Thursday, October 4, 2012

Window on Eurasia: Referendum Drive in Domodedovo Should Be ‘Wake Up Call’ for Kremlin, Kalashnikov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 4 – A group of residents in Domodedovo, a district in Moscow oblast, is seeking a referendum to declare their region the Russian Democratic Republic and to pursue membership in the European Union even as its members insist that they are not interested in seeking independence from the Russian Federation.

            The residents are pursuing this step, Maksim Kalashnikov says in a commentary on the portal, because the Russian authorities have ignored their opposition, expressed in a district referendum five years ago to the construction of a new highway through that residential area (

            According to the nationalist commentator, this should be “a most serious wake up call for the Kremlin,” because it recalls the parade of sovereignties that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union, a process in which “literally everyone began to demand an exit from the USSR.”  The only difference now is that this is taking place “within the boundaries of the Russian Federation.”

            Once again, people are agitated, he says, remarking that “the proclamation of a ‘European’ Russian Democratic Republic is a step of despair by local residents. For it is clear that no European is going to recognize a microscopic ‘state’: [that continent] has its own difficulties.”

            The RDR movement in Domodedovo in fact reflects the confluence of two things, Kalashnikov says. On the one hand, Russians are not that acceptant of the idea of highway tolls, especially on roads through their neighborhoods. And on the other, they fear that the highway will simply be another occasion for corruption.

            The powers could end this problem by killing the paid road project, Kalashnikov continues, but that is not going to happen: those in the regime make too much money off such schemes.  And what is happening in Domdodedovo is thus likely to spread to other parts of the country.

            The commentator insists that he doesn’t intend to “support separatism,” but he fully understands the anger of the population and won’t defend those who are profiting from projects the people oppose.  What he does offer is a chilling reason why the Kremlin should be paying more attention to such things

            “The background of news in the current Russian Federation ever more recalls the situation in the late Gorbachev period,” Kalashnikov says. But that is “not the fault” of the regime’s opponents. “Others will follow the ‘Domodedovo Republic’ Simply from outrage and despair.”

            The situation in Domodedovo itself may be even more serious than Kalashnikov suggests. An article on yesterday reports that the initiative group wants to keep the officialdom out of the vote because it does not trust a body that has been involved in “massive falsifications” (

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