“It is a good thing,” he continues, “that the presidential plenipotentiary is speaking publicly about this problem. But it would be better if he said what the state intends to do about it.”
Second and in an archetypically Russian way, a Moscow commentator is using a historical debate to make points about the present. Mikhail Zarezin complains that too many Russians have a positive attitude about White leaders forgetting that many of them were quite prepared not just to live under the influence of foreign powers but to give parts of Russia away.
He says he is especially incensed by those who say that anti-Bolshevik atamans like Semyonov and Annenkov were true Russian heroes. In fact, they were Russian separatists ready to take parts of Russia away from Moscow. To support that contention, he republishes an historian’s 2015 article that makes that point ( ).
(That article, A.V. Ganin’s “A New Document about the Separatism of Atamans B.V. Annenkov and G.M. Semyonov” (in Russian), Kazachestvo Dalnogo Vostoka Rossii v XVII-XXI vv., sbornik statey, vyp. 4 (Khabarovsk, 2014), pp. 131-134, is extremely interesting in its own right.)
And the third is a discussion on the After Empire portal about the Russian government’s plan to declare journalists who work for or even cooperate with media outlets which Moscow has declared extremist extremist on an individual basis, one that suggests the regime is especially targeting regionalists ( ).
“By a strange combination of circumstances,” the Tallinn-based portal which covers regionalism in Russia says that “according to the Russian justice ministry list,” the publications and their authors who have been targeted are “almost exclusively those which have been specializing on a regionalist agenda.”
Among them are Radio Free Europe, Nastoyashchyeye vremay, the Tatar-Bashkir service of Radio Svoboda, and Svoboda’s “regional media projects, Sibir Realii, Idel.Realii, Kavkaz.Realii, and Krym.Realii. “This is understandable,” After Empire says. By telling the truth about the real life of Russia’s regions, you inflict harm on imperial unity.”
According to the portal, “the Putin regime with each passing year is spending ever more forces, resource, and ‘spiritual bindings’ in the struggle with ‘the disintegration of the country.’” It wants to homogenize the country and clearly believes that is the only way that the unity of Russia can be preserved.
Empires always feel that way, but “empires age and die. And on their graves always grow and flourish ‘thousands of flowers’ of unique regional cultures. The same thing will be true this time as well.”