If managed cleverly, such a Moscow-controlled Siberian Accord could attract the votes of Siberians ready to “vote for their own” without necessarily noticing that this “party” would simply be a cover for the party of power, United Russia. But such a tactic is nonetheless “quite risky for the Kremlin and could produce an unexpected result.”
According to Zolotaryev, “if the slogans of regional self-administration become politically mainstream in Siberia, you won’t be able to push this genie back into the bottle!” But given how badly pro-Moscow candidates did last September, the experts in the capital may decide they have no other choice but to take the risk.
The Moscow political technologists are well aware of three key facts of the case. First, many of the votes in September were protest votes. If some force emerged that could capture them, the Kremlin would be in trouble unless it created and controlled this force.
Second, “Siberia gives Russia more than any other region and lives worse than any other part of Russia.” That is something Siberians now and the reason many are trying to flee. Moscow cannot or at least will not address this underlying fact and thus must seek other ways to get the Siberians back in line.
And third, four of the seven federal subjects where United Russia did poorly in September were east of the Urals. Anger among Siberians is growing and creating a false flag group to try to channel this anger before others can exploit it to channel it against Moscow is clearly in the center’s interest.
What Moscow political technologists did in the Primorsky Kray elections suggests that they have already decided to try to capture regionalist anger. The obvious next step is to use a brand others have created in pursuit of exactly the opposite goals those who did so had in mind.