Staunton, Dec. 11 – The analysis of the causes of the collapse of the USSR are “especially important now and perhaps even more now than 20 years ago or than they will be 20 years ‘ahead,’” Aleksey Chadayev, in part because Russia could easily find itself defeating itself just as it did in 1991.
One of the reasons that is so, the Moscow commentator says, is that Russians to this day have not drawn “the necessary conclusions” about what happened between 1985 and 1991, preferring to blame some outside power like the West rather than to focus on what the Russians themselves did to bring down their own state (publizist.ru/blogs/111891/41536/-).
What occurred in the final years of the Soviet Union was “not a series of tsunamis emanating from somewhere outside,” Chadayev says, but rather the blowing up of the country from the inside as a result of a series of mistakes. Indeed, he says, if one is going to use any metaphor about 1991, the best choice would be the Chernobyl accident.
Describing what went wrong in the USSR in the late 1980s, he points out, is far more difficult than identifying what happened at Chernobyl because the USSR was a far more complicated entity than that nuclear power plant. But the fact is that it blew up because of problems with itself not from outside actions. The same was true of the end of the USSR.
Unfortunately, Chadayev says, the current official cargo cult of ‘the Great Soviet Past’ has come to dominate but not completely replaced the previous cargo cult of ‘The Great West’” which was all powerful and capable of achieving anything it wanted. But this new cult is getting in the way not only of understanding 1991 but of preventing a repetition.