The Russian Federation’s disintegration won’t be like the USSR’s, Zhordan says

Image: Alexander Petrosyan

Image: Alexander Petrosyan 

2017/01/05 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

One of the most superficially compelling arguments of those who insist that the Russian Federation will never fall apart is that no one can imagine a scenario for such a development like that which led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago.

Unlike the USSR, those who make these arguments say, the non-Russian republics within the Russian Federation lack the resources, including in many cases an external border, and the constitutional right that allowed the Soviet union republics to go their own way as independent countries.

But such arguments, however correct they may be if one accepts their assumptions that only Soviet arrangements made the collapse of the USSR possible, miss the point because the disintegration of the Russian Federation if and when it occurs will take place on a very different basis and with very different factors in play than was the case with the USSR in 1991.

Igor Zhordan, an Israel-based Russian commentator, argues in an essay on the AfterEmpire.info portal that although the number of possible variants for the demise of the Russian Federation is incalculably large, the basic features of such a scenario are quite clear.

He first presents an outline of the factors he sees being involved and then discusses some of the ways in which this process could develop. His basic outline is as follows:

“Moscow runs out of money and the central powers are made ever more powerless;

 

The weakening of the central powers reveals the extraordinary diversity in the development and way of life of the regions;

 

On this basis, some event occurs which interrupts the gradual nature of the process and leads to a qualitative leap toward the disintegration of the Russian Federation;

 

The disintegration proceeds on the basis of two equal but mutually dependent processes: the rise of inter-regional conflicts, the goal of which is the subordination of the weak regions by the strong and the rise of inter-regional unions intended to stand up against their neighbors.

 

These unions will be the basis of future independent states on the former territory of the Russian Federation, and their formation will be affected by the following factors: geographic propinquity, the presence of at least one region, ‘the economic locomotive,’ which will serve as the core of the unified area, a common religious faith, and ethnic commonality, although this last will be less important than other factors.”

 

On the former territory of the Russian Federation will gradually be formed new states, including several ‘ethnically Russian’ ones.”

Zhordan devotes most of his essay to discussing the various possible modalities of this process. Many of his specific ideas will strike Russians and others as fantastic. But he has provided a real service by outlining how the Russian Federation could disintegrate and in a very different but nonetheless fateful way than the demise of the USSR.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Tony

    Ukraine should continue to reject the Kremlins Trojan horse proposals.
    Even continuing the war indefinitely or forever loosing Donbass’s/Luhansk would be preferable to accepting Russian interference in Ukrainian politics.
    Actually there are several benefits to maintaining the status quo:
    1. It puts the cost of maintaining these territories in the aggressor state
    2. Putins military solution failed to sway Ukraine’s EU path and even a full invasion wouldn’t work anymore. Every day that putin is forced to continue this failed model is another day where Russia is unable to shift to a charm offensive and consequently another day where the ‘Russian world’ becomes less attractive.

    Full russian withdrawal or separation, no in between.

    • RedSquareMaidan

      Putin’s biggest worry is a popular uprusing, like Maidan. This is why he made it legal to shoot protesters. The ruSSian sheep will either go broke or take the Red Square.

      • laker48

        Well, after money needed to pay for loyalty of police and the army runs out, Putler may be detained and handed over to the Hague Tribunal by his ow cronies. The decomposition will likely start in Asia, on the outskirts of the fascist RuSSian Federation.

        • RedSquareMaidan

          Wouldn’t that be poetic justice to see Putler blackmailed out of office as he did to Yeltsin? Or as you suggested, forced to walk the plank by the mafia Oligarchs.

          • laker48

            Today’s RuSSia is totally unpredictable and Trump will soon figure this out. Here are links to two most recent Bloomberg writeups: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-05/trump-needs-a-win-win-deal-putin-is-a-win-lose-guy
            https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-23/putin-s-winning-streak-will-be-hard-to-extend
            The RuSSians may start praying for the return of the Obama policies within less than a year from now.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Bershidsky raises some valid points, but with regard to oil and gas sales he doesn’t mention that Dwarfstan’s income depends not only on price but also on volume of sales. The fact is that Dwarfstan’s customers are slowly moving to more reliable suppliers. For instance, Lithuania has an LNG terminal in operation since December 2014 and the country now buys gas from Norway. Poland’s LNG terminal started operations earlier this year and can currently handle 5 bilion cubic metres per annum. What’s more, the Poles are increasing its capacity to 7.5 bilion cubic metres. End result: less gas sold by Gazprom, fewer $$$ for the offshore bank accounts of the dwarf and his crooked chums, fewer $$$ for Dwarfstan’s treasury.
            Not only that, but with the EU countries slowly but surely moving away from fossil sales are going to decline. The dwarf’s Great Gas Deal with China STILL hasn’t been finalised, and the pipeline has yet to be laid. And with even China moving toward renewables one might well wonder whether Peking is still really interested in buying gas from Dwarfstan at all.

