Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Who's scared of the return of the USSR?
On December 30, 1922 at the 1st Congress of Soviets the establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was proclaimed. Last week, the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus approved the institutional part of the draft agreement on the Eurasian Union. The work of the EurAsEC is scheduled to commence on January 1, 2015. Is there something in common between the current integration processes of the post-Soviet Union and the USSR? Political analyst Sergei Mikheyev shared his thoughts. According to the Gallup poll, the majority of residents (over 50 percent) of post-Soviet countries believe the collapse of the USSR to be a negative event. Approximately 25 percent of those polled talk about "benefits" of this event. Could such sentiments serve as a basis for the integration processes on the post-Soviet territory? Or are these processes imposed artificially? "These sentiments objectively exist. Another thing is that the ruling elites in many countries do not want to notice or consider them. On the contrary, they want to eradicate all these positive memories and sentiments by all means. These sentiments are associated with simple things. There are many advantages of living in a large country. Very few saw improvements in the long run compared with the past. Or, at least, the majority believes that these improvements are inadequate. Could these sentiments be the basis for integration? Of course they could. They are one of the foundations for integration. If our population would not want anything like this and would not have any positive memories of the shared past, the elite would not have been able to do anything. Roughly speaking, if Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, the entire population were totally against this integration, then there would be no integration, it is obvious. Yes, such sentiments are the basis for the existence of such processes. We must also understand a simple thing - the collapse of the Soviet Union was a matter of an elite conspiracy. You can call it a "decision" instead of "conspiracy," it does not matter. People were not asked." Is the integration process a reality or is it limited to declarations of intentions at this time? "You know, the situation in the post-Soviet space is quite specific. The question is what we call integration. In fact, we have not yet managed to disintegrate completely, so the processes we call integration are the processes that slow down the disintegration in the first place. And second, we are trying to go back to common sense. When the Soviet Union fell apart, many ties were broken not because they were not beneficial. This occurred for political reasons. And now we are simply returning to common sense. Therefore, some people think that there is no integration. I think the process may not be exactly the same as in the European Union. The basis for it was a completely different situation. The EU was based on the situation when sovereign states of Europe that independently existed for hundreds of years began talks of some cooperation. I see people comparing our process with the European one. We have a different situation, entirely different starting conditions. Until recently we shared a deeply integrated space. It was destroyed, partly due to objective reasons, partly subjective ones. Now there is a process that some call integration, but it does not make sense to compare it with the European one because it is completely different." Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last December that the U.S. would strongly discourage any semblance of a revival of the USSR. In your opinion, do the U.S. and Europe see the attempts to integrate the former Soviet Union as a threat? And if so, what is it? "The Americans perceive any enhancement of any country which refuses to be under total control of the United States as a threat, that's all. That is, any strengthening of any country, regardless of whether it is Russia, China, or some other country, if this is strengthening of a country claiming to be more or less independent in its foreign and domestic policy, the Americans perceive it as a potential threat. Once strengthened, this country may begin to present certain claims to the existing world order where the Americans and the West in general are objectively the leader. They possibly perceive as a threat the integration processes in the post-Soviet space. This is not about ideology, but only about the struggle for leadership. The Americans see the basis of its leadership role in the fact that everyone around them is either weak or loyal. This is why they always talk about the Soviet Union. Let's rephrase the question- are the Americans ready for the recreation of not the USSR but the Russian Empire? Or, for example, Russia as a bourgeois republic of the period of February Revolution? Are they ready for this? They do not talk about it for the simple reason that the ideological color means absolutely nothing. They blamed everything on the Soviet past, saying that there was a terrible totalitarian communism. In fact, it does not matter whether this was a "totalitarian communism," "tsarist regime," or " bourgeois republic." They don't care. The main thing is not to allow a strong competitor. That's it. They are simply using the USSR for manipulative purposes, inventing threats of the return of the Soviet Union simply because this stage of history is more or less relevant. In America, in Europe there a lot of people who remember all these things.The real, pure essence of the process is simple - the Americans are struggling with any possible competition that could threaten their leadership. And they call it different names in different cases.