), and the Region.Expert portal notes the second, adding that “for the capital of the empire, all the surrounding country is an exotic Terra Incognita” (
The Russian beyond the ring road that many Muscovites and even more non-Russians know about is an extremely diverse place that challenges many of the assumptions often made by Russians and others sitting in the capital even if they don’t make such glaring errors as calling the language of Mari El “Marielsky.:
Indeed, each week brings a rich harvest of stories about this other Russia, stories that are not only interesting in and of themselves but instructive about the territories and peoples included with the current borders of the Russian Federation. Among them, these five stand out on the wires in the last few days alone:
1. Thirty-six thousand of the villages still designated on official maps of the Russian Federation have one resident or fewer, of which 20,000 have no people in them at all ( ).
2. Russians sometimes fuse with other peoples and even identify as a new group rather than simply as members of a territorial community, an indication that assimilatory pressures can work both ways and not always in the Russian direction ().
3. Regions and republics want to have a voice and to play a role on the borders of the Russian Federation rather than simply being the executors for Moscow policy ( have the resources necessary to insist.), and many of them
4. Some 4700 households in a single oblast (Penza) are too poor to be able to purchase a new television capable of receiving digital signals. As a result, they will be without television for the foreseeable future unless the government comes up with funds ().
5. And while the central government in Moscow is aging right along with Vladimir Putin, many of the regional and republic governments are filled with young people, many of whom are likely to be around and perhaps play a role at the center after its current denizens leave the scene ().