"For instance, the Stalin-era famine in Ukraine - which Ukrainian
erroneously blame on "the Russians," as if there were no Ukrainians in the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union - has caused bitter resentments that
fuel antagonism both between the two countries and between the Ukrainian
and Russian populations of in that former Soviet republic"
EDITORIAL, The Russia Journal Daily
Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 28, 2003
Speaking on Friday at a meeting of a high-level group for the formation of a
united economic space for four countries of the former Soviet Union -
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan - President Vladimir Putin once
again stood for closer integration of the C.I.S. and its further
assimilation into the world economy, especially that of the European Union.
Closer economic integration of the former Soviet states and of the general
Eurasian economy into that of the wider world are always to be hoped for.
It is also hard to doubt that Europe - Russia's major non-C.I.S. trading
partner and the destination of most of the region's natural-resources
exports - lies in a direction to which Russia and the rest of the former
Soviet Union should be pointing.
The Great Breakthrough, 1929
Oleksandr Makarenko, 1988
Poster from ArtUkraine.com collection
(Click on image to enlarge it)
Relations between the former republics of the Soviet Union have often
been acrimonious, in large part due to resurgent nationalisms and hatreds
deriving from Soviet, especially Stalinist, policies. For instance, the
Stalin-era famine in Ukraine - which Ukrainian nationalists erroneously
blame on "the Russians," as if there were no Ukrainians in the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union - has caused bitter resentments that fuel
antagonism both between the two countries and between the Ukrainian
and Russian populations of in that former Soviet republic.
A similar situation exists in the pathologically Russophobic Baltic states.
At worst, relations between different groups in the former Soviet Union
have gotten so bad that full-fledged civil war has broken out - in Moldova,
Armenia, Georgia and even Russia itself (Chechnya).
The fact of the matter is that geographical and economic reality dictates
that the 15 inheritor states of the Soviet Union work together. Closer
integration is desirable and almost inevitable. Those who say that residual
ethnic hostilities and resentments and animosities are insuperable barriers
are not looking at how much - and relatively quickly - the passage of time
and the facts of life can bring people together. After all, how many people
would have said 60 years ago that warring Germany and France would
someday by the driving forces [work together?] in a united and peaceful
We see some corroboration of this in the fact that, according to opinion
polls, a large majority of the population of a country as tormented by its
Stalinist past as Ukraine is in favor of greater economic cooperation with
Russia. When all is said and done, nationalism does not put food and the
table or money in the bank - business and cooperation do.
The mad phobias that were fostered in the past, especially in the Stalin
era, have led nowhere for anybody and gotten nothing for the peoples of
the former Soviet Union but hatred, bloodshed and economic collapse.
One hopes that the current campaign apparently being waged against
Russians in Turkmenistan is one of the last manifestations of this bizarre,
Closer, fair and mutual respectful integration with each other and the world
is in the interests of every country in the C.I.S., from giant Russia to
tiny Belarus. And if these countries want to open up to the world at large,
they must first open up to each other. (TRJ)
The Russia Journal Daily, Moscow, Russia, Monday, July 28, 2003
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