Thursday, October 14, 2021

Kremlin Sparking Separatism Even Where It Never Existed Before, Gessen Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 8 – The Kremlin has often justified its repressive policies by the need to counter separatism, but Masha Gessen says that the Putin regime’s policies have had the unintended consequence of provoking separatist attitudes even in parts of the country where such attitudes never existed in the past.

            What Putin is really doing is fighting democracy because it is increasingly obvious, the US-based Russian commentator says, that a democratic Russia would unlikely be able to survive in its current borders. And the reason for that, she says, is the combination of repressive and disordering policies the regime has pursued (

            These relations “have been so spoiled and are now so disorderly,” Gessen says, that “the center has sucked out all the blood from the regions and actually created separatist and nationalist sentiments on the ground, even where they have never been in the last  20 years,” exactly the opposite of what Putin says he is doing.

            She continues by saying that they can’t imagine that “it will be possible to release this genie from the bottle” if democracy is put in place. Instead, at least “some of the subjects” currently within the borders of the Russian Federation will “separate.” From her perspective, Gessen concludes, the loss of such subjects will be more than made up for by the establishment of democracy.

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