Staunton, October 13 – At the start of 2020, a group of regionalist activists announced plans to organize a Federative Party of Russia by convening a constituent congress (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2020/03/leaders-of-new-federative-party-outline.html). But because of the pandemic, they had to delay their plans and shift to an online format.
On Sunday, they had their meeting online, attracted participants from 13 federal subjects, elected a central board, announced plans to organize branches in all oblasts, krays and republics of the country, and seek registration and adopted a preliminary version of a party program (federativ.ru/news/108.html and region.expert/fedparty1/).
The Region.Expert portal has reposted the 1300-word segment of that program concerning economic issues, noting that “this document appears extremely unusual for the unitary political language of contemporary Russia and offers perspectives for its genuine federalization.” (For the entire program, see federativ.ru/pages/programma.html).
“Economic federalism means,” the program says, “that the development of a state with a federative system such as Russia’s is based on the economic development of each region which is a part of the Federation.” Each Russian region is “unique;” and only by recognizing and welcoming that can Russia as a whole hope to advance.
“We are for truly democratic processes,” it continues. “We’re fed up with being forced to fulfill Moscow’s decisions which are pushing the regions into a dangerous abyss of poverty, unemployment and social dislocation.” We’re also fed up with being sent official from outside to tell us what to do.
“Russia is a country of regions, and we, the regions, themselves will climb out of the social-economic hole we are in now and make the country strong,” the Federative Party declares. “Our principle is ‘act locally but think globally,’” a worldwide trend that Russia should be a leader in.
According to the new party, “the center of the development of a region is its university, as a nucleus for the production of new technologies and new cadres” who can “create a new model of administration of the economies of the regions.” But our first task is not to develop one region or another but promote cooperation among regions to address common tasks.
“We are convinced,” the party says, “that the main direction for a breakthrough must be overcoming the dangerous dependence on raw materials exports alone, which have put the country at risk of economic collapse and disintegration in the case of even the smallest worsening of conditions abroad.”
Putting Russia at risk of that is something “we will not permit.” And because that is so, “the regionalization of the country is not our goal. Our goal is a strong federative state in which each region is economically strong, competitive, and well-off.” Strong regions make for a strong country. When they cease to be Moscow’s vassals, they can play precisely that role.