Staunton, June 4 – The non-Russian republics and the predominantly ethnic Russian regions must take the lead in setting the country’s agenda because the forces which normally perform that task, the political parties, have been destroyed by Vladimir Putin, Ruslan Aysin argues.
The IdelReal commentator says that may seem impossible or utopian, but there are three reasons this is so. First, the regions and republics have done this once before, in the years immediately after the 1917 revolution when their actions forced the Bolsheviks to make the concessions that led to the creation of Soviet federalism.
Second, unlike political parties, nations and republics have more diffuse identities and thus are far harder to destroy. Culture continues to live even when those who may have taken the lead in creating it and who are viewed as its own spokesman have been removed from the scene by a powerful state.
And third – and this is the most important thing, Aysin argues, ever more people in Russia are proudly identifying their non-Russian or regional identities, a small but vital step in laying the groundwork for the kind of demands which they will be able to make and thus change the system (idelreal.org/a/31884148.html).
The non-Russian republics are the most obvious examples of this change, but it is happening in predominantly ethnic Russian regions like Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg; and what is important is that neither the non-Russian nations nor the ethnic Russian regions allow the center to maintain itself by divide-and-rule politics.
But if these two groups can forget complaints about each other and cooperate, Aysin says, there is every chance that they can have at least as powerful influence on the evolution of post-Putin Russia as the national and regional movements played during and in the wake of the Russian Civil War.
In that event, Russia would have a chance at creating a genuinely federal system with real democracy, two things it has not had in the past and that no one in the center is now genuinely promoting.