The Good vs. "The Own": Moral Identity of the Soviet Lithuania

Studies in East European Thought 60 (3):261-278 (2008)


What is the meaning of perestrojka? There is no doubt that it led to the end of the Cold War and had a huge impact on the international situation. Nevertheless, there is no consensus as to the outcomes of perestrojka. Perestrojka brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union. This fact might be interpreted positively: it opened the possibility to restore historical truth and to create independent democratic states. From another perspective, it can be conceived negatively as a destruction of the integrity of the Soviet Union and the loss of a part of the territory as well as the economy of Russia? Perestrojka has no one definite general meaning, but it has a very specific one for Lithuania. In this paper I ask: What is the meaning of perestrojka for contemporary Lithuania and for post- Soviet life? Was perestrojka a failure or a success? I approach perestrojka from a moral point of view, suggesting that the perestrojka made possible a fundamental choice between several alternatives. Once the choice was made the specificity of future goals and evaluation of the past opened up. I concentrate on the moral value of the act of accommodation to the Soviet regime, on the conflict of values represented by the "nation's own" and the goodness of the political order, and on the role of freedom and determinism in history. Immanuel Kant's conception of duty and the categorical imperative is used as a model for the analysis of the situation of choice.

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Nerija Putinaite
Vilnius University

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Politics. Aristotle & Joe Sachs - 1998 - Hackett Publishing Company.

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