          • laker48

            You’ve just killed quite a few birds with a single stone! Poland has also acquired equity in Norwegian gas fields and will be able to pipe up to 7,5 bcm of gas per year as soon as in 2022. Polad isn’t going to renegotiate or renew any oil or gas contracts with RuSSia after the current ones expire between 2019 and 2021.

            The main obstacle is Germany, desperate to recover as much as possible of its Nord Stream investment, but the group of of more than 10 EU member states led by Poland oppose all German attempts of importing more gas from RuSSia.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Nordstream I was Schröder’s baby, but is running at about 50% of its capacity. Nordstream II is unnecessary and it’s doubtful whether it will be laid given the opposition against it. If it is, it will be another of the dwarf’s white elephants.

          • zorbatheturk

            Chinese energy use will fall off a cliff once their insane construction bubble ends. Producing 2000 million tones of cement and 800 million tonnes plus of steel each year to build thousands of empty towers is madness.

            UK steel production is maybe 11 million tonner per year, by comparison.

          • zorbatheturk

            I think Trump has got both RuSSia and China deeply worried. Both thought they could fool Obama.

          • Czech Mate

            that would be quite likely, actually. You see a bigger swine will outpig the aging and less capable one…

        • Oknemfrod

          Alas, one problem I see with the possibility of this scenario is that his cronies have been carefully picked in such a way that they, too, belong to the Hague.

          • laker48

            Well, they always have a line of defence that they were terrorised, what’s true. My take on this is that the Dwarf will try to hold on to the bitter end, and his generals will stop him from triggering a nuclear Armageddon.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Superior’s orders is no defence according to Nürnberg so that line of defence goes out the window into the dustbin.

          • laker48

            Things change, and there haven’t been war crimes committed by RuSSia even remotely matching the Hitler or Stalin systemic genocide.

          • Oknemfrod

            I don’t think, though, that the application of this principle has a threshold depending on the enormity of the crime, not to mention that the scoundrels from the dwarf’s inner circle have been, not merely blind subordinates, but eager and active participants richly rewarded for their evildoing. And even if there were the threshold, I doubt it would be set above the number of people they’ve caused to be killed and displaced in Ukraine, Syria, and elsewhere.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            “Smaller” crimes such as executing prisoners of war by order of a senior would also fall under Nürnberg. Basically Nürnberg covers ALL unlawful acts.

          • Oknemfrod

            Actually, even “smaller” ones than that, like serving as a plumber tending to the gas pipes feeding the furnaces in a concentration camp.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            That would depend on whether the plumber was a free person or a camp inmate, I think. The Sonderkommandos that worked in the crematoria at Auschwitz and other camps were, legally speaking, accomplices in that they helped destroy the evidence. But given that they were rarely volunteers and that the alternative for them was either instant gassing/shooting or being slowly starved/worked/beaten to death, can anyone blame them for having done the work?
            The situation for those that built the crematoria things were quite different as they did so voluntarily. The worst that could have happened to anyone who refused was to be sacked.

          • Oknemfrod

            I meant a free person, of course. Sorry for not having made it explicit.

          • WisconsinUSA

            Has it matched miloseviche’s crimes in Bosnia ?

          • laker48

            If you dig deeply enough in Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Ingushetia and SE Ukraine, it’d be many times more.

          • Turtler

            Quite.

            Milosevic was a monster, but even he hasn’t quite managed to completely level a city like Putin did to Grozny back when, or successfully ethnically cleanse a region like South Ossetia. Not for lack of trying of course (Sarajevo, VUkovar, etc) but he just didn’t close “the deal.”

            Putin has. Putin will. Putin plans to.

          • Oknemfrod

            This line of defense (“I was just following orders”), as we know from the Nuremberg, can’t hold. On your other note, Shoigu sure wouldn’t be one of those generals, but those at the lower levels of command (perhaps much lower) who would have to actually follow the Armageddon order may very well just sabotage such a monstrosity.

          • laker48

            You’re perfectly right, as ordinary Ivans in RuSSia are mostly deeply religious people and they won’t do anything wrong without asking their “batiushkas” opinions.

          • Oknemfrod

            Hm. I haven’t thought of this angle. As someone’s said (was it Shaw?), if you and I give each other one apple, each will still have one; but if you and I give each other an idea, each will have two.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        My guess is that the apathetic and lethargic Oblomovs will rather go broke.

        • laker48

          This is the most likely scenario IMHO, too.

