The Soviet Union dealt such an economic and technological blow to the Wall Street imperialists that when I came there in 1989 on a student exchange, my family rode a motorcycle with a sidecar (it was probably a copy of a motorcycle designed sometime in the 1940s-50s) and the store had sugar and butter (i.e., a limited amount) on the tickets. This was the economic miracle of Russia in practice, as I experienced it first hand just before the entire Eastern Bloc collapsed. So I don't understand the comments that claim it wasn't :-). The collapse and falling behind the US by at least 20-30 years was obvious in the USSR and continues to this day. It's just gotten worse.
I was there at the same time....in Moscow in "Bulotznaya" milk was available in plastic bottles, it smelled fishy because the Soviets fed the cows in the kolkhoz meat with bone meal from fish waste, big five liter jars of canned green tomatoes and huge gas inflated buns, oh and green plastic bottles of vinegar. More Nothing, Nothing! So I bought milk and a bagel and my colleague thought it was mineral water. ..Vinegar on a park bench, he got horribly high ....Roline Stones at the time of their visit and concert didn't understand at all, ..that they couldn't get mineral water to drink. ...there was no such thing in the Soviet "retail" market. Gorbachev knew very well that it wouldn't work, he's a very smart man. ...the Chernobyl disaster just gave him... in a normal small nuclear bomb there is 10 kg of enriched uranium, in Chernobyl in the reactor that started to melt down there were hundreds of tons of it... I still remember on the BBC on the anniversary of Chernobyl, where they pronounced with a wry smile what would have happened if about 2000 miners hadn't been ordered to dig out the zone underneath and cool it by producing CO2 ....Dry Ice.... not even bacteria would have survived in Europe... for about 370,000 years, the rest of humanity would only come out of the bunker occasionally.