Staunton, Dec. 6 – Most discussions about the nature of the states likely to emerge with the disintegration of the Russian Federation assume that they will share many common features either because of their common past in Putin’s Russia or because the desires of their leaders to retain power or their peoples to integrate in the Western world.
Such assumptions are likely correct, but they need to be tempered by the possibility that some of the new states that may emerge, at least initially, may be far more different from the rest that at least for a time their neighbors and the rest of the world will be compelled to deal with entities radically different from themselves.
That possibility is suggested by what happened after the collapse of the Russian Empire at the time of the 1917 revolution when during the Russian Civil War various leaders and peoples tried out a variety of ideas for the organization of states, ideas that had been forgotten in the intervening period but are now beginning to be recalled.
One of the most unusual was the effort of some Buryats to create “a theocratic state like Tibet,” Marina Aronova of the Sibreal portal says. But it may have new relevance because of how this happened (sibreal.org/a/kak-edinstvennaya-v-rossii-teokratiya-voznikla-v-otvet-na-mobilizatsiyu/30417832.html).
In a 3000-word article detailing this case, the journalist notes that “in the summer of 1918, during the civil war, Khorin Buryats in response to a mobilization declared by the Military-Revolutionary staff of the Transbaikal, at a local congress adopted a resolution about the liberation of Buryats from the draft into the so-called Red horsemen, the Ulan Tagdy.”
That action, Aronova continues, “became the first step toward the establishment on the territory of Buryata of the first theocratic state like Tibet on the territory of Russia. It existed for several years until it was destroyed by the OGPU,” the successor to the Cheka and the predecessor of the KGB and today’s FSB.
What makes her report especially noteworthy is this move to create a theocratic regime came in response to a Bolshevik effort to mobilize the Buryats. Given how angry some Buryats have been about Putin’s more recent partial mobilization, it is not impossible that they are thinking about the long-ago events Aronova recounts.