Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Siberian Battalion Commander in Ukraine Hopes for United States of Siberia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 13 – Vladislav Ammosov, the commander of a new Siberian Battalion fighting on the side of Ukraine against Moscow, says that he hopes for the independence of his region and the formation of a decentralized state there possibly in the form of a United States of Siberia.

            In an interview taken by Vadim Shtepa, editor of the Tallinn-based Region.Expert portal, the Sakha native discusses the appearance of the first Russian regionalist unit fighting in Ukraine against Moscow, a signal event in the rise of regionalism as a political force as the Putin regime and likely the Russian Federation approaches its end (region.expert/sibbat/).

            Numerous non-Russian nations from within the current borders of the Russian Federation have been fighting right along with the Ukrainians against Moscow’s invasion and which seek independence for their peoples, and there is of course the Russian Volunteer Movement which wants to overthrow Putin but maintain the current borders of their country.

            Not surprisingly, Ammosov says, some in Kyiv have some difficulty in understanding his third force, Russians and non-Russians who are fighting for the freedom of a region. But the fact that the Ukrainian authorities have agreed to the formation of a Siberian Battalion shows that they are beginning to recognize the importance of regionalism inside Russia.

            Ammosov stresses that his group is very much at odds with the Russian Volunteer Movement which has as its slogan, “Russia for the Russians.” But he reminds that this slogan “logically” leads to “’Yakutia for the Yakuts,’ ‘Tuva for the Tuvans,’ and so on.” If the RVM agrees, then the Siberians will welcome that.

            At the same time, he says that “our Siberian Russians aren’t of the Muscovite kind who seek imperial conquests. Siberians traditionally relate with respect to various national cultures; and in Yakutia, there are many local Russians who know our language and who in general are part of our people. We don’t treat them as separate from ourselves.”

            According to Ammosov, “we have common goals – freedom and self-administration of our native republic. But precisely for that reason, imperialist Moscow is our common enemy.” Siberia may form a federation like the one in the US for that reason and because it does not have any single center like Moscow. The key thing is for all of it to stop being “a Moscow colony.”


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