Sergey Vasilyev, entrepreneur, publicist
For many years, our politicians, back in the first Yeltsin government, proudly took credit for the bloodless disintegration of the USSR. Like, having signed an agreement on the dissolution of the USSR in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich did a great job - they managed to dissolve yesterday's huge empire in peace.
And perhaps that sudden collapse of the USSR led to instant breaks in economic ties, many years of cooperation between republics and industries. But it was possible, they say, the main thing - to disperse in peace.
Those politicians often cited bloody examples of the collapse of other empires, that no one managed to disperse in a completely peaceful way. The post-imperial syndrome in the metropolises and the insurgents in the provinces always engaged in wars that lasted for years.
Russia, Ukraine and Belarus then succeeded. Various skirmishes took place, of course, in the outskirts of the USSR. Conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia, in Transnistria, between Georgia and Abkhazia, in Kazakhstan. But these were the outskirts and the conflicts were relatively minor.
The main central indigenous lands of yesterday's USSR, it would seem, dispersed peacefully.
And let the collapse of economic ties have led to a large-scale degradation of the economies of all countries, to a sharp drop in living standards and industry. But the main thing is that they managed to disperse without a war.
But it turned out that after all - no.
The echo of that geopolitical rupture of 1991 has finally reached us, and today's events are its last, final stage.
And now we are spectators and participants in its tragic and dramatic finale.
Whatever excursions Putin makes into the long history of Russia, the Russian Empire, from what lands and how Ukraine was created, today's older generation, and himself, personally remember only a huge common home - the Soviet Union.
And it was the frantic “de-Sovietization” and “de-communization” organized by the Ukrainian authorities after the Maidan of 2014 that opened up the old wounds of that collapse.
We ourselves in Russia have not believed in Lenin and socialism for a long time, but the ostentatious demolition of monuments to Lenin throughout Ukraine, the renaming of streets and cities, as if in reproach and mockery of Russia, where the Lenins still stand in the squares, and the body even continues to lie in the mausoleum, even though no one goes there - it was that blow, that slap in the face in our common past, which is difficult to endure.
For young people who did not live in the USSR, it does not matter, this is not their story, not their offense. But for older people, and Putin is one of them, this is impossible to accept.
In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, things have developed differently since 1991, economic structures have developed differently. There is more state capitalism in Russia, state-owned companies in Belarus, oligarchs in Ukraine, but it was not the economic differences in their ways that led to conflict and war. Everyone tolerated oligarchs, communists or state capitalists, they lived and negotiated with everyone. With the conditional collapse of the united empire of the "USSR", a single life was somehow preserved on these lands. Everyone continued to speak the same language, somehow traded among themselves, negotiated, strengthened various alliances, joint companies, businesses, I don’t even speak with family unions and connections of millions of people.
In general, with the conditional “disintegration” of the Union, it seemed to continue to exist, no matter how much Kuchma said that Ukraine was not Russia, and the Old Man still did not agree to the final unification with Russia. In the General, the Union formally no longer existed, but as it were.
And it still kept the general peace.
But since 2004, i.e. Since the first Kiev Maidan, Yushchenko's Ukraine, as one of the most important provinces of yesterday's empire, for the first time since 1991, openly went into a rupture. Infiltrating various pro-European unions, quietly closing Russian schools, avoiding economic unions where there is Russia.
In general, there was a gap. And in 2014, there was already a final split, with the complete closure of borders, the abolition of air travel first, and then railway communication between countries. I'm not talking about the first fire contacts, on the line of contact between the new formations of the DPR and LPR.
The response of the mother country was inevitable.
Original is here.