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# Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M

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Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 10 Oct 2019, 22:01
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 45, Date : 23-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev, seeing a country falling behind its Western rival and a people increasingly clamoring for change, addressed the growing internal unrest in the summer of 1987 by introducing a series of reforms known as perestroika (literally, restructuring). In Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World, Mikhail Gorbachev discussed his analysis of the problems facing the USSR and his plans to solve them. Perhaps the most pressing and visible problem facing the USSR in the last 1980s came in the form of the country’s consistently mediocre economic performance, despite its vast natural resource wealth and large labor force. Gorbachev flatly admitted that economic failures were increasing and current policies were failing to offer a sustainable remedy. Failing to take advantage of the numerous scientific and technological advancements available, the USSR relied on inefficient and outdated business models. As a result, Gorbachev said, "in the last fifteen years the national income growth rates had declined by more than a half and by the beginning of the eighties had fallen to a level close to economic stagnation." With business executives focused on using more resources (in order to employ more people) instead of becoming more efficient, the country produced poor quality products unable to compete in a global economy. Further, this inefficiency led to shortages: "the Soviet Union, the world’s biggest producer of steel, raw materials, fuel and energy, has shortfalls in them due to wasteful or inefficient use."

The decrepit economy engendered social unrest and woe that only compounded economic difficulties and societal misery. Gorbachev wrote of "a gradual erosion of the ideological and moral values of our people" and noted the considerable growth in "alcoholism, drug addiction and crime." Accentuating these difficulties, the Communist government often ignored the needs of the average citizen, causing distrust and resentment. Perhaps the most destructive element of the social unraveling and inadequate government response was the mediocre education system. Gorbachev said, "Creative thinking was driven out from the social sciences, and superfluous and voluntarist assessments and judgments were declared indisputable truths." Although Gorbachev also opined about the growing public disbelief in the content of the immense government propaganda campaigns, the extent to which economic underdevelopment and social deviance gripped Soviet culture made the collapse of the USSR virtually inevitable in the minds of many observers. When combined with glasnost (literally, openness), Gorbachev’s plan that allowed greater transparency, perestroika actually served to hasten the collapse of the USSR. Contrary to its purpose, perestroika ensured that the fall of the USSR would occur sooner rather than later. Only a few years after Gorbachev implemented changes that would have been unthinkable and antithetical to the philosophy of previous leaders like Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev, the USSR fell.
Q. 1 Which of the following best describes the primary objective of the passage?

A) Argue that the implementation of perestroika caused the fall of the Soviet Union
B) Explain perestroika along with its roots and consequences
C) Analyze the pros and cons of Mikhail Gorbachev's decision to implement perestroika
D) Explain the short-falls of a communist system and offer remedies
E) Discuss the role of Mikhail Gorbachev in propelling the USSR towards ceasing to exist

Q. 2 The passage implies that which of the following was most true of the Soviet economy prior to perestroika:

A) Suffered from underperformance due to excessive government regulation and micro-management
B) Failed to meet its potential as a result of corruption and bureaucratic overhead
C) Lacked adequate natural resources to grow efficiently, regardless of business management
D) Focused on achieving high-employment rather than export-capable products
E) With declining growth and stagnation, stood in the worst shape ever in USSR history

Q. 3 Based upon the passage, the author would likely agree most with which of the following characterizations of the impact of the USSR's troubled economy during the days leading up to perestroika?

A) Cause for renewed determination in communist philosophy
B) Reason that natives looked increasingly to the West and capitalism
C) Source of frustration and discomfort among citizens that fueled social friction
D) Justification for the USSR's neglect of the needs of many citizens
E) Primary cause of the USSR's poor educational system

Q. 4 According to the passage, which of the following best describes the relationship between perestroika and the fall of the USSR?

A) Perestroika mildly delayed the fall of the USSR, although the decline of the Soviet Republic was inevitable
B) Perestroika hastened the decline of the USSR
C) Perestroika enabled the USSR to pursue much needed restructuring
D) Perestroika softened the impact from the collapse of the USSR
E) Perestroika had little relationship to the decline of the USSR, which was inevitable anyway

Q. 5 In the context of the passage, the author most likely uses the word "unthinkable" (in the last sentence) to help convey which of the following points about the changes Gorbachev implemented in perestroika?

