Sunday, November 12, 2023

Loss of Siberia and Far East to China Threatens Russian Civilization Far More than Loss of Ukraine to the West Does, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 11 – Many in both Russia and the West, following Brzezinski and Solzhenitsyn accept “the myth about the sacred role for the Russian empire and consequently for Russian civilization of possessing Ukraine,” and they accept the idea that if Russia loses Ukraine, it will “cease to exist as an empire or even completely,” Vladimir Pastukhov says.

            The London-based Russian analyst says that he finds it “difficult to find any rational arguments for this thesis” because “in fact, Ukraine does not play any system-forming role for the existence of Russian civilization” while Siberia and the Far East do because of Russia’s extensive approach to development (

            “It is in Siberia and the Far East that today all the truly existential risks for Russia are concentrated,” Pastukhov continues, “and they are associated not with pressure from the West but with the formation of a new world center of power in China, Japan and Korea.” This isn’t about a military threat although that can’t be ruled out. But “there is no need” for that.

            Unless Russia changes direction, he argues, “Siberia and the Far East on their own will slowly but steadily and at the same time in a completely natural way switch to these new ‘external’ centers of gravity” because their existing ties to Moscow, which remains mired in its European focus despite everything, “will continue to degrade.”

            “For the normal functioning of Russian civilization, a strong China today poses a threat by its very existence. It won’t have to do anything, and in 50 to 70 years, everything will happen by itself.” And if Russia does nothing, “it will lose real control over these territories and that will inevitably lead to the loss of its civilizational identity.”

            Given that, Pastukhov says, “one had to be blind” to engage in such “a geopolitical adventure as military action in Ukraine” because that has meant this: “In 2014, Russia seized Crimea at the cost of all of Ukraine and then in 2022, it sought to seize Ukraine” at the price of losing all of Siberia and the Far East to China.

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