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Federalist questions

(Part 8)

Published

METRO CORNER

By ERIK ESPINA

Erik Espina

Erik Espina

The precarious bent for ethnic, religious, economic self-determination, and depending on the ripening of issues, political independence, is a logical and ever-present danger in unions, confederations, federal governance, such as in the former USSR, Canada, Germany, etc. Self-governance is the highest form of aspiration for separatists. When timing is most feverish, a cross-section of people in popular protests is finally galvanized to secede from a parent state, or the marriage of states. Incendiary influences, such as, ideological, territorial, etc., influenced by external forces and the confluence of state actors and events, drumming internal failings, are contributory to the deterioration of the bonds. Unfolding nationalist unrests may lead to a festering or a fading. A mutual break-up, in some cases, bloody coup or civil war, to divorce or preserve the union.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established in 1922 by the Bolsheviks, ending the Romanov Russian Empire in 1917. It was a union of 15 Soviet republics (Armenia, Georgia, Estonia, Tajikistan, etc.) controlled by a highly centralized federal Marxist-Leninist government/economy, in a one-party state. It was the world’s largest country with nearly 1/6th of the world’s land area, a population of 290 million with 100 distinct nationalities.

Factors of the USSR’s later collapse: 1) Attempt by USSR leader Michael Gorbachev at “Perestroika” (open dialogue) and “Glastnost” (restructuring quasi free-market) to address stagnant economy, productivity growth below zero; 2) Increased defense spending responding to US strategic defense initiative and star wars; 3) USSR’s “Vietnam” in Afghanistan; 4) Influence and view of capitalist success; 5) April 26, 1986, Chernobyl explosion; 6) Failed August, 1991, coup by Communist hard-liners, giving rise to liberal forces by Boris Yeltsin.

Circuits of internal unrest led to the December 26, 1991, resolution by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union declaring the union “no longer existed.”

 

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