Sunday, June 25, 2023

Tyva Will Be First Republic in Russia to Declare Independence, Zinchenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 25 – There is a consensus in both Russia and the West that if any republic now within the borders of the Russian Federation is to gain independence, the first will come from the North Caucasus regardless of whether others follow. Activists from other non-Russian republics sometimes challenge that but have had little success in shattering the consensus.

            That makes an argument by Oleksandr Zinchenko that the first republic to declare independence will come not be a Muslim republic from the North Caucasus but Tyva, a Buddhist one along the Mongolian border, intriguing. Could it be true? (

            The Ukrainian historian and publicist says that the Russian Federation will fall apart “no later than in 2026” when Russians finally recognize the full scope of Putin’s misrule over them and that the first republic to declare its independence will not be Chechnya or Daghestan but Tyva.

            In the West, Tyva is known if at all for the spectacular triangle and diamond-shaped stamps it issued when it was nominally independent between World War I and the last days of World War II or for a 1991 book relating US physicist Richard Feynman’s desire to visit that land entitled Tuva or Bust!

            Zinchenko’s suggestion that Tyva will lead a parade of independence declarations in the future is not without some foundation. It is the least integrated portion of Putin’s Russia ( Its Buddhism and shamanism have blocked intermarriage and assimilation ( and

            And the combination of poverty and nationalism have caused ethnic Russians to flee, leaving the population of the republic at more than 80 percent ethnic Tyvan and reflecting a Tyvan desire that eventually the Russians will be reduced to no more than five percent ( and

            But its landlocked status and the absence of a serious national movement suggests that Tyvans will press for ever more autonomy but that they are unlikely to seek independence unless and until others do, something that calls into question the prediction of the Ukrainian publicist.


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