Post-Soviet Domestic and Foreign Challenges
Posted: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
This Special Report was published by IWP Professor Marek Chodakiewicz in The International Chronicles: Journal of Contemporary Political Culture.
Having been excluded for decades from the rewards of worldly advancement, our friends [in the post-Soviet Bloc] had failed to cultivate those arts - hypocrisy, treachery, and Realpolitik - without which it is impossible to stay in government. They sat in their offices for a while, pityingly observed by their staff of former secret policemen, while affable and much traveled rivals, of the kind with whom German Social Democrats and French Gaullists could both "do business", carefully groomed themselves for the next elections. Not since 1945 had so many records of communist party membership disappeared, or so many dissident biographies been invented. Within two years the real dissidents had returned to their studies, while the world outside was racing on, led by a new political class that had learned to add a record of outspoken dissidence to all its other dissimulations. We were witnessing what [Czechoslovak Communist Alexander] Dubcek had promised, socialism with a human face. The most urgent preoccupation of this new political class was to climb on to the European Union gravy train, which promised rewards of a kind that had been enjoyed in previous years only by the inner circle of the secret police.
Powerful forces exert enormous pressure on the Intermarium's political, social, cultural, and economic life. Since the liberation of the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas, those forces have been post-Communism, nationalism, and globalism. Globalism is not a simple function of Westernization. Instead, it is a mixed offering of traditional Western values and counter-cultural fashions. The former include the rule of law, individual liberty, a free market, parliamentary democracy, responsible patriotism, and traditional families. The counter-cultural fashions pertain to the platitudes of post-modernism, deconstruction, and moral relativism served both in academic and pop-cultural forms. The counter-cultural stance entails a rebellion against everything that historically made the West unique, in particular its absolutist values regarding the obtainability of truth. In a way, then, globalism offers both Western and anti-Western elements all wrapped in one, confusingly and enticingly, a daunting project to disentangle for a shell-shocked survivor of decades of Soviet totalitarianism.
Yet the task before the survivor should be straightforward: both to re-Westernize and to de-Communize himself in order to move forward into modernity. In other words, the objective is to achieve freedom.
Freedom and its promise, hope, anger, and desperation, all at once, reflect themselves on the political scene of each of the nation states of the Intermarium: domestically and internationally. Various traditions, or their lack, impact internal and external political developments in a variety of ways: by fostering affinities; by encouraging coalitions; and by shouting dissent. The political scene thus may appear chaotic to the casual observer. Yet, it is eminently logical and predictable, to a certain extent at least.
Within this context we shall discuss the phenomena of post-Communism and anti-Communism. We shall introduce the patriots and the post-Communists; the liberals and social democrats; the "pinks" and "reds"; the nationalists and the conservatives; and, finally, extremists of all stripes and shapes: from unreconstructed Communists to radical nationalists and others. These categories are not dichotomous, denoting right and left. Instead, they tend to be overlapping to a certain extent.
Overtly and covertly, the Intermarium grapples with the legacy of post-Communism. It also tackles current problems, such as the global recession and cultural changes. Most importantly, on the one hand, it faces the specter of a resurgent Russia. On the other hand, it engages the West, including NATO, the European Union, and the United States. The post-Soviet sphere faces a crucial dilemma: reintegration into the empire or integration with the West?
We shall now look at the internal and external political considerations of the Intermarium's elites; weave the social and economic impressions of the region; and consider its majorities and minorities.
What follows is not a comprehensive coverage of the contemporary politics in the Intermarium. Even though we deal with the period between roughly 1992 and 2011, this is not a straightforward chronological narrative of facts, people, places, and events. Instead, first, we shall concentrate on some general issues applicable everywhere in the region. Then, we shall scrutinize certain important phenomena in each of the post-Soviet successor states. In each case, our focus will vary slightly as we bow to the local conditions and flesh out the most salient characteristics and concerns of the newly liberated nations. There will be, however, two overarching, and contradictory, themes: post-Communism and Westernization (or, more precisely, re-Westernization). The latter is the restoration of liberty; the former its denial.
Post-Communism is present everywhere in the Intermarium. Westernization is most advanced in the Baltics. It has made some inroads into Ukraine, and fewer in Moldova. Belarus lags far behind. However, post-Communism is strongest there in its most unadulterated form. It is quite recognizable in Ukraine and Moldova, but in the Baltics it has transformed itself to a great extent as a legitimate and mainstream democratic avatar. This is the function of both the general level of Westernization and a particular flavor of political culture in the Baltics. The former is tied to the strength of national identity of the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, who have perceived Communism as an alien implant, and post-Communism as its bastard child left behind after the implosion of the USSR.
The objective of contemporary politics in the Intermarium should be to restore its Western tradition and to eliminate post-Communism. The "return to the West," as some put it grandiloquently, is indispensable to re-anchor the local communities and nations within the salubrious framework of liberty to achieve modernization, and, hence, prosperity. It is achieved by emulating a system, parliamentary democracy and free market capitalism, which produced the desired results elsewhere, most notably in the West, in particular the United States where tradition fuels modernization. Parliamentary democracy, rule of law, respect for private property, widespread religious faith, freedom, and patriotism have blessed the United States with exceptional power and prosperity that have been the inspiration, and envy, of the entire world. This includes the Intermarium where the American way has had its impressive share of enthusiastic admirers. Even now democracy, capitalism, and rule of law remain at least an avowed aim of most mainstream political players in the region. And they find a great deal of support among the people, although it has declined from effusively astonishing to cautiously conditional. Consequently, confusion and cynicism have set in among the people. They have reflected themselves in indifference, weatherwane emulation of the powerful, or a distrust of the elite. That is because in most places the majority of political elites recoil from the full implications of the desire toward re-Westernization and modernization. By commission or omission, they facilitate the survival of post-Communism.
Post-Communism finds succor not only in post-Soviet institutional, ideological, and personal survivals, but also in the philosophical, political, social, and cultural bowels of the counter-cultural trends of post-modernistic deconstruction and moral relativism, which, like, say, Communism and National Socialism, originated in the West as the contradictions of its heritage. The post-modernist heresies currently in vogue in the West are based upon the conviction that, first, everything is a social construct and, thus, imagined, propagated, and enforced by whoever holds power; and, second, that therefore the truth does not exist and no difference exists between right and wrong. This heretical denial of the absolute in essence equates Communism with democracy, as simply yet another emanation of power of the current elite. It also absolves the Communists of all crimes as relative. It further shifts the blame from individual perpetrators to some nebulous "social construct" that simply served as a framework for dialectically ruthless and impersonal forces of history. In this framework everyone is guilty, even the victims, but everyone is equally innocent, including the perpetrators. However, with a dialectical twist, the intellectual heresy replaces the individual, his or her origin notwithstanding, as the victim of the totalitarians by anointing the eccentric "Other," defined collectively as "the minorities," as the sole depository of all suffering and persecution. Minority suffering is publicly commemorated de rigeur; similar commemorations by the majorities in the Intermarium are perceived as threats and stigmatized as manifestations of, allegedly, nationalism, fascism, sexism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia.
Last but not least, the purveyors of post-modernism have conveniently introduced the following deceitful trick into the cultural discourse. They "critically" deconstructed the "corrupt" power structure and its systemic symbols. Then, they enshrined "nothing" in its stead. By disallowing any other set of beliefs, the traditional ones in particular, branded as "oppressive" (racist, sexist, and so on), they claimed to have ushered in a just and egalitarian system with no particular power structure. Instead, they enshrined "nothing." However, "nothing" in itself by excluding all others becomes a dominant system with a self-anointed radical elite guarding its orthodoxy. Thus, in reality, the new power elite has championed neo-nihilism as its tool of total control.
