Government Structures in the U.S.A. and the Sovereign States of the Former U.S.S.R: Power Allocation among Central, Regional, and Local Governments

By James E. Hickey Jr.; Alexej Ugrinsky | Go to book overview

9
A Comparative Analysis of Theories of Sovereignty in the Former U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia

Helen Ostrovidova

The world community is carefully watching the development of the political situation in the former socialist world. In December 1991, the U.S.S.R. was declared to be dead. Another socialist state--Yugoslavia--is the next to disintegrate. The crash of communist ideology and its political regimes, deep economic crisis, demise of administrative structures of government, and the growing anxiety of the international community--all serve as a background for the political disintegration of these two former communist states.

The ideological basis of this disintegration is the principle of sovereignty. But the public's attitude--nationally and internationally--to this principle is very different. There is in the former U.S.S.R. nostalgia about past unity and power, but more often there is the fear of the possibility of the beginning of a civil war or of its escalation (as in Yugoslavia).

However, sympathy was the domineering attitude toward "the struggle for sovereignty"--especially at its initial stage. Public opinion associates the reaching of independence with the victory of democratic forces over conservative ones. And though reaching sovereignty doesn't always mean a victory over the conservative center and vice versa, sovereignty is often used to keep local conservatism and potential totalitarism on the periphery; it is this sympathy that is a dominant attitude of the international community in regard to the problem of the demise of the U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia.

And so it is very logical to ask why is independence good? What are the roots of the sympathy toward people fighting for independence against the center? Maybe because the struggle for sovereignty is considered by people to be a struggle of oppressed people against oppressors. Traditionally, Soviet, Yugoslavian, and international propaganda have strived to create a very good image of such a struggle. The general approach considers the domination of a

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