Staunton, February 1 – The Moscow-centric nature of Russian life is “a dead end” for the country. It cannot be ended by decree from the Kremlin because such an approach, whatever its intentions, will always result in something “empire-like” and thus incompatible with the federal system enshrined in the Constitution, according to Artur Tushin.
In a Rufabula portal commentary, the Moscow-based federalist argues that “in the 21st century there should only be a museum in the medieval Moscow Kremlin” and a genuinely new Russia will need “a new capital city,” one established east of the Urals in Siberia (rufabula.com/articles/2016/01/29/moscow-centrism).
“Moving the capital is not a goal in and of itself,” he says; “it is a means” because there is no other way to end the Moscow focus and feudal nature of Russian political life. If a divorce is arranged between Moscow and the capital, Tushin argues, “this will be good both for Russia and for Moscow.”
Shifting the capital would “represent an attempt to put an end to the existence of feudalism in the country, to end the existence of the Muscovite grand duchy because since Moscow began to assemble Russian and non-Russian territories around itself, the state structure of Russia hasn’t changed.”
The names and decorations have changed, “but the feudal foundation remains. The main principle of that state system is absolute monarchy (not necessarily inherited) under any title – tsar, general secretary, president, prime minister and so on – localism, and, what is most important the feeding” of this or that group.
Such “feeding” is “the foundation of the entire economic and state structure of Russia” as organized under Moscow, Tushin continues. Everything else is kept in the status of “vassal dependency of one degree or another.” There is no federation: there is the grand duchy of Muscovy or the Russian Empire.” And that must be destroyed and replaced by a federation.
Russia today, he argues, is suffering “a profound civilizational and systemic crisis;” and because that is so, “half measures will not work,” especially as this is “Russia’s last chance to escape from the chains of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. The time for imitations is ending.”
Unless Russia transforms itself into a genuine federation and that means de-linking the capital and Moscow, all other attempts at political transformation will fail, he argues. Tushin points to the fact that “all the post-Soviet countries are building NEW states, some good, some bad, but all NEW and only Russia is building the past OLD state, a mix of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.” There is no future in that.
To escape its past-present, Russia needs a passionate push; but that can’t come from Moscow given Moscow’s link to all the unfortunate state structures of the past. Only moving the capital “beyond the Ural” can give Russia the new energy it will need to overcome the past-present and move forward.
He calls on those Russians not indifferent to the fate of their country to unite under the slogan “Move the Capital of Russia Beyond the Urals!” arguing that this dramatic step is “the reform of the state not from above (by the authorities) or from below (by the people) by means of a revolution.” Instead, he says, it represents an effort to restructure Russia “TOGETHER.”
“Yes, this variant is risky,” Tushin concedes. “But there are already no options without risks” if Russia is going to escape its Muscovite past.