severe labour scarcity concerns to the agricultural sector.

Industrially, collectivisation was not widespread, although in the few cases it appeared, it brought about much suffering to yield positive results. The mining city of Magnitogorsk is a prime example where Stalinist planners

built an autonomous company town [] that pushed away every cultural, economic, and political development in the civilized world [and where] 90 per cent of the children [] suffered from pollution-related illnesses.[33]

While the West followed the spectacular expansion of Soviet industry from 1920 to 1975, this was at the cost of immense social sacrifice in the industrial and agricultural sectors, which were entirely geared towards aiding the industrial complex. In addition to this, much of Soviet industrial growth after Khrushchevs rule was fuelled by oil profits emanating from Siberia, peaking from 1973 to 1985 when energy exports accounted for 80% of the USSRs expanding hard currency earnings.[34]

Overall, ontological non-reform inter-linked with the failure of collectivisation and a deficient command structure would gradually weaken the economy to the brink of collapse in the 1980s. This elaboration was made clear in the 1983 Novosibirsk Report, which

argued that the system of management created for the old-style command economy of fifty years ago remained in operation in very different circumstances. It now held back the further development of the countrys economy.[35]

Nevertheless, ontological problems behind the fall did not only restrict themselves to the economic, political or social realms but also existed regarding the nationalities question.

A Defective Union

When looking at the fifteen different republics that comprised the USSR, one may ask how it was possible to unite such diverse nationalities together without the emergence of complications. The truth behind this is that many problems arose from this union even though the CPSU maintained, until the very end, the conviction that all republics and people were acquiescent of it. Gorbachevs statement in 1987 that

the nationalities issue has been resolved for our country [] reflected the partys most suicidal illusion, that it had truly created [] a multinational state in which dozens of nationalisms had been dissolved.[36]

Today certain scholars see the independence movements of the early 1990s as a result of the ontological malformation of the Soviet Unions identity. The most common argument expounds that the independence movements fuelling dissolution occurred due to two ontological reasons. The first one can be seen as a consequence of Stalins rule and as part of his policy of divide and rule, where the borders between ethno-federal units were often demarcated precisely to cause maximum aggravation between peoples.[37] This contributed to the Soviet Unions inability to construct a worthwhile federal polity and an actual Soviet nation-state. In addition to this was the ontological exploitation of central Soviet republics and prioritisation of the Russian state. This created long-term republican discontent that laid the foundations of independence movements: Everything that went wrong with the Soviet system over the decades was magnified in Central Asia,[38] Moscow had turned all of Central Asia into a vast cotton plantation [] destroying the Aral Sea and nearly every other area of the economy.[39]

Overall, it is possible to argue that the collapse occurred due to inherent flaws in the foundations of the Soviet Union. Ontological factors behind the collapse were an admixture of socio-political and economic weaknesses that gradually wore at the foundations of the USSR. The first area analysed was the demise of the Marxist ideology that up-held the legitimacy of the Soviet Union. I then scrutinized the non-reforming tendency that settled in Soviet society very early on. Such an area eventually brought me to inspect the ontological flaws in Soviet economy, which had close links with the previous section. Finally, I examined inherent flaws in the USSRs union and how these also played a role in the demise. While the ontological factors represent a substantial part of the explanation to the downfall, decisional and conjunctural factors must also be examined to fully grasp the collapse.

Chapter Two: Was the Collapse of the USSR Decisional in Nature?

Whilst long-term flaws in the foundations of the Soviet Union played a major role in its demise, it is important to acknowledge that most of Gorbachevs reforms also had drastic effects on the survival of the union. From hereon, I will explore how the decisional approach explains vital short-term factors behind the collapse and cannot be forgone when pondering this dissertations thesis-question. To begin with, I will analyse the failure of Gorbachevs two major economic initiatives known as Uskoreniye (acceleration of economic reforms) and Perestroika. This will then inevitably lead me to the scrutiny of his socio-political reforms under Glasnost and how imprudent decisions in this sector led to widespread unrest in the USSR. Finally I will look into how Gorbachevs decisional errors led to most republics to opt out of the Soviet Union. But before I start it is important to understand that although I will be separating the economic reforms (Uskoreniye and Perestroika), from socio-political ones (Glasnost), these were very much intertwined as Gorbachev saw them as mutually complementary.

A Botched Uskoreniye and an Ineffective Perestroika

By the time Gorbachev rose to power in March 1985, ontologically economic problems had ballooned to disproportionate levels. His initial approach to change was different to his predecessor; he took advice from field-experts and immediately set into motion economic Uskoreniye (acceleration). At this point, economic reform was indispensible as the collective agricultural sector lay in ruins with a lethargic 1.1 per cent output growth between 1981 and 1985, whilst industrial output growth fell from 8.5 per cent in 1966 to 3.7 per cent 1985.[40] Although Gorbachev could not permit himself mistakes, it is with Uskoreniye that the first decisional errors regarding the economy were committed and cost him much of his credibility. Under Abel Aganbegyans advisory, Gorbachev diverted Soviet funds to retool and refurbish the machinery industry, which was believed would accelerate scientific and technological progress. He supplemented this effort by reinforcing the centralisation of Soviet economy by creating super-ministries, that way planners could eliminate intermediate bureaucracies and concentrate on overall strategic planning.[41] Whereas these reforms did have some positive impacts, they were not far reaching enough to bring profound positive change to Soviet industrial production. Moreover, in the agricultural sector, Gorbachev initiated a crackdown on owners of private property in 1986, which led farmers to fear the government, and would disturb the success of future agricultural reforms. His error with Uskoreniye lay in the fact that he had aroused the population with his call for a complete overhaul of Soviet society, but in the economic realm at least, complete overhaul turned out for most part to be not much more than a minor lubrication job.[42] Realising his mistake, Gorbachev acquired the belief it was the economic system he had to change, and set out to do just that with his move towards Perestroika (Restructuring).

Gorbachev had at first tried simply to use the old machinery of government to reform. [] the main reason why this failed was that the old machinery [] were a very large part of the problem.[43]

Although the term Perestroika did exist prior to Gorbachevs tenure in office, it was he who remoulded it into a reform process that would attempt to totally restructure the archaic economic system. Unlike the first batch of economic reforms [] the second set seemed to reflect a turning away from the Stalinist economic system,[44] a move that startled the agricultural sector which had been subjected to repression the prior year. In 1987, Gorbachev legalised individual farming and the leasing of state land to farmers in an effort to enhance agronomic production. However, this reform was flawed due to the half-hearted nature of the endeavour, wherein farmers were allowed to buy land but it would remain state-owned. Therefore, due to Gorbachevs reluctance to fully privatise land, many prospective free farmers could see little point in developing farms that the state could snatch back at any time.[45] Adding to this social setback was the purely economic problem, since

without a large number of participants the private [] movements could never attain credibility. A large number of new sellers would produce a competitive environment that could hold prices down.[46]

Thus, due to Gorbachevs contradictory swift changes from agricultural repression to reluctant land leasing, his second agrarian reform failed.

