> Russia has Its Own Catalonias, Richer Russian Regions that Don’t Want to Aid Others and May Be First to Leave, Krymsky Says
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Russia has Its Own Catalonias, Richer Russian Regions that Don’t Want to Aid Others and May Be First to Leave, Krymsky Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 30 – Many assume that if the Russian Federation disintegrates, those rushing to the exits first will be the non-Russian republics or the most impoverished Russian oblasts and krays; but Vlad Krymsky argues that those most interested in leaving may be the wealthier Russian regions which don’t want to aid the poorer neighbors.

            Catalonia in Spain and the Northern Alliance in Italy are examples elsewhere in which wealthier regions “do not wish to feed” the poorer provinces, the Russian commentator says. And at the end of Soviet times, some Russian regions tried to leave because they didn’t want to help others (versia.ru/razval-rossii-osushhestvyat-po-granice-bednosti-i-bogatstva).

                It would be a mistake to think that “all this is in the past,” Krymsky says. “Russia today has its own Catalonia – and more than one in fact.”  Russians need to think about this even though the disintegration of the USSR is so recent at least in part because in the West such possibilities have been discussed more or less constantly for decades.

            The Western experts who have done so have routinely suggested that the possible disintegration of Russia or of other countries will be the result of the actions of “rich and self-sufficient regions [that] do not want to share” their wealth with their poorer ones.  And if that happens, “the Federation will then fall apart.”

            There is a foundation for such projections, the commentator continues. There are 12 regions which do not receive subsidies from the center and three more that do but could easily get by without them. Only three of them have thought about self-determination, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and Sverdlovsk Oblast, the last being an ethnic Russian region.

            The number of the latter could rise, Krymsky says; and similar processes could occur in the former Soviet republics, possibly promoted by Russia for its own interests. Those who say such things will “never” happen need to pay closer attention to what is happening in western Europe and recognize that similar things could occur closer to home.

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