Staunton, January 12 – One of the Kremlin’s greatest fears is the kind of civic activism on display in Ukraine could spread to the Russian Federation, but most of its focus has been on the possibility that a Euro-Maidan might take place in Moscow. But a Russian regionalist has now raised the possibility it could occur at some point in the country’s republics or regions.
Vadim Shteppa, a committed regionalist who writes frequently about Karelia and federalism, spent the New Year’s holiday with the Euro-Maidan in the Ukrainian capital. On his return, he has offered his assessment of that movement and most interestingly the possibility that it will spark imitations within the Russian Federation (stolica.onego.ru/articles/221732.html
Shteppa spoke to some of those in the Euro-Maidan about European regionalism. He says he was received politely but with some reserve because “regions” are associated with the current Ukrainian president and his regime. He notes that his friend Anatoly Polyakov who said that the Maidan was “the cradle of a future Russian revolution” was more warmly received.
The regionalist writer says he was especially impressed by the organizers of the “Maidan is Where We Are” movement, an effort to broaden the impact of the meetings by “’showing citizen that together we can not only stand in the Maidan but also work for the good of our city. The Maidan is not in the center of the city. The Maidan is there where we are.’”
“It would be useful for Karelian civic activists” to take note of all this, Shteppa says. But that will require a maturation of “a powerful civic consciousness which is prepared to decide the fate of our country. If someone has forgotten, in our hymn, Karelia is explicitly called ‘a country.’”
For the present, Shteppa concludes, “it is somehow difficult” for him to imagine that Karelian will “sing it” the way Ukrainians are singing theirs. First of all, Karelians must take steps to throw off their “colonial status.” Until then, it will be “too early to talk about an analogue of the Euro-Maidan” in their republic.