Friday, January 21, 2022

Formation of Macro-Economic Regions Directed Against Non-Russians and Sets Stage for Amalgamation of Territories, Tulokhonov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 1 – Academician Arnold Tulokhonov, a geographer and former senator, says that Moscow’s plans to subdivide the Far Eastern Federal District are completely unjustified economically, are directed in the first instance against non-Russians there, and clearly are intended to set the stage for the further amalgamation of federal subjects.

            This covert attack on non-Russians and their territorial formations, he says in an open letter, is most clearly seen in plans to form as one of these four macro-economic regions a combination of Buryatia and the Transbaikal Kray. There is no basis for this combination except the political convenience of people in Moscow (

            The proposed combination “as of now doesn’t call for changing administrative borders, but however that may be, it cannot be realized without the establishment of new mechanisms of administration.” Such an approach is “nothing new” in Russian history, as Khrushchev’s sovnarkhoz system showed.

            Consequently, it is entirely likely that this step “will become the start” of a new wave of amalgamation of federal subjects, an action that will spark further outmigration from the periphery of Russia and a further weakening of the position of non-Russian federal subjects and thus non-Russian nationalities.

            In the earlier round of amalgamation, two Buryat autonomous districts disappeared from the map. If things proceed as it seems they are likely to, now the entire Buryat Republic is at risk of the same fate, Tulokhonov argues. And that in turn will contribute to a further and broader deterioration of what remains of federalism in Russia. 

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