Industrially, Gorbachev went even further in decisional miscalculations, without reverting his earlier move towards ultra-centralisation of the super-ministries, he embarked on a paradoxical semi-privatisation of markets. Gorbachevs 1987 Enterprise Law illustrates this as he attempted to transfer decision-making power from the centre to the enterprises themselves[47] through the election of factory managers by workers who would then decide what to produce and work autonomously. Adding to this, the 1988 Law on Cooperatives that legalized a wide range of small businesses[48] supplemented this move towards de-centralisation. Combined, it was anticipated that these reforms

would have introduced more motivation and market responsiveness [] in practice, it did nothing of the sort [] workers not surprisingly elected managers who offered an easy life and large bonuses.[49]

Moreover, the Enterprise Law contributed to the magnitude of the macro and monetary problems. [] [as] managers invariably opted to increase the share of expensive goods they produced,[50] which led to shortages of cheaper goods. Whilst, the law had reverse effects on workers, the blame lies with Gorbachev as no effort was put into the creation of a viable market infrastructure.

Without private banks from which to acquire investment capital, without a free market, [] without profit motive and the threat of closure or sacking, managers rarely had the incentive [] to change their ways.[51]

By going halfway in his efforts to create a market-oriented economy, Gorbachev destroyed his possibilities of success. The existing command-administrative economic system was weakened enough to be even less efficient, but not enough that market economics could begin to operate,[52] in effect, he had placed the economy in a nonsensical twilight zone. Consequently, the economy was plunged into a supply-side depression by 1991 since the availability of private and cooperative shops, which could charge higher prices, served to suck goods out of the state shops, which in turn caused labor unrest[53] and steady inflation. Here, Gorbachev began to feel the negative effects of his reforms, as mass disillusionment in his capability to lead the economy towards a superior model coupled with his emphasis on the abolition of repression and greater social freedom (Glasnost) tipped the USSR into a state of profound crisis.

The Success of Glasnost

Having understood Gorbachevs economical decisional errors with Perestroika, I will now set out to demonstrate how his simultaneous introduction of Glasnost in the social sector proved to be a fatal blow for the Soviet Union. Originally, Gorbachev set out to promote democratisation in 1987 as a complementary reform that would aid his economic ones, he saw Glasnost as a way to create nation of whistle-blowers who would work with him[54] against corruption. To the surprise of Soviet population, Gorbachev even encouraged socio-economic debates and allowed the formation of Neformaly, which were leisure organizations [and] up to a quarter were either lobby groups or were involved in issues [] which gave them an implicitly political function.[55] Gorbachev initiated this move at a time when the USSR was still searching for the correct reform process. Thus, the Neformaly movement was a way for him to strengthen the reform process without weakening the party by including the involvement of the public. But as Perestroika led to continuous setbacks, Gorbachev began to opt for more drastic measures with Glasnost, upholding his belief that the key lay in further democratisation. In November 1987, on the 70th anniversary of the October revolution, Gorbachev gave a speech purporting to Stalins crimes, which was followed by the resurgence of freedom of speech and gradual withdrawal of repression. Intellectually, politically and morally the speech would play a critical role in undermining the Stalinist system of coercion and empire.[56] At Gorbachevs behest, censorship was decreased and citizens could finally obtain truthful accounts regarding Soviet history and the outside world. However, this reform proved to be fairly detrimental as Soviet citizens were dismayed to find that their country actually lagged far behind the civilized countries. They were also taken aback by the flood of revelations about Soviet history.[57] While this did not trigger outbursts of unrest in amongst the population, it did have the cumulative impact of delegitimizing the Soviet regime in eyes of many Russians.[58] After his speech, Gorbachev continued his frenetic march towards democratisation with the astounding creation of a Congress of Peoples Deputies in 1989. Yet again, Gorbachev had found that the reform process necessitated CPSU support, however, conservatives at the heart of the party were continuously moving at cross-purpose to his reform efforts. Hence, by giving power to the people to elect deputies who would draft legislation, Gorbachev believed that he would be strengthening the government, [and] by creating this new Congress, he could gradually diminish the role of the Party regulars [conservatives].[59]

Instead of strengthening the government, Gorbachevs Glasnost of society pushed the USSR further along the path of social turmoil. In hindsight, it is possible to see that

the democracy Gorbachev had in mind was narrow in scope. [] Criticism [] would be disciplined [] and would serve to help, not hurt the reform process. [] His problems began when [] disappointment with his reforms led [] critics to disregard his notion of discipline.[60]

As soon as economic Perestroika failed to yield its promises, the proletariat began to speak out en masse, and instead of constructive openness, Gorbachev had created a Glasnost of criticism and disillusion. This was seen following the 1989 Congress, as social upheavals erupted when miners saw the politicians complain openly about grievances never aired before [61] and decided to do the same. In 1989, almost half the countrys coal miners struck,[62] followed by other episodes in 1991 when over 300,000 miners had gone out on strike.[63] Very quickly, Gorbachev also came to sourly regret his Neformaly initiative as workers, peasants, managers and even the military organized themselves in lobby groups, some of them asking the Kremlin to press forth with reforms and others asking to revert the whole reform process. Gorbachevs decisional error lay in his simultaneous initiation of Perestroika and Glasnost; as the latter met quick success whilst the economy remained in free-fall, society was plunged into a state of profound crisis.

Party Politics

Alongside his catastrophic reform of society and the economy, Gorbachev launched a restructuring of the CPSU, which he deemed essential to complement his economic reforms. In 1985, Gorbachev purged (discharged) elements of the CPSU nomenklatura, a term designating the key administrative government and party leaders.

Within a year, more than 20 to 30 % of the ranks of the Central Committee [] had been purged. Gorbachev expected that these purges would rouse the remaining members of the nomenklatura to support perestroika.[64]

This attack on the party served as an ultimatum to higher government and party officials who were less inclined on following Gorbachevs path of reform. Nevertheless, as economic and social turmoil ensued, Gorbachev went too far in his denunciation of the party, angering party members and causing amplified disillusionment within the proletariat. Examples of this are rife: behind the closed doors of the January 1987 Plenum of the Central Committee, Gorbachev [] accused the Party of resisting reform.[65] In 1988, Gorbachev also fashioned himself a scapegoat for economic failures: the Ligachev-led conservatives were strangling the reforms.[66] Up until 1988, this attack on the party nomenklatura did not have far-reaching repercussions, but as Gorbachev nurtured and strengthened the reformist faction of the CPSU, infighting between the conservatives and reformist began having two negative effects. The first one was widespread public loss of support for the party; this can be seen in the drop in Communist Party membership applications and rise in resignations. By 1988 the rate of membership growth had fallen to a minuscule 0.1 per cent, and then in 1989 membership actually fell, for the first time since 1954.[67] The other negative repercussion lay in how party infighting led to the inability of the CPSU to draft sensible legislation. This was due to Gorbachev continuously altering the faction he supported in order to prevent one from seizing power. Such a characteristic can be spotted in his legislative actions regarding the economy and social sector, which mirrored his incessant political shifts from the reformist faction to the conservative one. In 1990, Gorbachev opted for more de-centralisation and even greater autonomy in Soviet republics by creating the Presidential Council where heads of each republic were able to have a say in his decisions. However, he reversed course in 1991 with the creation of the Security Council where heads of republics now had to report to him directly, thus reasserting party control. Concerning the economy, Gorbachev acted similarly: as earlier explained, his first batch of reforms in 1986 stressed the need for centralisation with super-ministries, but he changed his mind the year after with his Cooperatives and Enterprise Laws and agricultural reforms. Gorbachev constantly

switched course [] [his] indecisiveness on the economy and the Soviet political system has generated more confusion than meaningful action. [] After a time, no one seemed to be complying with orders from the centre.[68]

In effect, it is possible to see here an overlapping of approaches since the way party infighting affected Gorbachevs reforms can be seen as a contingent factor that obstructed reform or a decisional error on Gorbachevs behalf for having reformed the party in such a manner.