This post-ideology of the post-modernists of the West fits the post-Communists of the Intermarium just fine. They could now conveniently claim not only to have abandoned Communism but they also could set out to discredit anti-Communism. Their disingenuous argument ran as follows: Any ideology is bad. Anti-Communism is hateful and the anti-Communists resort to "Bolshevik" methods to impose their views on everyone. Let us forget the past. Let us choose the future. We shall march there together under the stewardship of the only orientation which not only fosters harmony, compromise, and tolerance through social democratic empathy, but also possesses professional cadres to accomplish the national goal of modernization. (Incidently, this insidious propaganda line, or "discourse," if you will, although unmistakably of Western counter-cultural origin, was pioneered in Poland during 1989. Afterwards it spread to the Intermarium like a wild fire.)
Accordingly, the post-Communists rebranded their party as social democratic. This was originally intended as a temporary maneuver. In fact, as mentioned before, it was a deception operation in a dual manner. Had the Soviet power been restored, the "social democrats" could have reverted to their previous shape once that was deemed dialectically necessary by the Kremlin. If, however, the Communists were to operate successfully in a "transformed" environment, where the very word "Communism" carried a stigma, initially they needed to alter their image by changing the façade: hence a new name for the old party. Naturally, some Communist stalwarts retained their old name and old ways. They were soon marginalized however throughout the Intermarium, even in Belarus. The transformed Communists proved the wave of the future.
Their most significant psychological break at the level of perception and propaganda came when Western politicians, journalists, and academics conceptualized them as "post-Communists." Only their most hard core domestic and foreign opponents continued to refer to them as "Communists," or, most often, "Commies." In a knee jerk reaction of anti-anti-Communism, liberal media and the glitterati at home and abroad immediately branded that as primitive, intolerant, and potentially threatening to democracy. That was both to stigmatize anti-Communism in the mainstream and to assist the former Communists in entering it.
The post-Communists, meanwhile, demurely objected in their offended innocence that they were really "social democrats." As such, undoubtedly to their own initial surprise, the Communists discovered that they were then rather effusively greeted by liberal Western intellectuals and other leftist activists. Ideological affinities of the Western leftists allowed the post-Communists to make a smooth transition from the henchmen of totalitarianism to the champions of socialist humanism. In addition, the post-Communists began waxing eloquent about the wisdom of the theory of convergence, initially castigated by the East, and mothballed by the West since the 1970s, but now conveniently resurrected. Convergence meant that both the West and the East took correct, albeit distinct, paths to the same goal: European socialist unity. So now they were not only "social democrats" but also the eastern apostles of the European Union. Some Western conservatives, meanwhile, pragmatically rejoiced at this apparent taming of the totalitarians, preferring "social democrats" over chaos and anarchy.
To guarantee institutional and political continuity from Soviet times as well as to manipulate parliamentary democracy, the post-Communists everywhere endeavored to introduce a "superpresidential," or at least semi-presidential, system. The greater degree of success, the greater and more durable the power of the post-Communists, as it so remains in Belarus and, to a lesser extent, Ukraine and Moldova. On the electoral scene, they invariably capitalized on a wave of popular resentment against corruption inherent in crony privatization and unemployment stemming from scaling back of the state ownership of industry and trade, including some free market reforms. Among the elderly, they milked the mushy nostalgia of the alleged "security" of the Communist times. They wooed the young with their self-proclaimed professionalism and vigorous championing of globalism.
After a while, delighted with their impunity at home and abroad (hardly anyone was really persecuted for Communist crimes and the de-Communization failed to materialize), the comrades began switching parties. Some of that occurred already at the threshold of independence; as mentioned, the "people power" national liberation movements were full of Communists. Some others also left the Communist party soon to join various political groups, and even to found some. Undoubtedly, it is safe to assume that at least a few of them were Soviet agents on assignment practicing the art of infiltration and disintegration. That is just standard operating procedure for any totalitarian secret police. But others were looking to redeem themselves; after all, people do change, at least a few of them do. Still others were looking for more fertile hunting grounds, especially on the right which sorely lacked the professional talent. They also continued to be very active in the business world, relying often on their political connections to ensure financial success. In the free Intermarium it thus became possible to have a prosperous career under virtually any umbrella. Politicians with post-Communist backgrounds can be found practically everywhere.
By design from above, by the force of inertia, and spontaneously from below, the processes that expedited the ascent of the post-Communists to new heights have come to a burst into full bloom in the Baltics in particular. They are robustly budding in Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, in Moldova. In Belarus they are sprouting very gradually and under careful control of the dictatorial gardener. The post-Communist success could not have happened without a hospitable political and philosophical reception from Western cheerleaders. And the cheering was reciprocal mutual.
Since postmodernistic deconstruction and moral relativism invaded theIntermarium from the West, the post-Communists and other local leftists conveniently have hailed them as the new and true essence of contemporary Europe and America. The native conservatives and other right wingers, however, have reacted to them pretty much like as their Western counterparts: they deny the haughty claim of the post-modernists to override the ancient logocentric heritage of the West. Generally, the conservatives strive to re-Westernize and de-Communize. Their leftist detractors at best offer the impossible mirage of the Westernization through a convergence of European and American post-modernist pathologies with eastern post-Communism. At worst, the unspoken specter of the reintegration of the Intermarium with Russia looms in the subconscious of some.
Logically, to achieve re-Westernization and, hence, freedom, one should endeavor to debunk separate oneself from the principal impediment: the pathologies stemming from the legacy of Soviet totalitarianism. In other words, to allow freedom to bloom fully, one needs to de-Communize fully. That entails phasing out from politics, economy, culture, and society the nefarious influences of the Soviet occupation and its aftermath, including present pathological connections to the Kremlin, the oligarch, the mafia, and Russia's secret services. In practical terms it requires maintaining the rule of law, including punishment for Communist crimes, property restitution, and guarantees for private property ownership. Openness, transparency, honesty, and integrity of public life can be best obtained by implementing the policies of lustration. That means openly vetting all public individuals to ascertain whether or not they collaborated with the KGB and other Communist secret agencies and whether the surreptitious parasitical relationship has continued into the present.
The deeper a break with the inheritance of Communism, the closer one gets to recreating Western conditions locally, the stronger the flowering of freedom, and the greater the chances of a successful modernization. The story of theIntermarium in the last two decades is the tale of the endeavors to complete the process to re-Westernize.
There are naturally geographic variations of the process. The greater the degree of the identification with the West present, the higher the level of achievement in terms of democracy and economy. Generally, by that standard, the Baltics tend to be the most pro-Western and the closest to the democratic ideal. Estonia leads the pack, followed by Latvia and Lithuania. Ukraine and Moldova trail behind, while Belarus fails to measure up to most Western political litmus tests. The nature of internal political forces reflects these geographic trends.
However, domestic politics of the Intermarium are by no means a straightforward contest between righteous "patriots" backed by the people who support the West and dastardly "post-Communists" alienated from the mainstream who kowtow to Russia. Neither do the former necessarily support parliamentary democracy; nor do the latter readily advocate a dictatorship. The political character and ideological profile of the "patriots" and the "post-Communists" vary geographically and are determined by a number of factors, including history and the degree of involvement of the West, the United States in particular, but also the European Union, in a post-Soviet successor state.
The terms "patriots" and "post-Communists" can be infinitely flexible and need a very careful explanation. The latter term is simpler. A post-Communist maintains himself in power with as little substantial change as possible. While adjusting to, and accommodating, change, or "the transformation," with impressive agility, he or she supports the most extensive possible continuity of the Communist ways at the present and into the future, a predicament where the people maintain their Soviet-style mentality and the elite enjoys its Western-style privileges. Usually, but not always, it is a secondary matter whether the status quo can be maintained within a dictatorship or a parliamentary democracy. He or she is apt at operating in both environments with dialectical suaveness.
