Jack Anderson's column "Fractured Soviet Past" {op-ed, Nov. 11} demonstrated a lack of knowledge about history. To equate a hypothetical desire for secession from the United States by Hispanics in the American Southwest with the desires of Ukraine or Armenia for independence was ludicrous. In the first case, few Hispanics in the Southwest can trace their heritage to the pre-United States period. In the latter case, Ukraine has a history of more than 1,000 years and Armenia of more than 2,500 years; both were nations long before the "new world" was even discovered.

The case for American independence was not linguistic or cultural, but economic. The republics of the Soviet Union, however, were independent nations with their own languages and cultures until forcibly incorporated into the Russian empire or, later, into the Soviet Union. These nations are now struggling for both freedom and independence.

It is hypocritical to deny to others the rights that Americans enjoy, especially at a time when the United States is deploying almost a half-million soldiers to defend the independence of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, both with histories far shorter than those of most nations trapped in the Soviet Union.

EUGENE M. IWANCIW Director Ukrainian National Association Inc. Washington