Apr 24, 2022
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The debts and legacy of the USSR against the background of changes in the international situation

“And the action of the Muscovite contraption – from Muscovites and demand!”

By the beginning of “perestroika”, in 1985, the external debt of the USSR amounted to $31 billion. By the end of Gorbachev’s term in power, the amount of debts increased abruptly, and their structure became more complicated. The total estimates of debts fluctuated in the range of $67.8 – $140 billion, the debt of the USSR accepted by Russia in 1993 amounted to $96.6 billion.

In October 1991, all the union republics, except for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, signed a Memorandum of joint and several liability for the debts of the USSR. In accordance with international practice (for example, the calculation of contributions to the UN), obligations were distributed in proportion to the shares of economies at the time of the collapse of the USSR. Therefore, the share of the RSFSR was 61.34%, and, for example, Tajikistan – 0.82%. In the same proportion, the assets of the former USSR, on its territory and abroad, were to be divided …

All the approximateness of these figures was shown by subsequent disputes. In almost all republics, they started talking about the fact that “we fed the USSR”, proving “the unfairness of prices, trade relations in the USSR.” The most loudly (and with the most serious consequences) this was repeated in Ukraine. The fact that “Ukrainians feed the entire USSR, and after secession they will be able to live at the level of Western European countries” was an important mobilizing slogan. Only at the end of 2021, the second president of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, who himself repeated those slogans more than once, admitted fraud: “In economic forecasts, we considered the consumed Russian raw materials at old Soviet prices, and the products that Ukraine can export at world prices.”

Lithuania also gave a focus, evaluating “the cost of the Soviet occupation of 1940-1991.” at $ 24 billion. “Forgetting” to take into account that it, Lithuania, came to the USSR without Vilnius (the Poles took it) and without Klaipeda (Memel), received after the First World War under international guarantees and given to Hitler in March 1939, not only without resistance , but also without any objections, “by agreement”. This step, which meant the strengthening of Hitler’s position in the Baltic (Memel is an important port, military base), generally transferred Lithuania to the allies of Nazi Germany and raises the question of paying reparations. Not to mention the “value of Vilnius”, recaptured by the Soviet Union and donated to Lithuania.

There are no methods for accurately calculating the cost of inter-republican commodity flows, as well as factories, power plants, ports built in the USSR (like the giant Novo-Tallinn, which fed Estonia for decades). You can choose individual facts indefinitely.

The ideologists of turning Ukraine into “anti-Russia”, for example, chose the “Holodomor”, giving the general calamity of the southern grain-producing regions of the USSR (including the Voronezh, Belgorod, Lipetsk, Rostov, Kursk regions of Russia) the character of an anti-Soviet campaign. But with this approach, and “for Chernobyl” (a few years before the disaster, the nuclear power plant from the USSR Minsrednemash went to the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine), the Russian Federation and Belarus can make claims to Ukraine. However, the overall result of the centuries lived together for Ukraine in 1990 was very positive. In a particular case, it consisted in the fact that the “droughts” that reduced the population, which happened in Ukraine before 1917, did not repeat after the 1940s: the Soviet practice of mechanization, irrigation, fertilizer production, the construction of elevators, granaries affected.

In 1990, Deutsche Bank (West Germany was most deeply involved in the Soviet economy) conducted a comprehensive analysis on the topic “What awaits the union republics in the event of the collapse of the USSR?”.

The Germans accurately predicted the results of the development of individual republics after the end of the USSR, but with one exception, with one very significant inaccuracy in the forecasts: in terms of the success of post-Soviet development, the Germans put not the RSFSR, but the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the first place!