The post-Communist is usually a former member, or a fellow traveler, of the Communist party, or one of its successor organizations. To maintain himself in power politically and economically, he or she clings to the network of comrades, contacts, and institutions, usually transformed, stemming from the time of the Soviet occupation. He or she sometimes continues to adhere, either genuinely or cynically, to a diluted version of the Marxist-Leninist ideology, usually in a social-democratic form. Even if barren of any ideological belief, the post-Communist nearly always falls back to the trusty modus operandi of Marxism-Leninism as far as the dialectical exercise of power is concerned. Deception remains the key here. The post-Communist will frequently deny his past or feign ignorance about any connection, however tenuous, to anything Soviet. Thus, Marxism-Leninism remains the tool of power for him or her, if in deep disguise. The post-Communist wields this tool usually by means of a post-Communist successor party, most often renamed "social democratic," or any other party, including a number of freshly minted ones on any side of the political spectrum.
However, there are also genuine, unreconstructed Communists of various stripes who resent the post-Communists as traitors. The unreformed Communists are ruthlessly brazen about their preferences for the bad old days, but are insufficiently dialectical to succeed in their schemes in the present. Last but not least, being a post-Communist is not a permanent condition. One can always exercise free will and become a patriot. Or one can retreat into privacy.
In the Intermarium, a patriot usually denotes an anti-Communist. Or at least it used to be the case until recently. And, in a perfect world, an anti-Communist is a person who has always opposed all manifestations of Communism, before, during, and after the Second World War, including, now, post-Communism. Clearly, very few have survived with a sustained record of uninterrupted anti-Communist activism or even passive anti-Communist attitudes. Over almost half a century, very few can claim no flirtation with Soviet Communism whatsoever, either for idealistic or pragmatic reasons. Very few can boast of no nefarious dealings with the Soviet secret police. In addition to a handful of grizzled veterans with impeccable credentials, almost invariably Gulag survivors, there are also middle aged people, who came of age before and during the heyday of the counterrevolution of the late 1980s and early 1990s, and even very young individuals who are entering politics now and embracing the anti-Communist legacy as theirs. These are the ideal patriots.
Although anti-Communism suffices to describe the ideology of perhaps most of them, at least initially in the early 1990s, in reality the patriots adhere to a variety of theoretical propositions and practical stances. A patriot is obviously interested in the welfare of his nation and that is why he primarily opposes Communism. A patriot can be a nationalist, but not necessarily. In fact, a patriot can be anything between a radical nationalist and an absolutist monarchist, including social democrat, liberal, Christian democrat, libertarian, conservative, or something other.
Most of the patriots tend to be pro-Western, in the Baltics and Belarus, in particular, but fewer in Ukraine. However, everywhere there is an anti-Western radical ultranationalist fringe. They reject the West, which they see as a hot spot of decadence, ruled by "Jews", "freemasons," and "homosexuals." The radical nationalists condemn free market capitalism and parliamentary democracy. These attitudes are most prevalent among the extremists everywhere, but are a case for concern particularly in Ukraine where they constitute a serious force in the western parts of the nation among the majority population. Ironically, the ideological preferences of radical nationalists show an affinity with those of the unreconstructed Communists of various stripe and the post-Communist reigning dictatorship in Belarus.
To confuse things further, over time, some of the patriots have suspended or even foresworn their erstwhile anti-Communism to cooperate with some of the post-Communists, for either pragmatic or ideological reasons. Usually the liberal or social-democratic patriots who support the European Union tend to collaborate with the post-Communists of similar preferences. Generally, a pro-Western stance by a post-Communist tends to elicit the support of former anti-Communists, some of whom have increasingly espoused however the anti-anti-Communist position.
Meanwhile, some of the post-Communists (and most unreformed Communists) maintain their links with Moscow, in Belarus and Ukraine primarily, but also in the Baltics, where they are the best friends of the Russian minority. Paradoxically, however, some of the post-Communists tend to be also pro-Western. There is no clear division of roles here necessarily; sometimes prominent post-Communists of the Intermarium seem supportive of both the West and the East simultaneously. That may be ideological pragmatism at its best, shrewd political tactics, or, simply, the standard modus operandi dictated by Marxist-Leninist dialectics.
Although the proportions vary from country to country, the greatest number of the post-Communist "fans" of the West reside in the Baltics; some in Ukraine and Moldova; and practically none in Belarus. The pro-Western types can even be pro-US, as reflected in their support of Washington during the conflict in Iraq and, more broadly, the War on Terror. To a large extent this was to demonstrate to the electorate that the post-Communists were no longer pro-Russian traitors, but, instead, pro-American patriots. They have also been casting about in search of foreign sponsors in a changed world. Having grown used to Moscow's Diktat, they do not mind instructions from Washington or Brussels. In this way, through obedience, they have also maintained their indispensability. To retain power, or at least to remain in the democratic game, some of the post-Communists support the European Union. Further, they back the EU because of their leftist ideological affinities for social democracy and liberalism, which presently hold Brussels in their grip. Moreover, precisely because of such ideological affinities, the post-Communists can rest confident that the EU will guarantee them impunity from prosecution for their past crimes. Hence, they heartily welcomed the support of the liberal and social democratic wing of the erstwhile patriots.
This inevitably logical alliance of the "pinks" and "reds" reflects the convergence of ideologies and the reassessment of priorities. On a broader scale, it also signifies what one scholar has aptly described as mentality and personality change: "Post-Socialist Transformations as Identity Transformations." Accordingly, as part and parcel of the process, the liberals and social democrats have abandoned their earlier nationalism and have begun to orient themselves internationally, toward the European Union in particular. Some were seduced by the gospel of globalization; others pragmatically joined the apparent juggernaut because, after all, was it not blessed by America's President Bill Clinton? Further, the former anti-Communists have lately adopted causes that used to range from perennial through irrelevant to non-existent in their struggle for independence against the Soviet Union but are now quite au courant in the Western liberal universe.
The best examples here are the trajectories of the growth and development of environmentalism, feminism, and gay liberation. Only a portion of these ideologies is indigenous to the Intermarium. Much of it is transplanted, or, more precisely, imposed by fiat by Western leftists. After all, the integral part of post-modernist deconstruction and moral relativisim is the worship of "The Other." In theIntermarium, as elsewhere, it translates into the championship of multiculturalism and minority rights, including the adherents of the "alternative life styles." Countercultural radicals from the European Union and the United States, via government pressure and NGO work, wield impressive lobbying powers backed up by substantial funds. They are most robust in the Baltics, visible in Ukraine, present in Moldova, and largely absent in Belarus. What are the results of this kind of social engineering? How does it relate to the indigenous environmentalist, feminist, and gay dynamics?
In the 1980s and early 1990s a conservationist counterrevolution broke out against the Communists' environmental pollution. Now it is transformed into a full fledged green movement with all its aberrations, deifying nature and denying the primacy of the human factor in our environmental concerns. It is, however, somewhat moderated within the parliamentary context because of the requirements of maintaining mainstream respectability and coalitions with disparate partners. During the struggle for freedom, feminism was consigned to a complete fringe; now it aspires to bloom with "gender" quotas, sensitivity trainings, and indoctrination on sexual harassment and alleged patriarchal violence in the family. Virtually a non-existent factor in the fight for independence, gay liberation is still far from rampant, but homosexual frolic takes place quite openly at the entertainment level, if at political and academic ones still to a much lesser degree.
Again, the Baltics lead the way in these fields. To challenge the EU's radicalism on cultural issues, socially conservative Latvia, for example, has constitutionally defined marriage as a compact between a man and a woman. And its citizens fail to embrace so-called "gay pride" parades. Other nations usually do not yet bother to preempt such post-modernist problems. In Ukraine environmentalism is a waxing minority concern; feminism is a performance art; and gay liberation is a butt of public jokes. Moldova lags behind Ukraine in those fields. And Belarus has largely relegated to the underground its environmentalism, feminism, and gay liberation.
