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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: May 2010

12 - Conclusion: Nationalist Resistance and Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Global Context


I have pursued four goals in this book. First, I have addressed the nature of the conflict in the western borderlands. Second, I have made a comparative analysis of the anti-Soviet resistance movements and outlined their goals, strategies, composition, strengths and weaknesses, and relations with the population. Third, I have conceptualized the Soviet pacification doctrine, showed the means that the state used against insurgents, and examined the problems connected with implementation of the intended policy. I proceed now to my last objective: to highlight the peculiarities of nationalist resistance and Soviet counterinsurgency in the global context.

Popular resistance is an important part of national mythology. Glossy images of an audacious maqui, a Robin Hood–style haidut, and a simple but proud Zapatista are cherished by the French, Balkan, and Mexican nations, whose governments promote legends about these personages in order to foster national unity. Fences in Chihuahua greet visitors with the slogan, “Viva Villa!”; the monuments to antifascist partisans in Bulgaria outnumber the actual participants in the resistance against a Bulgarian regime that was anything but fascist; and the inhabitants of La Higuera Village who betrayed the location of Ernesto Guevara's band to a military unit extol the famous guerrillero in conversations with frequent pilgrims. Italian leftists still march to Bella ciao during their street rallies; Geronimo became a favorite Hollywood personage; towns of the Gaza Strip proudly display huge images of shaheeds who blew themselves up in Israeli buses; only rare parties in Macedonia proceed without a song about Iane Sandanski; and entrepreneurs in Chiapas make handsome profits by selling kitschy T-shirts with pictures of subcomandante Marcos.