What remains of the Soviet Union?
On December 8, 1991, the leaders of what were then the Soviet republics of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus signed the pact disbanding the USSR. Unlike Putin's Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States - formed during the dissolution of the Soviet Union - has little relevance today, commentators write.
EU more successful than CIS
The collapse of the Soviet Union 25 years ago saw the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), but ultimately only the Russian empire plays a role here, Lidové noviny observes:
“This empire has never really tried to achieve true integration. It never wanted allies, just vassals. So although the CIS still formally exists only specialists can remember what it was. At the very latest after 1992 each CIS state began focussing only on its own interests. Armenia still remains loyal to Russia because the latter protects it against Turkey. Georgia left the CIS in 2008, when Russia annexed South Ossetia. Ukraine has never ratified its treaty with the CIS. … So although the EU can be accused of many things today, compared with the integration of the post-Soviet countries it has been a huge success story. There can be no talk of voluntary cooperation within the CIS. Today only one empire is being rebuilt on the ruins of the Soviet Union - the Russian one.”
Putin nurturing Russians' nostalgia
Twenty-five years after the end of the USSR more than 50 percent of Russians regret its collapse. Vladimir Putin is also responsible for this nostalgia, La Vanguardia comments:
“Putin is very aware of these feelings and does his best to nurture them, for example with an aggressive foreign policy that makes the citizens believe the country's power is greater than it really is: the annexation of Crimea, the attacks in eastern Ukraine, the menacing gestures towards the Baltic states, the destabilisation of other countries, the provocations aimed at Nato, the participation in the butchery in Syria. … Russia's plans for becoming a modern state has failed. Putin has no intention of giving up his power. The tensions he cultivates on the international stage help him to regain some of the support he has lost because of the precarious state of the economy. But he will have a hard time improving the image of his regime which, burdened by the weaknesses of the past, can do little to give Russia and the world a better future.”