Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Conference in Estonia Brings Together Ethnic and Regional Movements from Russia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 6 – Over the last two years, there have been a plethora of meetings of activists mostly in emigration speaking for groups inside the Russian Federation but outside of the Russian capital. Most have divided between those that seek to unite various national groups and those that hope to promote regional ones.

            In general, nationalists have called for independence for their groups, while regionalists have sought real federalism. But the two categories of people in fact overlap with some nationalists recognizing the need for federal arrangements for some nations and some regionalists talking about independence for some regions.

            At a meeting of the League of Free Nations in Estonia, on April 5-6, these two groups in the MariUver portal reported, to “unite national and regional movements” and build on the common ground between them (, and

            Not surprisingly, speakers representing or support national movements attracted more attention; but the real significance of this assembly is that they were prepared to cooperate with regional movements and the regional movements were increasingly ready to speak out in support of independence not only for the national movements but for regional ones as well.

            Thus, the Otepaa session should be a wakeup call for those analysts and policy makers who assume that nationalists invariably support independence as the only option and that regionalists only support federalism and have little or no interest in seeking independence for themselves.


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