Tuesday, April 05, 2005

So say you'll incorporate with me

The notion of a truly federal Russia is again under assault from the Putin government: President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff warned yesterday that Russia could break up into several different countries and proposed the creation of "super-regions" to be headed by Kremlin appointees. Dmitri Medvedev said in a rare interview that, unless the political and business elites work together, "Russia could disappear as a united country". The warning over Russia's territorial integrity was interpreted by analysts as an attempt to shore up support within Russia's elite for the Putin administration as a battle rages over who will head the Kremlin after Mr Putin's second term ends in 2008. Mr Medvedev told the magazine Expert: "Empires disappeared from maps when elites lost the ideas that united them and entered into mortal combat. The disintegration of the Soviet Union would look like a party in a nursery school." He said the Kremlin was considering a plan under which Russia's 89 regions may be merged into several "super-regions". He said this could be "a way of developing the federation within the existing constitution". For those who've never actually looked at a subnational map of Russia, do so; consider the sheer number of regions, 89 (many of which have enjoyed considerable autonomy, some certainly more than Russia's neighbours in Eastern Europe); it's even more than it sounds, if such a thing can be true. The Putin regime is getting more ambitious and more sloppily transparent, as it's been frustrated in its power plays in the Near Abroad. This is definitely something to worry about. The pursuit of national unity, after all, can lead to so many things... (Via, uncannily enough, the blogger superior to a CDR or 1LT, and sharing the name of our sovereign's great-grandfather.)


Blogger The Tiger said...

I'm inclined to cut Putin some slack -- _if_ he makes the governors of these super-regions elected officials. Because Russia did become dangerously decentralized during the 1990s -- to the point that the government had to overlook violations of the constitution and sign bilateral treaties with various province and autonomous regions.

4/05/2005 08:10:00 PM  

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