Geopolitics of Perestroika and the Collapse of the USSR


The geopolitics of Perestroika

Right up until 1985, the attitude in the USSR towards connecting with the West was on the whole rather sceptical.  Only in the period of Y. Andropov's rule did the situation change somewhat, and according to his instruction, a group of Soviet scientists and academic institutes received the task of actively cooperating with globalist structures (the Club of Rome, the CFR, the Trilateral Commission, etc.).  On the whole, the principle foreign policy aims of the USSR remained unchanged during the entire stretch from Stalin to Chernenko. 

Changes in the USSR begin with M. S. Gorbachev's arrival to the office of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.  He took office against the backdrop of the Afghanistan War, which more and more came to a deadlock.  From his first steps in the office of General Secretary, Gorbachev came up against serious problems.  The social, economic, political, and ideological car began to stall.  Society was apathetic.  The Marxist worldview lost its appeal and continued to be broadcasted by inertia.  A growing percentage of the urban intelligentsia was more and more attracted to Western culture, wishing for "Western" standards.  The national outskirts lost their modernizational potential, and in some places the repressive processes of archaization began; nationalist sentiments flared up, and so on.  The arms race and the necessity of constantly competing with a rather dynamically developing capitalist system exhausted the economy.  To an even greater extent, discontent in the socialist countries of Eastern Europe came to a head, where the appeal of Western capitalist standards was felt even more keenly, while the prestige of the USSR gradually fell.  In these conditions, it was demanded of Gorbachev to make some kind of definite decision concerning the further strategy of the USSR and of the entire Eastern bloc. 

And he made it; it consisted of this: in a difficult situation, to adopt as a foundation theories of convergence and the propositions of the globalist groups and to begin drawing closer to the Western world by means of the implementation of one-sided concessions.  Most likely, Gorbachev and his advisers expected symmetrical actions from the West; the West should have responded to each of Gorbachev's concessions with analogous movements in favour of the USSR.  This algorithm was laid up in the foundations of the policy of perestroika.  In domestic policy, this meant the abandonment of the strict ideological Marxist dictatorship, the relaxation of restrictions in relation to non-Marxist philosophical and scientific theories, the cessation of pressure on religious institutes (in the first place, on the Russian [Russkii] Orthodox Church), a broadening of the permissible interpretations of the events of Soviet history, a policy on the creation of small enterprises (cooperatives), and the freer association of citizens along political and ideological interests.  In this sense, perestroika was a chain of steps directed towards democracy, parliamentarism, the market, "glasnost'", and the expansion of zones of civic freedom.  This was a movement away from the socialist model of society towards a bourgeois-democratic and capitalist model.  But at first this movement was gradual and remained within the framework of the social-democratic algorithm; democratization and liberalism were combined with the preservation of the party model of the administration of the country, a strict vertical and planned economy, and control of the party agencies and special services behind social-political processes. 

However, in other countries of the Eastern bloc and on the periphery of the USSR, these transformations were perceived as a manifestation of weakness and as unilateral concessions to the West.  Such a conclusion was confirmed by Gorbachev's decision to finally remove Soviet military contingents from Afghanistan (1989), by oscillation over a series of democratic revolutions unfolding throughout Eastern Europe, and by his inconsistent policies in relation to a series of allied republics: Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, and also Georgia and Armenia, which were the first involved in the process of the establishment of independent statehood.  

Against this background, the West took up a well-defined position: while encouraging Gorbachev and his reforms in word only and extolling his fateful undertaking, not one really symmetrical step was taken in favour of the USSR; not the smallest concession was made in a single direction to Soviet political, strategic, and economic interests.  As a result, Gorbachev's policies led, by 1991, to the gigantic, planetary system of Soviet influence being brought down, while the second pole, the USA, and NATO quickly filled the vacuum of control that had opened up.  And if in the first stages of perestroika it was still possible to consider it as a special manoeuvre in the "Cold War" (not unlike the plan of the "Finlandization of Europe", worked out by Beria; Gorbachev himself spoke of a "European house") then by the end of the 1980’s it became clear that we were dealing with a case of direct and one-sided capitulation.

Gorbachev agreed to remove Soviet troops from the German Democratic Republic, disbanding the Warsaw Pact, recognizing the legitimacy of the new bourgeois governments in the countries of Eastern Europe, moving to meet the aspirations of the Soviet republics to receive a large degree of sovereignty and independence, and to revise the conditions of the agreement for the formation of the USSR on new terms.  More and more Gorbachev also rejected the social-democratic line, opening a path for direct bourgeois-capitalist reforms in the economy.  In a word, Gorbachev's reforms amounted to recognition of the defeat of the USSR in its confrontation with the West and the USA. 

