Staunton, February 5 – Moscow has changed the borders of its constituent oblasts, krays and republics many times over the last century, and Vladimir Putin for the last decade has pushed for the amalgamation of smaller non-Russian areas with larger and predominantly ethnic Russian regions.
But there is one thing that Moscow does not want and that is border changes initiated from below not only because that could disrupt the country’s politically-defined transportation and economic system but also undermine the stability of entire regions of the country and consequently of the Russian Federation as a whole.
Unfortunately for Moscow, there are indications that exactly such changes in borders from below may be in the offing. Earlier this week, Sverdlovsk Oblast Governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev announced that he had created an inter-regional working group to review and revise borders with neighboring regions (regnum.ru/news/polit/1890625.html).
Sverdlovsk officials say that their proposals for small border adjustments are intended to “secure the rights of residents of population points on the border which at present have difficulties” given that the residents live in one federal subject but have land and other property on the territory of another.
And these officials add that the executive organs of the federal subjects bordering Sverdlovsk oblast, the Administration of the Federal Registration Service, and other interested bodies “have confirmed their agreement to participate in the inter-regional working group.”
That means, the Regnum.ru report says, that there will be representatives not only of Sverdlovsk oblast but also the republics of Bashkortostan and Komi, the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous District, Perm kray, and Kurgan, Tyumen, and Chelyabinsk oblasts, and that the group will have 37 members.
The working group is to be headed by Valentin Gripas, the deputy chairman of the Sverdlovsk Oblast government, and the execution of its decisions has been made the responsibility of Denis Pasler, chairman of the oblast government.
In reporting this development, Regnum.ru says that experts familiar with the situation say that “the need for eliminating a number of petty flaws” in the borders “has existed for a long time.” And they have pointed to villages which are in one federal subject which by rights should be in another, giving as an example a Russian village in the Turkic republic of Bashkortostan.