I do not understand how people could really see the USSR as capitalist. Lenin did indeed refer to the USSR as "state-capitalism" ie, the old adage of the USSR being "state-capitalism with a thin veneer of socialism" - and perhaps "state capitalism" can apply to the early USSR - but I feel later on, after Stalin, at least, it is a completely different story.
For one - what are some of the marks of the capitalist mode?
-Private ownership titles held by individuals over property, accumulations of capital and the means of production.
-The individuals which hold these property titles and accumulations of capital constitute a decentralized but hegemonic class in contemporary society, the capitalist class, which strives for the ultimate goal of the accumulation of capital - in the process exploiting domestic and foreign markets while also manipulating domestic and foreign state apparatuses, still the end-goal of this class is always the same; the pursuit of more private accumulation of capital by private individuals - the process of the manipulation of the state by large quantities of accumulated capital results not in the strengthening of the state, but the weakening of it in favor of private pockets of power based on property and capital.
In the USSR, however, there were no private deeds of ownership on property, vast accumulations of capital, or the means of production. All of these things were owned "by the people" which really meant the economically and socially monolithic Party bureaucracy which found a centralized and strong state apparatus the best fit mode for wielding its power as a ruling class, entirely unlike capitalism which seeks to always weaken the centralized state apparatus while increasing the power of private capital (except for in times of crisis when fascism emerges - here too though, the capitalist class retains its status as the economically hegemonic class in society).
It is true that the USSR, especially in the years after Stalin, began to "lease" out factories to "companies" or administrative divisions of the state apparatus that it created, and gave them an amount of autonomy in the production process - but still - profits and actual ownership was not based on privately held rights of ownership - any gains that came to an individual bureaucrat were granted and awarded by the way of the individual bureaucrats affiliation with the larger bureaucracy's Party/state apparatus, and not by way of the process of private capitalist accumulation, or ownership deeds.
Thus, the USSR was really more of a bureaucratic managerial state - more a kin to the Imperial Chinese state apparatus than capitalism - in Imperial China, under Qin Shi Huang, for example, all property, all land, all wealth, resources, labor, etc, was under the explicit command of the Emperor. Lesser nobility's power was based on landed estates GRANTED to them by the central Imperial government - and not theirs as hereditary right, or as personal property under the protection of the law - the state could, and would often expropriate entirely officials and nobility who had fallen out of favor with the Imperial court - kind of like how Khrushchev went from state granted dachas to having to relocate from apartment to apartment after he was outed from party favor. You would think if we was a state capitalist (Mubarak was a good example), he would have had plenty of wealth he accumulated using state power stashed away somewhere to afford better.
"If conquest constituted a natural right on the part of the few, the many have only to gather sufficient strength in order to acquire the natural right of reconquering what has been taken from them." The Nationalisation of the Land Karl Marx
"To belittle the socialist ideology in anyway, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology." What Is To Be Done? V.I. Lenin