And never mind that the environmentalists, feminists, and, to a lesser extent, gays (who remain mostly closeted) occasionally attack the post-Communist (as well as liberal and social democratic) establishment. That is simply an expression of the angry frustration of the radicals at the slow pace of the mainstream "red-pink" alliance in leading the counter-cultural charge to transform theIntermarium's societies along post-modernist lines. The life-style and nature radicals are much more adamantly opposed to the conservative and nationalist orientations, anti-Communists in general. The latter have not succumbed to moral relativism. Hence, their normative world view threatens "alternative life styles" and quasi-religions.
Another, perhaps most important, reason for the convergence of the "pink" and "red" orientations is that the liberals and social democrats of patriot background see no utility to anti-Communism anymore. They find it of historical relevance, if at all. In contemporary times, they consider anti-Communism divisive and an excuse for authoritarianism, xenophobia, illiberalism, and opposition to parliamentary democracy. And, as we have mentioned above, the fringe of the patriots have indeed championed such nefarious views, including anti-Semitism. However, most have not. As in the United States, the liberal reductio ad Hitlerum is a handy device to delegitimize the conservative and patriotic discourse.
Last but not least, the "pinks" have recognized the importance of the business world to the economic welfare of their countries and to their own financial well-being. Remaining involved in politics is costly. Serious funds are necessary to win elections. And who had the money? Not the anti-Communists. Convergence of the "pinks" with the "reds" was greatly facilitated by that, some would say at least at times undoubtedly self-serving, realization. After all, most of the business milieu of the Intermarium harkens back to the former Communist nomenklatura. It has even been alleged that the greatest Russian oligarchs, whose power used to radiate everywhere into the post-Soviet space, but has now waned somewhat, were connected to the old secret police, the dreaded KGB. And, it was rumored widely, they had strong mafia ties. Sometimes all the categories overlapped.
We should recognize, in passing at least, these three important groups of political players in the Intermarium: the successful businessmen, the secret agents, and the ruthless mafiosi. A historian is reluctant to delve into a topic that lacks crucial documentation, indeed really any sources save for journalistic dispatches and fantastic gossip. However, preliminary research has allowed us to establish the following basic facts about the elusive trio.
The Intermarium's most successful businessmen (biznesmeny), the oligarchs in particular, seem to have Communist roots. They are also often perceived as utterly corrupt. At least some of them had ties to the secret police in the past. Initially, the businessmen supported the post-Communists almost exclusively. Now they are split. The disunity reflects not only personal preferences but also pragmatism: the oligarchs like to be on the winning side in every election. Nonetheless, since much of the business class harkens from the nomenklaturaand many enjoy their ill-gotten wealth because of the orgy of embezzlement condoned and facilitated by the Communist in the 1990s, the entrepreneurial classes tend not to support the conservative forces of law and order in the Western meaning of the concept, except so far as such forces promise to maintain the status quo, guarantee them impunity for past, present, and future misdeeds, and continue to reward the nouveaux riche with government contracts and access to power. The businessmen are connected to prominent politicians, some even flaunt such connections indeed, in Ukraine in particular, and a few have entered politics themselves. Finally, the oligarchs frequently fight among themselves and as often make shady, backdoor deals to patch things up.
Foreign businesses and their principals are another story. Initially, these expatriate Westerners hired mostly Communists on account of their connections and management skills, however pathological, acquired under totalitarianism. Thus, the local "managers" provided foreigners with, in criminal parlance, "the roof" (krisha), or protection. It was nearly impossible to do business otherwise. And, in their turn, the foreigners provided their "business partners" with access to Western credit and contacts. That was the case everywhere, even with the normally straight Scandinavian entrepreneurs. Although Russian businesses officially qualify as foreign, they feel quite at home in the former Soviet Union and, for a variety of reasons described above, they unofficially claim an indigenous status. In fact, it appears that Russian businessmen have virtually overshadowed the local entrepreneurs in the Baltics, Estonia in particular.
As for secret agents, Soviet successor states, including primarily Russia, but also other nations, have their nets of the agentura in the region. There are several categories of secret operators. First, there are field officers of the KGB's successor, the Service of Foreign Intelligence (SVR) of the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Military Intelligence (GRU), and their local successor organizations. They are hardly reconstructed at all in Belarus, transformed somewhat in Ukraine and Moldava, and largely reinvented in the Baltics, an ill-conceived compromise attempting to reconcile the old and the new. Second, there are the sources (agents) handled by the FSB and other agencies. They may be agents of influence, active in the media, politics, and academia; and there are outright spies, a few of whom get caught occasionally, as was the case in Estonia recently.
Some agents are new recruits. Others used to be snitches for the KGB during Soviet times. Some of them continue under a new umbrella. Usually it is either the FSB or GRU. However, it can also be their local successor or a Western (or other foreign) spy entity. Here, the continuity of informing is likely predicated on blackmail. Although the Communists destroyed much of the local secret police archives in the Intermarium, the Moscow center retained all the important files. Further, some of the material was delivered or sold to Western intelligence agencies by defectors as the Soviet empire was crumbling. Finally, some documents were saved from destruction by the locals and are being slowly revealed to the world.
A partial illustration resulted against great opposition from vested interests. The vetting has proceeded in spurts and spasms, spurred by high profile cases. There have been more than a few revelations about the identities of the informers, most of them either defunct or sleepers. Most of the information is mainly of historical value. It is admittedly shocking to discover some heroes of the struggle for independence to have been in the employ of the KGB. It is also painful for many personally to learn that their close relatives and friends spied on them for the Soviet secret police. Yet it is all very necessary to make a clean sweep, put the past behind, and to ensure the national security of the newly liberated post-Soviet successor states.
At any rate, the clandestine operation seems to involve the whole of theIntermarium's political spectrum, not just the post-Communists. But the size of the spy net, the extent of the penetration, and the real value of its influence will remain unknown until the unlikely event that the powers involved, Russia in particular, resolve to open their archives to independent research. So why mention the agentura at all? Because it is a factor on the political scene; to pretend otherwise would be disingenuous; it would further rob us of a valuable perspective, that of remaining attentive to the possible influence of a secret tool of power; and, ultimately, glossing over the spy issue in silence would stoke the fires of paranoia among the conspiracy theorists.
Then, there is the mafia. In most places it is referred to as "the Russian mafia." It is a misnomer. If anything, "the post-Soviet mafia" is much more accurate, as the gangsters are of various ethnicities and are bound by their common, Soviet origin and post-Communist legacy. However, some gangs are of a single ethnicity, clan, or even family (e.g. "the Chechen mafia"). There are also local "mafias," sometimes autonomous, and at other times loosely affiliated with the ubiquitous "Russian mafia." The smartest of the set, well-connected to the KGB, moved up the ladder, proclaimed themselves "businessmen", legalized their loot, and bought into respectability, of sorts, including on the political scene. Whether or not they retained their connections to the criminal underworld is anyone's guess. Probably, some of them did. And the same applies to their links to the secret services. The ones who remained in the criminal underground appear to be on the wane as the Intermarium inches toward re-Westernization. As with the spies, their influence on the political scene is quite hard to gauge. An educated guess would be that they are more influential locally than nationally. Again, the mafiosi are most rampant in Ukraine and Moldova, while they are much more under control in the Baltics and quite invisible in Belarus. A dictatorship bears no competition in thuggery.
