Apr 21, 2009

Russia Wants its Soviet Tobacco Back

Once upon a time, there was a magical world in which the workers of the world united into a Union of Socialist Republics. It was a myth, because everyone knew that some workers (Russians) were more equal than others.

So what does any of this have to do with tobacco? Well, as part of its negotiations with Bulgaria over the proposed South Stream gas pipeline, Moscow has claimed ownership of Bulgartabac (granted to the USSR as a spoil of war in 1945). Now, Russia wants it back.

"We are set to reclaim all properties that lie abroad and belonged to the Soviet Union. Bulgartabac will not be an exception," said Vladimir Kozhin, head of the
Presidential Property Management Department of the Russian Federation.

Wait just one second, you say… How can Russia claim Bulgartabac as a property of the Soviet Union, when the Russian SSR was just a single republic within a broader Union of Socialist Republics. Couldn't the other former SSR's also claim ownership of Bulgartabac?

Nope. Just Russia, according to Kozhin.

So ends the myth of Soviet equality. Argubably, that myth died a painful death sometime around the time when the National Soviet of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic started passing laws in direct contradiction to the USSR constitution, or maybe it was that moment in which Yeltsin climbed on top of a tank. But this one is just too juicy.

Note to our Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ukranian, Moldovan, Georgian, Armenian, Azeri, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Tajik friends: you might also want to file a claim, lest Russia take what -- by rights -- also belongs to you...

Sorry Bulgaria. All power to the People's Soviets!


Ern said...

This is instantly a classic post. Kudos, P&D!

So does this give more support to the accusations that Turkey is responsible for the Armenian genocide? If Russia is owner of everything Soviet, is Turkey responsible for everything Ottoman?

Pirates(and)Diplomats said...

Seriously, the gall.

If I was a Tajik I'd be pissed.

You can't claim ownership of Soviet property after spending 70 years claiming that everyone shared equally in the USSR. "Oops, we lied. It really was ours all along."

Hell, I'd be even more pissed for Bulgaria.


Does a former USSR citizen get any share from this enterprise? Would be a good addition to personal budget during crisis time :)

Sublime Oblivion said...

Russia inherited all the Soviet Union's foreign debts, and as such all its foreign assets too.