Thursday, June 9, 2022

Fears of Separatism will Keep Moscow Providing More Funds to Occupied Crimea and the Russian Far East, Toth-Cifra Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 23 – The economic crisis into which Russia is sliding has not hit all the regions equally and at the same time, but all of them are likely to suffer in the coming months as sanctions bite more deeply and the Kremlin makes greater demands on the regional heads while providing most of them with no more resources, Andras Toth-Czifra says.

            The New York-based Hungarian political analyst says that while major cities and some regions have been hit hard because of sanctions, others in the Far East, Siberia and the North Caucasus were still showing growth but that isn’t sustainable and they will fall into decline soon (

            So far, and “given the circumstances,” he continues, “regional budgets as a whole are not in particularly bad shape.” Fewer are getting extra money from the center, and those that are getting a bit more. However, the additions pale in comparison with the new demands the center is placing on the regional governments.

            Vladimir Putin has told the regional heads to keep their regions “quiet and loyal” by ensuring that prices don’t go up too much and essential goods remain available. He specifies that they must do so without introducing price controls and while maintaining all planned investment programs (

            In this situation, there will be a mad scramble to get more money from Moscow, Toth-Czifra says. Governors with close personal ties to Putin stand to do better. But it is an even better bet that Moscow will continue to provide additional funds to occupied Crimea and the Russian Far East given the Kremlin’s fears of separatism in both places.

           That pattern sends a dangerous signal to regional elites. Seeing that the money is flowing to those whom Moscow fears may seek to secede, at least some of these elites may conclude that the best strategy is to make it appear that their regions will try to leave if Moscow does not meet their leader's demands for more money. 

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