Staunton, July 30 – In May, the Kremlin told Russia’s federal subjects to assume responsibilities for developing and thereby integrating Ukrainian regions Russian forces now occupy. Forty-two of them immediately said they would, but only 18 took immediate steps to do so (rbc.ru/politics/19/05/2022/62866c789a79470027d609a8).
Most held back because they objected to being saddled by Moscow with another unfunded mandate and indicated that they faced difficulties taking care of their own needs and did not have the free resources to help out somewhere else, however compelling the central government felt the needs in Ukraine were.
But instead of dropping the program or providing the regions with more resources, Moscow has pushed hard, although half of Russia’s federal subjects still are refusing to take part; and even those who do appear to be taking action only because of pressure (rbc.ru/politics/30/07/2022/62c5b5319a7947fd53dcb7a9?from=column_5).
Eight years ago, at the time of the illegal Russian Anschluss of Ukraine’s Crimea, Moscow was able to compel only 16 Russian regions to help out, so its ability to force roughly 40 now represents a kind of progress. But the task now is much larger, and Moscow’s demands in this regard are likely to exacerbate tensions between the center and the regions.