For several years, 12 former Soviet republics recalculated their shares of Soviet debts and … accumulated new debts. The very fact that they did not reject old debts gave the republics a certain respectability and allowed them to continue to borrow. There were talks about restructuring, writing off debts … However, on April 2, 1993, the Russian government announced that it had assumed all the obligations of the former Soviet republics to pay off the external debt of the USSR in exchange for their refusal to share in the foreign assets of the USSR. “Zero Option” was the name of that deal. The external debt assumed by Russia in the amount of $96.6 billion included loans and commercial obligations to the London and Paris Clubs of creditors, holders of bonds of the USSR Vnesheconombank, domestic government foreign currency loan bonds (OVGVZ). Starting in the 2000s, Russia began to pay off both Soviet debts and its own, accumulated under Yeltsin …

From debt to bombs

The description of the history of the debts of the 1990s era is caused, among other things, by their connection with other legacy of the USSR.

Nuclear weapons and nuclear energy were created in our country by the extreme effort of the forces of the entire Soviet Union, their maintenance and maintenance in a safe condition is a task no less difficult. The scientific potential of the country, the quantity and quality of research institutes, enterprises and, most importantly, the measure of responsibility are important here. Skipping with understandable disgust the quarrel of the former Soviet republics, “which fed the USSR, but dumped all the responsibility on the Union Center,” the United States took into account many factors in the nuclear issue, including Chernobyl.

The official version of the IAEA: “The root cause of the accident: an unlikely combination of violations of the order and operation regime, committed by the personnel of the power unit.” Conclusions of the Ukrainian KGB investigation (May 11, 1986): “The common cause of the accident was the low culture of the NPP workers. This is not about qualifications, but about work culture, internal discipline and a sense of responsibility.”

Yes, the USSR is “guilty” for having built the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The allied leadership is guilty without quotes, which transferred nuclear power plants from the Ministry of Medium Machine Building of the USSR (the allied giant that created and was responsible for the nuclear industry) to the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, which allowed them to recruit local personnel without looking back at Moscow. It’s not about technical illiteracy: Ukrainians as part of the USSR Minsrednemash participated in the construction and operation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but Ukrainians as part of the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy arranged what they arranged.

The adoption of nuclear energy, nuclear weapons required the acceptance of responsibility for the USSR, with all its pluses and minuses, the acceptance of its technical heritage. And the operation of a nuclear power plant or the maintenance of nuclear weapons in the normal mode and personnel with a ulterior motive: “A tion of a Moskal contraption – from Muscovites and demand!” – Things are incompatible.

On January 13, 1992, Moscow officially announced “the fulfillment by the Russian Federation of obligations under the international treaties concluded by the USSR.”

The wording “Russia is the successor state of the USSR” is in the bilateral treaties between Russia and France, Hungary, Japan, Germany, Italy, etc. It concerns, among other things, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and all the USSR-USA treaties on restrictions on types of strategic weapons .

Today, politicians-political scientists repeat a purely everyday argument: “Russia took on the debts of the USSR and, in addition, nuclear weapons,” but they forget the most important fear of Americans at that moment: “Missiles on the territory of Ukraine remained aimed at the United States”!

And the US course towards the formation of “anti-Russia” coincided with the general game of the degradation of Ukraine. The slogan of the nationalists “Bandera will come – he will restore order!” Of course, suited the Americans with its anti-Moskal orientation, but Bandera’s “order” in the control of missiles with nuclear warheads horrified the United States. Who will be responsible for any abnormal self-launching of the “Moskal contraption”? For the sale of “troshki nuclear charges” to even more unpredictable countries (like the sales to these countries of another Soviet legacy of the USSR – rocket technology)?

Only three years after Russia accepted all the debts and legacy of the USSR in December 1994, the Budapest Memorandum was signed, in which Ukraine’s involvement in world nuclear affairs looked like this: it does not prevent Russia from exporting Russian nuclear weapons from Ukrainian territory. This weapon was, firstly, Soviet, secondly, Russian and not a single day Ukrainian. Just as the deployment of US atomic weapons in the territories of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, and Spain does not make the latter “nuclear powers.”

Theoretically, in 1994, Ukraine could have prevented such an export by going in this not only against Russia, but also against the United States, NATO, but it did not interfere. For which she was “rewarded” by inclusion in the Budapest Memorandum.


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