Overall, this incoherence in his reform process can be seen as the result of his own decisional mistakes. Having succeeded in his Glasnost of society and the party, Gorbachev had allowed high expectation to flourish regarding his economic reforms, expectations that were gradually deceived. Amidst this social turmoil, economic downturn, party infighting and widespread disillusionment, Soviet republics began to move towards independence as the central command of the Kremlin progressively lost control and became evermore incoherent in its reforms.

The Death of the Union

As the Soviet Union descended into a state of socio-economic chaos, individual republics began to voice their plea to leave the union. This can be seen as having been triggered by the combination of three decisional errors on Gorbachevs behalf. The first one was his miscalculation of the outcome of Glasnost, as by 1990

all 15 republics began to issue calls for either economic sovereigntyor political independence. []Gorbachevs efforts to induce local groups to take initiative on their own were being implemented, but not always in the way he had anticipated.[69]

Originally, initiative had never been thought of as a topic that could lead to independence movements, instead Gorbachev had introduced this drive to stimulate workers and managers to find solutions that were akin to the problems felt in their factory or region. Adding to this mistake were Gorbachevs failed economic reforms with Perestroika, and as the Unions economic state degenerated, individual republics began to feel that independence was the key to their salvation. Gorbachevs

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What Explains the Collapse of the USSR?

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Micronation – MicroWiki – Wikia

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A micronation sometimes referred to as a model country or new country project is a political entity that intends to replace, resemble, mock, or exist on equal footing with a recognised and/or sovereign state.

Some micronations are created with serious intent, while others exist as a hobby or stunt.

The term micronation, which literally means small nation, is a neologism. The first reference in English to the word micronation in a popular book appears in the 1978 edition of The People’s Almanac #2, where David Wallechinsky and Irving Wallace write:

“Established in 1972 by a declaration of sovereignty by a group of Californians, the Republic of Minerva has more claim to authenticity than most micronations because it actually has some land, although it disappears at high tide. The republic consists of two coral reefs 17 miles apart in the South Pacific Ocean some 3,400 miles southwest of Honolulu and 915 miles northeast of Auckland, New Zealand.”

The term has since come to be used also retrospectively to refer to earlier unrecognised entities, some of which date to as far back as the 17th century. Micronations should not be confused with internationally recognised but geographically tiny nations such as Fiji, Monaco, and San Marino, for which the term microstate is more commonly used.

Micronations generally have a number of common features:

A criterion which distinguishes micronations from imaginary countries, eco-villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations, is that these latter entities do not usually seek to be recognised as sovereign.

The Montevideo Convention was one attempt to create a legal definition distinguishing between states and non-states. Some micronations meet this definition, while some do not. The academic study of micronations and microstates is termed ‘micropatrology’, and the hobby or activity of establishing and operating micronations is known as micronationalism.

The Principality of Sealand is one of the more recognised micronations in the world.

The 17th century saw the rise to prominence of a world order dominated by the existing concept of the nation-state, following the Treaty of Westphalia. However, the earliest recognisable micronations can be dated to the 18th Century. Most were founded by eccentric adventurers or business speculators, and several were remarkably successful. These include the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, ruled by the Clunies-Ross family, and Sarawak, ruled by the “White Rajas” of the Brooke family. Both were independent personal fiefdoms in all but name, and survived until well into the 20th Century.

Less successful were the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia (1860-1862) in southern Chile and Argentina, and the Kingdom of Sedang (1888-1890) in French Indochina. The oldest extant micronation to arise in modern times is the Kingdom of Redonda, founded in 1865 in the Caribbean. It failed to establish itself as a sovereign nation-state, but has nonetheless managed to survive into the present day as a unique literary foundation with its own king and aristocracy although it is not without its controversies; there are presently at least four competing claimants to the Redondan throne.

M. C. Harman, owner of the UK island of Lundy in the early decades of the 20th century, issued private coinage and postage stamps for local use. Although the island was ruled as a virtual fiefdom, its owner never claimed to be independent of the United Kingdom. Thus, Lundy can at best be described as a precursor to later territorial micronations.

The 1960s and 1970s saw a ‘micronational renaissance’, with the foundation of a number of territorial micronations, some of which still persist to this day. The first of these, the Principality of Sealand, was founded in 1967 on an abandoned World War II gun platform in the North Sea, and has endured a military coup, court rulings and rough weather throughout its existence. Others were based on schemes requiring the construction of artificial islands, but only two are known to have risen above sea level.

The Republic of Rose Island was a 400 square metre platform built in international waters off the Italian town of Rimini, in the Adriatic Sea in 1968. It is reported to have issued stamps, minted currency, and declared Esperanto to be its official language. Shortly after completion, however, it was destroyed by the Italian Navy.

The Republic of Minerva was set up in 1972 as a libertarian new country project by Nevada businessman Michael Oliver. Oliver’s group conducted dredging operations at the Minerva Reefs, a shoal located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji. They succeeded in creating a small artificial island, but their efforts at securing international recognition met with little success, and near-neighbour Tonga sent a military force to the area and annexed it.

On April 1, 1977, bibliophile Richard Booth, declared the UK town of Hay-on-Wye an “independent republic” with himself as its king. The town has subsequently developed a healthy tourism industry based literary interests, and “King Richard” (whose sceptre consists of a recycled toilet plunger) continues to dole out Hay-on-Wye peerages and honours to anyone prepared to pay for them. The official website for Hay-on-Wye, however, admits that the declaration of independence, along with the later claim to have annexed the USA and renaming it the “US of Hay” were all merely publicity stunts.

Micronationalism has since evolved mainly into hobbies, and with younger participants. Although no all-compassing authority on micronations exists, nor any comprehensive listing, it is known that a number of widely diverse communities and sectors persist throughout the micronational world, often on the internet.

The internet provided micronationalism with a new outlet, and the number of entities able to be termed as ‘micronations’ skyrocketed from around 2000 onwards as a result. Exact figures may never be known, but it is thought that many thousands of micronations now exist throughout the world. However, with this new outlet of the internet came a large anomaly between micronationalists and micronations. Before the advent of micronationalism on the internet, micronations were few and far between, and were able to coax many hundreds of people in their citizenry. At present, many micronations are ‘One-man micronations’ or ‘Egostans’, with only one or two people being citizens of the micronation. The majority are based in English-speaking countries, but a significant minority arose elsewhere in other countries as well.

