I wasn’t pay too much attention to the news in 1991, I was busy taking care of an infant and trying to figure out how I was going to swing my finances so I didn’t have to rush back to work. Thus a little news piece I learned about today which was news (pardon the pun) to me, might be very familiar to you.
I recall, as must anyone who was over the age of 18 in 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a startling scene which had me riveted to my portable desk top TV (which brought in the signal via an antenna). I marveled as men and women, who looked very much like me, scrambled over the wall and began to chip away at it block by block until full slabs came crashing down amid cheers. I was in Dallas at the time and those good ol boys of Texas put on a big party to celebrate. It was the end of Communism. The Red threat was gone!It might not have been, as it turns out.
I picked up a Canadian paper while flying to Paris on Air Canada. I didn’t get around to reading it on the plane and was about to toss it when I changed my mind and thought I’d see how our Northern neighbors handled the news. They covered the World Jewish Congress – don’t think I saw a single word about this in my local paper. In the coverage of the event, taking place in Hungary, they mentioned that during the two years between the fall of the wall and the lowering of the hammer-and-sickel over the Kremlin in December 1991, things could have taken a different turn. In August of 1991, when Russia, Europe and the US were still trying to figure out what the political landscape would look like in a post Communist era, Mikhail Gorbachev was put under house arrest. A group of “hardline” communists of the old school weren’t ready to raise the white flag. While we in America were predicting the triumph of Democracy, there were forces at work who had other intentions. Fortunately the hardliners were unsuccessful in their attempts to turn back time. The Russian Federation, as the USSR was already being renamed, was not going to return to the era when the Communist Party was in control.
A playwright with some skill could craft an interesting play around those months when the future of Russia lay in the balance.
Makes me wonder, what would the world look like now had they succeeded?