A) They would have never crossed the mind of Lenin as being conceptually possible, let alone desirable or feasible
B) They would have been difficult for the mind of Lenin to comprehend intelligibly
C) They would have been seen by Lenin as undesirable and poor choices
D) They would have been seen by Lenin as incomprehensible yet appealing
E) They would have been considered highly desirable

Q. 6 Gorbachev offers all of the following as evidence of the need for perestroika EXCEPT:

A) Shortages in natural resources due to inefficiency
B) Declines in economic output and growth
C) Slides in moral values of citizens
D) Erosion of new and ingenious thinking
E) Frustrations with the results of past reform efforts

Q. 7 Which of the following words best describes the passage's tone?

A) Primarily Analytical
B) Highly Critical
C) Frustrated
D) Not Objective
E) Deeply Introspective

Source: Platinum GMAT
Difficulty Level: 700

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 10 Oct 2019, 22:01, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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26 Feb 2018, 01:03
Please explain question no 1, 2 & 6.
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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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15 May 2018, 11:02
soumya170293 wrote:
Please explain question no 1, 2 & 6.

kanthaliya

In order to ascertain the primary objective of a passage, it is important to consider the logical flow and conclusion of the passage.

Logical Flow/Outline:
1st Paragraph--Introduction: What is perestroika
2nd Paragraph--Why Perestroika: Explaining the business and economic problems facing the USSR
3rd Paragraph--Why Perestroika: Explaining the social and cultural problems facing the USSR
4th Paragraph--Conclusion: the consequences and effects of perestroika

Conclusion:
"When combined with glasnost (literally, openness), Gorbachev’s plan that allowed greater transparency, perestroika actually served to hasten the collapse of the USSR. Contrary to its purpose, perestroika ensured that the fall of the USSR would occur sooner rather than later."

A. The passage makes no mention of the implementation of perestroika as the problem, saying instead: "perestroika actually served to hasten the collapse of the USSR"
B.This encapsulates the outline, logical flow, and argument of the passage.
C. The passage explains why Gorbachev implemented perestroika and notes the negative consequences of this decision. However, no attention is paid to elucidating the pros of perestroika.
D. The passage does not discuss the problems of the communist system in general and philosophical terms, focusing instead on the situation in the USSR and how perestroika sought to address this situation.
E. The passage spends most of its time focusing on perestroika and the reason for its implementation, not on Mikhail Gorbachev and his role in the collapse of the USSR.

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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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15 May 2018, 18:34
Q5.
Why C , not A ?

Q7.
I am confused between Primary analytical and highly critical.
Can anyone explain why we chose A over B.
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15 May 2018, 21:04
narayandutta wrote:
Q5.
Why C , not A ?

Q7.
I am confused between Primary analytical and highly critical.
Can anyone explain why we chose A over B.

In order to understand why an author uses a word, it is important to examine the context of that word's usage:

"Only a few years after Gorbachev implemented changes that would have been unthinkable and antithetical to the philosophy of previous leaders like Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev, the USSR fell."

A. The change that is being referred to here is perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (societal openness and governmental transparency).

B. The changes in perestroika and glasnost would have seemed possible to any Soviet ruler during the 20th century as there was nothing new or technically ground-breaking in perestroika or glasnost. The particulars of both perestroika and glasnost, as described by the passage, contained nothing that would have been difficult to conceptualize or understand for any ruler--let alone one with access to thousands of intelligent advisors.

C. This concept of the word unthinkable fits the context within which the word is used. Due to the fact that Gorbachev's plans amounted to clear breaks with the past, it is reasonable to assume that past leaders did not find these programs desirable since the USSR was previously governed such that the economic policies of perestroika and social policies of glasnost were absent.

D. The particulars of both perestroika and glasnost, as described by the passage, were not difficult to understand and yet were not appealing (otherwise it is reasonable to assume that past leaders would have already tried these programs and their policies would already be in effect).

E. Due to the fact that Gorbachev's plans amounted to a clear break with the past, it is reasonable to assume that past leaders did not find these programs desirable since the USSR was previously governed such that the economic policies of perestroika and social policies of glasnost were absent.

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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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25 May 2018, 21:39
Explanation of Question 7?
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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M  [#permalink]

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26 May 2018, 08:29
prashant6923 wrote:
Explanation of Question 7?

Throughout the passage, the author is explaining perestroika, discussing why Gorbachev felt it was necessary, and arguing about its impact on the fall of the USSR. The passage takes the tone of an analytical essay. Further, the author appears to be rather objective, avoiding ad hominem attacks, slurs, etc. and instead relying of quotations from Gorbachev himself.

A. Given the passage's emphasis on describing the roots of perestroika and its consequences, "primarily analytical" describes the passage's tone.
B. The passage does not criticize Gorbachev. Instead, it explains why Gorbachev made the decision he did.
C. There is no hint of frustration on the part of the author in the passage.
D. Although the author does not mention any positive benefits from perestroika, the absence of ad hominem attacks and propagandistic language and the presence of a complicated explanation of why perestroika seemed logical make it difficult to charge an absence of objectivity on the part of the passage's author.
E. The passage's author is never mentioned nor are there any examples of introspection on the part of the author, Gorbachev, or people of the USSR.

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Re: Prior to the fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), M   [#permalink] 26 May 2018, 08:29
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