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Interview With Evgeny Buzhinskiy, A Retired Lieutenant-General And Chairman Of The Executive Board Of The PIR Center, About The Disintegration Of The USSR, And Lessons For China And The US From It For Global Times

December 20, 2021

It has been three decades since the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. What is the collective feeling in today’s Russian society about the collapse of the Soviet Union? What lessons can China learn from the Soviet Union’s disintegration? Evgeny P. Buzhinskiy, a retired Russian lieutenant-general and chairman of the Executive Board of the PIR Center, shared his insight on these issues with Global Times reporter Lu Yuanzhi.

Evgeny Buzhinskiy:

  • In the time of the Soviet Union, the main contradictions with the West were ideological. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, ideological contradictions disappeared. Simultaneously other kinds of contradictions emerged.
  • I would say that more than half of the population feel sorry about the collapse of the Soviet Union. I think that things could have been done differently.
  • Like the Soviet Union 30 years ago, China has its own “cold war” with the US. I’m sure about that. I think many in Russia think that the Chinese example is more productive. And if the leadership of the Soviet Union led by Mikhail Gorbachev had followed the Chinese pattern, the result would have been different. I mean, first of all, reforming the economy, not the political structure of the country, because Gorbachev started by dismantling the political structure of the country, introducing first such things like the freedom of speech, all sort of other liberties.
  • China reformed its economy and made itself a “world factory.” And only after that, when the economic basis has proved to be solid, you started somehow modernizing the political structure.
  • The US is overburdening itself. They are doing the same today as the USSR used to do – trying to be involved in all the conflicts, trying to be present in all corners of the world – “global responsibility.” They have actually appointed themselves to be a global policeman, a global observer, a global master. The internal differences of the US may lead the US to very hard times. I think the US should learn lessons from the Soviet Union, but they will never recognize that they are following the path of the Soviet Union.

Read the full interview on the Global Times website.