From a geopolitical point of view, perestroika represents not only a repudiation of the ideological confrontation with the capitalist world, but also a complete contradiction of Russia's entire historical path as a Eurasian, great-continental formation, as the Heartland, as the civilization of Land.  This was the undermining of Eurasia from within; the voluntary self-destruction of one of the poles of the world system; a pole that did not at all arise in the Soviet period, but took shape for centuries and millennia in the riverbeds of the natural logic of geopolitical history and in accordance with the lines of force of objective geopolitics.  Gorbachev took the position of Westernism, which quickly led to the collapse of the global structure and to a new version of the Time of Troubles.  Instead of Eurasianism, Atlanticism was adopted; in the place of the civilization of Land and its sociological set of values were placed the normatives of the civilization of the Sea, contrary to it in all regards.  If we compare the geopolitical significance of these reforms with every other period in Russian [Russkii] history, we cannot escape the feeling that we are dealing with something unprecedented.

The Time of Troubles in Russian [Russkii] history did not last long and was replaced by periods of new sovereign rebirth.  Even the most frightening dissensions preserved this or that integrating centre, which became in time a pole of a new centralization of Russian lands.  And even the Russian [Russkii] Westernists, orientated towards Europe, adopted along with European customs ideas, technologies and skills, used to reinforce the might of the Russian [Rosiiskii] state, to secure its borders, and to assert its national interests.   Thus, the Westernist Peter or the German Catherine the Second, with all their enthusiasm for Europe, increased the territory of Russia and achieved for it newer and newer military victories.   Even the Bolsheviks, obsessed by the idea of world revolution and having easily agreed to the fettering terms of the Brest-Litovsk world, started in a short period to strengthen the Soviet Union, returning under the control of Moscow its outskirts in the West and the South.  The case of Gorbachev is an absolute exception in Russian [Russkii] geopolitical history.  This history did not know such betrayal even in its very worst periods.   Not only was the socialist system destroyed; the Heartland was blown up from within. 

The geopolitical significance of the collapse of the USSR

As a result of the collapse of the USSR Yalta World came to its logical end.  This meant that the two-polar model ended.  One pole put an end to its existence by its own initiative.  Now one could say with certainty what the theory of convergence was in fact: the cunning plan of the civilization of the Sea.  This cunning plan conceived an action and brought victory to thalassocracy in the "Cold War".  No convergence occurred in practice; and according to the extent of the one-sided concessions from the side of the USSR, the West only strengthened its capitalist and liberal ideology, expanding its influence further and further throughout the ideological emptiness that had formed. NATO's zone of control also expanded together with this.  Thus, at first almost all of the countries of Eastern Europe joined NATO (Romania, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia), and then also the former republics of the USSR (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia).  This meant that the structure of the world after the end of the "Cold War" preserved one of its poles, the civilization of the Sea, the West, Leviathan, Carthage, the bourgeois-democratic bloc with its centre in the USA.            

The end of the two-polar world meant, therefore, the victory of one of its poles and its strengthening at the expense of the loser.  One of the poles vanished, while the other remained and became the natural dominating structure of the whole global geopolitical system.  This victory of the civilization of the Sea over the civilization of Land represents the real content of globalization, its essence.  Henceforth the world became simultaneously both global and unipolar.  From a sociological point of view, globalization represents the planetary dissemination of a single model of the Western bourgeois-democratic, liberal, market society, the society of merchants.  This is thalassocracy.  And at the same time the USA is the centre and core of this (henceforth global) bourgeois-democratic thalassocracy reality.  Democratization, Westernization, Americanization, and globalism essentially represent various aspects of one and the same process of the total attack of the civilization of the Sea, the hegemony of the Sea.  Such is the result of that planetary duel that was the major content of international politics in the course of the 20th century.  During Khrushchev's rule, the Soviet edition of tellurocracy suffered a colossal catastrophe, and the territorial zones, separating the Heartland from the warm seas came, to a significant degree, under the control of the sea power.  Precisely, thus should we understand both the expansion of NATO in the East at the expense of the former socialist countries and allied republics and the subsequent strengthening of the influence of the West in the post-Soviet space. 

The collapse of the USSR, which ceased to exist in 1991, put an end to the Soviet period of Russia's geopolitics.  This stage ended with such a severe defeat that there is no analogue to it in Russia's preceding history; not even falling into complete dependence on the Mongols, and even that was compensated for by integration into a political-governmental model of the tellurocratic persuasion.  In the present case, we are dealing with the impressive victory of the principle enemies of all tellurocracy, with the crippling defeat of Rome and the triumph of the new Carthage. 

The disintegration of the USSR signified, from a geopolitical point of view, an event of colossal importance, affecting the entire structure of the global geopolitical map.  According to its geopolitical features, the confrontation of the West and East, the capitalist camp and socialist one, with its core in the USSR, represented the peak of the deep process of the great war of the continents, a planetary duel between the civilization of Land and the civilization of the Sea, raised to the highest degree of intensity and to a planetary scale.  The entire preceding history led to the tense apogee of this battle, which received precisely in 1991 its qualitative resolution.  In this moment, together with the death of the USSR, the collapse of the civilization of Land was realized