Staunton, May 5 – Many observers have suggested that Moscow TV personality Vladimir Solovyev’s attacks on the Urals region will lead to a rebirth of separatism there, especially given the overwhelmingly negative response to his words from local officials and intellectual leaders (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/05/solovyevs-diatribe-unites-urals-against.html).
But Russian political scientist and commentator Dmitry Yelovsky says that the risks of that happening are “not very great” because Urals separatism has not been provoked “by other, more serious things.” Therefore, he urges people not to get too excited about the back-and-forth between Solovyev and Yekaterinburg (svpressa.ru/politic/article/333534/).
Oleg Shargunov, a former staffer with the Uralsky Rabochiy newspaper agrees. But he says another part of Solovyev’s diatribe is troubling. The Moscow journalist has called on the population to turn in anyone they suspect of harboring anti-government views. That will not only spread fear in the population but overload the investigation committees with work.
And in the current climate, he says, those agencies have quite enough to do without being distracted by such popular denunciations, most of which will be anything but useful. If people take Solovyev at his word and begin to act as a law onto themselves, that will create a far bigger problem for Moscow than any separatism in the Urals or almost anywhere else could be.