Staunton, Nov. 8 – There is widespread agreement that Putin’s public power law “completes the transformation of Russia from a federative state into a centralized and unitary one,” to cite the words of Moscow political analyst Konstantin Kalachev; but there is an increasing appreciation that this is not the end of the story.
Abbas Gallyamov, a Russian commentator who earlier served as a Putin speechwriter, says that anger is already growing about Moscow’s pretensions “among national elites, intelligentsias and ethnic activists” but that it will “break through not now but at the moment when the powers begin to weaken significantly” (idelreal.org/a/31547247.html).
Such “a general weakening of the regime” will be “connected with a sharply worsening economy, the final destruction of the legitimacy [of the regime and its system], and a general upsurge in protest attitudes. At present, the regime is still sufficiently strong and thus this las will not become a trigger.”
But eventually, Abbasov says, Moscow will have cause to recall how it set things in motion. The commentator also argues that as center-periphery tensions increase, “in some cases, these contradictions will have an ethno-national character,” a pattern that recalls 1991 and further threatens the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.
Ramazan Alpaut of the IdelReal portal points to an important piece of evidence that such tensions are very much on the rise. Moscow regularly claims that “more than 80” of the federal subjects back the new centralizing law, but the Duma website which also makes this claim lists only 15.
That suggests that many more are opposed than just Tatarstan which has come out in opposition to the law as a whole and the Sakha Republic and Nenets Autonomous District which have publicly opposed portions of it.