Staunton, September 17 – In the past, Russia has sought to intimidate Siberia by holding up the image of Chinese occupation, Yaroslav Zolotaryev says; but now that “the two empires are cooperating and stealing from the Siberians jointly,” Moscow has lost that chance, prompting Siberians to begin “a struggle against empires as such.”
The Siberian regionalist says that “the new wave of protests in Buryatia and Sakha” as well as in other Siberian cities shows that ever more people east of the Urals, including those the Kremlin counts as ethnic Russians, have concluded that their future must be decided “neither in Moscow or in Beijing” but by themselves (region.expert/2empires/).
Activists preparing for the Siberian Anti-Imperial March which the authorities blocked carried placards declaring “Down with the Imperialism of Moscow and Beijing!” (cf. windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/09/siberian-protesters-against-russian-and.html), but they didn’t dream up that slogan, Zolotaryev says. It is something many Siberians now think.
“Siberia’s tragedy is already in the 17th century, it found itself between two major world empires, the Russian and the Chinese,” a situation that until very recently the Kremlin was always able to exploit by suggesting too residents of the region that “if you are not part of Russia, then you will be part of China.”
But “Siberians today have lived to a time when we are being exploited by both Russian and Chinese imperialisms” working together. Under Western sanctions, he says, “Russia has begun to solve its problems by the intensify sale of Siberian resources to China.” And China, because there is a labor shortage in Siberia, is sending ever more of its people northward.
The Chinese for their part are exploiting these resources far more intensively than Russia ever did, seeking to collect two crops a year by the massive use of chemical fertilizers which are poisoning the land, water and air of Siberia even as they clear cut broad swaths of forest and carry the wood away with only Moscow making a profit.
All this is promoting not only anti-Chinese and anti-Russian attitudes but pro-Siberian ones, Zolotaryev says. Both empires are exploiting the region, and it is increasingly obvious that only the region itself can save itself from them.