Micronational activities were disproportionately common throughout Australia in the final three decades of the 20th century. The Principality of Hutt River started the ball rolling in 1970, when Prince Leonard (born Leonard George Casley) declared his farming property independent after a dispute over wheat quotas. 1976 witnessed the creation of the Province of Bumbunga on a rural property near Snowtown, South Australia, by an eccentric British monarchist named Alex Brackstone, and a dispute over flood damage to farm properties led to the creation of the Independent State of Rainbow Creek in northeastern Victoria by Tom Barnes in 1979. In New South Wales, a political protest by a group of Sydney teenagers led to the 1981 creation of the Empire of Atlantium, and a mortgage foreclosure dispute led George and Stephanie Muirhead of Rockhampton, Queensland to secede as the Principality of Marlborough in 1993. Although some newer micronations, like Ding Dong, were created purely for the experience of forming and running a micronation.

Yet another Australian secessionist state came into existence on May 1, 2003, when Peter Gillies declared the independence of his 66 hectare northern New South Wales farm as the Principality of United Oceania after an unresolved year-long dispute with Port Stephens Council over Gillies’ plans to construct a private residence on the property.

In the present day, the following categories are generally accepted as being standard:

Micronations of the first type tend to be fairly serious in outlook, involve sometimes significant numbers of relatively mature participants, and often engage in highly sophisticated, structured activities that emulate the operations of real-world nations. A few examples of these include:

These micronations also tend to be fairly serious, and involve significant numbers of people interested in recreating the past, especially the Roman or Mediaeval past, and living it in a vicarious way. Examples of these include:

With literally thousands in existence, micronations of this type are by far the most common. They are ephemeral, and tend to be Internet-based, rarely surviving more than a few months, although there are notable exceptions. They generally involve a handful of people, and are concerned primarily with arrogating to their founders the outward symbols of statehood. The use of grand-sounding titles, awards, honours, and heraldic symbols derived from European feudal traditions, and the conduct of ‘wars’ with other micronations, are common manifestations of their activities. Examples include:

Micronations of this type include stand-alone artistic projects, deliberate exercises in creative online and offline fiction, artistic creations, and even popular films. Examples include:

These types of micronations are typically associated with a political or social reform agenda. Some are maintained as media and public relations exercises. Examples of this type include:

A number of micronations have been established for fraudulent purposes, by seeking to link questionable or illegal financial actions with seemingly legitimate nations. Some examples of these are:

A small number of micronations are founded with genuine aspirations to be sovereign states. Many are based on historical anomalies or eccentric interpretations of law, and tend to be easily confused with established states. These types of micronations are usually located in small (usually disputed) territorial enclaves, generate limited economic activity founded on tourism, philatelic and numismatic sales, and are at best tolerated or at worst ignored by other nations. This category includes:

New-country projects are attempts to found completely new nation-states. They typically involve plans to construct artificial islands (few of which are ever realised), and a large percentage have embraced or purported to embrace libertarian or democratic principles. Examples include:

Seasteading is a lifestyle of making the oceans, or at least water-borne craft, one’s home. Most seasteads historically have been sailing craft, whether perhaps demonstrated by the the Chinese Junk, modified canoes of Oceania, or even the famous Pirates of Libertaria. In modern times in the west the cruising sailboat has begun to be used in the same manner. The term seasteading is of uncertain origin, used at least as early as the turn of the century by Uffa Fox, and others; many feel that catamaran designer and historian James Wharram and his designs represent ideal seasteads. More recently, American sailor and ecological philosopher Jerome FitzGerald has been a leading and effective proponent of seasteading, mostly teaching the concept through the environmental/sailing organisation “The Oar Club”. The Seasteader’s Institute in Hilo, Hawaii offers classes, boat-building opportunities, education in forage foods, diving, and other aspects of a Seasteading lifestyle.

Some theoretical seasteads are floating platforms which could be used to create sovereign micronations, or otherwise serve the ends of ocean colonisation. The concept is introduced in a paper by Wayne Gramlich, and later in a book by Gramlich, Patri Friedman and Andy House, which is available for free online. Their research aims at a more practical approach to developing micronations, based on currently available technology and a pragmatic approach to financial aspects.

The authors argue that seasteading has the potential to drastically lower the barrier to entry to the governing industry. This allows for more experimentation and innovation with varying social, political, and economic systems. Potential business opportunities include data havens, offshore aquaculture, and casinos, as well as the gamut of typical business endeavours.

There has been a small but growing amount of attention paid to the micronation phenomenon in recent years. Most interest in academic circles has been concerned with studying the apparently anomalous legal situations affecting such entities as Sealand and the Hutt River Province, in exploring how some micronations represent grassroots political ideas, and in the creation of role-playing entities for instructional purposes.

In 2000, Professor Fabrice O’Driscoll, of the University Aix-Marseille University, published a book about micronations: Ils ne sigent pas l’ONU (“They are not in the United Nations”), with more than 300 pages dedicated to the subject.

Several recent publications have dealt with the subject of particular historic micronations, including Republic of Indian Stream (University Press), by Dartmouth College geographer Daniel Doan, The Land that Never Was, about Gregor MacGregor, and the Principality of Poyais, by David Sinclair (ISBN 0-7553-1080-2).

In May 2000, an article in the New York Times entitled “Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online” brought the phenomenon to a wider audience for the first time. Similar articles were published by newspapers such as the French Liberation, the Italian La Repubblica, the Greek “Ta Nea”, by O Estado de So Paulo in Brazil, and Portugal’s Viso at around the same time.

The Democratic Empire of Sunda, which claims to be the Government of the Kingdom of Sunda (an ancient kingdom, in present-day Indonesia) in exile in Switzerland, made media headlines when two so-called princesses, Lamia Roro Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misri, 21, and Fathia Reza Wiranatadikusumah Siliwangi Al Misiri, 23, were detained by Malaysian authorities at the border with Brunei, on 13 July 2007, and are charged for entering the country without a valid pass.

In August 2003 a Summit of Micronations took place in Helsinki at Finlandia Hall, the site of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). The summit was attended by delegations such as the Principality of Sealand, Neue Slowenische Kunst|NSK, Ladonia, the Transnational Republic, and by scholars from various academic institutions.

From November 7 through December 17, 2004, the Reg Vardy Gallery at the University of Sunderland (UK) hosted an exhibition on the subject of micronational group identity and symbolism. The exhibition focused on numismatic, philatelic and vexillological artefacts, as well as other symbols and instruments created and used by a number of micronations from the 1950s through to the present day. A summit of micronations conducted as part of this exhibition was attended by representatives of Sealand, Elgaland-Vargaland, New Utopia, Atlantium, Frestonia and Fusa. The exhibition was reprised at the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York City from 24 June29 July of the following year. Another exhibition about micronations opened at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo in early 2007.

The Sunderland summit was later featured in a 5-part BBC light entertainment television series called “How to Start Your Own Country” presented by Danny Wallace. The series told the story of Wallace’s experience of founding a micronation, Lovely, located in his London flat. It screened in the UK in August 2005. Similar programs have also aired on television networks in other parts of Europe.

