Back in the USSR

The Soviet Union is now history but what do the ordinary people who lived through its last decades remember about it and what verdict do they give? Per Manson presents an intriguing insight.

When the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was dissolved at the end of 1991, it seemed that few people regretted the death of the ‘Red Empire’. There were no demonstrations, no mass mobilisations, and no overt manifestations of sympathy for keeping the USSR at all. On the surface, it seemed that the population of the fifteen republics agreed on at least one thing: the time for the seventy years existence of the world’s first socialist state was over.


Nevertheless, at the beginning of 1991 some 75 per cent of the population of the USSR voted for keeping ‘a reformed union’, although six of the republics boycotted the referendum. It was when President Gorbachev was going to meet the leaders of the republics to sign a new union treaty that the putsch in August happened, and the defenders of the White House in Moscow unleashed the ‘liberal euphoria’ that made it possible for Boris Yeltsin to ban the Communist Party and put an end to the USSR.


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