Staunton, Jan. 23 – Most narratives about the end of the Soviet Union focus on Baltic, Georgian and Ukrainian activism, but there is a powerful case to be made that the USSR died on the streets of Baku in January 1990 when Moscow dispatched units of the Soviet military to put down the aspirations of the Azerbaijani people for freedom and independence.
That use of force is known there as “Black January” and is commemorated there by those who still aspire to those values and recognized by others as “Gorbachev’s greatest mistake” (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/01/gorbachev-black-january-in-baku-and-end.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2015/01/gorbachevs-greatest-mistake-black.html).
Tragically, Putin like the Bourbons in that has learned nothing and forgotten nothing and making the same mistake Gorbachev did, confident that repression will be enough. But as the Idel-Ural portal is pointing out, Moscow is creating for itself a new “Black January” in Bashkortostan (idelreal.org/a/chernyy-yanvar-v-bashkortostane-desyatki-zaderzhannyh-v-baymake-i-ufe-i-kak-minimum-shestero-arestovannyh-po-ugolovnym-delam/32787149.html).
After detailing the sweeping use of force and mass arrests that Russian siloviki have carried out following the protests in Baymak, the portal quotes Ruslan Gabbasov, a Bashkir leader who as a result of earlier repression now works from Kyiv about the meaning of what has happened both now and in the future.
Once again as has been so often the case in the past, Gabbasov says, “the Bashkirs are left alone with the empire which again will do everything to suppress the protests there so that other regions and republics will not dare to think about following the Bashkirs into the streets to protest.”
But Moscow and its minions “will only be able to suppress our movement for a time; and in the future, it will flare up again even more strongly. And so the empire is again making a big and even fatal mistake with the Bashkirs. Putting even 40 or 50 people behind bars will not help Moscow as there are 1.5 million of us.”
And, Gabbasov continues, young people in Bashkortostan “who have seen everything and understood everything in three years or in five years will definitely prove themselves.” In fact that day of reckoning may come even sooner if history is any guide: the USSR fell apart less than two years after Black January in Baku.