Staunton, Jan. 26 – The URA news agency is reporting that the Kremlin is planning to close down the offices of the permanent representations of the regions and republics in Moscow because they complicate the administration of the country and get in the way of efficient administration of the country (ura.news/articles/1036286142).
But many beyond the ring road are upset about closing an institution that has existed since the dawn of Soviet times and one that has so much symbolic and practical importance, often serving as a lobbyist for the regions and republics and as a model for representations by one region or republic into others.
Some regions have reportedly begun to close them down in anticipation of this Kremlin move, but at least one, Sakha, is holding an online referendum on whether the distant republic should do so (yakutiafuture.ru/2023/01/29/yakutyane-obsuzhdayut-sluxi-o-zakrytii-vsex-predstavitelstv-rossijskix-regionov-v-moskve/).
Indeed, while they bear the typically Soviet and unwieldy name of “permanent representation,” they are in the eyes of many the embassies of the regions to Moscow and to other federal subjects as well, historically having served as the basis of embassies for the union republics once they became independent and contributing to horizontal links in the country.
Closing these institutions which more than three quarters of all federal subjects have in Moscow and more than half maintain in other federal subjects is completely consistent with Putin’s attacks on the remnants of federalism. But it likely would infuriate many regions and republics and make it more not less difficult for them to work with Moscow and together.
For the history of these institutions, see Peter J. Potichnyj, “Permanent Representations (Postpredstva) of Union Republics in Moscow,” Review of Socialist Law, 7:1 (1981), pp. 113.-132. On their role since 1991, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/10/embassies-of-non-russian-republics.html and the sources cited therein.
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