by Conrad Black (January 2014)
In January 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev had recourse to traditional Soviet repressive methods in Georgia and Latvia, but his heart wasn’t in it, and he wasn’t prepared to kill people as Stalin and Khrushchev and even occasionally Brezhnev had done. On March 17, 1991, 76.4% of Soviet voters ostensibly voted to remain in a reformed Soviet Union, although the Baltic republics and Georgia and Armenia voted to secede and Moldova abstained. But on June 12, Boris Yeltsin, who had defected from the Communist Party and sought full democracy, denationalization and decontrol of all industry and agriculture, and the Russian secession from the Soviet Union, was elected head of the Russian Republic with 57% in a free vote. He was now a very serious rival, in terms of legitimacy, to speak for the Russians, to Gorbachev. more>>>
'Why, in the potted bio of Conrad Black's life, was no mention made of perhaps his most singular achievement: his four-year holiday in a Florida jail at the expense of the American taxpayer?
'Conrad Black's interpretation of recent European and world history, in attributing the defeat of the Soviet Union exclusively to the economic, industrial and military power of the United States, seems to me to be singularly one-sided. The collapse of the Soviet Union--symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989--cannot by a long chalk be explained solely by the economic condition prevailing in that country. It may be hard to appreciate, but there is a vital moral factor to be entered into the equation.. Throughout the 1980s Lech Walensa, the radical union agitator in Poland, succeeded in forcing the Polish government to recognize his Solidarity movement. During the same period Pope John-Paul, himself a Pole, visited his homeland several times and lectured the Communists on the vulnerability of their hold on power by pointing out the lies on which their system was based. The moral and intellectual influence had as much to do with the Soviet collapse as American material power--perhaps even more. Moreover, it was not even American power alone that contributed to the demise of the Soviet Union. The United States would never have achieved it on its own. It was equally the existence of a united and powerful and determined NATO in Europe that made a vital contribution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.