These days most Russians regard the loss of the USSR as a negative event. A poll conducted this month by the independent Levada Center found that 63 percent see the collapse “negatively” while just 14 percent think it was a “positive” event. Asked which type of political system they would prefer to live under, 13 percent named “Western democracy,” 23 percent said the present Russian setup was best, while 37 percent said the Soviet system would be most desirable.
As the article itself says, the USSR was a superpower, it produced consumer goods Russia does not (produced, not bought from other countries) and it claimed to seek to create a better world.
This wasn’t necessary. But we, the West, deliberately chose to wreck Russia thru shock therapy: we sold everything off as fast as we could, dismantled industries, allowed oligarchs to rise and generally plundered the country. Russia mortality actually exceeded births, the average of death dropped, and so on.
It was a terrible time.
The joke back then, was everything the Communists told us about Communism was a lie. Unfortunately everything they told us about Capitalism was true.
The stage is now set for a new ideology, claiming to fix the failures of Communism, but keeping its ideals.
This was easily enough avoided, we could have eased them in the way we did Poland, for example, and ensured that they thought Capitalism was ace. Give them European social democracy, and by now they’d be asking to join the EU (because any elites competent enough to follow this policy wouldn’t have borked the EU the way the last 20 years of EU bureaucrats and European officials have.)
Geopolitically, this would have left China isolated, ensured American dominance for a few more decades, and so on.
A world that never was to be, but could have been, had we not been run by neo-liberal ideologues and carpetbaggers.
By Ian Welsh