Thursday, March 28, 2024

Moscow Moves to Strengthen Federal Districts, Another Sign It May Now Move to Abolish Non-Russian Republics

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 25 – Shortly after he became president, Vladimir Putin established seven federal districts to supervise the regions and republics within them. (In 2010, he added an eighth one, for the North Caucasus.) Many then saw that as a first step toward the abolishment of the more than 80 oblasts, krays and non-Russian republics.

            But these institutions have receded from public view, with many seeing them not as improving administration but rather getting in the way of other changes that might improve central control ( and

            Moreover, while Putin clearly believed that they would prevent the disintegration of the Russian Federation, others warned that a country with only seven or eight units was more likely to fall apart than one with more than 80 (

            But now after Putin’s “re-election” and the terrorist attack in Moscow, some are suggesting the Kremlin leader will now seek to abolish non-Russian republics and may use the federal districts as a means to that end ( and

            Evidence for that conclusion is provided by a meeting Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had with the deputy heads of the federal districts and his outlining of a work plan for them for the coming year (

            That plan calls for them to develop action programs for the federal subjects in their respective districts which after Moscow’s approval, they will oversee the implementation of. Such a program strongly suggests that the role of the federal subjects in the regions and republics will now increase, exactly what one might expect if Moscow plans to abolish the latter.

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