          • Quartermaster

            Even if Trump wants to completely normalize relations, It won’t take place immediately. Add in the fact that groups outside of the US have held Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine, an occupying power in a stolen Ukraine, and the supporter of the so-called Rebels in the Donbas, and trump is going to have a hard time normalizing relations.
            While the US can, to a limited extent, ignore the opinions of the rest of the world, it can’t do so with impunity. If Putin is placing a lot of hope in rescue by Trump, then he’s grasping at straws.

        • Oknemfrod

          What you said!

      • Quartermaster

        Making it legal, and getting them to do it are two different things. The Army would not shoot people when the supposed coup was staged against Gorbachev. If Putin expects a Berkut like response on Red Square, then he’d better have a lot of money to buy loyalty, and it must be clear that Putin can protect them. At this point, he might have the money, but it is unlikely in the extreme that he could protect them. I think I can confidently predict that anyone shooting protesters will have forfeit his life.

        • Czech Mate

          making it legal = scare tactics or translated as “don’t you dare or else”

      • Oknemfrod

        Having observed the submissive behavior of the sheeple over the last two years, I’ve grown increasingly pessimistic with regard to such a scenario. For some time, I had been hoping that the fridge could win over the TV. But then all I’ve seen is the endless chain of humble petitions by various groups of sheeple to the Kremlin dwarf – whose very policies had made their lives degrade far beyond the point which the Ukrainians would never tolerate.

        Watching those disgracefully humiliating pleas has made me realize that there’s one crucial component completely absent from this picture, and it is the sense of human dignity. This, and not the empty fridge, was the main driving force for the people on the Maidan where the people, not supplicated, but demanded. This is why it is aptly called the Revolution if Dignity, and this is what makes the difference between the people and the sheeple.

        p.s. This profound difference between the Ukrainians and Russians is nothing new. Take any Gulag major uprising (e.g. Norilsk, Vorkuta, Kengir), and you’ll see that they were invariably driven by the deported Ukrainians who even under those utterly inhumane conditions were able to organize into a force strong enough to make their demands to be treated as people heard. It was those rebellions that after Stalin’s demise eventually led to the dismantling of the Gulag system. One would think that the Russians would remember such valiance with some sense of gratitude; but apparently, it’s not the kind of material they’re made out of, and their post-Maidan behavior is the best testimony.

        • Czech Mate

          beautiful words, my friend!

          • Oknemfrod

            Schválení z vaší strany je ceněn, ale jste mnohem benevolentnější, než si zasloužím …

          • Czech Mate

            your Czech is getting better and better, respect!

          • Oknemfrod

            I wish 😉 … I’m just lucky that the Ukrainian vocabulary and grammar overlap with those in Czech so much that after an auto-translator does its job I can understand it enough to fix obvious blunders.

            p.s. Here’s how the same would look/sound in Ukrainian (using the Czech phonetics for you on purpose; the stressed vowels are upcased): SchvAlennja z vAšoji storonY cinUju, alE vy je nabahAto ščedrIšyj, niž ja zasluhOvuju.

    • Quartermaster

      I want to see Ukraine hold on. They need to put out warrants for the arrest of the DNR and LNR “leadership” and make sure they are filed with Interpol and have Interpol place the highest priority on the arrest of those criminals. I think the term is “Red List” or something similar. Putin will ignore them, but that will simply serve to show the rest of the world what he is.
      The rest of the “leadership” needs to take the lesson of “Motorola” to heart as well. Motorola became on inconvenience to Putin and he was dealt with. I seriously doubt Ukraine had him killed.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    A fascinating article, it’s well worth translating the full piece if you’re not familiar with Russian. Zhordan doesn’t pay much attention to the fact that some regions will simply be taken over when (not if) Dwarfstan collapses, however. China will take back the regions that were stolen by Aleksandr II; Japan the Kuriles and Sakhalin, stolen by Stalin in 1945.
    Kaliningrad, surrounded by NATO/EU members and isolated from the main body, will return to Germany and become Königsberg once more.
    Re the Crimea, with the collapse of Dwarfstan central authority and non-payment of wages most troops on the peninsula, who aren’t locals, will simply want to go home so I doubt there would be much active organised resistance when Ukrainian troops liberate it, apart perhaps from a few of Aksyonov’s thugs. Most of them will probably flee with the Dwarfstanian troops going home, however.
    With Moscow’s subsidies gone Putolini Junior i.e. Kadyrov’s “loyalty” to Moscow will end and he will create his Caliphate of Chechnya and Dagestan with himself as head.

