CGN-blog

2020-12-27 The Soviet Soldier

I was watching a video clip via Youtube called “Soviet Soldier”.  The clip is from 1991, and I am unsure about the primary source since the clip seems to be either from some documentary movie or news session. Also, I am not aware at the moment of what tendencies this Youtube channel has. Hopefully is not about glorifying communism. 

There are several reasons why I find this video interesting. At the beginning of the clip, the interviewed soldier tells about “national/ ethnic tensions” in the Soviet armed forces. The soldier mentions that when they eat food in the barracks, soldiers are sitting in different corners depending on their collective identifications as Russians, Uzbeks and Kazakhs. 

Another aspect in the clip is that the second solider says that when looking at events as in Georgia and Lithuania, the army is sending Russians there to fight and that the Russians do not know anyone there nor have any “historical roots” to those parts of the Soviet Union. 

During 1990 and 1991, the Soviet armed forces were involved in several conflicts, skirmishes and democratic uprisings in Azerbaijan, Lithuania and Uzbekistan. The Soviet Union was officially a society based on citizenship in combination with communism, “socialist patriotism” and internationalism. However, in reality, the Soviet Union was not a “civic state” as the USA based on individual freedoms, rights and autonomy. Instead, the Soviet Union was functioning as a “conglomerate of nations” – multi-national society that would develop into the “real communist society” one day.

Similar behaviours in Yugoslavia officially was a federation of “nations and nationalities (as minority groups)” where collective belonging based on nationality and ethnicity was more important than the liberal or democratic concept of citizenship with civic rights, social rights and universal human rights. 

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