Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Free Russia Requires Focusing on Regions and Not Just Republics, Sidorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 26 – Too many Russians who want there country to be free seek to replace one hyper-centralized state with another or place their hopes for that outcome in the non-Russian republics, but neither of these strategies will achieve that goal, according to Vadim Sidorov.

            The first will make the achievement of a truly free Russia impossible because hyper-centralism by its very nature undermines freedom and the second does the same thing by allowing Moscow to mobilize the ethnic Russians against non-Russians and thus defend centralism, the Prague-based Russian commentator says (

            Those committed to freedom and federalism cannot fail to see the importance of the non-Russian “’regions’” because in recent years, they have become the epicenters of protests for greater freedom. Among these are Ingushetia, Bashkortostan, Kalmykia, the Komi Republic, the Nenets AD, Tatarstan, Sakha, Daghestan and North Ossetia.

            But in country where the Russians form about three-quarters of the population, Sidorov continues, a focus on the non-Russians alone won’t achieve the goals of federalism and freedom but will in fact work against those goals by allowing the Kremlin to mobilize Russians against what the center will be able to portray as “’anti-Russian separatism.’”

            Thus, those who believe in the self-determination of peoples must focus on that right “not only for the titular peoples of the national autonomies but for the Russian people, Sidorov says; and he cites the words of the author of these lines that “regionalism will be the nationalism of the next Russian revolution” (

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