On 9 September 2006, The Guardian newspaper reported that the travel guide company Lonely Planet had published the world’s first travel guide devoted to micronations, the Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations (ISBN 1741047307).

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Hello, you may ask yourself “what is that micronation? Never heard of it”. Well it’s because I established it (for fun). Though I still … 2015-12-22T17:31:30Z

Hi. Welcome to MicroWiki. Only administrators are allowed to create threads in the announcement board. 2015-12-24T15:11:00Z

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Ah, I understand the confusion. Yes, to users on this site, this is MicroWiki. However, from a .org user’s perspective, this site has the nickn… 2014-06-21T13:03:01Z

Well, I understand you, the only reason for my post on this forum is that WUS is almost not active and I love myself that moves a little and t… 2014-06-21T14:29:31Z

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Micronation – MicroWiki – Wikia

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Learn More About CryptoCurrency – Everything About …

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Digital Asset Holdings has announced it intends to open-source DAML, the smart contracting language it acquired from startup Elevence earlier this year. Though no date has been set for the transition, the Blythe Masters-led blockchain startup credited its bid to advance industry adoption of the tech as the impetus for the move. However, Digital Asset said work needs to be done to increase DAMLs functionality and documentation so that it is ready for use outside the startup. The company wrote: By making DAML more widely available, we intend to enable clients, partners and other vendors to develop, modify and extend DAML Libraries for use with the Digital Asset Platform or other platforms, fostering a vibrant ecosystem of vendors and…

Advertised sites are not endorsed by us. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. After experimenting the payment of bus tickets with virtual currency, Bitcoin, since 2 August 2016, a French companyhas become the first in its sector to set up this type of payment across Europe. Isilines is a new offering of the leading long-distance passenger transport by bus operator in Europe, Transdev Group, a French-based international private public transport group. Isilines lines is growing to cover the entire French territory. Transdevs other subsidiary is Eurolines, a private transporters association created in 1985. The grouphas more than 30 years of experience in this market, offering easy access, safe and environmentally…

The number of attacks on computers is increasing almost exponentially these days. The latest one to make news is the Rex Linux Trojan. This Swiss knife of a malicious program is a piece of work capable of running DDoS attacks, hold the infected computer for ransom (ransomware) and even mine Bitcoin without the users knowledge. Built on Googles Go platform, the Trojan was first identified by cyber security firms three months ago. The earlier version of Rex Linux Trojan was much weaker and it was found targeting Drupal websites. Security experts were able to defeat the ransomware easily. However, Rex Linux Trojan as evolved since then to become a considerable threat. According to reports, the malware uses peer to peer communication…

Advertised sites are not endorsed by us. They may be unsafe, untrustworthy, or illegal in your jurisdiction. E-commerce giant Rakutenhas acquired the IP assets of the Bitnet payment platform and opened a blockchain lab in Belfast, U.K. Rakuten Blockchain Lab (RBL) will be a research and development organization focused on blockchain technology and its applications tofintech and e-commerce. Rakuten invested in Bitnet Technologies Ltd., a blockchain-powered digital payments platform, in 2014. Rakuten began accepting bitcoin payments last year using Bitnet, CCN reported. Rakuten.com is similar to Amazon in that it serves as a platform for multiple merchants, all of whom have been able toaccept bitcoin through theBitnet partnership. Bitnet Veterans To…

It is Tuesday morning, and time to take a look at the bitcoin price for the first time today. Action overnight was pretty weak, as it has been for the majority of the last few days, and we didnt really get any opportunity to get in and out the markets as we would have liked. This doesnt mean that we arent going to see any action today, but it may weaken our key levels purely because we havent had any recent breakouts. As has been pretty standard so far this week, we are going to stick with a really tight range, and try to go at price on a breakout of our range, entering scalp positions towards relatively tight targets. This way we get to keep our risk management tight, but still get the opportunity to draw a small profit from the market on…

The Bundy Ranch has had its PayPal accounts blocked. The Bundys, a US family of cattle ranchers in Nevada, rose to fame (notoriety?) in 2014 for refusing to pay the federal government for grazing rights on federal lands. This conflict resulted in an armed standoff between federal agents and supporters of the Bundys, many of them members of private militias from across the country. The standoff ended without violence, and members of the Bundy family had been receiving donations in support of their plight through PayPal. The Facebook page run to support the Bundy family and their struggle against the federal government posted the bad news early on Tuesday morning: Another nail in the coffin of traditional payment systems as a reliable donation source The refusal of…

The way we vote relies on a system that has undergone little to no changes over the past few decades. Some countries switched from paper ballots to electronic voting, but the process remains the same. Over in Australia, the postal service indicated they want to use blockchain technology for digital voting. This should improve efficiency and provide more transparency. A recent submission was made to the Victorian Electoral Matters Committee regarding blockchain-based voting. The current voting process is cumbersome, far from efficient, and rather costly. By embracing blockchain solutions, all of these concerns would be alleviated, while improving the counting of votes at the same time. The Blockchain is A Versatile Technology Many people know the blockchain as the…

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Nucleic acid double helix – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: at 9:19 am

In molecular biology, the term double helix[1] refers to the structure formed by double-stranded molecules of nucleic acids such as DNA. The double helical structure of a nucleic acid complex arises as a consequence of its secondary structure, and is a fundamental component in determining its tertiary structure. The term entered popular culture with the publication in 1968 of The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA, by James Watson.

The DNA double helix polymer of nucleic acid, held together by nucleotides which base pair together.[2] In B-DNA, the most common double helical structure found in nature, the double helix is right-handed with about 1010.5 base pairs per turn.[3] This translates into about 20-21 nucleotides per turn. The double helix structure of DNA contains a major groove and minor groove. In B-DNA the major groove is wider than the minor groove.[2] Given the difference in widths of the major groove and minor groove, many proteins which bind to B-DNA do so through the wider major groove.[4]

The double-helix model of DNA structure was first published in the journal Nature by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953,[5] (X,Y,Z coordinates in 1954[6]) based upon the crucial X-ray diffraction image of DNA labeled as “Photo 51”, from Rosalind Franklin in 1952,[7] followed by her more clarified DNA image with Raymond Gosling,[8][9]Maurice Wilkins, Alexander Stokes, and Herbert Wilson,[10] as well as base-pairing chemical and biochemical information by Erwin Chargaff.[11][12][13][14][15][16] The previous model was triple-stranded DNA.[17]

The realization that the structure of DNA is that of a double-helix elucidated the mechanism of base pairing by which genetic information is stored and copied in living organisms and is widely considered one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century. Crick, Wilkins, and Watson each received one third of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contributions to the discovery.[18] (Franklin, whose breakthrough X-ray diffraction data was used to formulate the DNA structure, died in 1958, and thus was ineligible to be nominated for a Nobel Prize.)

Hybridization is the process of complementary base pairs binding to form a double helix. Melting is the process by which the interactions between the strands of the double helix are broken, separating the two nucleic acid strands. These bonds are weak, easily separated by gentle heating, enzymes, or physical force. Melting occurs preferentially at certain points in the nucleic acid.[19]T and A rich sequences are more easily melted than C and G rich regions. Particular base steps are also susceptible to DNA melting, particularly T A and T G base steps.[20] These mechanical features are reflected by the use of sequences such as TATA at the start of many genes to assist RNA polymerase in melting the DNA for transcription.

