Staunton, August 17 – The Soviet Union fell because Russians knew that beyond the iron curtain life was better and they wanted a part of it, Marina Shapovalova says. Consequently, when the Soviet regime was attacked in August 1991, no one defended it because Russians felt they were the same as other people and that any shortcomings they faced were the system’s fault.
“No one believed” the communist mythology to the contrary, the St. Petersburg commentator says. “No one, from the lowliest worker to party functionaries of the highest levels.” But the regime kept trying to convince everyone that what is was claiming was true (gorod-812.ru/nesoblaznitelnyj-zapad/).
The view of the West Soviet citizens held was incomplete, but it was passionately believed because people “did not have the opportunity to see and understand the details of the Western way of life.” But their overall assessment, Shapalova says, was true in that they were “deprived” while people in the West were not.
For such attitudes to exist and be a threat to the regime, she continues, “the alternative to the existing regime must look successful.” Only in that case will “a regime be deprived of the support of a significant part of the population.” But today, “no alternative to the Putin regime looks that way” to Russians.
The most obvious of the many reasons this is so, Shapalova concludes, is that in many countries, people are also now subject to ideological restrictions and many there don’t have access to the goods available to those who have money – exactly the same as is the case in Russia today.