“Many hoped Putin should live up to his role by closing down that chapter about Russian history without him condemning its past.”
Last Wednesday, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, died at the age of 91.
He was the former president of the dissolved Union of Soviet Socialist Republics that finally ended the empire the West feared most as its greatest rival to global supremacy.
The current leader of the resurrected Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, whose country is currently locked in war with its former state of Ukraine, said his predecessor, Gorbachev, committed the greatest political catastrophe of the 20th century.
Many hoped Putin should live up to his role by closing down that chapter about Russian history without him condemning its past.
Putin himself was a part of that rambunctious transition.
Yes, Putin came at a time when Russia was about to fall into the ravine of historical infamy.
When the drunkard Boris Yeltsin appointed him as successor from his anonymous post as KGB intelligence officer assigned to then East Germany, the West was already feasting on what remains of the Soviet empire.
There is a misconception of what happened during that rowdy transition from a coagulated form of socialist republics borne out of the first socialist revolution in 1917, then coming out strong after the Second World War under Stalin to match the West with all regalia of a superpower.
Russia today continues to carve its own history that to this day the US and its allies treat as one of easy picking. Fortunately, Putin was part and even integral to that transition of which he himself continues to straighten and rectify.
The disintegration of the 15 republics is being blamed on Gorbachev.
Nobody remembers that he was ousted by Yeltsin, but nobody wants to talk about it now.
Gorbachev was able to return not as triumphantly as one would characterize, but an attempt to bring back normalcy to an already wobbly Union.
After that tumultuous debate that erupted into a bloody shelling at the Duma with Yeltsin arrogating to arrest all those who opposed his program, the hastily formed parliament finally acceded to Western separatist agitation with the former Soviet Republics be called the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Before that, Gorbachev dissolved the Warsaw Pact. He was overwhelmed by the glamor of liberalization, hoping that granting freedom would usher in an era of prosperity to Russia and to its so-called satellite states in Eastern Europe.
There was no guaranty NATO would correspondingly dissolve the alliance or swear that the West would not advance eastward beyond the borders of the erstwhile Soviet bloc.
It was only then State Secretary James Baker who made a promise, with some saying it was only written on a napkin paper that the West would not advance eastward.
Russia, under Putin, kept on pressing the issue of NATO’s promise not to move eastward, and Russia’s anxiety became apparent when NATO and its members made up of the former members of the Warsaw Pact like Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, and the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were asked to join.
This fear became intense when the US decided to scrap the intermediate-range ballistic missiles only to install then in countries such as Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria.
In the meantime, war erupted in the former Soviet state of Georgia when the two Russian-speaking provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia decided in 2008 to secede, paving the way for Russia to intervene and grant their independence.
It was wrong for Putin to say Gorbachev committed geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.
Rather, it was his predecessor Yeltsin that allowed the dismemberment of the then Soviet Union, part of it was added by the Bolsheviks under Lenin in 1914 as Russia’s price for peace.
The treaty of Brest Litovsk became the harbinger of Russia’s problem in Ukraine.
As Oliver Stone wrote in his book, “The Putin interviews,” he said many Russians were surprised and appalled to wake up that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, millions of them would be disenfranchised of their citizenship and nationality as Russians.
This has become one of Russia’s unresolved problems with the mass migration of people initially brought about by different nationalities originating back to the days of Joseph Stalin.
As Putin himself admitted to Stone, Russia cannot just abandon these millions of people to be left alone and discriminated against in a land they never chose to be citizens of.
Today, Russia is at war with Ukraine primarily because of discrimination, and it is not of Gorbachev’s fault.
It is totally different from those African slaves kidnapped and brought to America to work as slaves and to be treated like chattels.
These are civilized human beings dislocated by wrong political decisions. The killings in the two runway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are a result of the classic brutal discrimination of Russians left to the mercy of a proclaimed fascist state.
Putin cannot disengage from Yeltsin because he was personally appointed by that man whom he continues to honor and shower him all of what it means to be in power.
Finally, we continue to hear about the so-called Russian mafia oligarchy.
Nobody wants to talk about this particular oligarchy or how this new breed of parasites come about?
Some believe the Russian oligarchy or Russian mafia came about at the instance of the US oligarchs themselves.
In their eagerness to funnel funds to Russia they believed the idea of privatization is the best way to help the plight of the Russian people.
The US was able to transfer their funds to the Russian oligarchs, much that they did not have enough capital to finance many of those multi-million projects that were halted because of the abrupt transition.
It was the US oligarchy that conceived the idea of sovereign guaranty to ensure they will be able to get back their investment.
Many of these Russian oligarchs were notoriously corrupt than their counterparts in the US. Many of them squandered the funds they borrowed to allegedly help rebuild the Russian economy.
The entry of US capital was allowed to finance the ailing Russian economy.
One good instance was the legalization of non-governmental organizations.
Just like our country. The operations of NGO were tax exempt and virtually free to say anything including the right to slander the Russian government.
Even the US media such as CNN was allowed to operate.
As Russia was able to economically recover, gradually the US tightened the screw to its economic clampdown.
Thus today, we see various forms of economic sanctions like what the US did to the alleged Russian invasion of Ukraine.