Saturday, May 25, 2024

If Russia is to De-Imperialize, Predominantly Russian Regions Must Play a Decisive Role, Buryat Activist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 20 – Because the population of the overwhelmingly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays forms such a large percentage of the total, these regions will play “a decisive role” if the country is to de-imperialize, according to Aleksandr Garmazhapova, the president of the Free Buryatia Foundation.

            The activist who now lives in emigration says that there is the potential for this because “many residents of Kaliningrad in the far West and Khabarovsk in the Far East are dissatisfied with Moscow’s imperial policy which is transforming their regions into colonies without any rights” ( reposted in Russian at

            Speaking on a panel at the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn, she adds that “it is not completely correct” to speak about ethnic Russians as “’an imperial ethnos.’” Moscow has been able to buy off many representatives of non-Russian groups by giving them the feeling that they belong to “’a great country.’”

            That is the primary explanation why “many of them willingly go to fight in Ukraine,” especially given that “the empire is still sufficiently wealthy that it can pay them amounts of money which they would never be able to earn in peacetime in their own republic, Garmazhapova continues.

            She and other participants in the panel – including Dmitry Dubrovsky from Prague, Borislav Bereza from Ukraine, and Anton Shekhovtsov from Vienna – agreed that “the current war of Russia against Ukraine is not just the work of Putin personally but reflects the centuries’ long imperial tradition” of Russia.

            Dubrovsky for his part suggested what the Moscow regime was engaged in a kind of “necropolitics,” that is, “a war of the dead against the living and of the past against the future. Shekhovtsov said he did not see any prospects for he disintegration of Russia anytime soon but did not address the likelihood a new Putin would emerge if Russia remained in one piece.

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