All of the above factors influence and impact, covertly and overtly, the publicly visible political scene of the Intermarium. To an untrained eye, the political scene looks eminently ordinary. After the hectic early 1990s, and the implosion of "popular fronts", the region settled into politics as usual. Constitutions are now enacted. Political parties compete and democracy functions everywhere, except only in Belarus. The number of parties tends to dwindle if there is political stability. Some parties practice deception, sometimes out of opportunism (e.g., to weather tough times for leftism) and sometimes to cover up their past and real intentions. Incumbent parties take over state bureaucracies and treat them as spoils of the system and tools of coercion to perpetuate themselves in power, a practice known as administrative resources (adminresurs). Cheating occurs, starting at the local level, even in the Baltics, however infrequently. It has also been registered as a serious problem in Ukraine and Moldova. In Belarus electoral fraud is of course institutionalized through the dictatorship. Parties often morph, change names, and conclude strange electoral alliances as well as switch sides and ideological profiles. Parties alternate in power. The dynamics of the alternation is based upon seemingly familiar Western patterns of the electorate's initial support for hard-biting economic reforms, introduced usually by the right, and the people's exhausted rejection of the belt-tightening measures, in favor of the left. And there is also the popular anger against government corruption, which leads to periodic government changes and manifests itself in political discontinuity on the parliamentary level.
That has been, at least, the case in the Baltics, to a various extent. Ukraine only reached that particular mode of democracy in 2004 and Moldava in 2007 and 2009. Prior, the post-Communists had virtually monopolized power there. The harder the grip of post-Communism, the more intense the protest manifests itself in favor of reform, as evident in the Ukrainian and Moldovan cases. Evidently, two decades on, the citizenry and opposition elites find it indispensable to finish the fight for freedom begun in the late 1980s. Meanwhile, however, Belarus has remained frozen in the dictatorial mode. Thus, the Intermarium emulates the West but the local peculiarities create different dynamics of the political systems. Further, unlike in the West, there is constant churning under the surface as disparate forces have now resorted to a democratic joust to settle their disputes, except in Belarus. The political scene thus appears normal only, of course, if we discount the history of the Intermarium, in particular Nazism and Communism, as well as post-Communism, anti-Communism, the "pink"-"red" nexus, extremists of various home-bred ilk, radicals of Western counter-culture, and the conjoined triplets of the entrepreneurial, agent, and criminal worlds.
2 In addition to the sources listed below, Part III is based upon daily reading of mainstream papers in a Russian, Polish, and a variety of languages and watching Russian, German, Polish, and English-language TV satellite news services. Further, for the past 6 years we have also edited an internet weekly newssheet concerning the region, "Eurasia, etc," which contains both mainstream and eccentric sources for the study of current issues of the Intermarium. However, the most indispensable English-language sources on the post-Soviet world remain the daily commentaries by Paul Goble, "Window on Eurasia," distributed via the internet and posted at www.windowoneurasia.blogspot.com; the daily analysis in Eurasia Daily Monitor published by the Jamestown Foundation and posted athttp://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/; and the dispatches of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty posted at http://www.rferl.org/. Of the mainstream papers, we regularly consult: the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post,Financial Times, Guardian, and Economist as well as Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Agency dispatches are often much more useful because they are devoid of excessive editorializing: Agence France Press (http://www.afp.com/afpcom/en/), Reuters (reuters.com), Associated Press (ap.org), and Bloomberg (Bloomberg.com).
3 For the initial period, until the mid-1990s, see Timothy J. Colton and Robert Legvold, eds., After the Soviet Union: from Empire to Nations (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992); Carol R. Saivetz and Anthony Jones, eds., In Search of Pluralism: Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994); Bogdan Skajkowski, ed., Political Parties of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Successor States (London: Longman, 1994); Jane Shapiro Zacek and Ilpyong J. Kim, eds., The Legacy of the Soviet Bloc (Gainseville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1997); John W. Blaney, ed., The Successor States to the USSR(Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Books, 1995); Reimund Seidelmann, ed.,Crises Policies in Eastern Europe: Imperatives, Problems and Perspectives(Baden-Baden: Nomos, 1996); Shaping Actors, Shaping Factors in Russia's Future(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998); Robert J. Kaiser, The Geography of Nationalism in Russia and the USSR (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994). And see below.
4 There are actually three political cultures in the Baltics, and, to a certain extent, elsewhere in the Intermarium: nationalism, post-Sovietism, and globalism. We should keep in mind, however, that sometimes they overlap. And they are often modified by individualism, which is more prevalent, say, among the Estonians (and even the Russians from Estonia), than among the Russians from Muscovy. The latter show highly collectivistic trends. Yet, Estonians, both émigré and domestic, display rather high levels of ethnic pride and belonging. Perhaps then nationalism is the prime beneficiary of the collectivistic reflexes among the Estonians. See Sten Berglund, Bernd Henningsen, and Mai-Brith Schartau, eds.,Political Culture: Values And Identities In The Baltic Sea Region (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006); Cynthia S. Kaplan, "Political Culture in Estonia: The Impact of Two Traditions on Political Development," Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, ed. by Vladmir Tismăneanu (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995), 227-268; Anu Realo and Jüri Allik, "A Cross-Cultural Study of Collectivism: A Comparison of American, Estonian, and Russian Students," The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 139, no. 2 (April 1999): 133-142; Aune Valk and Kristel Karu, "Ethnic Attitudes in Relation to Ethnic Pride and Ethnic Differentiation," The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 141, no. 5 (October 2001): 583-601; Mart Nutt, "Different Nationalisms: The Case of Estonia,"Uncaptive Minds, vol. 9, nos. 3-4 (Summer-Fall 1997): 33-42; Juri Adams and Janusz Bugajski, "Different Nationalisms: The Lessons of Estonia," Uncaptive Minds, vol. 9, nos. 3-4 (Summer-Fall 1997): 149-160. For comparison see Orest Subtelny, "Russocentrism, Regionalism, and the Political Culture of Ukraine"Political Culture and Civil Society in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, ed. by Vladmir Tismăneanu (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1995), 189-207.
5 On the rule of law see Martin Krygier, Adam Czarnota and Wojciech Sadurski, eds., Rethinking the Rule of Law in Post-communist Europe: Past Legacies, Institutional Innovations, and Constitutional Discourses (Budapest: CEU Press, 2005). On the economic aspect of the "transformation" see Ross E. Burkhart, "Economic freedom and democracy: post-cold war tests," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 37, no. 2 (March 2000): 237-253; Thilo Bodenstein and Gerald Schneider, "Capitalist junctures: Explaining economic openness in the transition countries," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 45, no. 3 (May 2006): 467-497; Karl C. Kaltenthaler, Stephen J. Ceccoli, and Andrew Michta, "Explaining individual-level support for privatization in European post-Soviet economies," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 45, no. 1 (January 2006): 1-29; Marcus A. G. Harper, "Economic Voting in Postcommunist Eastern Europe,"Comparative Political Studies vol. 33, no. 9 (2000): 1191-227; Byong-Kuen Jhee, "Economic Origins of Electoral Support for Authoritarian Successors: A Cross-National Analysis of Economic Voting in New Democracies," Comparative Political Studies, vol. 41, no. 3 (March 2008): 362-388. For the initial support for democracy (1990-1992), stronger in Lithuania among both urban and rural dwellers, than in Ukraine and Russia, where city inhabitants were more pro-democratic than villagers, according to opinion polls, see William M. Reisinger, Arthur H. Miller, Vicki L. Hesli, and Kristen H. Maher, "Political Values in Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania: Sources and Implications for Democracy," British Journal of Political Science, vol. 24, no. 2 (1994): 183-223. More on public attitudes seeRichard B. Dobson and Steven A. Grant, "Public Opinion and the Transformation of the Soviet Union," International Journal of Public Opinion Research, vol. 4, no. 4 (Winter 1992): 302-320; Arthur H. Miller, Vicki L. Hesli, and William M. Reisinger, "Conceptions of Democracy among Mass and Elite Post-Soviet Societies," British Journal of Political Science, vol. 27, no. 2 (April 1997): 157-90; Arthur H. Miller, Vicki L. Hesli, and William M. Reisinger, "Public Behavior and Political Change in Post-Soviet States," The Journal of Politics, vol. 57, no. 4 (November 1995): 941-70; Arthur H. Miller, Vicki L. Hesli, and William M. Reisinger, "Comparing Citizen and Elite Belief Systems in Post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine," Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 59, no. 1 (Spring 1995): 1-40; Richard Smoke, ed., Perceptions of Security: Public Opinion and Expert Assessments in Europe's New Democracies (New York: Manchester University Press, 1996); Martin Aberg and Mikael Sandberg, Social Capital and Democratisation: Roots of Trust in Post-Communist Poland and Ukraine (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003).