Strand separation by gentle heating, as used in PCR, is simple, providing the molecules have fewer than about 10,000 base pairs (10 kilobase pairs, or 10 kbp). The intertwining of the DNA strands makes long segments difficult to separate. The cell avoids this problem by allowing its DNA-melting enzymes (helicases) to work concurrently with topoisomerases, which can chemically cleave the phosphate backbone of one of the strands so that it can swivel around the other. Helicases unwind the strands to facilitate the advance of sequence-reading enzymes such as DNA polymerase.

The geometry of a base, or base pair step can be characterized by 6 coordinates: Shift, slide, rise, tilt, roll, and twist. These values precisely define the location and orientation in space of every base or base pair in a nucleic acid molecule relative to its predecessor along the axis of the helix. Together, they characterize the helical structure of the molecule. In regions of DNA or RNA where the “normal” structure is disrupted, the change in these values can be used to describe such disruption.

For each base pair, considered relative to its predecessor, there are the following base pair geometries to consider:[21][22][23]

Rise and twist determine the handedness and pitch of the helix. The other coordinates, by contrast, can be zero. Slide and shift are typically small in B-DNA, but are substantial in A- and Z-DNA. Roll and tilt make successive base pairs less parallel, and are typically small.

Note that “tilt” has often been used differently in the scientific literature, referring to the deviation of the first, inter-strand base-pair axis from perpendicularity to the helix axis. This corresponds to slide between a succession of base pairs, and in helix-based coordinates is properly termed “inclination”.

At least three DNA conformations are believed to be found in nature, A-DNA, B-DNA, and Z-DNA. The “B” form described by James D. Watson and Francis Crick is believed to predominate in cells.[24] It is 23.7 wide and extends 34 per 10 bp of sequence. The double helix makes one complete turn about its axis every 10.4-10.5 base pairs in solution. This frequency of twist (known as the helical pitch) depends largely on stacking forces that each base exerts on its neighbours in the chain. The absolute configuration of the bases determines the direction of the helical curve for a given conformation.

A-DNA and Z-DNA differ significantly in their geometry and dimensions to B-DNA, although still form helical structures. It was long thought that the A form only occurs in dehydrated samples of DNA in the laboratory, such as those used in crystallographic experiments, and in hybrid pairings of DNA and RNA strands, but DNA dehydration does occur in vivo, and A-DNA is now known to have biological functions. Segments of DNA that cells have been methylated for regulatory purposes may adopt the Z geometry, in which the strands turn about the helical axis the opposite way to A-DNA and B-DNA. There is also evidence of protein-DNA complexes forming Z-DNA structures.

Other conformations are possible; A-DNA, B-DNA, C-DNA, E-DNA,[25]L-DNA (the enantiomeric form of D-DNA),[26] P-DNA,[27] S-DNA, Z-DNA, etc. have been described so far.[28] In fact, only the letters F, Q, U, V, and Y are now[update] available to describe any new DNA structure that may appear in the future.[29][30] However, most of these forms have been created synthetically and have not been observed in naturally occurring biological systems.[citation needed] There are also triple-stranded DNA forms and quadruplex forms such as the G-quadruplex.

Twin helical strands form the DNA backbone. Another double helix may be found by tracing the spaces, or grooves, between the strands. These voids are adjacent to the base pairs and may provide a binding site. As the strands are not directly opposite each other, the grooves are unequally sized. One groove, the major groove, is 22 wide and the other, the minor groove, is 12 wide.[34] The narrowness of the minor groove means that the edges of the bases are more accessible in the major groove. As a result, proteins like transcription factors that can bind to specific sequences in double-stranded DNA usually make contacts to the sides of the bases exposed in the major groove.[4] This situation varies in unusual conformations of DNA within the cell (see below), but the major and minor grooves are always named to reflect the differences in size that would be seen if the DNA is twisted back into the ordinary B form.

Alternative non-helical models were briefly considered in the late 1970s as a potential solution to problems in the replication of DNA in plasmids and chromatin. However, the models were set aside in favor of the double-helical model due to subsequent experimental advances such as X-ray crystallography of DNA duplexes and later the nucleosome core particle, as well as the discovery of topoisomerases, and these non-double-helical models are not currently accepted by the mainstream scientific community.[35][36]

Single-stranded nucleic acids do not adopt a helical formation, and are described by models such as the random coil or worm-like chain.[citation needed]

DNA is a relatively rigid polymer, typically modelled as a worm-like chain. It has three significant degrees of freedom; bending, twisting and compression, each of which cause particular limitations on what is possible with DNA within a cell. Twisting/torsional stiffness is important for the circularisation of DNA and the orientation of DNA bound proteins relative to each other and bending/axial stiffness is important for DNA wrapping and circularisation and protein interactions. Compression/extension is relatively unimportant in the absence of high tension.

DNA in solution does not take a rigid structure but is continually changing conformation due to thermal vibration and collisions with water molecules, which makes classical measures of rigidity impossible. Hence, the bending stiffness of DNA is measured by the persistence length, defined as:

This value may be directly measured using an atomic force microscope to directly image DNA molecules of various lengths. In an aqueous solution, the average persistence length is 46-50nm or 140-150 base pairs (the diameter of DNA is 2nm), although can vary significantly. This makes DNA a moderately stiff molecule.

The persistence length of a section of DNA is somewhat dependent on its sequence, and this can cause significant variation. The variation is largely due to base stacking energies and the residues which extend into the minor and major grooves.

The entropic flexibility of DNA is remarkably consistent with standard polymer physics models, such as the Kratky-Porod worm-like chain model.[citation needed] Consistent with the worm-like chain model is the observation that bending DNA is also described by Hooke’s law at very small (sub-piconewton) forces. However, for DNA segments less than the persistence length, the bending force is approximately constant and behaviour deviates from the worm-like chain predictions.

This effect results in unusual ease in circularising small DNA molecules and a higher probability of finding highly bent sections of DNA.[citation needed]

DNA molecules often have a preferred direction to bend, i.e. anisotropic bending. This is, again, due to the properties of the bases which make up the DNA sequence – a random sequence will have no preferred bend direction, i.e. isotropic bending.

Preferred DNA bend direction is determined by the stability of stacking each base on top of the next. If unstable base stacking steps are always found on one side of the DNA helix then the DNA will preferentially bend away from that direction. As bend angle increases then steric hindrances and ability to roll the residues relative to each other also play a role, especially in the minor groove. A and T residues will be preferentially be found in the minor grooves on the inside of bends. This effect is particularly seen in DNA-protein binding where tight DNA bending is induced, such as in nucleosome particles. See base step distortions above.

DNA molecules with exceptional bending preference can become intrinsically bent. This was first observed in trypanosomatid kinetoplast DNA. Typical sequences which cause this contain stretches of 4-6 T and A residues separated by G and C rich sections which keep the A and T residues in phase with the minor groove on one side of the molecule. For example:

The intrinsically bent structure is induced by the ‘propeller twist’ of base pairs relative to each other allowing unusual bifurcated Hydrogen-bonds between base steps. At higher temperatures this structure, and so the intrinsic bend, is lost.

