Walter C. Clemens, Jr. Negotiating a New Life: Burdens of Empire and Independence—the Case of the Baltics
The Soviet Union disappeared in 1991 but, dying, gave birth to many new shoots of life, each struggling to survive and flourish despite great difficulties. Devolution of empire rarely proceeds without pain; it often causes, or results from, great violence. The first year of independent life for the successor states of the USSR witnessed much less violence than attended the demise of other great empires in this century. None had to fight for liberation as did Algeria and Angola. The fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia does not approach the violence seen in the breakup of India, the attempted secessions of Katanga and Biafra, or the Croatian-Serbian war.