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Ex-Soviet Empire


I use the term ex Soviet Empire rather than the Soviet Union because there was little free consent in the union of the constituent countries. It was imperialism in the interest of the home country in the same way as were the Portuguese, Netherlands, Spanish, English and French colonial empires. Behind the ideological facade, the true motivation was economic power rather than conversion of indigenous people. The same mechanisms are found; centralized decisions to the metropolis, creation of economic interdependencies to reinforce central power, use of troops from one colony to subjugate or pacify another, creation of local pseudo elites favorable to the colonizer, massive population transfers for better exploitation of the colonies' natural resources and to relieve demographic pressures in the center, destruction of local cultures in favor of the imperial culture, etc. Officially the Soviet Government glorified the distinct cultures of its colonies, but in practice, key appointments where systematically awarded to Russians.

Contrarily to the other Empires whose end came from the rivalry between competing imperialisms or from the colonies' struggle for liberation, the Soviet empire collapsed by itself under the weight of its own flaws, corruption and excessive bureaucracy. Soon after independence, each of the former members of the USSR strove to display its own identity and culture as all newly emancipated colonies have. They removed monuments to the glory of the Empire to replace them by symbols that are more appropriate. They changed the names of streets and squares. They embarked in great de-russification campaigns. History’s pendulum has moved and it is now the isolated Russians of the former colonies that have become second-rate citizens. In the Baltic, Russians, whose families have arrived since the Soviet regime, must pass language and local cultural exams to have the right to apply for citizenship. Everywhere we observe massive population movements that increase the disorganization of society both in the ex colonies as in the refugee host states.

I could also use the term Chinese Empire rather than China, because it is obvious that the Uighur people of Xinjiang and Tibetan people have not asked to be dominated by the Han people. The above mentioned criteria apply also to China's Tibetan and Uighur colonies. An ancient imperialism is as heavy to bear as a more recent one for those whose destiny is in foreign hands.


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