All DNA which bends anisotropically has, on average, a longer persistence length and greater axial stiffness. This increased rigidity is required to prevent random bending which would make the molecule act isotropically.

DNA circularization depends on both the axial (bending) stiffness and torsional (rotational) stiffness of the molecule. For a DNA molecule to successfully circularize it must be long enough to easily bend into the full circle and must have the correct number of bases so the ends are in the correct rotation to allow bonding to occur. The optimum length for circularization of DNA is around 400 base pairs (136nm), with an integral number of turns of the DNA helix, i.e. multiples of 10.4 base pairs. Having a non integral number of turns presents a significant energy barrier for circularization, for example a 10.4 x 30 = 312 base pair molecule will circularize hundreds of times faster than 10.4 x 30.5 317 base pair molecule.[38]

Longer stretches of DNA are entropically elastic under tension. When DNA is in solution, it undergoes continuous structural variations due to the energy available in the thermal bath of the solvent. This is due to the thermal vibration of the molecule combined with continual collisions with water molecules. For entropic reasons, more compact relaxed states are thermally accessible than stretched out states, and so DNA molecules are almost universally found in a tangled relaxed layouts. For this reason, a single molecule of DNA will stretch under a force, straightening it out. Using optical tweezers, the entropic stretching behavior of DNA has been studied and analyzed from a polymer physics perspective, and it has been found that DNA behaves largely like the Kratky-Porod worm-like chain model under physiologically accessible energy scales.

Under sufficient tension and positive torque, DNA is thought to undergo a phase transition with the bases splaying outwards and the phosphates moving to the middle. This proposed structure for overstretched DNA has been called “P-form DNA”, in honor of Linus Pauling who originally presented it as a possible structure of DNA.[27]

The mechanical properties of DNA under compression have not been characterized due to experimental difficulties in preventing the polymer from bending under the compressive force.[citation needed]

The B form of the DNA helix twists 360 per 10.4-10.5 bp in the absence of torsional strain. But many molecular biological processes can induce torsional strain. A DNA segment with excess or insufficient helical twisting is referred to, respectively, as positively or negatively “supercoiled”. DNA in vivo is typically negatively supercoiled, which facilitates the unwinding (melting) of the double-helix required for RNA transcription.

Within the cell most DNA is topologically restricted. DNA is typically found in closed loops (such as plasmids in prokaryotes) which are topologically closed, or as very long molecules whose diffusion coefficients produce effectively topologically closed domains. Linear sections of DNA are also commonly bound to proteins or physical structures (such as membranes) to form closed topological loops.

Francis Crick was one of the first to propose the importance of linking numbers when considering DNA supercoils. In a paper published in 1976, Crick outlined the problem as follows:

In considering supercoils formed by closed double-stranded molecules of DNA certain mathematical concepts, such as the linking number and the twist, are needed. The meaning of these for a closed ribbon is explained and also that of the writhing number of a closed curve. Some simple examples are given, some of which may be relevant to the structure of chromatin.[39]

Analysis of DNA topology uses three values:

Any change of T in a closed topological domain must be balanced by a change in W, and vice versa. This results in higher order structure of DNA. A circular DNA molecule with a writhe of 0 will be circular. If the twist of this molecule is subsequently increased or decreased by supercoiling then the writhe will be appropriately altered, making the molecule undergo plectonemic or toroidal superhelical coiling.

When the ends of a piece of double stranded helical DNA are joined so that it forms a circle the strands are topologically knotted. This means the single strands cannot be separated any process that does not involve breaking a strand (such as heating). The task of un-knotting topologically linked strands of DNA falls to enzymes known as topoisomerases. These enzymes are dedicated to un-knotting circular DNA by cleaving one or both strands so that another double or single stranded segment can pass through. This un-knotting is required for the replication of circular DNA and various types of recombination in linear DNA which have similar topological constraints.

For many years, the origin of residual supercoiling in eukaryotic genomes remained unclear. This topological puzzle was referred to by some as the “linking number paradox”.[40] However, when experimentally determined structures of the nucleosome displayed an over-twisted left-handed wrap of DNA around the histone octamer,[41][42] this “paradox” was considered to be solved by the scientific community.

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Ayn Rand – IMDb

Posted: August 19, 2016 at 4:19 am

Edit Personal Details Other Works: Newsletter: “The Ayn Rand Letter” See more Publicity Listings: 1 Biographical Movie | 17 Print Biographies | 1 Portrayal | 1 Interview | 1 Article | See more Height: 5’2″(1.57m) Edit Did You Know? Personal Quote: Today, we live in the Age of Envy. “Envy” is not the emotion I have in mind, but it is the clearest manifestation of an emotion that has remained nameless; it is the only element of a complex emotional sum that men have permitted themselves to identify. Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion and, therefore, it serves as a semihuman cover for so inhuman an emotion that … See more Trivia: Was a “friendly witness” before the House Un-American Activities Committee, testifying on alleged Communist “influences” in Hollywood. See more Trademark: In her books, characters often give very long speeches, sometimes stretching over dozens of pages, explaining their philosophy of life. Rand used this as an opportunity to elaborate Objectivism, the philosophic system she is credited with creating, but also to showcase her view of other philosophic systems whose characteristic concepts conflicted with those of Objectivism. See more Message Boards Recent Posts

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Ayn Rand – IMDb

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Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, den frie encyklopdi

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Ayn Rand (2. februar 1905 i Sankt Petersborg 6. marts 1982 i New York), fdt Alisa Sinovjevna Rosenbaum (Russisk: ) var en Russisk/amerikansk forfatter og filosof, bedst kendt for sin filosofi kaldet objektivisme og bgerne Kun den strke er fri (Engelsk: The Fountainhead) og – og verden sklvede (Engelsk: Atlas Shrugged).

Hun blev fdt i St. Petersborg i Rusland som den ldste af tre dtre af en jdisk, men hovedsageligt agnostisk, familie. Hendes forldre var Sinovij Sakharovitj Rosenbaum og Anna Borisovna Rosenbaum, og hendes to yngre sstre var Natasja (1907) og Eleanora “Nora” (1910). Hun var tolv under den russiske revolution i 1917, og hendes familieliv blev forstyrret af opkomsten af Bolsjevik-partiet. Hendes faders apotek blev konfiskeret af sovjetterne, og familien flygtede til Krim for at komme sig konomisk og her frdiggjorde hun grundskolen. Hendes personlige oplevelser af det kommunistiske regime var med til at forme hendes politiske livsbane. Ayn Rand emigrerede til USA i 1925, resten af familien, p nr Eleanora, dde alle under 2. verdenskrig. Eleanora dde i 1999.

