Staunton, September 17 – Catalonians seeking independence from Spain last week copied the Baltic Chain that Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians formed from Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius in 1989, the latest indication of the rise of a new and more pragmatic separatism not only in Europe but in the Russian Federation.
Some 400,000 Catalans on September 11 formed a living chain between Barcelona and the Pyrenees to call attention to their cause, explicitly drawing on the Baltic chain in which more than a million people linked hands in 1989 to press for the restoration of the independence of the their three Soviet-occupied countries (regnum.ru/news/1707025.html).
In an essay on the “Osobaya Bukva” portal today, Vladimir Titov argues that “the new generation of separatists,” one less romantic and more pragmatic than its predecessors, has the capacity to redraw the map not only of Europe but at least in principle that of the Russian Federation as well (specletter.com/politika/2013-09-17/novye-strany-starogo-sveta.html
The rise of “’political separatism’” in Kaliningrad is “a question of time,” Titov continues, especially if Moscow does not recognize that the residents of that enclave increasingly do not want to be the poor relations of Russia or “prisoners of Europe” but rather “full-fledged Europeans.”
Such a development is not inevitable. Many countries have non-contiguous territories,, including the US, France, the UK, and the Netherlands, Titov says. And if Moscow changes course and invests more in Kaliningrad, it might be able to avoid having to face a decline in Russian identity there.