Saturday, August 24, 2019

Communists East of the Urals Seek to Revive Siberian Regional Movement

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 23 – A group of communists in Tomsk has announced plans to hold a Siberian Anti-Imperialist March on September 1 and to promote the revival of oblastnichestvo, as Siberian regionalism has been historically called even though most oblastniks in the past were anti-communist (

            Igor Kuznetsov, one of the activists involved, says the upcoming meeting will feature slogans like “For the Decolonization of the Regions of Russia! Pomorye, Siberia and All Russia without Garbage! Kadyrov, Hands Off Daghestan and Ingushetia! For the right of self-determination for Hong Kong and Eastern Turkestan! and For Your Freedom and Ours!”

            He tells Yaroslav Zolotaryev who tracks regional developments in the Russian Federation that “the Movement Against Fires in the Taiga, which arose in early August supports us in Siberia. Liberals are interested in us but all the same are afraid of openly supporting our demands for the decolonization of the regions of Russia.”

            “We want to revive the Union for the Unification of Siberia as a social-ecological and social-political movement,” Kuznetsov says. “It was created already in 1990 at the First Potanin Readings at Tomsk University,” an event he has he took part in. The group was disbanded in the mid-1990s when it appeared that regional officials were moving in the right direction.

            “But we were mistaken: today these people in power do not represent Siberians but are Kremlin appointees,” the activist continues. “Therefore, the movement must be revived.” That is all the more so because, he says, “Siberia today in fact is becoming a dual colony of Moscow and Beijing.”

            “We stand for decolonization and the establishment in place of the tsarist-Stalinist-Putinist empire a Confederation of the Regions and Peoples of Russia,” Kuznetsov declares, saying that the idea has support in Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk “and even in the Kuban.”

            He says that the group is seeking official permission for the September 1 march but will proceed even if the powers that be don’t give it. Kuznetsov says he doesn’t fear prosecution for promoting separatism because he believes that such “persecution will only generate intense interest in our project.”

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