Saturday, May 30, 2020

Separatism in Russia hasn’t Been Limited to Non-Russian Republics

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 28 – Many Russians believe that the territorial integrity of their country is threatened by the existence of the non-Russian republics alone and that the amalgamation of these republics with predominantly ethnic Russian regions as Vladimir Putin proposes or the replacement of both with gubernias is a guarantee that the country will hold together.

            That belief is based on a mistaken belief that in the 1990s, “only national republics with a titular nationality wanted independence, the Zen.Yandex portal says.  In reality, it points out, there was “separatism in Russian-language regions” as well and only “by a miracle” did the country avid complete disintegration (

            To correct this misperception, the portal provides a partial checklist of the republics and regions which displayed separatist aspirations in the early post-Soviet period. Among the most prominent were the Urals Republic which included both the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk oblasts, Siberia as a whole with proponents in Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, and Omsk, and the Far East.

            These were far larger if much less dramatic than some of the non-Russian national movements, which included Karelia, Daghestan both as a whole and in its component parts, Chechnya, and Tatarstan.  Moscow fought two wars with Chechnya and to this day has a special relationship with Tatarstan.

            The portal says that “this is not a complete list of the regions which wanted to leave Russia.” Among the others were Kaliningrad and Tyumen oblasts, Sakha, Tyva, Khakasia, the Altai and so no. As a result of the economic and political crisis at that time, “Russia might have completely split into a multitude of separate states.”

            “Our country by a miracle avoided complete collapse, the portal continues, before asking “how many more years will Russia be able to exist in its current borders?”

            That question and the fact that predominantly Russian regions have wanted independence from Moscow is something those who believe that amalgamating non-Russian republics with Russian ones as Putin wants will solve the problem of secession and that the threat of disintegration is safely in the past.   

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