Saturday, July 29, 2023

Kremlin May have Its Reasons to Regional Units, But Federation Subjects who Form Them are Thinking Longer Term, Panyushkin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 28 – Moscow is now giving governors the right to form military units of their own both to support the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine and to defend Putin against any future military challenge to his rule, Valery Panyushkin says. But the governors who do so, “even the most vertically integrated,” have their own longer-term purposes.

            “When the central government leads the country to a dead end … and collections money from the regions for this madness,” the opposition Russian journalist and writer says, many regional leaders are just “itching to start their own squads just in case” (

            “Now,” Panyushkin says, “under the guise of loyal patriotic zeal, every governor who has the means to do so assembles his own army, nominally in support of a Motherland at war but in fact, for the future, when the Motherland begins to fall apart,” something Putin has made increasingly likely by his war in Ukraine.

            Panyushkin says he “would like to be wrong,” but he says that he “doesn’t see any way out or light at the end of the tunnel but rather only the slow destruction of the country, its people, culture and language.” But if the country cannot save itself or be saved, the parts can and almost certainly will.

            “I imagine the country of Siberia, the country of the Urals, the country of Tatarstan, and even the country of Ingria,” the last in which he places “special hopes because [he] grew up there.” These will all be very different, although Russian “will be one of the state languages” all of them are likely to use.

            Panyushkin says that he believes that “those who turn out to be more democratic will achieve success relatively quickly; but their success will not teach anything to those Russian-speaking countries in which the appanage princelings continue to rule. They will insist on traditional values, bindings, and a special path until they reduce their people to total poverty.

            He concludes that he misses Ingria and dreams of coming back to her. “I am ready to care for her,” but as for all the other Russian-speaking countries, “I just can’t bring myself even to think about them.”

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