Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Russian Constitution May Be Changed to Allow Moscow to Directly Administer Large Portions of the Country, Klishas Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 5 – Senator Andrey Klishas who co-chairs the working group on constitutional changes says that the country’s basic law may be amended to include a provision that would allow Moscow to declare certain areas of the country “federal territories” and directly administer them.

            While many in the regions and republics would say that Moscow is directly administering them already, such a change would further tip the balance away from them and allow the central authorities to remove from even the nominal control of federal subjects potentially large swaths of territory.

            And while Klishas does not say so, such a provision in the constitution could be used as a kind of Trojan horse to destroy one or more federal subjects, intimidate the rest and put the Russian Federation on course to become officially what it already is in fact, a centralized unitary state.

             According to the senator, the first likely to be put under direct Moscow rule could be closed cities and also locations where a fragile natural environment makes economic development especially problematic such as the Arctic zone ( and

            Klishas says that such arrangements exist “in a number of other federative states” and that if they are introduced in Russia, “the federal territories will not be included within the territories of the subjects of the Federation.”

            At the present time, Znak reports, there are approximately 40 closed administrative-territorial formations in the country. Ten were established for atomic energy projects.  Five arein the Urals: two in Sverdlovsk Oblast and three in Chelyabinsk. The total population of all closed cities now exceeds 300,000.

            Neither Klishas nor the news agencies reporting his words discussed the issue of environmentally sensitive areas. But if they are included in such direct-rule arrangements, that could transfer perhaps as much as a third of the entire territory of the country to direct rule from Moscow.

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