Afghanistan: Missed Last Chance of the Soviet Union

Today is the next anniversary of the withdrawal of the Limited contingent of Soviet troops from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. "Liberal-democratic" media, of course, will again pour crocodile tears over the "ruined lives" and "zinc boys", singing for the millionth time the lies about the "useless adventure" and "lost war." People sane and adequate, remembering, as usual, the fallen heroes, breaking their voices will try to reach their minds and hearts, explaining that there was nothing "in vain", that Afghanistan was not a "dirty" war, nor even lost by the Soviet Union . I want to believe they will be heard ... But we'll talk about something else.

Let us try to touch upon a topic that for some reason, as a rule, either does not appear at all in verbal battles about events of 40-30 years ago, or goes far into the background. Let us not think about what the USSR gave or did not give to Afghanistan, but that the events that took place "beyond the river" and people passed through them could give our country.

Potential that has been lost

From the very beginning I would like to stipulate some points. Personally, I was not there (although I wanted to, but it turned out how it turned out). However, throughout my life I have had the opportunity to not only communicate, but to serve and work side by side with dozens of people who have passed Afghanistan. Moreover, in a variety of ranks, qualities and statuses - from rank-and-file soldiers and doctors to advisers, “Musavers” and even soldiers of the “exotic” special forces of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs “Cobalt”, together with the KGB special forces Kaskad, which caused panic in the souls. Therefore, I can judge what kind of “Afghans” they are, in fact, not by newspaper publications or, as a rule, by ridiculous movie images, but by my very rich and many-sided personal experience. Now - a few numbers, without which it will be difficult for us in the future. So, according to official figures, at least 620 thousand people (as part of units of the Soviet Army, the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR) went through the service as part of the Limited contingent in the DRA. More than 20 thousand Soviet people traveled to Afghanistan as civilian specialists. However, if you take into account the veil of strictest secrecy with which our actions in this country were enveloped literally from the first and almost until the last day, these figures can differ very much from the real ones. I had to deal with allegations of at least a million of our citizens, in whose fate the ten-year-old Afghan epic left its mark in the form of more or less lengthy business trips there. For example, it is not entirely clear where the huge advisory apparatus should be attributed, by which not only the army and special services of the DRA were "filtered", but literally all the important spheres of life in this country. Well, we will build on the generally accepted figures, considering them pretty underestimated.

So, hundreds of thousands of Soviet "Afghans" who returned home. What kind of people were they? First of all, they are very Soviet. Let's not forget, "over the river" a huge number of people went exclusively on a voluntary basis, and some - not once. And all the others who were sent there, by and large, always had a choice. Yes, a refusal from this trip would certainly not have contributed to a further career - military, party, administrative. Rather, it would be her end. But they didn’t drive anyone by force, at the gunpoint! The vast majority of those who went to the DRA did not know (and could not know) what awaits them there in reality. But they did not realize that they were sent far from to the resort, but to where they would have to risk their daily lives. And still they were driving. I will not argue that all who visited there were fanatics of the communist idea, ardent adherents of "Marxism-Leninism" and the like. However, these were people who considered their country to be the most powerful and powerful in the world, a power that can and should help those who need it. People for whom the principles of mutual assistance and internationalism were not at all an empty phrase. Everyone who passed Afghanistan knew the true price of good and evil, life and death, fidelity and betrayal, truth and falsehood. These were people from whom the fire of war and the evil Afghan winds tore off everything that was frivolous, all fake and unimportant, people who looked at everything completely differently than the millions of their compatriots who lived a peaceful and quiet life. They were to become the personnel "gold fund" of the USSR. But they didn’t ...

This, I’ll clarify, is not only about the military and special services, whose real combat experience was simply invaluable for the army, which had not been at war for almost half a century and gradually began to turn, for the most part, into what the whole thing was. Each of the past Afghanistan with its keen sense of justice, proven in practice by loyalty to their country and willingness to sacrifice for it, could be a salvation for the decrepit, decaying and inevitably rolling to the death of the Soviet Union. Someone can blame me categorically, citing, say, Pavel Grachev as an antithesis. I do not even want to get involved in this kind of “discussion”. Firstly, in war, as elsewhere, people are different. And they come back different from there ... And secondly, regarding the same Grachev: with thoughtful and unbiased work with sources in the shortest possible time, you can find about as many complimentary and respectful reviews as abusive ones. Well, there’s nothing to say about such figures as Boris Gromov and Ruslan Aushev ... Again, let’s remember that now we are talking about real “Afghans” who, having returned to their homeland, faced there with that attitude towards them, which, alas, was in reality, and not with what should have been expected. I will not sin against the truth: from there people came with a completely scorched soul, finished alcoholics and drug addicts, people in whom obvious criminal inclinations “erupted” in the war. This is the legacy of absolutely any war. However, the overwhelming majority of Afghanistan veterans could become the foundation for the changes that the country so urgently needed, a means for its salvation.

