resumption of the Stalinist campaignnagainst the kulaks. One result has beennthe present catastrophic situation innfood supplies all over the Soviet Union.nAs one of Radio Liberty’s Munichnanalysts recently observed, “Sugar isnrationed in Moscow, and the onlynreason that many other goods such asnsoap, cooking oil, and meat are notnrationed is that there is not enoughnavailable to ration.”nThe recent disappearance fromnshops all over the Soviet Union ofnwashing and laundry soaps of all kindsncan be held up as a typical example ofnwhy Gorbachevian perestroika hasnbeen such a fiasco to date. In a detailednarticle published last November in RadionLiberty’s weekly Report on thenUSSR, D.J. Petersen pointed out thatnthe current soap shortage is the resultnof a panic fear of impending shortagenon the part of millions of Soviet housewives,nwho during the last months ofn1988 began rushing to the nearestnstore to buy up all the soap they couldnlay their hands on. A similar panic fearnwith similar results swept the U.S.S.R.nin 1980 and 1981. Yet, paradoxically,nsoap production in the Soviet UnionnLIBERAL ARTSnLISTEN, ANIMALnRIGHTISTS, HE’S AN ARTIST!nLast January a Vancouver artist called offnhis plan to squash a rat called “Sniffy”nbetween two canvases when the 55poundnblock he intended to use wasnstolen. The artist. Rick Gibson, told then300 people who had gathered to witnessnthe event that animal rightists were responsiblenfor the theft. Gibson thennreturned Sniffy to the pet store where henhad bought him. Upon hearing that thenrat was to become lunch for a hungrynsnake, a group of activists once againncame to Sniffy’s rescue by buying himnand placing him in a two-story “rathome.”nAs the Associated Press reported thenstory, animal rightists had tried to havenGibson’s “art” declared illegal, but thenSociety for the Prevention of Cruelty tonAnimals said there was nothing illegalnabout killing Sniffy, provided he died anquick and painless death. Before thenevent, Gibson had said that Sniffy’snsquashed remains would have created an”thought-provoking diptych.”n52/CHRONICLESnhas (at any rate on paper) been steadilynrising from year to year. In 1988, fornexample, it reached a level of 7.88nkilograms of soap for every man, woman,nand child in the country — a levelncomparable to those found in relativelyn”advanced” countries like Finland andnJapan. However — and this to me wasnan eye-opener — it turns out that all ofnthe synthetic laundry detergents offerednto consumers in the Soviet Unionnuse sulphanol as their primarynactive ingredient, and, to quote D.J.nPetersen, “all of the sulphanol for thenproduction of Soviet laundry detergentncomes from the Khimprom enterprisenlocated at Sumgait, Azerbaijan. It wasndecided in the 1970s that Khimpromnwould be the sole supplier of sulphanol,ndespite the fact that, when shippedngreat distances in its prepared form, thensulphanol becomes compressed and isnthus rendered useless. As a result, thensulphanol must now be diluted with annequal amount of water and transportednin liquid form. This has doubled thenshipping costs and subjected it to thenvagaries of the workings of the railnnetworks even more. In the eyes of thenplanners, though, one central sourcenmade life easy, while, for the politicians,nit represented a nice reward fornlocal officials.”nGan one imagine a situation innAmerica whereby Procter & Gamble,nlet us say, enjoyed an absolute monopolynon the production of detergentnsoaps and had decided that, for the sakenof simplicity, it would be a good idea tonplace the one factory producing itsnmost vital ingredient in Florida or NewnMexico? The idea would be greetednwith howls of laughter. No wonderneven David Rockefeller was ruefullynforced to admit last year that his oncenhigh hopes of being able to do businessnin the U.S.S.R. had for the most partnbeen frustrated.nWhile it is impossible to forecastnexactly what is going to happen tomorrownto the Soviet Union, one thing atnleast is certain: the longer it takesnGorbachevian perestroika to achieventangible improvements, the more disruptivenare bound to grow the centrifugalnforces now at work along the vastnperiphery of the U.S.S.R. In 1938 thenstandard of living of Estonians wasnroughly on a par with that of the Finns.nToday, however, the per capita incomenof Estonians is exactly one quarter ofnnnthat of their Baltic neighbors to thennorth. Such is the price that they havenhad to pay for fifty years of sovietization.nOr let us take another example. Sonlong as Nicolae Geausescu reignednsupreme over a cruelly impoverishednRomania, no citizen of the neighboringnMoldavian republic would havendreamed of demanding an eventualnreunification of this province (artificiallynannexed and incorporated into thenU.S.S.R. in 1940) with the Romaniann”motherland.” But no sooner had thenhated Conducator disappeared fromnthe scene than the cry “Re-u-ni-ft-cation!'[ncould be heard in the streets ofnlasi — uttered not by local Romaniansnbut by “Bessarabians” from the Moldavianncapital of Kishinev, who only anfew weeks before had blocked thenofficial military parade commemoratingnthe November 7tb anniversary ofnthe “glorious” Bolshevik Revolution ofn1917 and who, on November 10, hadnstormed and wrecked the Interior Ministrynbuilding to protest the beating ofndemonstrators by police and soldiers.nSince the majority of the four and anhalf million citizens of the Soviet MoldaviannRepublic are ethnic Romaniansnwho can now tune their radios andntelevisions to the uncensored broadcastsnof Radio Bucharest, the gravitationalnattraction is likely to prove irre^nsistible if Big Brother’in distantnMoscow cannot make life more attractive.n* * *nWhat we have been witnessing overnthe past seven or eight months has notnonly been an extraordinary “accelerationnof history” — a phrase now onneverybody’s lips. This acceleration hasnbeen accompanied by the sound ofnhoofbeats from the past. Years ago, byncleverly adapting a common Frenchnadage — Chassez le naturel, il revientnau galop (Drive out what is natural,nand it will return at a gallop) — thenSpanish philosopher Ortega y Gassetndefined history as lo que vuelve alngalope — that which returns at a gallop.nToday, everywhere in Gentral andnEastern Europe, the historic past thatnStalin and his fellow revolutionariesnstrove so brutally to drive out and tontrample underfoot, is returning at angallop — as, sooner or later, was boundnto happen.nFor a long time the official “think-n