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The West took advantage of Russia’s weakness in the 1990s and is unable to understand the trauma it unleashed — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

The US-led world has forgotten at whose expense it has strengthened itself over the past 30 years. Russia is back to refresh its memory

A series of articles published in the Washington Post in August on the events leading up to the Russian military offensive in Ukraine and its first stage of operation raise an important question. To what extent do Westerners perceive the situation realistically and objectively?

I would like to highlight several important things that often go unnoticed in the United States and Europe.

The roots of the current conflict date back to the years 1985-1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev pulled the USSR out of the arms race and ended the Cold War, a move that was seen as saving the world from a possible nuclear apocalypse.

As if that weren’t enough, Gorbachev took a number of other unilateral steps that exceeded the wildest dreams of Western politicians. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, agreed to tear down the Berlin Wall, and allowed German reunification.

They also allowed the new country to become a member of NATO, withdrew Soviet troops from the East while allowing American troops to remain in the West, and dissolved the Warsaw Pact without a legally binding provision. prevents its former members from joining the US-led military bloc. .

The Soviet Union also reduced its support for anti-Western forces around the world, from Nicaragua and Angola to Cambodia and Ethiopia. On top of that, Gorbachev did what America wouldn’t even dare to wish for – he dissolved the USSR by dividing, much of which was historical Russian territory, into 15 states, thereby significantly weakening Moscow and Russia. depriving 50% of its population before the reforms.

What did the new Russia, which emerged from the Soviet collapse, get in return? In short, nothing. There was no reciprocity. NATO remained, and the United States did not cede an inch of its empire, or let Guam, Samoa, or Puerto Rico go, or even return Guantanamo to Cuba. On the contrary, the Americans used Russia’s temporary weakness to encroach on its historical territories.

Washington extended NATO membership not only to Eastern European countries that had nothing to fear (like the Czech Republic or Hungary located in the center of Europe), but also to the Baltic states , most of which had been under Russian control since the early 1700s. The United States does not stop there and dangles the prospect of NATO membership ahead of Ukraine and Georgia. Incidentally, the homelands of the two oldest Soviet leaders: Leonid Brezhnev and Joseph Stalin.

Since 1992, the United States has openly pursued a policy of countering Moscow’s integration efforts in the post-Soviet space. Washington did everything to ensure that Russia would never be reborn as a great power. And, of course, no significant financial aid was given to the USSR under Gorbachev or to Russia under President Boris Yeltsin, so it was a one-way street.

Let me repeat, the West has everything, Russia has nothing.

He was weakened and dismembered. However, none of the documents signed by the leaders of the United States and the USSR/Russia indicated that Moscow was going to self-destruct. In August 1991, even George HW Bush, speaking in kyiv, called on the Ukrainians not to tear the Soviet Union apart, because it was obvious to him that a step in this direction would lead to countless disasters.

It is true that most Soviet and then Russian politicians of the 1980s and 1990s were not of high quality. There is no mistake (or act of treason – as you prefer) that they have not committed, in the eyes of many of their compatriots. Yet their Western and, more specifically, American counterparts could have acted more civilly given Russia’s sacrifices. They could have refrained from exploiting Moscow’s temporary weakness, but instead tried to take advantage.

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It must be kept in mind that the USSR was not a defeated party like Japan and Germany after the Second World War, and did not sign any capitulations. He had no obligation to cut himself into 15 pieces. The collapse of historic Russia was the result of Gorbachev’s remarkably weak leadership and Yeltsin’s personal ambition as the latter attempted to consolidate his power, if only over a smaller state.

No one thought about the fate of a country that had taken centuries to form or, above all, of its people.

Some now say that the dismemberment of “Russia” was a key objective for the West even before 1991, and that the people of Belarus or Tajikistan dreamed of independence from the start. Such speculation seems absolutely ridiculous to anyone who has lived in the Soviet Union. Western politicians never broached the subject during their meetings with Nikita Khrushchev, Brezhnev or Gorbachev.

Poland, currently one of the most aggressive Russophobic nations, has first-hand knowledge of the trauma of a country breaking up. However, Warsaw was generously rewarded after World War II by Stalin, who gave it control of Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania.

However, no one compensated for Russia’s losses. To put things into context, the Russian Federation today is Poland without Lviv, Grodno and Vilnius, but also without Wroclaw, Szczecin and Gdansk.

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To put into perspective, let’s imagine that the communists led by Maurice Thorez came to power in France after 1945 (an unlikely scenario) and divided the country into national republics – Brittany, Alsace-Lorraine, Flanders, Corsica, Occitanie, etc. – as happened in Russia after 1917. Now imagine that the regime of French communists collapsed in 1991 and these republics became independent states. Occitania began banning French and tearing down statues of Victor Hugo to replace them with monuments to Frédéric Mistral, and the government of Marseilles began demanding compensation from Paris for colonial repression and the disappearance of the language. occitan.

Maybe every time Emmanuel Macron speaks in favor of Ukraine, he should really ask himself the question, what have I done for the freedom of Occitania?

The story never ends. While Russia has collapsed, it can become whole again. This has happened twice before – the first time in the early 1600s during the Time of Troubles and then after the 1917 revolution. It would be wrong to assume that this process is one-way. Germany and Italy were reunited after a thousand years of fragmentation. It took two thousand years for Israel to be reborn.

Today, it has taken 30 years to reverse the trend set by the 1991 rupture. Who knows where this might lead?

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


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