Country at the edge of the abyss

Already in the early to mid-80s of the twentieth century, the processes that subsequently led to a huge and powerful power to death, began to take on scale and severity, which was impossible not to notice. The poisonous seeds of unbelief and cynicism, thrown into the souls of Soviet people under Khrushchev, gave more and more abundant seedlings. The real idea that could unite society and raise it to new achievements no longer existed. Communist slogans, originally close to every normal person, increasingly turned into empty words, dead dogmas that did not help, but hindered the movement of the country and society forward. All this was aggravated by the fact that in the structures of power, above all party ones, there were more and more frank careerists, opportunists and cynics, for whom a party card was not a symbol of serving people and power, but only a pass to the feeder. The becoming more and more harmful gerontocracy in the Kremlin, the separation of the supreme power from the realities that 99% of the population lived in - all this was. More or less thinking and caring people in the top and party elite saw all this, but could not find a way out of the terrifying impasse into which the Soviet Union “drove” further and further. It would seem - a paradox: the country was able to repel the worst foreign invasion and overcome its consequences, but it began to crack at the seams in peace, relatively well-fed and calm. In fact, there was no paradox - the grandchildren of the victors of Nazism, the sons of the drummers of great construction projects and space explorers, who had lost faith in the highest values ​​and ideals, began to gradually degenerate into the most ordinary inhabitants, preoccupied with the number of sausage varieties in the store and the absence of their favorite pants of American shepherds .

The “perestroika” that followed all this was not and in no way could be the salvation of the country. It became its euthanasia, because it was based on an appeal to the most mundane feelings and instincts deceived by the "perestroika" trepoks of the masses, coupled with the final destruction of all those ideals and shrines that made us Soviet people. Could veterans of Afghanistan stand in the way of this destructive process, this sabotage against the whole country, carried out at the very top of the power, which has no analogues in world history? Sure - quite! However, for this they would have to constitute a single, monolithic and united force, which would have a weight in the state, the right to vote and authority. And for this, in the realities of the Soviet Union, the “Afghans” would have to have stood one of the highest party, state, military leaders. This, alas, was not found. In truth, among the “top officials” of that time, it’s hard to even try to find who could, based on perhaps the only healthy force in the country, even try to save her from death. Yuri Andropov ?! No, the reliable transcripts of the meetings of the Politburo of the Central Committee were preserved, which recorded exactly how Yuri Vladimirovich insisted: “it is too early” to memorialize those who died in Afghanistan. Andropov, whom some people today are trying to represent almost the "last real Secretary General", who sought to revive the USSR in its true power, actually "promoted" Judah Gorbachev and a whole series of figures like him to the very top. No, not that ... Others, however, were even worse.

What was the main problem? The deadly mistake of the power of the Soviet Union was not the introduction of troops into the DRA, but how everything that happened there was covered, interpreted and interpreted for the multi-million population of the Soviet Union. It is clear that at the first stage, when it seems that even in the Kremlin they believed that our contingent would stay “behind the river” for a couple of weeks until the “Afghan comrades” themselves figure it out, the stories that Soviet soldiers were still acceptable in Afghanistan, they are exclusively occupied with planting trees and arranging concerts for dekhans as part of army propaganda brigades. After all, we tried hard to preserve the image of "the most peace-loving state on the planet." However, after a time when it became clear that the USSR was not just “helping the fraternal people”, but entered the war when, alas, regular attempts to “hide”, shut up, and distort these events began to arrive from Afghanistan “cargo 200” no longer just stupid and political myopia, and a real state crime. After 1980, the boycott of the Olympics in Moscow, the sanctions and embargoes of the United States that fell on the Soviet Union, to write off such actions to the possible reaction of the “world community” was already utter nonsense. And, in the end, even without Afghanistan, the Cold War was going on in those years, and there was no point in coming up with the opinion of the West. So why then what was being done ?! For the sake of what, censorship raged, considering the mention of any clashes “beyond the river” on a scale more than a platoon, a terrible sedition, which was subject to punishment and removal from the media? Why were the heroes of Afghanistan (especially in the early years) almost buried secretly? Why did they lie about victories and losses, thereby relegating this topic to “enemy voices” and a disgusting tribe of “dissidents” like Sakharov?

Instead of passing the baton to the veterans of the Great Patriotic War to their worthy successors - internationalist warriors, thereby giving the younger generation new role models, the authorities, contrary to logic and common sense, tried to “hide” the heroic deed of the heroes of Afghanistan, condemning them to some incomprehensible and humiliating "semi-legal" status. The Americans lost the war in Vietnam with the greatest disgrace and subsequently “won” it on the movie screens with the help of Hollywood. And what did the heavy-duty machine of Soviet propaganda and agitation do, fully demonstrated its effectiveness and viability during the Great Patriotic War? What did our boys watch in the 80-90s? Films about the endless victories of the local Rambo and the similar propaganda film slag, poisoning their brains and souls. And those pictures that were shot with us during the years of "perestroika" depicted the war in Afghanistan from the most deceitful, defeatist and "black-headed" positions. There was no feat in them - only a shame invented by the liberals-"perestroika". And yet ... The attitude towards the guys who had passed through Afghanistan was completely different from those sought by those who spewed mud at them. I remember just such an episode: in the early 90's at a concert held at the Central Stadium of Kiev, Alexander Rosenbaum sang his "Black Tulip" tearing his soul. The whole stadium stood up ... All! To the last man and without anyone else's commands. So it was, no matter what. The Soviet state in the most mediocre way "profiled" a huge potential, itself abandoning its last defenders and heroes ...

