Staunton, September 1 – The Greater Urals Association, which in the early 1990s was associated with Eduard Rossel and the creation of a Urals Republic, has disbanded and been dropped from the organization and tax records the Russian government maintains. As such, one of the once most important regionalist groupings has disappeared from the scene.
The end was not unexpected: the Greater Urals Association had been largely inactive in recent years; but it was at one time what many believed would be a harbinger of change in ethnically Russian areas and even promote genuine federalism in the Russian Federation or contribute to the disintegration of the country (ura.news/news/1052447765).
In reporting this development, the URA news agency notes that “the Greater Urals Association was established more than 27 years ago, on March 24, 1993, with its headquarters in Yekaterinburg. Eduard Rossel at that time was attracted to the idea of creating a Urals Republic would secure the financial and administrative independence” of the region.
“Later,” the news agency reports, “the regions used this structure for the discussion of economic cooperation. Besides the Central Urals, the group included Udmurtia, Perm Kray, Bashkortostan, Komi-Permyak District, and Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, and Kurgan Oblasts. The last left the group in 2016.”
URA continues: “the liquidation process began on September 16, 2014. Before that, the organization was led by Eduard Rossel, but in the last six years, the head of the association was the chairman of the liquidation commission, Vladimir Volkov.” That process has now been completed.
On the one hand, the passing of the Greater Urals Association which once seemed so promising to many can only be a subject of regret as a measure of the extent to which Vladimir Putin’s power vertical has eliminated the possibility for groups organized as that one was by the heads of various federal subjects.
But on the other, its passing only means that the new regionalism is based less on state structures than on networks connecting people and organizations below the very top of the state structures, networks that, as the response to the Khabarovsk protests shows, may be even stronger than the more narrowly state-focused organizations of 25 years ago.