The annexation of Crimea by Russia may indicate the return of “The hungry Russian”
Amongst the brohura of NaMo’s Independence speech, the US air strikes in response to the carnage wrecked by the ISIS in Iraq And the initiation of a settlement of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, a small but significant event in Russia’s history has gone unnoticed. On 19 August, 1991, the KGB led a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev (who was then Prime Minister of the Soviet Union) in a failed attempt to stop the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR).
A bit of background might help. The Gorbachev era marked a turning point in the erstwhile Soviet Union’s relationship with the world – it saw the dismantling of the Cold War, the introduction of market based economy and greater transparency in public functioning. Most importantly, it passed legislation that legalized the secession of the erstwhile republics that made up the Soviet Union. In response to these changes, six republics, including Russia, had declared their independence from the Union. Naturally, this led to anxiety amongst the KGB and the Russian Army, which were yet to reconcile themselves to the changes that were underway. The coup was their last desperate stab at preserving the Union, which itself was formed in 1922.
In today’s Your Daily Read, the Economist shares five maps that chart the history of Russia and its neighbouring countries: Russia’s limited sphere of influence till 1938; the expansion of its control by means of geographical annexation and the Eastern Bloc, which began after World War 2 and continued until 1989; the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 and the subsequent dissolution of the Union.
With Putin’s occupation of the Crimea in 2014, “the hungry Russian bear is back”, says the magazine. Will the future herald a return to Russia’s predatory history? We hope not.
Cover image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons