The collapse of the Soviet Union: a catastrophe or a blessing?

EU Leader To Putin: Soviet Union’s Collapse ‘Was A Blessing,’ Not A Catastrophe

Experts – on the correspondence controversy between Donald Tusk and Vladimir Putin on the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet empire for the world and the Eurasian region

The collapse of the Soviet empire became a positive factor both for the European countries and peoples of the republics that were part of the USSR, and for the Russians. This was announced on Thursday, July 11, by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk during his visit to Georgia, where he arrived to attend a conference dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership..

“The collapse of the Soviet Union was not a major geopolitical catastrophe. Today in Georgia I want to say this loudly and clearly: the collapse of the USSR was a boon for Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians and all of Central and Eastern Europe. And for the Russians too "- wrote the plenipotentiary of the European Union on his Twitter page.

Thus, Tusk entered into a correspondence controversy with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe. He spoke about this, in particular, in his address to the Federal Assembly in 2005. According to him, for the Russian people, this event became “a real drama”: “Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and compatriots found themselves outside the Russian territory. Moreover, the epidemic of disintegration spread to Russia itself ".

He said something similar later – for example, in an interview with American director Oliver Stone.

De facto, the Soviet Union ceased to exist on December 25, 1991, when the first and only president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, announced his resignation. Shortly before that, the then leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an act that went down in history as the Belovezhskaya Agreement, where the terms of the "divorce proceedings" of the republics of the Soviet Union were agreed..

Head of the Center for Modernization Research, European University at St. Petersburg Dmitry Travin in a commentary for the Russian service of the Voice of America, he noted that he would not unambiguously take one side or the other in this correspondence discussion. In his opinion, a huge advantage for Europe, the world and Russia was that the Soviet Union as a whole peacefully transformed into a group of new states, where cardinal economic and political reforms took place..

“Although I’m not a fan of Putin’s political system, I agree that life in Russia is much better now than in the Soviet Union,” he added. “But I also understand very well that the collapse of the USSR was a real test for many people. In some of the former Soviet republics, on the contrary, life has become more difficult. We see how many labor migrants from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Belarus go to work in Russia ".

The collapse of large empires is always a serious test for their inhabitants, the political scientist says. At the same time, he stressed that the changes that took place were "necessary, inevitable and, ultimately, benefited" all countries that were directly affected by the collapse of the Soviet Union..

Dmitry Travin also admitted that European countries "breathed more freely". True, at the moment when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was a great risk for both Europe and the world as a whole, he recalled.

“Because for some time the country was in chaos. Fortunately, responsible people came to power in Russia and brought nuclear weapons under control. And, in principle, with the collapse of empires, all sorts of people can seize the reins of government. Therefore, then, of course, there was a very dangerous situation. Nuclear weapons could also get to some adventurers. Thank God, everything has settled down, "summed up the head of the Center for Modernization Research at the European University in St. Petersburg..

Vice-President of the Parnas Party, Professor of History Andrey Zubov believes that if the union of peoples is based "on some worthy foundations", then the disintegration of any state is "sad and bad." According to him, no country wants to voluntarily part with its territory..

The collapse of the Soviet Union: a catastrophe or a boon?

“Let's remember, for example, how Scotland was persuaded not to secede from Great Britain,” he gave an example. – And in this sense, the collapse of the Soviet Union also cannot be called a positive phenomenon. It would be much better to preserve the union by reformatting it into some other entity – say, into a normal federation, similar to the one in the United States. Theoretically it was possible ".

But as soon as what happened, this should also not be attributed to a tragedy, since the peoples of the former Soviet republics gained independence, the professor argues..

“We see that some of the peoples have followed the direct path to democracy. The Baltic countries became part of the European Union, became members of NATO. True, other countries of the former USSR have not yet fully found themselves. This also applies to Georgia and Ukraine, which, in addition, found itself in a particularly difficult situation as a result of aggressive actions against it on the part of Moscow. So, this is a difficult question, and there can be no single opinion, in my opinion. But, at least, this is certainly not a catastrophe, but a change in the political order, "concluded Andrei Zubov.

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea, and later helped fuel a bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine that continues to this day. As a result of the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, Georgia lost about 20 percent of its territory. Frozen conflicts in the territory of Moldova and Azerbaijan also remain a serious obstacle to peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region..