Staunton, January 23 – In Soviet times, soldiers responded to praise by saying “We serve the Soviet Union.” After 1991, they were ordered to respond “We serve the Russian Federation.” Now, Vladimir Putin has ordered that they say “We serve Russia,” a superficially small change but one that symbolizes his efforts to eliminate all aspects of federalism in his country.
Yesterday, the Kremlin leader signed a decree making this change. His order has now been published by the Russian government’s official Internet portal of legal information (publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001201801220018). That may please some Russian centralists and imperialists but it should disturb everyone else.
As the After Empire portal observed in reporting this change, “Federation in Russia has been abolished not only de facto but even in a symbolic sense.” The site doesn’t say, but it is likely that this latest Putin move soon will be followed by other equally fateful moves away from what Russians achieved in 1991 (afterempire.info/2018/01/23/no-federation/).