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Tags: Presidential History | Russia | gorbachev | yeltsin | gorbachev

History Is Proof: Soviet Collapse Was Not Inevitable

old soviet flag with cccp designation

Robert Zapesochny By Thursday, 11 November 2021 09:32 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In the film "The Godfather," the Corleone family was betrayed by their capo (a Mob leader) Salvatore Tessio.

Once he was caught, Tessio said, "Tell Mike it was only business. I always liked him."

As we are approaching the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it's important to understand that the Communist Party leaders in the Soviet republics played a similar role as the caporegimes played in the Mafia.

By 1986, oil prices had collapsed and Mikhail Gorbachev needed loans from the West.

Gorbachev had to end the Cold War to pay for his economic reforms.

Gorbachev couldn’t reform the country without replacing the communist leaders that benefited from the corruption. A showdown between Gorbachev and his "capos" was inevitable.

In March of 1991, nine of the 15 republics voted to remain in the Soviet Union.

The other six republics wanted out.

The six republics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova) had legitimate democratic and independence movements.

Estonia: Estonia had a Singing Revolution. For years, Estonians sang patriotic songs in the public square, which eventually drew hundreds of thousands of people. The people rose up and the communist party leadership eventually switched sides.

Latvia: On Aug. 23, 1989, on the 50th anniversary of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, approximately 2 million people formed the largest human chain in history from Estonia through Latvia and Lithuania.

The three Baltic States only had 7 million people in 1989.

Lithuania: In 1988, Vytautas Landsbergis launched an independence movement. The Lithuanian communist party was ruled by an old school Soviet loyalist named Ringaudas Bronislovas Songaila.

Songaila was replaced by Algirdas Brazauskas. He eventually supported the independence movement.

Armenia: In 1988, Armenians began protesting for the return of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia. The leaders of the Karabakh Committee were imprisoned for months.

After they were freed in May 1989, they returned to Armenia as heroes. Eventually, this movement for Nagorno-Karabakh transitioned into an independence movement.

Georgia: On April 9, 1989, Soviet troops killed 21 people peacefully protesting in the Georgian capital. This moment was the catalyst for Georgian independence.

Moldova: In 1989, the Popular Front of Moldova was formed. On November 7, 1989, Moldovans staged a massive protest to counter a military parade in the capital of Moldova and they even burned down the Interior Ministry building.

Russia: The protests in the six republics were possible because of Gorbachev’s reforms and Yeltsin’s defiance. In October of 1987, Boris Yeltsin became the first member of the Politburo to offer to his resignation after criticizing the party’s leaders.

Yeltsin became a legend overnight. Gorbachev removed Yeltsin as First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party in November 1987 and the Politburo in February 1988, but it was too late.

Yeltsin was becoming the champion of the reformers. In March 1990, Yeltsin, and the other reformers, pressured Gorbachev to amend Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution to end one-party rule.

In July of 1990, Yeltsin resigned from the communist party. In June 1991, Yeltsin won the first democratic election as President of the Russian Republic.

Throughout 1991, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and the other republic leaders were negotiating a new Union Treaty where the republics would have more sovereignty.

The hardliners in the Kremlin wanted to preserve the Soviet system.

Before the new treaty could be signed, the August Coup began.

Boris Yeltsin successfully rallied the country to defeat the coup.

After it failed, Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary and the Supreme Soviet suspended the communist party’s activities.

Without the party, there was nothing to hold the republics together.

Yeltsin seized the moment.

Ukraine and Belarus: On December 8, 1991, Yeltsin signed the Belavezha Accords with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and Belarusian leader Stanislav Shushkevich. This agreement officially dissolved the Soviet Union.

On Dec. 25, 1991, President Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet flag in the Kremlin went down. Gorbachev’s capos took over.

Azerbaijan: Heydar Aliyev was the First Secretary of Azerbaijan (1969-1982). He was a member of the Politburo (1982-1987).

From 1993 to 2003, he ruled as the president of Azerbaijan.

His son, Ilham, has been president since 2003.

Uzbekistan: Islam Karimov was the First Secretary of Uzbek Communist Party from 1989 to 1991. He was President of Uzbekistan from 1991 until his death in 2016.

Kazakhstan: By 1989, Nursultan Nazarbayev became the First Secretary of Kazakhstan’s Communist Party. He was President of Kazakhstan (1990-2019).

Turkmenistan: From 1985 to 2006, Saparmurat Niyazov ruled this country.

Tajikistan: Since 1992, this country has been ruled by former communist Emomali Rahmon.

Kyrgyzstan: Askar Akayev was President of Kyrgyzstan (1990-2005).

The Soviet collapse was not inevitable. President Reagan deserves the most credit followed by Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Gorbachev’s other capos.

One day, I hope we can celebrate the victory of freedom for all former Soviet republics.

Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here.

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The Soviet collapse was not inevitable. President Reagan deserves the most credit followed by Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Gorbachev's other capos.
gorbachev, yeltsin, gorbachev
Thursday, 11 November 2021 09:32 AM
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