Saturday, November 23, 2019

Former Soviet Space Must be Reintegrated on More Favorable Basis for Ethnic Russians than the Soviet System Was, Akopov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 19 – The USSR fell apart because Moscow used Russian areas to support and develop the non-Russian republics, Petr Akopov says. Consequently, when the former Soviet space is re-integrated at some point in the future, it must be on a far more favorable basis for the ethnic Russians.

            And as Russia moves further toward the bringing back together of the former Soviet space, Russia’s natural territory, the Vzglyad commentator says, it is critically important that “present-day Russia be able to draw lessons from the mistakes of the USSR” (

            Throughout the Soviet period, he says, Moscow distributed “Russian resources to all the republics because the center viewed the country as a single whole and strove at a minimum to equalize the level of life throughout the country. Of course, this didn’t happen completely.” “But on the whole, resources were distributed from Russia to the republics and not the reverse.”

            But many who received a lot felt they should have been given even more, and this became “one of the most important causes” behind the disintegration of the USSR.  “Among those countries which were in the advance guard of post-Soviet separatism is not a single one that was a donor country” earlier.

            At the same time, however, “in Russia, calls to stop feeding the union republics also were used to destroy the USSR.”  This happened because “formally the USSR was a federal state but in fact a unitary one – Russia masked under a union of republics, Russia created over the course of its historical development with those peoples who were its population in December 1991.”

            “Therefore, it was impossible to divide out of it Russia either. Why are the Donbass and Kyiv not in Russia? Why is Northern Kazakhstan, conquered and populated by Russians not in Rusisa? And where were the million Russians in Uzbekistan to go?” Akopov asks rhetorically.

            Moreover, the commentator continues, “no independent Georgia, Estonia or Tajikistan existed or had existed for centuries. All the republics received from Russia everything – the preservation of their peoples and their development, not to mention their economic growth: Moscow did everything to develop the borderlands.”

             “The Central Committee did not consider that it was dealing with various peoples but looked on all of them as part of one large Soviet people. Yes, the Balts were given more than the others because they had 20 years of independent existence,” but others were as well, often at the expense of the Russians, Akopov says.

                This transfer of resources had tragic consequences, he says, including the dying out of Russian villages and cities.  “The Soviet authorities practically never were Russophobic, except for the very first decades when the tilt toward the national minorities was really enormous, but they were afraid of any nationalism, and Russian nationalism above all.

                And the Soviet leadership was afraid of it, even though “Russian nationalism was the only one which could have given a second breath to communist ideology. It wasn’t separatist but simply a feeling of love for Russia … But the Central Republic feared it.”  Instead of Russifying Marxism-Leninism as the Chinese signified it, Moscow “continued to talk only about the Soviet people.”

            “The inability to combine the Russian and the Soviet, from which naturally no one could reject in the USSR, became the chief cause of the collapse of the USSR,” Akopov argues.  During perestroika, the Russians, having seen that certain national provinces were revolting decided that it would be possible for them as well to live in their own home.”

            “Now, certain former Soviet republics are seeking their own place in the world. The Baltics have left for Europe at the price of an enormous part of their population and the unresolved Russian question in Latvia and Estonia. But all the rest remain in the orbit of Russia, including Georgia” which constantly complains about that.

            But at the same time, re-integration is inevitable. “The stronger Russia will be, the stronger will be these processes” because “the national elites of the post-Soviet republics themselves will be interested in it understanding that things will work out better together with Russia than without it or even more against it.

            What is critical, however, Akopov says, is that when this re-integration occurs, it must be so arranged that it will be on “much more favorable conditions for the Russian people.”

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