Friday, 3 October 2014

What do Russians think about the collapse of the Soviet Union?

It is a very dividing question in modern Russian society. A lot of people have radically different opinions of the USSR, communistic government and ideology. Some see the fall of the soviets as an end of marvellous empire, others as a liberation. But the best example of this divide is a figure of Stalin.

For one part of the country, Stalin is still the most genius leader, who industrialized the country, won WWII, developed the atomic bomb and lay the foundation for the space age. Others see him as one of the world's bloodiest tyrants, who caused famine and terror, killed millions of his people in slave labour camps and entered the second World War on Hitler's side.

And for the last few years, every time, some time before the Victory Day [may the 9th, which marks the end of Great Patriotic War] starts another scandal about Stalin bus. Stalinists try to buy ad spaces [usually, paint buses and public transportation] with crowd sourced money to celebrate Stalin as a victor, while vocal groups of people oppose them. There's a fierce public debate, both sides see each other as stupid, evil, or both, and it ends while the level of hate in the society goes up once again and no one is really satisfied.

People in the former communist world are looking back at the changes that they have endured over the past two decades with more reservations. Many Russians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians are ‘profoundly unhappy’ with their current political systems. These citizens are not opposed to the idea of democracy per se, but they oppose the difficult changes democracy has brought. In all three countries, there is growing disillusionment rather than a rejection of democratic values.

A large number of Russians, Ukrainians, and Lithuanians believe that ordinary people have suffered over the past two decades while business and political elites have benefited. The idea that attaining success must come at another person’s expense is still common, but Lithuanians and young Russians tend to view success as the result of personal achievement.

Putin’s Reaction was described as hostile in response to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s criticism of the elections as a “knee-jerk reaction” and a sign of weakness. Adding that Putin lashes out at the West in order to avoid taking responsibility for fraudulent elections and other internal issues.

The post-election protests are not an “overnight event,” but the beginning of a story that has yet to fully unfold. Putin is not immune to the crisis of confidence that is going on in a number of countries. His decision to run for president in 2012 removed “even the veneer of choice” for Russian voters, and he will have to contain popular discontent to hold onto power.

The main reason for dissatisfaction and bitterness about the current replacement is that how Soviet or let us say people's property was plagiarized and given to few individuals who now effectively own 80% of all the resources of the country and spend it any way they like and have houses in London, Switzerland and France and fight each other in European courts for billions of ill-acquired money while most everybody else just works and lives to eat and pay for necessities.

I do not think anybody regrets Soviet Union going down except maybe for the elderly population who had most to lose, the ones that could not adapt and now live lesser lives today because every accomplishment they had belongs to those years and effectively lost their pensions and savings and any sense of pride they ever had for having accomplished anything in their lives.

If there was a somewhat fair privatization of Soviet resources where everybody would get a fair piece and while maintaining some world-class things about Soviets, for example, accessible quality education and medical service, and justice and honesty that people believed there was in the system that ordinary person is entitled to nobody would be bitter or nostalgic and had any feelings about losing things.

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