20 years without Soviet Union
20 years ago Soviet Union stopped existing. Poland was the first, in 1989, to become fully independent, but Soviet republics needed more time to set themselves free from the communist regime. Now most of post-communist countries in Central Europe are members of the EU and NATO, but when it comes to ex Soviet republics only Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia managed to do that, which doesn’t surprise when you take a deeper look into history of these nations. But what about Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova? How is it there after 20 years of being independent?
The fact is that the so-called West doesn’t pay attention at all what happens in this ‘galaxy far far away’, focusing only on their own problems, which is understandable especially now when they have to deal with another economic crisis. Recently Poland has started to promote the idea of the Eastern Partnership connecting Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia to the EU but it looks nice only in theory. In reality it is still easier for a citizen of Honduras to visit Europe than for a Moldavian student. For some strange reason Europeans are afraid of people from Post-Soviet territories, forgetting that in facteven if these people emmigrate they are very hard-working and they assimilate very quickly. The sad impression which you can get from the Eastern Partnership is that in reality it was all done against Russia and only for this reason, that no one cares to really understand these nations and their needs. And if we don’t change it, sooner or later we will lose their trust. The most silly thing are visas. It is almost impossible for there people to enter European Union without problems. It actually still looks as if the Iron Curtain existed. This time we created it, not the inhuman policy of the communists. If for instance I’d like to invite my Ukrainan or Moldavian friend to spend some time at my place and have fun, I’d have to wait one month for a decision of the authorities of my city. To get this, I’d be forced to proove with documents that I have enough money on my account to have a visitor and that the flat I live in is mine. So this means I will never be able to invite anyone as I don’t own anythnig and my flat is, in fact, not mine at all. And we are talking here about inviting someone for holidays, not about making them steal a precious job opportunity of dear Europeans. Yes, this is all paranoid.
It seems that Moldova is a country which wants to join the EU the most. Ukraine with its new president and new policy is unpredictable now and it is hard to guess which side they are going to choose: Russia or Europe. Their policy makes me think about the policy of Poland in the 30’s, balancing between two superpowers, being afraid of being eaten by one of them. Belarus is out of question, maybe in another 20 years anything will change over there, after all it is a shame to still have dictatorship in Europe. But nothing will change if people won’t change over there – 20 years ago Belarussians didn’t want USSR to collapse, didn’t want independence and democracy. Moldova? There’s a potential in this country. I like the changes which start to take place over there. But of course there’s a lot of problems, too. People divided into two groups, those who support the communists and friendship with Russia and those who would like to join EU, or even to become part of Romania, which doesn’t shock me as they used to be one country before WWII. What will happen, no one knows, but it is true that Moldova is closer to Europe than any other Post-Soviet republic.
My dream is to have open Europe, without creating new iron curtains. But this is just a whishful thinking. Unless Europeans decide to stop being so ignorant when it comes to their own continent.