6 See Georges Mink and Jean-Charles Szurek, "Adaptation Strategies of the Former Communist Elites," The Political Analysis of Postcommunism: Understanding Postcommunist Ukraine, ed. by Volodymyr Polokhalo (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1997), 197-204; Andrew Konitzer-Smirnov, "Serving Different Masters: Regional Executives and Accountability in Ukraine and Russia," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 57, no. 1 (January 2005): 3-33;Renske Doorenspleet, "The structural context of recent transitions to democracy," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 43, no. 3 (May 2004): 309-335; Klaus Armingeon and Romana Careja, "Institutional change and stability in postcommunist countries, 1990-2002," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 47, no. 4 (June 2008): 436-466; Jan Pakulski, "Poland and Ukraine: Elite Transformation and Prospects for Democracy," Journal of Ukrainian Studies vol. 20, no. 1-2 (Summer-Winter 1995): 195-208.
7 For the worrisome implications of Western heresies in the post-Soviet sphere, including Russia itself, see Tomasz Sommer and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, "Average Joe: The Return of Stalin Apologists," World Affairs: A Journal of Ideas and Debate(January/February 2011): 75-82.
8 See Kimitaka Matsuzato, "Differing Dynamics of Semipresidentialism across Euro/Eurasian Borders: Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova, and Armenia,"Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 14, no. 3 (Summer 2006): 317-346; John T. Ishiyama and Ryan Kennedy, "Superpresidentialism and Political Party Development in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 53, no. 8 (December 2001): 1177-1191.
9 Ellen Carnaghan and Richard Rose, "Generational Effects on Attitudes to Communist Regimes: A Comparative Analysis," Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 11, no. 1 (January-March 1995): 28-56; Viktoriya Topalova, "In Search of Heroes: Cultural Politics and Political Mobilization of Youths in Contemporary Russia and Ukraine,"Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 14, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 23-41.
11 See John T. Ishiyama, ed., Communist Successor Parties in Post-Communist Politics (Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 1999), and its next edition: András Bozóki and John T. Ishiyama, eds., The Communist Successor Parties of Central and Eastern Europe (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002); John T. Ishiyama, "The Communist Successor Parties and Party Organizational Development in Post-Communist Politics," Political Research Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 1 (March 1999): 87-112; and Eitan Tzelgov, "Communist successor parties and government survival in Central Eastern Europe," European Journal of Political Research, published on line in August 2010, forthcoming in 2011.
12 See Taras Kuzio, Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives on Nationalism (Germany: Ibidem-Verlaug, 2007); Andrew Wilson, Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Peter F. Sugar, ed., Eastern European Nationalism in the Twentieth Century (Washington, DC: The American University Press, 1995); Luciano Cheles, Ronnie Ferguson and Michalina Vaughan, eds., The Far Right in Western and Eastern Europe (London and New York: Longman 1995); Paul Hockenos, Free to Hate: The Rise of the Right in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (New York and London: Routledge, 1994); Tore Bjorgo and Rob Witte,Racist Violence in Europe (London and New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994); Geoffrey Harris, The Dark Side of Europe: The Extreme Right Today (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994).
13 Mikko Lagerspetz, "Post-Socialist Transformations as Identity Transformations," Political Culture: Values And Identities In The Baltic Sea Region, ed. by Sten Berglund, Bernd Henningsen, and Mai-Brith Schartau (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006), 13-22.
14 See Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski, eds., Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported? Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Alex Pravda and Jan Zielonka, eds., International Influences on Democratic Transition in Central and Eastern Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); Bernd Rechel, ed., Minority Rights in Central and Eastern Europe (London: Routledge, 2009).
15 See Wolfgang Rüdig, "Is government good for Greens? Comparing the electoral effects of government participation in Western and East-Central Europe,"European Journal of Political Research, vol. 45, Supplement S1 (October 2006): S127-S154.
16 See Gordon Waitt, "Sexual Citizenship in Latvia: Geographies of the Latvian Closet," Social & Cultural Geography, vol. 6 no. 2 (April 2005): 161-81; Laura Sheeter, "Latvia defies the EU over gay rights," BBC News, 16 June 2006, posted at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5084832.stm; Aleks Tapinsh, "Homophobic attitudes remain entrenched," East of Center: Daily Arts, Culture, Politics, Media, Law & Order, Society, Economics & Business, from Transitions' editors, Transitions online: Regional Intelligence, 4 June 2007, posted athttp://www.tol.org/client/article/18756-homophobic-attitudes-remain-entrenched.html.
17 Ukrainian feminists have developed a tactic of naked attacks. In November 2010, the Ukrainian activists of Femen stormed, half-naked, into an Iranian cultural center to object an impeding execution of a Persian woman for adultery. In October 2010 they marched bare-chested to protest Putin's visit to their country. In July 2010, they stripped publicly to oppose sex tourism. In February 2010, they burst half-naked into a polling station to express their outrage at business as usual in politics. See "Half naked women of feminist group Femen protest Ukrainian election," 8 February 2010,http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news10195.html; André Eichhofer, "Students Fight Prostitution in Ukraine," Der Spiegel, 30 July 2010,http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,639246,00.html; "Naked feminists to Putin: ‘We are not thrahnesh'," Zhizn na Ukraine, 28 October 2010,http://www.promes.org/en/s59/5996.html; "Topless Ukrainian Feminists Storm Iranian ‘Cultural Event' to Protest Planned Stoning," The Blaze, 15 November 2010, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/topless-ukrainian-feminists-storm-iranian-cultural-event-to-protest-planned-stoning/. On the problems of women in theIntermarium in a more scholarly vein see Alexandra Hrycak, "Coping with Chaos: Gender and Politics in a Fragmented State," Problems of Post-Communism, vol. 52, no. 5 (September-October 2005): 69-81; Vicki L. Hesli and Arthur H. Miller, "The Gender Base of Institutional Support in Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia,"Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 45, no. 3 (1993): 505-532; Solomea Pavlychko, "Between Feminism and Nationalism: New Women's Groups in the Ukraine,"Perestroika and Soviet Women, ed. by Mary Buckley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 82- 96; Solomea Pavlychko, "Feminism and Post-Communist Ukrainian Society," Women in Russia and Ukraine, ed. and trans. by Rosalind Marsh (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 305-14; and the following essays in Mary Buckley, ed., Post-Soviet Women: From the Baltic to Central Asia, ed. Mary Buckley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997): Nijole White, "Women in Changing Societies: Latvia and Lithuania," (203-218), Solomea Pavlychko, "Progress on Hold: The Conservative Faces of Women in Ukraine," (p. 219-34).
