Friday, June 6, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Regionalists in Russia Must Back Kyiv against the Kremlin, Site Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – Vladimir Putin has adopted the rhetoric of national self-determination and federalism in Ukraine, but a leading Russian regionalist site says that this is “hypocrisy and a farce” which should deceive no one and especially not regionalists and federalists in Russia because it is only “a cover for an aggressive imperial policy.”

            “Today,” says, “the Ukrainian army is fighting not only for the freedom if its own Motherland but also for the freedom of all Russian lands.”  Those opposing Kyiv “are not regionalists or freedom fighter but rather Chechen militants, mercenaries and backers of the rebirth of the totalitarian Soviet empire” (

            The regionalist site, which unites regionalists and federalists in St. Petersburg and the northwestern portion of the Russian Federation, says that “the victory of anti-imperial, anti-Moscow forces in Ukraine will deprive the Kremlin regime of a significant portion of its resources, be an example for Russians ... and speed up [their] liberation.”

            Consequently, those who “want to live in a European community of free peoples and not in a Eurasian empire under the patronage of China” must not fall for “Kremlin propaganda” and conclude that opposing Ukraine is a form of “’patriotism.’”  Moscow is not only cutting Russia off from Europe but handing control over Russian territories to China.

            The regionalist site suggests that Russians should answer the following question “honestly: Do you want to live in North Korea?  I yes, then go, everything is ready for you: ration cards, concentration camps and the deification of ‘wise leaders.’” If not, then Russians must answer with “a firm ‘no’” and “not participate” in Russia’s crimes against Ukraine “by their approval.”

            This declaration reflects the fact that some Russians have in fact been deceived by the Kremlin and believe that Vladimir Putin’s support for decentralization and federalism in Ukraine will help them in their promotion of similar values within the Russian Federation, a trend noted a few days ago (

            There is no reason for anyone to believe that, the portal says. Moscow seized Crimea and is backing the secessionists in Donetsk and Luhansk not because it supports these values but rather for economic gains, including access to oil and gas reserves on the Black Sea floor in the former and political ones such as weakening Ukrainian democracy and Western ties in the latter.

            “The self-proclaimed republics of the south east of Ukraine are not a manifestation of local regionalism and self-consciousness,” says. They are “from beginning to enda Moscow project,” controlled by Russian citizens Moscow has sent in and covered Potemkin Village-style by powerless local people in public positions.

            There is no “regionalist self-consciousness” involved, and any “consciousness” that does exist there is “Soviet and has as its final goal not regionalism but the restoration of the USSR.”  Moscow doesn’t need or care about the people there. It only wants to use them in order to expand its power by excluding Western influence. 

            Consequently, those who believe in regionalism, federalism and freedom, the portal says, must recognize that “’the separatists’ of South Osetia, Abkhazia, the Donetsk Peoples Republic and the Luhansk Peoples Republic are not allies of regionalism but its most evil enemies,” people who are providing backing or “the imperial ambitions of the Kremlin regime.”

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