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Kremlin Gets Flashback of Soviet Collapse in Brexit Fallout


by Ilya Arkhipov

The upheaval in the U.K. after its Brexit referendum in favor of leaving the European Union has similarities to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.

While it’s “unreasonable to draw direct parallels,” it’s obvious that the U.K. is going through a “turbulent, confusing and unpredictable period,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday. Russia “has gone through the collapse of the Soviet Union and many generations clearly remember the period of the Soviet collapse, that period of uncertainty.”

Russia’s recalling the trauma of the end of the Soviet Union as the U.K. wrestles with the consequences of becoming the first member state to choose to leave the EU, casting a shadow over the bloc’s future existence. The USSR was dissolved in December 1991, more than 18 months after Lithuania led the Baltic republics in declaring independence. The Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia joined the EU in 2004 and all three have since adopted the euro as their currency. Putin called the Soviet collapse “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century in 2005.

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