18 See Georges Mink and Jean-Charles Szurek, "Adaptation Strategies of the Former Communist Elites," The Political Analysis of Postcommunism: Understanding Postcommunist Ukraine , ed. by Volodymyr Polokhalo (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1997), 197-204. On graft, in general, see Ase B. Grodeland, Tatyana Y. Koshechkina, and William L. Miller, "‘Foolish to Give and Yet More Foolish Not to Take': In-depth Interviews with Post-Communist Citizens on Their Everyday Use of Bribes and Contacts," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 50, no. 4 (June 1998): 651-77. On the Baltics see Karin Hilmer Pedersen and Lars Johannsen, "The Talk of the Town: Comparing Corruption in the Baltic States and Poland," Political Culture: Values And Identities In The Baltic Sea Region, ed. by Sten Berglund, Bernd Henningsen, and Mai-Brith Schartau (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 2006), 117-134. On oligarchic corruption in Ukraine seeArarat L. Osipian, "Political Graft and Education Corruption in Ukraine: Compliance, Collusion, and Control," Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 16, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 323-344; Taras Kuzio, "Ukrainian Economic Policy after the Orange Revolution: A Commentary on åslund's Analysis,"Eurasian Geography and Economics, vol. 46, no. 5 (2005): 354-363; Andrew Konitzer-Smirnov, "Serving Different Masters: Regional Executives and Accountability in Ukraine and Russia," Europe-Asia Studies, vol. 57, no. 1 (January 2005): 3-33; Valentyn Yakushyk, James Mace, and Kostiyantyn Maleyev, "Corruption as a Political Phenomenon under Communism," The Political Analysis of Postcommunism: Understanding Postcommunist Ukraine , ed. by Volodymyr Polokhalo (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1997), 163-176. On some legal and logistical problems prosecuting the mafia in the post-Soviet sphere see George Ginsburgs, The Soviet Union and International Cooperation in Legal Matters (Norwell, MA, and Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and Kulwer Academic Publishers, 1994), 281-323, which is Chapter VI: "Russia and the Successor States." See also David Satter, Age of Delirium: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001); David Satter, Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003); Arkady Vaksberg, The Soviet Mafia (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991); Federico Varese, The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy (New York: Oxford University, 2001, 2nd ed. 2005); Stephen Handelman, Comrade Criminal: Russia's New Mafiya (New Haven Yale University Press, 1995); Paul Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000).
19 Ukraine's wealthiest oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov (worth over $30 billion in 2008), supports the Russofile post-Communists of eastern Ukraine headed by Viktor Yanukovich of the Party of Regions. However, the billionaire Sergey Taruta opposes him. Another tycoon, Viktor Pinchuk ($8.8 billion), who is the son-in-law of former President Leonid Kuchma, got himself elected as a parliamentary deputy, straddled the fence between the "easterners" and "westerners", and, finally, retreated into privacy after the Orange Revolution. Yulia Timoshenko, one of the leading political contenders, herself emerged from the kleptocratic milieu. In one of her more controversial moves as prime minister, Timoshenko stripped Pinchuk of a business and helped resell it, which reaped a profit of several billion dollars to benefit other oligarchs, including investment banker Igor Kolomoyski ($6.6 billion), who, in 2005, thus switched sides, dropping post-Communist Yanukovich and shifting his support to Timoshenko. See Stefan Wagstyl and Roman Oleachyk, "Ukraine election divides oligarchs," Financial Times, 15 January 2010 posted athttp://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ab42016a-0174-11df-8c54-00144feabdc0.ht#axzz1B2FScxPm; Taras Kuzio, "Oligarchs wield power in Ukrainian politics," Eurasia Daily Monitor, no. 125, vol. 5 (1 July 2008), posted athttp://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=33765; Judy Dempsey, "Ukraine's dance of the oligarchs," The New York Times, 23 December 2005 posted athttp://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/23/business/worldbusiness/23iht-wbolig.html; Helen Fawkes, "Ukraine fears the rise of new oligarchs," BBC News, 23 June 2005, posted at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4114342.stm. By comparison, the "oligarchs" of the Baltics appear puny. Take, for example, Andris šķēle, who served twice as prime minister (1995-1997, 1999-2000). His worth is estimated barely at 60 million euros. Initially "partyless", šķēle founded his own Popular (or People's) Party in 1998. He resigned his office in 2000 and, subsequently, party membership in 2003 because of the allegations of corruption. However, in 2009, šķēle returned to active politics. See "šķēle back as a leader of People's party,"The Baltic Times, 15 October 2009, posted athttp://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/23705/.
21 A high ranking Estonian defense official, Herman Simm, who was the head counterintelligence officer for the Defense Ministry, was sentenced for spying for Russia in 2009. He commenced carrying out tasks for the SVR in 1995, apparently re-recruited through a combination of bribes and blackmail. However, his ties to the KGB date back to 1966. He was a Communist party member and a secret policeman, a graduate of the elite Interior Ministry Academy of the USSR. He reached the rank of a colonel. During the fight for independence, Simm apparently switched sides, although some perceived him as still aiding the Soviets. He served as the nation's top policeman. Eventually, he was drummed out of the service for corruption. Simm then contacted, or was contacted by, his old handlers. Yet, all of it somehow failed to raise a red flag. What happened to Putin's favorite adage: "Once a Chekist, always a Chekist"? See Fidelius Schmid and Andreas Ulrich, "New documents reveal truth on Nato's ‘most damaging' spy," Der Spiegel, 30 April 2010, posted athttp://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,691817,00.html; "Estonian spy sold Nato secrets," BBC News, 25 February 2009, posted athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7910814.stm; Roger Boyes, "Russian spy in Nato could have passed missle defence and cyber-war secrets," Times on line, 16 November 2008, posted athttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5166227.ece; "How many more? A senior Russian spy in NATO is convicted," Economist, 28 February 2009, posted at http://www.economist.com/node/13184989?story_id=13184989.
22 Exceptionally, the Vilnius KGB archives escaped destruction to a large extent. See "Maciej Siekierski and Richard Sousa, "Agents of History," Hoover Digest, no. 1 (Winter 2010): 155-159. Riga and Talin's KGB documentary legacy is partly accessible to selected scholars. The Minsk KGB archives are inaccessible at all as are the ones in Chişinău, while the Kiev KGB documentary depositories have just been re-sealed by the newly elected post-Communist government. For the best known case of KGB and GRU files landing in the West's lap see Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West(London and New York: Allen Lane and The Penguin Press, 1999).
Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The World Was Going Our Way: KGB and the Battle for the Third World (New York: Basic Books, 2005). It is much less known that the CIA acquired the Stasi archive.
23 Lithuania's Virgilius Cepaitis ("Juozas") of Sąjūdis was one of the first prominent activists to be exposed. See N. Lashkevich, "The passions over KGB agent known as ‘Juozas'," The Current Digest of Post-Soviet Press, vol. 43, no. 48 (1 January 1992): 16-17.
24 In 1994, Lithuania's prime minister and Latvia's foreign minister were forced to resign after their ties to the KGB became known. The latter, Georgs Andrejevs("Ziedonis"), was one of the very few to confess; he was recruited in 1963 to inform on his friends and co-workers. The former, Kazimiera Pruskine ("Shatri"), reported on her foreign contacts. See Matt Bivens, "Wanted Alive: Ex-KGB Agents and Informers Baltic states hunt down former Soviet operatives with a vengeance: Already, a prime minister and a foreign minister have been toppled,"The Los Angeles Times, 2 August 1994, posted athttp://articles.latimes.com/1994-08-02/news/wr-22515_1_prime-minister. The Latvians are arguably most serious of all Balts about the lustration. They have vetted at least some of their politicians and revealed the names of some 4,500 informers. See "Latvia to disclose the names of former KGB agents March 1, 2007," RIA Novosti, 26 October 2006, posted athttp://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/news/2006/intell-061026-rianovosti01.htm. At the time, the Estonians, who lag far behind, published only 32 names of former KGB informers. However, in congruence with the amnesty law, 1,153 had people turned themselves in as former KGB agents by April 1, 1996. Their names remain confidential. See Aadu Oll, "Estonia: Toward Post-Communist Reconstruction," Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes, ed. by Illan Berman and J. Michael Waller (Lanham, MD, Boulder, CO, Toronto, and London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 84. For hysterical Islamist allegations about the KGB-FSB operations in Estonia (and one of the reasons why very few serious scholars venture into this particular field of research) see "KGB agents in Helsinki tried to stage protest against Kavkaz Center," 28 November 2010, Kavkazcenter.com, posted athttp://kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2010/11/28/12987.shtml.
