Staunton, September 24 – Vladimir Putin at a meeting with leaders of the systemic parties said that the USSR did not have to fall apart but that it had done so as a result of mistaken policies of the CPSU which opened a Pandora’s box of discussions about problems in the history of the country and allowed nationalists and others to exploit the situation.
At the same time, the Kremlin leader insisted that he wasn’t trying to “settle accounts” with the current KPRF because such actions invariably entail bad outcomes. He said he would leave it to historians to sort out the facts of the case (rg.ru/2016/09/23/reg-cfo/putin-sssr-ne-nado-bylo-razvalivat.html).
And Putin argued that while the USSR needed reforms, including “democratic” ones, the way in which the CPSU sought to carry them out was responsible for the disintegration of the country, an implicit suggestion that the Soviet Union could have survived well into the future save for the party’s actions.
Putin has insisted for more than a decade that the disintegration of the USSR was “the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century” and has argued this year that Lenin bore some responsibility for that outcome because the founder of the Soviet state created the non-Russian republics which were given the right to secede.
But his comments yesterday suggest three things. First, Putin clearly wants to put the blame on the Communist Party for what happened in order to distract attention from the role of the KGB of which he was an officer and other security agencies, many of which played an equally fateful role concerning the end of the Soviet Union, as during the failed putsch.
Second, while he may say that he isn’t settling accounts with the communists, he clearly is and will be seen as such, especially given recent reporting that the Kremlin leader wants to reduce the number of political parties and simply Russia’s political landscape. (See windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2016/09/will-russia-soon-cease-to-have-president.html).
And third, Putin is unwilling to recognize what many now have that a liberal Soviet Union would have been a contradiction in terms because it was a country held together largely by force. Tragically from his point of view, the same thing could be said about the Russian Federation – and consequently, he won’t liberalize because he won’t risk its disintegration.