Staunton, July 22 – Vladimir Putin clearly believes that respecting the Russian Constitution and allowing Russia to become a genuine federal state represents a threat to its existence just as he is convinced that the existence of the union republics in Soviet times led to the destruction of the USSR.
But the Kremlin leader gets it precisely wrong, Rafael Khakimov, head of the Kazan Institute of History and long one of the most passionate supporters of federalism for Russia. And he has now come up with a new argument as to why Putin should change his mind (realnoevremya.ru/articles/103490-sermyazhnaya-pravda-rafaelya-hakimova).
If Putin were right, the historian and former political advisor to the Tatarstan president, then Western countries would have been in the lead in promoting it for Russia as a means to the demontage of the Russian state; but in fact, he points out, they have not been and instead have often backed Russian centralization.
“Federalism is a dangerous thing: it could make Russia a world leader. Given those natural resources, variety of territory, and intellectual forces which are gradually leaking out abroad, each region could follow the example of Tatarstan,” Khakimov says.
“But how do the US or China look at this possibility? For them, Russia must not be allowed to become a federation. All the most developed countries have become federative (the US, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Australia, Canada and so on). Thus, Russia must be kept as a strict hierarchical and archaic system which gives birth to corruption.”
For these countries, “Russia must be kept in the Middle Ages. It must not finally reject the clan traditions of the horde and become a federation.” Clearly that is what the other major powers think. “Is this not so?” Khakimov asks rhetorically.
“What do you say, trolls?”