Sunday, April 21, 2024

Russia’s Regional and National Movements Need to Move Beyond Holding Meetings Abroad and Making Bold Declarations, Sidorov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Apr. 18 – Kyiv has helped to promote the idea among a remarkably broad public in the West that the disintegration of the Russian Federation is coming and even that such a development is an essential component of Ukraine’s victory over the Russian invasion, Vadim Sidorov says.

            Given how marginal any such ideas were only two years ago, that is a remarkable achievement, the Prague-based specialist continues. But unfortunately, up to now, the spread of this idea has depended almost exclusively on the holding of meetings of regionalists and nationalists alone (

            These meetings and the declarations they issue are spreading the idea of the possibility of the disintegration of the Russian Federation, Sidorov argues; but they remain almost totally unknown to the peoples of that empire whom the activists taking part in them claim to speak for. If that situation continues, then the future of such movements is bleak.

            On the one hand, Moscow propagandists will exploit such talk to mobilize Russians who fear the disintegration of their country; and on the other, with the notable exception of Chechnya, few if any of the regions and republics these activists claim to speak for will take the next step and form genuine movements that could challenge the Russian state.

            Among the steps these groups need to take, Sidorov says, are the following: the creation of foreign centers to coordinate activities, the development of new ways of communicating with the populations they hope to mobilize, work toward creating structures at home, developing stable financing for both efforts, and participating when possible in the Ukrainian military.

If those steps are taken, then it is entirely possible that the national and regionalist movements “can turn into genuine political forces in the coming years and possibly even months, Sidorov says. But if they aren’t, then these groups will remain the topic of conferences and online discussions that will ultimately be dismissed as irrelevant.

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