Monday, December 26, 2016
A historic date in history....
It was 25 years ago today the Hammer and Sickle flag of the USSR was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin in Moscow. On that day the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was officially dissolved. A political movement that began with a bang, literally, 70+ years earlier ended with just a whimper.
I just finished listening to a fascinating 6-part podcast series (Dan Carlin's Hardcore History / Blueprint for Armageddon) about The Great War, aka World War I, and how it changed the course of history from June 1914 to this very day. As it pertains to Russia, the short version:
Unable to withstand the hardships and hunger of everyday life in war-weary Russia, by 1917 the people seized control and, after a series of revolutionary consolidations, the USSR was born. By the 1980's the old Communist revolutionary zeal was long gone, and their system, which was slowly withering away, was as rotten as the Czar's was back in its dying days.
Russia to this day seems to have a never-ending inferiority complex. They SO want to be a respected world power, but they simply have never quite been able to pull it off. You can only rule by intimidation for so long, and by the late 1980's they were losing their iron grip. Unable to afford an arms race with the West, with a population begging, then demanding a better life, and with nations on their periphery they had effectively controlled since the end of WWII now beginning to stand up to them, the hopelessly exhausted USSR finally lost power.
Their last (nominal) Communist leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, after desperately trying a series of life-saving institutional reforms, finally accepted the inevitable and officially dissolved the Soviet Union on December 26, 1991.
Most reading this probably haven't given the passing of the USSR much thought since that historic day 25 years ago. But at least one person, one Vladimir Putin, probably hasn't let a day pass since that event 25 years ago without thinking about it. And he isn't smiling.