Staunton, Dec. 23 – Contacts between the leaders of many Russian oblasts and republics and foreign countries have risen dramatically in the course of 2021, a development that Moscow has permitted because it views it as useful but one that may cause it difficulties in the future because of the additional status and freedom of action it gives these federal subjects.
These contacts generally fall within one of three categories, between border subjects of the Russian Federation and adjoining countries like Kazakhstan and Belarus, between relatively prosperous Russian regions like Tatarstan and Yamalo-Nenets and countries with which they trade, and contacts with co-religionists like Chechnya with the Middle Eastern countries.
Arsen Shayakhmetov, a researcher at the Bashkir Academy of State Service and Administration, surveys these contacts and reproduces the arguments of those who see them as entirely coses.ntrolled by Moscow and those who believe that the federal subject heads are in some cases acting on their own (regnum.ru/news/polit/3464953.html).
The Ufa scholar does not draw any final conclusions, but his discussion of expert opinion on this subject suggests that it is a lively issue behind the scenes. And that in turn may mean that Moscow is about to limit such contacts far more than it has in the past or alternatively seek to use them to promote its own interests in particular cases.
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