23 January 2018, Tuesday, 1:01

Maksim Mirovich: Communist Regimes Crumbled In Just Few Hours

Maksim Mirovich

It will all work out for Belarus in the end.

Creator of the popular LJ blog Maksim Mirovich is known to our readers as the author of truthful articles about life in the USSR, a patriotic reportage about the Slutsk uprising.

Сharter97.org asked popular Belarusian blogger several questions:

– You are well known as a blogger who has written a number of articles on the USSR. You show the life of a Soviet man without any artifice. Why are you so interested in this topic?

– This topic is not the only one in my blog, but it does take quite a significant place. In short, I do not like the fact that the USSR has been idealized on the RU-part of the Internet in recent years, and a positive image of this country has been artificially generated, with only one goal – to convince that UNfreedom can be better than freedom. Alas, many people believe in these modern stories about how well they lived in the USSR, this is an integral property of human memory – to remember only the good and completely forget the bad.

And it's especially funny to watch the people born in the 1990s to "miss" the Soviet Union, having acquired something like false memories due to such storytelling. They know nothing about total poverty and concentration camps, but everyone is told what wonderful ice cream was there. I think that in some degree this happens only because there are large gaps in the education system – it's very difficult for pupils to pick true sense of what was going on in those years from the figures and dates that they have to learn by rote. There is lack of empirical experience and what is called the "sense of the era". Personally, I recommend everyone to watch the movies of the Perestroika era, especially the little-known ones – they show the archetypes and situations of the late USSR perfectly well.

– What lessons can the Belarusians learn from the history of Soviet totalitarianism?

– First of all, that Belarusians have nothing to do in empires – it doesn’t matter under what flag they come here. The history of the twentieth century wars provides a lot of examples – starting with the so-called "Civil" war to the intervention in Afghanistan – fundamentally, they were "someone else’s wars" for the Belarusians, where people died for the interests of large state entities, into which Belarus was incorporated. By the way, it seems to me – this idea is woven through all Svetlana Alexievich’s "military" books. Perhaps, literary critics in 30 or 40 years will write that Alexievich's books are not really about the war and not about Afghanistan, but about the fact that the Belarusians have nothing to do in empires.

The second very important moment is that the Belarusians must finally realize that Soviet totalitarianism came to Belarus from the outside and was not an integral part of our society’s development – Bolshevism was introduced here from the outside, as a virus that artificially divided society into "bad" and "good" ones. Perhaps the recognition of this fact will help us not to play other people's games.

And the third very important moment is that any totalitarism is sincerely supported by not so many people, the notorious “90% of those who support the course of the party and the government unanimously” simply do not exist, even in North Korea. This is well illustarted by how the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe collapsed: a month before the downfall the official statoistics made up the 100% support of the “leader and teacher”, and then everything collapsed in literally several hours. Something similar, besides, happened in the USSR — the Communist Party was prohibited in one night, and no riots followed — millions of party members who paid the party dues yesterday, threw away their party membership cards and went to work the following morning :)

— The year 2017 is coming to an end. What would you like to wish Belarusians in the New year?

— I would like to wish Belarusians more money. I want our GDP and personal incomes to increase at last. Li Kuan Yew, the author of the Singapore Economic Miracle, wrote that real democracy begins where there is a GDP of $ 50,000 per capita — and it is really so. In the USSR, people were lied that all the rich were villains, while the beggar proletariat was credited with some non-existent dignity in nature. In reality, everything is exactly the opposite — poor societies are the most embittered, wild and avid for propaganda, while people in wealthy countries behave kinder and in a more civilized manner, they are more difficult to manipulate. In general — earn money, travel, do not be afraid to learn new things. And Belarus, in the end, will succeed.