The Moscow putsch of August 1991 accelerated the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which became irreversible, director of the Institute of Political Studies and Social Capital of Chernovtsy Marin German stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to him, the dissolution of the Soviet Union laid the basis for strengthening the Ukrainian state. Even if a part of the Ukrainian population was markedly nationalist and wanted to separate from Moscow, another part of the population remained nostalgic for the “glory days” of the Soviet Union.
The putsch of August 19, 1991 was an attempt by a group of Communist conservators to remove President Mikhail Gorbachev from power and to take over. The attempted coup led to the dismemberment of the Soviet Union so that all the ex-Soviet republics proclaimed their Independence by December 1991.
“The dissolution of the Soviet Union was accelerated by this putsch. Furthermore, a series of political movements were activated, including street protests, in Russia and in other states that wanted to detach themselves from the Soviet Union, to renegotiate the treaty of affiliation to the Soviet Union. The first territorial cleavages, the West and the East, appeared in Ukraine in 1990-1991and continue to exist to a smaller extent. The putsch was condemned and was considered a negative process on the territory of Ukraine, but not everywhere. The nostalgic ones, a part of the population, compare the 1980s, when it was better, with what we have now. Defeat was suffered mainly due to the influences in education, the mass media and the policies pursued by the Communist Party, the connection to the real history, to the origins of the problem. What was communism in fact? Deportations, change of the ethnic structure of the population, destruction of churches and rewriting of the history. Communism was a catastrophe for the previous century, which continues in other forms in some of the states,” explained Marin German, a university lecturer and doctor of the “Ștefan cel Mare” University of Suceava.
According to him, the Moscow putsch was regarded as a negative event by a part of the population of Ukraine. As a result of the reforms done by Gorbachev, the democratization of the political life started and Ukrainian society supported that phenomenon. However, there were Ukrainians who were yearned for the Soviet Union’s “glory days” and that nostalgia was fueled by the Russian propaganda.
“In Ukraine, a series of changes occurred as a result of the Gorbachev thaw through the liberalization of political life. A number of national movements appeared and these pleaded for strengthening the institutions needed for building a state. In 1990-1991, the first discussions about the own army of Ukraine, about the return to the own national currency appeared. Internal political changes for building the state occurred. Ukrainian nationalism was strengthened and developed considerably. In this connection, imagine how the putsch saying that the Soviet Union should not fall apart was perceived. The dissolution of the Soviet Union was irreversible and the putsch hastened this process and convinced some of the Ukrainians that the renegotiation of what the Soviet Union meant was something incorrect, with small exceptions yet. There were a lot of nostalgic persons in the eastern and southern parts of the country, in Crimea,” stated Marin German.
The public debate entitled “USSR: Born and Destroyed by Putsches” was the 16th installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.