Staunton, November 14 – Many participants of the Seventh Free Russia Forum in Vilnius spoke about Russia’s rapidly approaching disintegration; but in fact, Aleksandr Nemets, a Russian commentator who lives in the US, Russia is already falling apart, albeit in a manner many did not expect.
To date, he observes, “not one is making any sharp declarations of the kind that ‘our region is declaring its independence and forever leaving Russia.’” Instead, the disintegration of Russia is occurring “along a path of a careful separatist drift” toward a Confederation of Russia in place of the Russian Federation (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5DCD4580CBEAC).
“The expression ‘Confederation of Russia is spreading through the Internet,” Nemets says. Among the components of it are Pomorye (Arkhangelsk Oblast with parts of neighboring oblasts and republics), the Urals Republic, Krasnoyarsk Kray, and “a large ‘Far Eastern Republic’ (from Baikal to the Pacific).”
The idea isn’t new. “The formula, ‘soft confederation of Russia,’ … appeared in March 1996.” When conditions in Russia improved, it faded. “but in 2019, after 11 years of marching in place (if you believe Rosstat) … the idea has become important as never before,” according to the Russian commentator.
“The ‘Chinese factor’ has become here very significant if not ‘the main factor of the confederative drive,’ at least for local ‘elites.’ For them … China already has transformed into a most serious source of income” for Russian elites who can sell raw materials to Beijing. Some ordinary Russians support this as well.
“At the same time, hatred of Moscow which takes no less than two third of the taxes collected and gives nothing (except trash) in exchange is wide spread among both local ‘elites’ and among ‘the ordinary people,’” both of whom want to reduce Moscow’s takings and intervention to a minimum.
In the past, Moscow kept them in line by playing up what it continues to suggest is the Chinese threat. But “the Chinese are not very terrible,” and so this Kremlin technique doesn’t have the impact it did.
“The steady deterioration in ‘the humanitarian sphere’ is an undoubted factor in ‘the soft disintegration of Russia.’” Nemets then provides a laundry list of statistics on this point. “This is evident to both the local ‘elite’ and the local ‘ordinary people.” They aren’t going to be dissuaded by playing up patriotism.
And the soft disintegration of Russia in the direction of a confederation is only going to speed up and intensify.