Friday, June 9, 2023

To Protect Russia’s National Security, Putin Says Exodus of Russians from Border Regions Must Stop

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 7 – In recent decades, Russians have been migrating from rural areas to the big cities, a trend that includes within it, the departure of many ethnic Russians from border areas to places in the interior. That has left border areas with fewer people and made them less Russian in terms of population.

            Vladimir Putin says that this trend must be stopped in order to defend the national security and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and has told the country’s governors that they must take steps to make living in the border regions more, not less attractive (

            The departure of Russians from regions bordering Ukraine now under attack might seem to be the proximate cause for the Kremlin leader’s alarm, but in fact, it appears that he is more concerned about other regions, including the Russian Far East, an area that the tsarist government dispatched Ukrainians to in the years before World War I.

            That region, known to Ukrainians as the Green Wedge, still retains an interest in its Ukrainian heritage; and by issuing his order about border regions to the governor of neighboring Magadan, Putin signaled that he is as concerned about that as some of his senior security aides already are.

            For a discussion of this issue and how Ukrainian wedges like the one in the triangle along the Pacific shore and Chinese border, see this writer’s essay in Jamestown’s EDM yesterday at

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