Russia’s ultimatum toward the U.S. and NATO alongside its military build-up at the Ukrainian border reignited the talk of Russia wanting to restore the Soviet Union. As proof, multiple journalists and political observers point to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 2005 remark that the collapse of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century, and his essay from last year on the so-called historical unity of the Ukrainian and Russian nations.
Although this reasoning seems substantiated, the reality tells a very different story.
The Soviet Union was a Communist state in the making.
Buttressed by Marxist-Leninist ideology, it was a socialist totalitarian country with closed borders, a planned economy, and public property.
Except for its vehement opposition to freedom of speech, modern Russia has little in common with that historical setup. It is a highly capitalistic state with robust oligarchic groups and endemic corruption.
It is not the fittest but the richest who survive in modern Russia, installing golden toilets and embarking on exuberant trips to Monaco, of which Soviet apparatchiks could only dream. [Continue reading…]