Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Thank You Soviet Union" - Soviet Woman Recalls the USSR

From: "Voices from Russia" Blog

On 30 December 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed. I don’t know what it means for other people, but for me it’s the birthday of my homeland. I will never stop writing about it… I will never stop loving it. Don’t lecture me about nostalgia. I tried to compare the past and present without the rose-coloured glasses of my childhood memories. I did my best to be objective.

My nostalgia for the Soviet Union isn’t a nostalgia for my lost childhood. This is a critical analysis of what is happening in our time. I understand that we live free from hunger and war. We have adapted in order to live, or, rather more correctly, survive. The main thing we have learnt from the restructuring is that we had to survive without relying on anyone but ourselves, and when it really got bad, all we had was God. I find it funny to hear about the growth of the economy, the reforms, etc. No logic can explain why we have a minimum wage that is less than the minimum subsistence level. Why is it that people can work, but their pay-cheques can’t support their family? I can’t understand why it is that we are either poor or absurdly rich. I understand that we have a few people who live in another financial dimension. I’m not talking about them. Not everyone can trade and steal… and not everyone wants to do that. If everyone were to sell and steal, then, who do the ordinary jobs? Who will grow up to bake bread, build the roads, teach the children, etc? If we all began to work only on those jobs where you can get the maximum profit, where will the doctors, engineers, teachers, firefighters, miners, farmers, plumbers, fitters, and machinists come from? Or, are we all supposed to be only managers, salespeople, designers, and models? Tell me.

The collapse of the Soviet Union upset the world balance. If it had not fallen, all the future military conflicts that took place in the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union wouldn’t have happened. The USSR was a counterweight to America (truly, we were both feared and respected), as the USA only has a spiritually impoverished culture. Our moral values have collapsed, all it has done is to strengthen America’s egotistical worship of itself. Russia, by itself, can’t (unfortunately) replace the Soviet Union in all its aspects. Apparently, we must reunite if we are to replicate our results in culture, sport, industry, and science. Oh, we can live apart from one another; that isn’t the problem. Without Russian gas, the Ukraine won’t wither up and die… Russia can live without Ukrainian products. But think on what we lost by being apart.

Our country, the USSR, won the Second World War. We defeated the fascists and liberated not only ourselves, but also the whole of Europe. We won the war, and it wasn’t because battalions of NKVD sharpshooters in the rear forced our men forward and our troops were hopped up on vodka. We had patriotism, a united spirit, and with that, our men did unbelievable deeds. They didn’t spare themselves… they volunteered for service at the front, they didn’t skulk around, hiding behind another’s back, they starved, they worked in the arms works for days on end, they hid Jews, they struggled and persevered. Now, ask yourself how we can now survive as independent states. Ask yourself a question… “What if a war started right now? Would we have volunteers? Would we we unite in the face of danger?”

I want to be clear… I’m not saying that they’re all bad. No, not at all. I’m glad to see my son’s friends’ children… they think and they read. I believe that the family will be able to inculcate those genuine values which will help each of them to be fully human individuals. What is happening to our children? How can we help? Of course, you can’t shift all the responsibility onto the shoulders of the parents. The State should promote universal values, to promote the return of morals and morality. If it doesn’t do so, don’t complain later on that the parents were slothful.

I’m not a revolutionary and I’m not calling for a revolution. We were only one step away from such in the Ukraine in 2004. Thank God, such didn’t happen then. However, I just can’t abide what’s happening now. I don’t agree with those who argue that we should forget the past and accept the present in the form in which it now exists. I want to urge everybody NOT to go with the flow, to accept the present. Don’t let them convince you that you’ve got to forget it all, it’s “just nostalgia for a lost childhood”. For now, I know that it’s gone. Those who hold power won’t let us reunite as one. Yet, we must try to remain human beings first and foremost, and educate our children in a manner worthy of our great country. I hope , I believe, that there are still people for whom the word “motherland” is not an empty phrase. They will build a decent present, taking into account the past. Amongst them will be the man who defeated the “Dragon”. He can lead the country out of its poverty, both spiritual and financial. Most importantly, he’ll be able to return to us self-respect and pride for our country. I appeal to this man… I BELIEVE in him… I hope that he hears me.

Rita Shevchenko

30 December 2010

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