Thursday, March 18, 2021

Regional Heads Must Come Up with a National Agenda Since Kremlin and Russian Opposition Can’t, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 16 – In Russia today, there are constant suggestions that in the face of the current crisis, “the authorities must mobilize themselves and society must rally around them,” Abbas Gallyamov says. But before that can happen, the country needs to decide what the one is mobilizing for and the other rallying around.

            If the wrong goals are chosen, the former Putin speechwriter and current commentator says, then it would be better not to mobilize and rally. Otherwise,  as history shows, the outcomes may be disastrous because “mobilization is like the reaction of muscles and muscles without a brain leads to misfortune” (  reposted at

            Now, when old plans have failed, Gallyamov says, what is needed is a serous discussion about what to do both immediately and in the longer term. But unfortunately, albeit for different reasons, neither the powers that be nor the opposition in Moscow is capable of having such a discussion.

            “The Kremlin is ready to listen only to those who praise it,” and the opposition’s hatred of the regime “has reached such a level that there is no reason to expect something constructive from it. The majority of opposition figures now live according to the principle ‘the worse things are, the better.’” They thus aren’t ready to give useful advice to a Kremlin not disposed to listen.

            Who then could offer the kind of proposals for the future the country needs? According to Gallyamov, the regions and their leaders are the most obvious candidates. Even though the Kremlin rarely listens to them, they have a rich experience that they can draw on to provide ideas about the country as a whole.

            To take advantage of that resource, the commentator proposes having regional leaders “assemble their own conference devoted to the discussion of the most important issues of the country, in the first instance in the area of economics although they won’t be able to do that without a discussion of politics too.”

            It is critically important, Gallyamov says, that at such a conference there must not be “any representatives of the federal center, not from the Kremlin, not from the government and not even from United Russia.” Everyone knows what they think as they get their ideas from state television.

            The heads of the regions if they get together will be able to come up with alternatives and especially useful ones because they will be different than what Moscow TV offers. But in an indication of why such a proposal is unlikely to go anywhere fast, Gallyamov concludes by saying the following:

            “I ask that this post not be considered a call for separatism or for undermining the foundations of the state.”


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