Thursday, December 20, 2018

Russia Can be Free Only If It Ceases to Be a Single State with Its Current Borders, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 19 – While attending the Sixth Free Russia Forum in Vilnius, Russian commentator Igor Yakovenko said that there are several possible paths by which Russia would have the chance to be a free country, all of which presuppose “the liquidation of the Putin regime” (

            That will eventually happen as Vladimir Putin will not be in power forever, Yakovenko says; but his departure will not by itself allow Russia to be free. According to him, “Russia will be free if it ceases to exist in its current borders.” That too is “inevitable because the preservation of Russia in these borders sooner or later will lead to the rebirth of the empire.”

            What is most important, he says, is that “Russia must cease to exist as a single state. In that case there is a chance that freedom will exist in one part of Russia or another.” Once that happens, Yakovenko says, others will be drawn to that “because freedom is a good thing.”

            Yakovenko’s observation about Russia now is especially important to this author because it echoes an observation he made in 1987 about the Soviet Union when I wrote that a liberalized Russia “might be possible” but that “a significantly liberalized Soviet Union” with its imperial possessions was almost certainly “a contradiction in terms.”

(See, Paul A. Goble, “Gorbachev and the Soviet Nationality Problem,” in Maurice Friedberg and Heyward Isham, eds., Soviet Society Under Gorbachev (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1987), pp. 76-100 at p. 99.)

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