Monday, May 29, 2023

Next Russian Revolution May Begin Not in Capitals but on the Russian Periphery, Gallyamov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 27 – It has long been an axiom of Russian rulers and analysts of Russia that revolutions in that country begin in the capital cities. History gives them every reason to think that way. But Abbas Gallyamov says that recent events in Belgorod suggest that there is another possibility and that the next revolution could begin not there but on the periphery.

            The Russian blogger, who earlier worked in his native Bashkortostan and then as a speechwriter for Vladimir Putin, says that the success of the raid on Belgorod compels one to think about a possible scenario for revolutionary development in Russia which earlier seemed unthinkable (

            Internationally, there have been historically two kinds of revolutions, Gallyamov says, the Western one which begins in the capitals and then spread outward and the Eastern one which is “usually associated with the anti-colonial struggle” and which begins “not in the center but on the periphery.”

            The latest events in Belgorod Oblast, where the ineffectiveness of Russian siloviki was so obvious means that “now one must not exclude the shift of part of the border regions of Russian territory under the control of the Russian Volunteer Corps which is fighting on the side of Ukraine,” he continues.

            According to Gallyamov, “attitudes in Belgorod, Voronezh, Bryznsk and other regions located along the border are now much more opposition in nature than those of the country as a whole. The war has hit them harder than in the capital, and such differences could entail “a serious negative potential.”

            In his view, people there increasingly feel that “Moscow has drawn them into an adventure and then thrown them to their fate. Such interpretations destroy loyalty,” and that is why the local people did not resist the insurgents or provide the kind of support the Russian siloviki and the Kremlin expected.

            In the wake of this and possibly future incursions, the local population will remember a long list of complaints it has about Moscow and find that they are not alone in thinking that way. As a result, Gallyamov predicts, “the conformism which earlier worked for the Kremlin will begin to work against it.”

            If the Ukrainian military and its anti-Putin Russian allies in fact occupy a territory for some time, a portion of what is now Russian territory “could well be proclaimed as ‘a new Russia free from Putin.” Once that happens, that territory could expand and its position be embraced by ever more Russians, sparking a political crisis at the center.

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