Staunton, June 12 – Kazan’s Business-Gazeta portal surveyed a variety of experts on the prospects that the Russian Federation will exist in anything like its current borders by the end of the 21st century. The comments of seven of them are especially interesting and instructive (business-gazeta.ru/article/512595):
· Moscow historian Nikolay Svanidze says that it is difficult to make predictions over such a long period but that “the present policy of the Russian Federation unfortunately” is not helping matters. Instead of using the country’s diversity as a resource, Moscow is trying to impose a common Procrustean bed on all parts of the country. That will generate problems.
· Kazan historian Rafael Khakimov says that Russia will not survive because Moscow is focusing only on extracting raw materials and selling them abroad rather than on developing the population of much of the country. Everything is going to the megalopolises and the rest of the country is being left to decay and fester.
· Moscow political analyst Sergey Markov says the question of Russia’s survival is “open,” but according to him, the chief challenges come from abroad rather than from the situation within the country’s current borders. The US and Britain want to overthrow Russia’s current leadership and divide the country into about ten states via “’deep federalization.’” That puts Russia at risk, but Moscow is also working to bring back into Russia many former Soviet republics.
· Kazan historian Indus Tagirov says that Russia will survive but only after major changes. Some parts of it will disappear, while others will grow in importance. And some may secede while potentially others might be added. Moscow should do more to acquire friends abroad and do more for its own people at home.
· Soviet and Russian politician Ruslan Khasbulatov says that Russia will survive but that he is concerned that its people continue to ask such questions. “In other states, it isn’t considered acceptable to ask whether their countries will survive.”
· Kazan historian Iskander Izmaylov says that Russia now is promoting unification but more political than economic, thereby creating a new source of tension because of the imbalance between the two sectors. The only successful way forward is genuine federalism including radical decentralization. Uniting portions of an empire often leads to its demise.
· Russian opposition politician Leonid Gozman says that in his view, “the current powers that be are doing everything they can so that Russia will not maintain its current borders” and that with the departure of the current ruler or even before, it is possible that the country will disintegrate, possibly violently.