The Moscow Times. Spain Could Collapse Like the U.S.S.R. 30.01.2013
Spain Could Collapse Like the U.S.S.R.
Catalonia has adopted a declaration of sovereignty. To those of us who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is very much deja vu. Everything here began exactly the same way. First, there were eloquent speeches on how the federal center is a dictatorship that stifles national identities and prevents local economies from developing. Next came colorful but abstract declarations with ambiguous promises to respect democratic values. Those were followed by the collapse of the state, the division of property, harassment of ethnic minorities, border disputes, the rewriting of history, an upsurge in chauvinism and the suppression of the very same national culture for the sake of which the original drive for independence had ostensibly been waged.
Of course, Catalonia today is not Ukraine or Georgia of 20 years ago. But the paradox is that in the context of contemporary Europe, the slogans for independence sound even more provocative and demagogic than the same sentiments sounded during the time of the Soviet collapse. The intelligentsia in the Soviet republics supported the idea of sovereignty, associating the Communist leaders in Moscow with censorship, bureaucratic control, an inefficient economy and shortages of consumer goods.