25 In 1995, former KGB agents-cum-gun runners wiretapped Estonia's prominent politicians, at the behest of Edgar Savisaar, a former Communist apparatchik, a participant in the independence drive, a post-Communist, and free Estonia's first prime minister. At the time of the scandal, Savisar was the Minister of the Interior, in charge of the police. The operation was conducted by the employees of the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA), which was, ostensibly, a private firm owned by two ex-KGB officers. Savisaar ordered his aide, who worked for the SIA at one point, to record sensitive conversations. She did. This was most likely a part of the effort to facilitate secret arms sales. It is unclear whether the undertaking was private business, an SRV (or GRU) operation, or a joint venture between the mafia and post-Soviet secret services. At any event, after Savisaar, at the time a cabinet minister, stonewalled, he was fired by Prime Minister Tiit Vahi, whose government promptly fell as a result of the scandal. See Stephen Kinzer, "Political Wiretapping Scandal Reminds Estonians of Soviet Era," The New York Times, 18 October 1995, posted athttp://www.nytimes.com/1995/10/18/world/political-wiretapping-scandal-reminds-estonia-of-soviet-era.html. Currently the head of the Center Party and the Mayor of Tallin, Savisaar continues to live dangerously. He was accussed of accepting money from Vladimir Yakunin, the President of Russian Railways. Savisaar counterclaimed that the money was donated to build a church. It is unclear, however, whether the full amount was applied to that worthy goal or whether at least some of the funds were used for political campaigning. At any rate, his detractors charged Savisaar with being "an agent of Russian influence." See "‘Truth Commission' Clears Tallinn Mayor of Wrongdoing," ERR News, Estonian Public Broadcasting, 6 January 2011, posted athttp://news.err.ee/politics/60751922-4047-4eb1-be07-b06f0710487d. Kaunas's former small time black marketeer turned multi-millionaire Vladimir Romanov is another interesting player. He associated with the mafia, including notorious gangster Henrikas Daktaras, and had dealings with ex-KGB men. His business dealings focused on privatization and banking (e.g., he co-founded Ukio bank) at home and other ventures in the post-Soviet sphere and the Balkans (where he owns the Birac aluminum plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina's Republika Srpska). However, according to his supporters, Romanov turned on his past associates to earn legitimacy and respectability. His detractors accuse him of nefarious and corrupt practices, for example asset stripping at Dirbtinis Pluostas, a Lithuanian textile company Romanov controlled, which went bust after falling in debt to the tune of nearly $100 million USD. In Ukraine he bought privatization vouchers and shares from workers at a pittance. Romanov also clashed with another Russian oligarch with Lithuanian citizenship, Viktor Uspaskitch, over Krekenavoi Agrofirma, a meat processing plant both coveted. Most of his business dealings are now abroad; Romanov even purchased a Scottish soccer team. And he is a religious fellow. For an uncritical profile see Ian Johnston, "How big player took on the Russian mafia and a KGB agent: Romanov Unravelled," The Scotsman, 7 March 2005, posted at http://sport.scotsman.com/vladimirromanov/How-big-player-took-on.2608473.jp.
26 A few observations on the mafia in Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, „Notatki z post-Sowiecji (część I)," [Notes from the post-Soviet lands, part I] Najwyższy Czas!, 9 October 2010, p. XXXV; and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, „Notatki z post-Sowiecji (część II)," [Notes from the post-Soviet lands, part II] Najwyższy Czas!, 16 October 2010, p. XXXV. And see David Satter, Darkness at Dawn: The Rise of the Russian Criminal State (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003); Arkady Vaksberg, The Soviet Mafia (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991); Federico Varese, The Russian Mafia: Private Protection in a New Market Economy (New York: Oxford University, 2001, 2nd ed. 2005); Stephen Handelman, Comrade Criminal: Russia's New Mafiya (New Haven Yale University Press, 1995); Paul Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia(New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000); Misha Glenny, McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).
27 On constitution writing and implementation see Rett Ludwikowski, Constitution Making in the Region of Former Soviet Dominance (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), 73-81 (Lithuania), 81-89 (Estonia), 89-95 (Ukraine), and 95-102 (Belarus) as well as Belarus's constitution reproduced at pp. 332-350 and Lithuania's at pp. 484-509.
28 See Jessica Allina-Pisanno, "Social contracts and authoritarian projects in post-Soviet space: The use of administrative resource," Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol. 43, no. 4 (December 2010): 373-382. The author's evidence comes mostly from Ukraine and its neighbors.
29 See, at the general level, Daniel Calingaert, "Election Rigging and How to Fight It," Journal of Democracy, vol. 17, no. 3 (2006): 138-51. For Ukraine see Kerstin Zimmer, "The Comparative Failure of Machine Politics, Administrative Resources and Fraud," Canadian Slavonic Papers, vol. 47, no. 3/4 (September-December 2005): 361-84; Misha Myagkov, Peter C. Ordeshook, and Dimitry Shakin, "The Disappearance of Fraud: The Forensics of Ukraine's 2006 Parliamentary Elections,"Post-Soviet Affairs, vol. 23, no. 3 (2007): 218-39.
30 Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Katja Fettelschoss and Philipp Harfst, "Party government in Central Eastern European democracies: A data collection (1990-2003)," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 43, no. 6 (October 2004): 869-894.
31 See Hubert Tworzecki, Learning to Choose: Electoral Politics in East-Central Europe (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003); Richard Rose and Neil Munro, Elections and Parties in New European Democracies (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2003), and the 2nd edition: An Interactive Process published in 2010 by European Consortium for Political Research Press. See also Margit Tavits, "On the linkage between electoral volatility and party system instability in Central and Eastern Europe," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 47, no. 5 (August 2008): 537-555; Tatiana Kostadinova, "Voter turnout dynamics in post-Communist Europe," European Journal of Political Research, vol. 42, no. 6 (October 2003): 741-759; Byong-Kuen Jhee, "Economic Origins of Electoral Support for Authoritarian Successors: A Cross-National Analysis of Economic Voting in New Democracies," Comparative Political Studies, vol. 41, no. 3 (March 2008): 362-388.
32 For free election results in the Baltics up to, and including, 2004 see see Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Aberdeen, "Baltic Voices: Elections," posted at http://www.balticvoices.org/estonia/estonian_elections.php,http://www.balticvoices.org/latvia/latvian_elections.php, andhttp://www.balticvoices.org/lithuania/lithuanian_elections.php.
33 For an analysis of the upheavals in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan see Menno Fenger, "The Diffusion of Revolutions: Comparing Recent Regime Turnovers in Five Post-Communist Countries," Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter 2007): 5-28; Taras Kuzio, "Democratic Breakthroughs and Revolutions in Five Postcommunist Countries: Comparative Perspectives on the Fourth Wave," Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, vol. 16, no. 1 (Winter 2008): 97-109. In addition to the five nations mentioned above, Kuzio considers Slovakia, Central and Eastern Europe arguably most post-Communist nation. He argues that it was rescued from its pathological hibernation by the EU, which failed to extend the same assistance to Ukraine and Georgia, however.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politicsin Washington, D.C.