Staunton, Mar. 3 – “The true future of Russia,” Sergey Karaganov says, “is in Siberia which must become the economic and scientific center of the country, while leaving to Moscow and St. Petersburg the roles of political and cultural centers.” Only if this happens can Russia make its break with Europe complete and return to its true self.
For three hundred years, the prominent Moscow commentator writes in Rossiiskaya gazeta, Russia has taken everything useful Europe has to offer and now must separate from all the evils that have come into Russia from there if Russia is to have a future (rg.ru/2023/03/01/ukraina-i-sibir.html http://www.business-gazeta.ru/article/585522).
Vladimir Putin has pointed the country in the right direction by speaking of a turn to the east, but that can only be fully successful, Karaganov continues, if Russia not only rejects Europe in words but builds up its key bulwark against Europe – and that is to be found in Siberia, both as a source of wealth and as a center of special Russian values.
The confrontation with the West that the war in Ukraine has opened “must force us finally to develop a Siberian strategy, a turning of the entire country toward new eastern horizons and its ‘return to itself,’” with the newly absorbed areas from Ukraine serving not as a bridge to Europe but as a buffer against that continent.
Sergey Shoygu earlier suggested some of what needs to be done, but the times require that more people and more effort move to the east and that the center draw on the energies of the peoples of Siberia and the Far East rather than thinking that they will somehow become a regionalist threat. The reverse will be true if Moscow commits to this.