What happened then - the announcement by the traitorous Second Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR of “invasion” of Afghanistan as an act deserving “political and moral condemnation”, the hasty withdrawal of our military contingent from the DRA, which subsequently unfolded in a campaign to discredit that war and its participants, was already quite natural. Soviet power was no longer in the country, the Soviet Union was struggling in agony, and the criminal clique of Western puppets, which had reached its control, diligently carried out all that came from the owners of the team. They hated the “Afghans” and were afraid to tremble, intuitively feeling the power in them that could stop and prevent the dirty work they had started ... Today, 30 years after our soldiers, undefeated and unbroken, left the country in which almost a decade valiantly fought for the last Soviet ideals and interests of their homeland, we are obliged to remember them with gratitude, bowing our heads to the memory of the dead and proud of the feat of the living. It should be noted that Russia does not repeat the fatal mistakes of the country, the successor to which it has become. From the very beginning, no one tried to hide the military campaign of our army in Syria. Her victories and losses, the names of her heroes - both living and those who gave their lives for their homeland far beyond its borders, are today known to everyone. Fortunately, at least we learned this lesson from the "Afghan" experience.
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  • Photos used: Yuriy Somov / RIA Novosti archive / CC BY-SA 3.0
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  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 15 February 2020 09: 27
    The main lesson is that what the government wants, it will do, without regard to all ...
    I wanted - introduced, wanted - brought out, wanted - "the announcement by the treacherous XNUMXnd Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR of the" invasion "of Afghanistan as an act deserving" political and moral condemnation "," I wanted - to Syria, I wanted - to the Crimea and the DPR ... I wanted - held a referendum on the preservation of the USSR, wanted to - spat on it in Belovezhskaya Pushcha ... and much more ... without any responsibility ...

    Maybe now the flood of films has choked Russia, how does the Russian Rambo wet the enemies in Syria, Congo, the DPR, Crimea (according to the article)? Something is not visible.
  2. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
    Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 15 February 2020 09: 55
    And what did they miss? Continuing pointlessly ditch the people on both sides?
  3. Bitter Offline Bitter
    Bitter (Gleb) 16 February 2020 01: 05
    ... missed last chance of the Soviet Union

    Come on, but I thought "the last one" was in August 1991.
    Comparing the Afghan conflict with the Syrian adventure is, at least, not fair.

    They were supposed to become a personnel "gold fund" ... But ...

    It is those people who could take an active part in the upbringing of subsequent generations that were discredited by the authorities and pushed back for decades, to the margins.

    ... those paintings that were shot with us during the years of "perestroika" depicted the war in Afghanistan from the most deceitful, defeatist and "black-headed" positions ...

    The pictures took shape in the minds of the younger generations exactly as Boris Nikolaich should have.

    30 years after our soldiers, undefeated and unbroken, left the country in which they fought valiantly for almost a decade for ... ... the interests of their homeland.

    There are no others, others have drunk. Now we can admit, the dough bunch saved.

    It should be noted that Russia does not repeat the country's fatal mistakes

    - in the destruction of which she took a direct part. Having failed to subsequently skillfully use, within the same 30 years, the potential she inherited.

    ... Her victories and losses, the names of her heroes - both living and those who gave their lives for their homeland, far beyond its borders, are today known to everyone.

    Not the fact that this should be trumpeted in all pipes. Personnel must be protected. It is more important that the people who gave the orders, then suddenly did not condemn the same heroes, remaining themselves in the shadows.
  4. Alekcandr Sokolenko (Alekcandr Sokolenko) 16 February 2020 16: 23
    Is it a comprador bureaucracy, cleaner than any occupier, to draw conclusions? - Yes, I did, only to the ruins of the country from this what? Yes, and we have Rimbaud: for a quarter of a century he “gets off his knees”, but why should he hurry, he is eighty, and he is a young specialist, if you “get up off your knees” for a quarter of a century, then maybe this is your favorite position in front of “partners? "
  5. steelmaker Offline steelmaker
    steelmaker 17 February 2020 13: 12
    I still do not understand what thought - should I draw a conclusion from the article? Was it necessary to create a party, a social movement, a "Timur team" from the Afghans? What potential did the author have? And what is the potential now from the "Syrians"?

    My conclusion from Afghanistan: They did the right thing by bringing in troops and taking control of the state from the "Stone Age".

    It is not right that the troops were withdrawn. It turned out that the deaths of our soldiers were in Vain!