Mikhail Gorbachev: How a REAL Communist Handled Secession

December 10, 2009

by Russell Longore

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, a REAL Communist in the country that was the laboratory of totalitarianism, faced secession issues in his nation about 20 years ago.

Saint Gorby?

Can the “wannabe Communists” in Washington learn from this historical example? More importantly, can WE draw some lessons from the secessions that occurred back then, and apply them to the USA today?

For the sake of our own liberty, let’s try.

November 9, 2009, was the 20th anniversary of the 1989 “fall” of the Berlin Wall. What actually happened on that date twenty years ago was that the government of the German Democratic Republic announced that East Germans and West Germans would be allowed to visit each other freely. Throngs of East Germans climbed onto and crossed the wall. Over the next few weeks, people on both sides of the wall used sledge hammers to knock holes in the wall and topple large sections. Later, demolition crews removed most of the rest of the wall.

This event was a mind-blowing visual and emotional event worldwide, as we saw TV images of euphoric crowds celebrating, dancing and weeping at the Berlin Wall. Leonard Bernstein conducted a version of the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Berlin during Christmas 1989, with the word “Freiheit” (“Freedom”) replacing “Freude” (“Joy”) in the “Ode to Joy”, to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Few really believed that the Soviet Union would collapse after only 69 years of existence. The Soviets rivaled the USA in military might, and they were as imperialistic as the Americans, exporting Communism around the globe.

The images beamed around the world from the Berlin Wall were representative of what was happening in all 15 Soviet republics as their secession hastened the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Their Union unraveled, beginning in 1989 with the “glasnost” political reforms of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1990, newly-elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin led the Russian Congress to formally declare Russia’s sovereignty over its own territory, and began passing laws to supersede Soviet law. Russia was the largest republic in both territory and population in the Soviet Bloc.

But, Gorbachev and those in the Kremlin did not thwart the secessions. How could this have happened?

The USSR’s aggregate population in 1991 was around 293 million people. A national referendum was held on March 17, 1991, with the majority of the USSR’s population, in nine out of fifteen republics, voting for preservation of the Union. But it didn’t matter. After the attempted coup d’etat against Gorbachev in 1991, Yeltsin emerged as the strongman, and Latvia and Estonia declared their independence. The other republics joined the secessions soon thereafter.

How about military intervention? Lincoln did it in 1861.

Most of the Soviet armed forces were stationed in bases in Western Russia. That translates into a military force that was sometimes just hours away, and at the most a few days’ drive from their bases to the seceding republics. Plus, they had bases inside the borders of some republics. Gorbachev could have easily dispatched entire divisions of troops and tanks to seceding republics and inflicted heavy losses on civilian populations. And these troops were not involved in two wars outside their borders.

In January 1991, Gorbachev did indeed send some troops to Vilnius, Lithuania, to suppress secessionists, killing 14 civilians and injuring hundreds more. In July 1991, Russian OMON military police killed 7 Lithuanian servicemen. The USSR bore the weight of world criticism. But an authoritarian Communist leader does not refrain from the use of overwhelming force to put down secession simply because others object.

(Ironically, the USSR had their asses handed to them by the mujahidin of Afghanistan over a period of nine years. Many of those same Afghan fighters are handing the Americans their asses today.)

So in matters of military intervention to prevent secession, Gorbachev was less of a tyrant and totalitarian than Abraham Lincoln.

By December of 1991, the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

Perhaps Mr. Gorbachev should be nominated for sainthood…or maybe a Nobel Peace Price. Oh, wait…he already got one of those in 1990.

This little bit of history should give secessionists all over America a boost in morale.

Consider these seven points:

1. The largest of the republics regained its sanity and seceded. That should give the Texas Nationalist Movement additional hope and perspective in their quest for a New Texas nation.

2. This event forever destroyed the “too-big-to-fail” theory. Said another way, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Prior to collapse, the USSR had the second largest economy in the world after the USA. The Soviet economy was a centrally-planned disaster based on state ownership of industry and management of every facet of commerce. Washington is repeating the same central planning errors the Soviets could not make work. If the second largest world power in human history can dissolve in a matter of months, so can Number One when Number One is following the USSR’s exact footsteps.

3. Most of the people in the Soviet Union voted to maintain the Union, even though it had been the source of oppression and death for 69 years. That shows you how much suffering people will endure willingly…like sheep. That also shows you that the suffering masses desperately need moral leadership that is mostly non-existent in state houses and Washington.

4. Small republics like Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Lithuania and the rest of the 15 republics became sovereign nations once more. They have thrived since. Small American states will also thrive when they take their places among the sovereign nations of the world.

5. The USSR dissolution started when the Soviet republics rejected national laws that conflicted with local laws. That’s Nullification. The republics also refused to pay tax revenue to the Moscow government. More Nullification. This caused havoc in Moscow. In the USA, 39 American states have enacted sovereignty resolutions that assert their 10th Amendment rights. The American states are on the right path. Now will they do the right thing? (see Cowardice In State Government

6. The greatest complication for the American Federal Government, far greater than any complication that befell the Soviet Union, is that the US Dollar is the world’s reserve currency…the Ruble wasn’t. The nations of the world are forsaking the dollar because of Washington’s criminal counterfeiting ways over the years. Just as creditors can force a corporation into bankruptcy, the nations of the world will force Washington into bankruptcy and eventually the USA will dissolve.

7. Perception is not reality. I remember watching an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in which Buffy and her cohorts were preparing to fight the Fear Demon, the most dreaded of them all. Finally they met face-to-face. When the Fear Demon presented himself, he turned out to be about twelve inches tall with a squeaky voice. But he had projected an image as an unholy terror. Once Buffy and friends actually saw their adversary, they dispatched him quickly….after deriding him with gales of laughter. The lesson? The few people at the top of the Soviet power structure, who looked like the biggest and baddest of bad guys, were seemingly powerless to stop secession. Et tu, Washington?

So the fall of the Berlin Wall was much more significant to your future than you ever realized. Don’t miss the valuable lessons here. Just because America doesn’t have a big concrete wall doesn’t mean that we don’t have barriers to liberty. Oppressive government must be summarily rejected…and laughed at, and free people have a duty to either alter or abolish it.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

I thank George Rizk who emailed me and suggested the idea for this article.

Copyright © 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.