The USSR dissolved because it didn’t manage to ensure the reformation of the economic development model by keeping the political vertical of the power, as the Chinese Communist Party did starting with 1978. At the same time, now the Soviet development model (of constraint) persists in the Republic of Moldova even if the then still young Kremlin leader said that “whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart, while whoever wants it back has no brain,” political commentator Anatol Țăranu, Doctor of History, stated in a public debate at IPN, centering on the collapse of the USSR.
Speaking about the sources that fuel the nostalgia of a part of the population for the Soviet past, Anatol Țăranu referred to the political factors’ interest in promoting their party by manipulating human reflexes. “Particular political forces use the nostalgia of the people to gain political advantages. I refer to the Communist, Socialist parties that want to capitalize on their interests. Socialism, the authoritarian system deformed collective mentality, people’s minds. Many of the people educated under the totalitarian Soviet socialist system continue to reason according to the clichés of this system, especially because the current economic and social situation fuels these perceptions. Poverty and misery feel at home in the Republic of Moldova,” stated the political commentator.
Referring to two models of separation from socialism, the historian spoke about the examples of the USSR and China. “The Soviet model led to the dissolution of the USSR, but there is also the Chinese model that means adjustment of the socialist ideology to the patterns of the market economy, but in a gradual way. The difference is that the Chinese model kept the vertical of the political authority that enables to keep things relatively balanced so that the market economy reforms are done gradually.”
The political commentator considers the national element, which had a different status in the USSR and in China, led to the dynamiting of the situation all over the Soviet area. He said that the Institute of History of the Academy of Science now works on a synthesis saying that at a particular moment in time, the national renaissance movement in Moldova started to prevail over all the other elements of perestroika, becoming the driving force of change. This shows that the national element generally determined the collapse of the USSR. Therefore, any society that ignores the national component risks experiencing very serious problems that can thwart the achievement of major goals.
As to the possibility of restoring the USSR, Anatol Țăranu said that even if now Vladimir Putin seems to be attempting to restore the Union by more than obscure methods at a time when the feeling of national identity in society is well fixed, together with the feeling of national dignity, there is no danger that the Soviet Union will be rebuilt. Regrettably, this is not Moldova’s case.
The public debate “Thirty years without the USSR: Why did it disappear, why it is still alive?“ is the 216th of the series of debates “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. IPN’s project is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.