Sunday, January 29, 2023

Western Borderlands of Russia Today Could Become European Far More Easily on Their Own than Could Russia as a Whole, Regionalist Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 25 – A week ago, three telegram channels, the Pskov Republic one at with 352 subscribers, the Smalandia (Smolensk Land) one at with 584 and the Tver Land one at with 173 followers, announced the formation of a group called the Eastern Kryvian Platform (

            The group says that it is pursuing “the restoration in contemporary form of the ancient but now lost statehoods of the Pskov, Smolensk and Tver principalities, three regions along the western border of the Russian Federation which are often described as predominantly Russian oblasts (

            Whether this effort will remain only an émigré Internet project remains uncertain. But Makar Mysh of Belsat has now interviewed the activists involved and provides more information on the goals of this group and why they think they may have a chance (

            The three telegram channels arose only in 2022 but there has been an interest in each of them extending back in time to local or regional identities and to the question of their relationship not just to Moscow but to Belarus, the Baltic countries, and the members of the European Union further afield, those behind the new common effort say.

            Putin’s war in Ukraine and the international reaction to it, they continue, provided “additional stimuli” for the development of regionalism and the clarification of the goals of those who identify with that. All of them concede that regionalism has not yet captured the hearts and minds of a broad swath of the population, but each of them is convinced they have to be ready.

            “After the liberation of Belarus from Lukashenkaism-Putinism,” one of their number says, “after Russia begins to destabilization, the issue [of the future of these regions] may leave the realm of history and ethnography alone and become issues of politics and geopolitics,” the organizers say.

            Both their shared ethnography and history dispose them to view themselves as a whole apart from Russia and with close ties to the West, they are convinced that countries the size they would be either separately or together would find it far easier to become fully European than “the enormous empire” the Russian state represents.

The confidence the Eastern Kryvia activists have that they will achieve their goals lies in the fact that Moscow adopted its law punishing those who question the borders of the Russian Federation not after the Crimean Anschluss as many assume but before, in December 2013, when some in these regions in the months before that were calling to be returned to Belarus.

That Putin was concerned about Eastern Kryvia even then highlights its importance and the likelihood that it will emerge if Russia disintegrates, even though many observers still dismiss any possibility of that (


No comments:

Post a Comment