Staunton, May 28 – Vladimir Putin may be pressing ahead to have a vote on his constitutional amendments later this summer, but officials in Arkhangelsk blast and the Nenets Autonomous District have decided to postpone a referendum they had hoped to hold in September until next year at the earliest (echo.msk.ru/news/2650487-echo.html).
The pandemic is the ostensible reason given the difficulties of holding a vote in regions with many isolated villages. But it likely reflects at least in part intense opposition to the idea especially in the Nenets AD. The powers that be may believe that more time will give them more opportunity to win support. But it is entirely possible that the reverse will prove to be the case.
At the very least, this decision likely means that Putin’s star-crossed plan may be slowed elsewhere as well, giving smaller non-Russian districts and republics a reprieve if not the opportunity to avoid being absorbed at all. Indeed, given the problems the Kremlin will face after the pandemic passes, reginal amalgamation may have even less importance than it does now.