Fra en tidlig alder fattede Ayn Rand en interesse for litteratur og film, og op igennem sin barndom lste hun mange af de klassiske romantiske forfattere, Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo senere beskrev hun Victor Hugo som sin favoritforfatter. P St. Petersborgs Universitet lste hun filosofi og historie, og var her mest optaget af Edmond Rostand, Friedrich Schiller og Fjodor Dostojevskij, svel som filosofferne Nietzsche (Sledes talte Zarathustra) og isr Aristoteles (Organon (Logik)) som hun ans som verdenshistoriens mest afgrende filosof. I 1924 optoges hun p fakultetet for dramaturgi for at studere til filmmanuskriptforfatter. Men i 1925 blev hun tildelt et visum til USA for at besge sin familie, og efter et kort ophold hos noget familie i Chicago besluttede hun sig for aldrig at vende tilbage til Sovjet hvis kommunistiske regime hun afskyede. I stedet tog hun til Los Angeles/Hollywood for at forsge sig som filmmanuskriptforfatter og ndrede i den forbindelse sit navn til “Ayn Rand”. “Ayn” er en tilpasning af det finske navn “Aino”, og “Rand” kommer sandsynligvis af at hendes oprindelige navn Alisa Sinovjevna Rosenbaum.

I Hollywood startede Ayn Rand med at tage forskelligt forefaldende arbejde, det var her, hun som statist i en indspilning af Cecil B. DeMilles King of Kings, opsgte sin kommende mand, skuespilleren Frank O’Connor. De to blev gift i 1929, og i 1931 blev Ayn Rand amerikansk statsborger.

Hendes frste professionelle succes som forfatter kom i 1932 med salget af filmanuskriptet Red Pawn til filmselskabet Universal Studios. I 1934 skrev hun stykket The Night of January 16th som hun havde stor succes med, og i 1936 udgav hun romanerne Vi der lever (originaltitel: We the Living, p dansk 1945) og i 1938 Anthem. Grundet isr Vi der levers anti-kommunistiske tema (selvbiografisk beskrivelse af det kommunistiske regimes brutalitet) og det politiske klima i 1930ernes, hvor amerikanske intellektuelle ofte var pro-kommunistiske og forblndede af Sovjet, var bgerne svre at f udgivet og blev begge drligt modtaget med meget negativ omtale til flge. Anthem kunne ikke engang udgives i USA, men mtte udgives af et engelsk forlag. Ayn Rand beskriver selv Vi der lever som sin mest selvbiografiske roman, men hverken Vi der lever eller Anthem, skrevet fr hun fandt sin egen stil, kan betegnes som vrende reprsentative for hendes forfatterskab. Vi der lever blev senere, uden Ayn Rands tilladelse, filmatiseret i Italien som Noi vivi og Addio, Kira, men blev dog hurtigt censureret, efter det blev benbart for fascisterne, at de var lige s antifascistiske som de var antikommunistiske. Filmene blev genredigeret, nu med Ayn Rands tilladelse, og genudgivet i 1986.

I 1935 pbegyndte Ayn Rand manuskriptet til Kun den strke er fri (Originaltitel: The Fountainhead), som i modstning til Vi der levers politiske tema tog udgangspunkt i etiske dilemmaer; frihed, uafhngighed og personlig integritet. Bogens hovedperson, Howard Roark, er frste instans af Ayn Rands gennemgende arketype af den ideelle mand, der gennem personlig integritet og strben formr at stte sine ideer igennem. Kun den strke er fri skulle tage hende syv r at frdiggre, og som med hendes tidligere bger vise sig ualmindeligt svr at f udgivet. Tolv forlag afviste Kun den strke er fri, fr den i 1943 blev antaget af Bobbs-Merrill. Men trods disse besvrligheder samt drlig modtagelse af kritikere og tidens intellektuelle begyndte salget langsomt at tage fart, hovedsageligt gennem mund-til-mund-anbefalinger, og endte med at blive en verdensomspndende bestseller og give Ayn Rand blivende finansiel uafhngighed. Kun den strke er fri blev filmatiseret i 1949 med Gary Cooper og Patricia Neal i hovedrollerne, et stykke Ayn Rand selv skrev filmmanuskriptet til.

Under McCarthy-perioden vidnede hun om, hvad hun s som kommunistisk infiltration i Hollywood.

Ayn Rands strste og mest ambitise bog, Og verden sklvede (Atlas Shrugged), pbegyndt 1946, blev allerede ved udgivelsen i 1957 p forlaget Random House en international bestseller. Og verden sklvede anses som hendes mest gennemfrte og komplette udfrelse i fiktion af filosofien objektivisme og i appendikset til Og verden sklvede findes denne korte opremsning af hendes filosofi:

Min filosofi er i sin essens konceptet af mennesket som heroisk skabning med egen lykke som moralsk forml med livet, med produktiv skabelse som dets mest noble aktivitet, og fornuft som det eneste absolutte.

Bogens tema er menneskets rolle i samfundet. Ayn Rand opstiller den kapitalistiske ivrkstter og industrialist som et af de mest rvrdige medlemmer af samfundet og modsatte sig med alt hvad hun havde den populre dmonisering af samme. I Og verden sklvede forestiller hun sig sledes en verden, hvor statens stigende regulering, nationalisering og beskatning af erhvervslivet, fr de amerikanske industrialister til at g i strejke og trkke sig tilbage fra samfundet, hvorefter den amerikanske konomi langsomt men sikkert begynder at kollapse, godt hjulpet p vej af statens forsg p at adressere problemet ved at endnu flere restriktioner p en allerede restriktiv konomi. P trods af bogens centrale politiske omdrejningspunkt, tager bogen ogs s forskellige emner op som sex, musik, medicin og menneskelige kunnen.

Og verden sklvede skulle vise sig at vre Ayn Rands sidste sknlitterre vrk. Under arbejdet flyttede hun og hendes mand til New York, hvor Ayn Rand kom i forbindelse med en rkke personer der var blevet interesseret i hendes filosofiske tanker og sammen skabte de objektivismebevgelsen til at udbrede hendes filosofi. Denne gruppe mennesker omfattede bl.a. Nathaniel Branden, hans kone Barbara, Leonard Peikoff og Alan Greenspan senere USAs centralbankdirektr.

I 1960’erne og 1970’erne skrev og foredrog Ayn Rand om sin filosofi. Hendes essays i denne periode blev for strstedelen udgivet i tidsskriftet The Objectivist Newsletter (19621965), og senere det strre The Objectivist, (19661971), og til slut The Ayn Rand Letter (1971-1976)

Frank O’Connor, Ayn Rands mand, dde i 1979. Ayn Rand dde af hjertestop den 6. marts 1982 i sin lejlighed i New York. Hun er begravet i Kenisco Cemetery, Valhalla, New York, ved siden af sin mand.

Mere end to rtier efter sin dd har Ayn Rand de sidste r oplevet noget, der kunne minde om en renssance, med en stigende interesse for hendes ideer og et stigende salg af hendes bger. Alene sidste r blev der solgt over en halv million af Ayn Rands bger. I alt er der solgt over 23 millioner eksemplarer.

I 2003 fik de to administrerende direktrer for Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen og Kim Fournais, optrykt Atlas Shrugged med eget omslag og forord i 10.000 eksemplarer, og sendte den ud til alle ministre, borgmestre og amtsborgmestre, til virksomhedslederne i Danmarks to tusind strste virksomheder; til diverse meningsdannere, samt til kunderne.

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Ayn Rand – Wikipedia, den frie encyklopdi

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