Staunton, July 26 – Kevork Oskanian, an ethnic Armenian at the University of Exeter, says that the West should promote the decolonization of Russia by doing what it can to strengthen the former Soviet republics to show Moscow that it will not be able to turn back the clock to a larger empire.
But at the same time, he says that while the West should respect calls by nations within the current borders of the Russian Federation for independence, it must not launch a campaign to dismember that country not only because of the risks involved but also because the model such projects are based on, the end of the USSR, in fact shows something else.
According to Oskanian, the USSR although labelled the evil empire did not fall apart because of challenges by colonized peoples (with the singular exception of the three Baltic countries) but because of the internal contradictions of the Soviet system itself. This time around the situation would be very different (ridl.io/ru/dekolonizatsiya-rossii/).
What the West should do is to “see the problem of ‘decolonization’ not in terms of Russia as a territorial entity but with regard to it as an authoritarian, hierarchical ‘power vertical,’” Oskanian says. More than its physical dismemberment, Russia needs a change in the way it governs itself away from the imperial approach” it has adopted under Putin.
That is unlikely to happen as long as Putin is in power, but the chances of it happening eventually are suggested by the fact that Russia made moves in that direction in both 1917 and 1991, even though both of those efforts fell short. A post-Putin leadership may be more ready to make that kind of change in order to overcome its current isolation and backwardness.