Vitaly Korotich, 1990

Editor of Ogonyok.
Interviewed 5 Sept 1990 in Moscow
Interviewer: Gwynne Dyer

MS notes after listening to the tape:

Korotich is interesting, but accent is difficult to understand. The most important issues are not nationalism but economics. Sometimes things that look like nationalism are not nationalism but economics. “Why does our nation not have bread?” is not really a national question. He says that often patriotic or nationalistic or anti-Semitic movements really rise from scarcity. These Jews are the ones who eat all our sausages, in Russia. But in other republics it is the Russians who eat all the sausages. The country has to go through a process of disintegration before it is going to be reintegrated on a new level. But the main process going on in the world today is integration — the integration of Europe, North America, etc. And their nation, the USSR, will also find new ways of integrating too, once it has gone through this disintegration. In the meantime we must make our nations stronger and give them more independence as republics.

The October revolution was a wonderful thing. There are many socialist countries around the world in which people have gained rights because they took advantage of what happened there. The USSR was the only country that never used the October Revolution, but he hopes that that will still happen. Dyer asks what will happen if the counter-revolution or the crisis occurs. Korotich says that technically, they can kick people like me out, but actually, strategically, they couldn’t do without people like me. This process is irreversible. Because once you start to think, you think all your life. I am between 50 and 60, so this is my last chance. I will never have another perestroika, and I will try to make the most of this one.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books