Friday, August 28, 2020

Russian Court Sentences Dilmukhametov to Nine Years in the Camps for Advocating Federalism

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 24 – In an action that not only will further empower Bashkir protests against the destruction of a national monument but highlights the Kremlin’s fears of any discussion of federalism, a military court in Samara has sentenced Ayrat Dilmukhametov to nine years in a strict regime camp for advocating that federalism be revived.

            Dilmukhametov is a passionate advocate of federalism who argues that federalism instead of opening the way to the disintegration of the Russian state is the only means of preserving it. (For background on his ideas, see, and

            In reporting this development, the Region.Expert portal says that “by this insane sentence, the official Russian ‘Federation’ has shown what ideology it really fears – not generalized liberalism, not archaic communism, not imperial nationalism and not ethnic radicalism” (

            Instead, Moscow and its minions fear “healthy federal thought” which is based on the principle that each republic must rule its own affairs on the basis of popular elections and interact with others and the center on the basis of negotiated agreements among them, Region.Expert continues.

            “This ideology,” the portal says, “is already today winning out in the social movements of various regions, the citizens of which are demanding the free election of their authorities and are protesting against the Kremlin’s colonial policy. Therefore, Ayrat Dilmukhametov … has become today so dangerous for the regime with its imperial vertical.”

            Region.Expert ends its report on this case with an appeal to human rights organizations in the Russian Federation and abroad to begin an international campaign under the slogan “Freedom for Ayrat Dilmukhametov!”  The first reactions from Bashkirs and Russians suggest there is widespread support for that (

            One can only hope that will prove to be the case and Dilmukhametov will be freed. But one must also hope for two other developments: a willingness of observers to see that many regional movements in Russia today are not the opening round of secession as the Kremlin believes, and a recognition that federalist movements will play a key role in the next few years.

            For a discussion of both of these shifts in perspective, see this author’s “Regionalism – the Nationalism of the Next Russian Revolution” (in Russian, Region.Expert, December 2016, at For those who would like an English-language text of this, please email me at

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