Friday, December 20, 2019

A Confederation in Russia Would Remain an Empire, Kulekhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 18 – Russia’s regions at present do not have “any basis for any confederation, Irkutsk historian Mikhail Kulekhov says; and consequently, any confederation formed in Russia under current conditions would be “nothing other than the preservation of the very same Empire but simply under a new name” (

            His comment comes in reaction to regionalist commentator Pavel Luzin’s recent argument that Russia could become a confederation of cities ( discussed at

            A confederation now could not promote economic ties because “economic connections among the regions have never played an essential role in Russia” – and efforts to promote that in Soviet times failed – and because – and this is critical – “economic ties in general do not depend on political borders.”

            “If there are real preconditions, economic ties will arise without the participation of politicians,” Kulekhov says; while “artificial maintenance of economic ties for political reasons will always lead to losses, degradation, impoverishment, and other ‘delights’ of our inescapable crisis.”

            According to the Irkutsk writer, “any former of state ‘union’ – and a confederation here is no different from other forms – will mean the creation of a bureaucratic system.” And such a system like the EU will create problems and those who are part of it will seek to leave as the British now are.

            Empires, Kulekhov continues, are always “the unification of many various counties under the power of a single bureaucratic system,” and it doesn’t make much difference whether this is done by force or voluntary agreement. The bureaucracy rises, and the individual components suffer.

            For that reason, if for no other, the Irkutsk observer says, it is time to stop thinking about how to “’rearrange’” Russia and begin rather “to think about how to live after it ceases to exist.”

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