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Anniversary of the USSR Dissolution

Published on February 22, 2012 by: in: Politics

20 years ago, three heads of Soviet Republics met in Belovezhskaya Pushcha to dissolve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The world learned about this event over the phone – and more specifically these were the greatest of the world who learnt first, informed by three participants of the meeting. We, the ordinary people, believed we were also told about it instantly – the very next day.  Nowadays, in the world of politicians who inform us via Twitter about their actions at the time of their performing or even before, such a situation is hard to imagine and sounds like a fairy tale.

photo: rizobreaker

photo: rizobreaker

Having learnt about the Agreement in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, pessimists panicked  and feared about “the suitcase with a button” and about who would gain power over the world’s largest nuclear arsenal. Yeltsin, Shushkevich and Kravchuk expected the increasing social anxiety and consequently, they concluded an appropriate agreement on this issue. Optimists observed the involvement of the post-Soviet states in the stream of Western world and their joining the nations of liberal democracy.

Where are the countries of the Soviet Union today?

The Soviet Union that no longer exists is not only a subject of international law but it also  constitutes about one-sixths of the world mentality and represents its particular attitude to the world outside, an isolation from that world, a specific perception of a man, society and economy. The communist state easily evolved into an absolute monarchy introducing to its citizens a primacy of the authority over the nation or an extensive bureaucracy. The Polish nation has also experienced this mentality but on a much smaller scale.

The Baltic States had not much in common with the USSR – although their representatives did not participate in Belovezhskaya Pushcha meeting, it seemed as these countries took the biggest advantage of the assembly. The entity to debate their previously posted sovereignty disappeared and, as a result, they could fully join the world of West. Furthermore, the Baltic States joined the NATO and the EU. Now, in the time of crisis, these countries have a somewhat stable economy and their citizens enjoy the internal and external freedom.

For the Caucasus, the break-up of the Soviet Union stands for the return to the tensions between Azerbaijani people, Armenians, Georgians and Ossetians, which lead to the bitter conflicts and wars that seem to be pointless and hard to understand in any way. The only people who can understand these everlasting conflicts are Russians with a 300-year tradition of interfering into the Caucasus issue and building on it their own position.

Middle Asia has transformed the party secretaries into dictators, who are deeply embedded in the age-old tradition of absolute monarchy – and it deals successfully with its larger or smaller interests in an atmosphere of corruption and from a place in the world, which no one is interested in.

The signatories of the Belavezha Accords are, to some extent, still involved in the Soviet Union: either symbolically or practically. Having rejected the openness to the West and freedom of individuals, Russia returned quickly to somewhat strict Putin’s democracy.

Russia took over the entire rhetoric of the USSR and began the rivalry about superpower –  using economic price for raw materials, having a quite freely attitude to the rights of its citizens. There is no sense to write about Belarus – Backa enjoys the name of KGB so much that he decided not to change it and he is notorious for the cruelty, for example, he ordered to take the protesting feminists to the forest and shave their heads. However, Beria seemed to be much more ruthless and he would give an order not only to take the feminists to the forest but also to shoot them.

After the excitement generated by the Orange Revolution, Ukraine returned to Soviet standards. Yanukovych has chosen the Chinese way of a country’s development – he opts for investments rather than freedom.

I am aware that post-Soviet countries do not have to dream of Western democracy – but I do not believe that in the face of Twitter and Facebook, people there will not yearn for freedom, their own subjectivity and rights to the views and feelings that differ from these represented by the official government policy. The Polish media hardly ever visit Moscow squares – I go there with curiosity and hope that all protests and demonstrations, which the Facebook users organize, will lead to the final collapse of the USSR. We have already been waiting for that for about twenty years

Translation: Joanna Senska

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About Marcin Celinski

Enterpreneur, manager. He was the first leader of the Liberal Forum.

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