    • laker48

      Agree, but if a really free referendum had been held in Kaliningrad overnight, the overwhelming majority would have likely voted to join Poland, as Poland was smart enough to bait the hook and open its borders up to the Tri-City (Gdansk-Sopot-Gdynia) for the residents of the Kaliningrad District as of 2012. The decision was suspended last year, but the demoralisation of Kaliningrad sovoks persists. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14650045.2016.1176916?journalCode=fgeo20

      • Quartermaster

        I was going to say it most likely would join Poland. Geographically, that’s the most advantageous merger, and Poland is doing well, but is not as highly developed as Germany. The remnant of East Prussia would be worse off than the former East Germany if it joined the FRG. It would not be as far behind in Poland. The Prussian tie is pretty much dead at this point as well.

        • zorbatheturk

          The German inhabitants fled westward and RuSSians moved in to the recently vacated but still furnished apartments.

          • laker48

            Most of the remaining in Königsberg ca 200,000 German civilians were brutally expelled raped or murdered by the Red Army soldiers after the April 9, 1945 surrender of the city that was 80% ruined by the RAF, and Soviet artillery and air force bombardment. The city was later renamed Kaliningrad.

          • zorbatheturk

            It certainly is a historical anomaly and should not be part of the RuSSian Federation, except in that pretty much all the people there now are Russians who Stalin sent there with incentives like a free apartment.

            The West just gave eastern Europe away to the Soviets in 1945. A bad mistake.

            The next mistake was allowing Stalin to develop nukes.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        I disagree. I think the region would be far more likely to vote for Germany. Border traffic is nice, but Poland has very litle direct investment in the region. Germany, on the other hand, has considerable investments. German car manufacturers, for instance, have set up plants making parts for their factories in Germany. Furthermore, Germany has far more resources to properly develop the region than Poland.
        Then there’s also the traditional hostility between Poland and Russia, and I’m not at all convinced that the region’s citizens would like to be governed by Poland.

        • laker48

          The population of the region is mostly RuSSian sheeple, not Germans, and individual RuSSians spending cumulatively billions of dollars every year were treated like royalties by Polish merchants.

          • Oknemfrod

            Both you and Dag have made valid points. But let me ask you: Would the Poles want to adopt and govern a deeply trashed region populated by incorrigible Homos Sovieticae?

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            Homo Sovieticus Kaliningradus and Femina Sovietica Kaliningrada can always be sent to Papa Putolini’s Land of Milk and Honey…. or whatever’s left of it. I suspect that the Poles can’t afford the reconstruction of the enclave and will happily leave it to Berlin.

          • laker48

            Historically, until 1795 it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

          • Dagwood Bumstead

            The average inhabitant of the enclave is hardly likely to be able to spend much when Dwarfstan collapses. The region is no doubt heavily subsidised by Moscow and without those rubbles it will quickly go to pot.
            The same, incidentally, can be said of Transnistria.

          • zorbatheturk

            There is a huge black market cigarette operation running out of Kaliningrad, supplying cheap cigarettes under the counter to much of Europe. The cigs are manufactured by the Baltic Tobacco Company, no doubt a siloviki front. Profits are over a billion dollars a year. Apparently cigarette smuggling matches the entire global illegal drugs trade in revenue. These smokes are branded Jin Ling and are packaged similar to Camels. An American journalist did a good story on illegal cigarettes called The Marlboro Men of Chernivtsi.

            Kaliningrad is a haven for organized crime, with Putin likely the Big Capo.

          • laker48

            It was one of the reasons Paland indefinitely closed the small cross-border traffic with Kaliningrad last summer, the other being the excessive risk of potential penetration by RuSSian agents, spies and little green men.

          • zorbatheturk

            The sea will be a useful smuggling route. With legal smokes so expensive due to taxes in much of the West, the RuSSkiys have got themselves a nice little hard currency earner with less risk than heroin/cocaine. Although I think they are distributing a lot of that too. Colombian freighters regularly dock at St Petersburg, Putin’s old stomping ground. His old boss used to run the port, I think.

  • Dirk Smith

    However it happens, it then needs to be dismembered like Yugoslavia. Don’t make the same mistake AGAIN.

  • veth

    I support he People’s Republic of Siberia.

  • Czech Mate

    What keeps ruSSian pederast federation together other than fear? Many divisions, hatred and schemes. And once that fear turns into anger, the implosion will be devastating.

    Ha ha ha, I just can’t wait but let me tell you, either way is good. Either Putin stays on the rusty throne and they slowly rot into oblivion or ka-booooom-implosion.

    Simply put, Ivans are not gonna get from this unharmed, guaranteed!

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Get the popcorn and peanuts, sit back and watch the show…….

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    The article was posted over 10 hours ago, but still NOT ONE comment by a Savushkina troll!!!! What gives- are they all drunk on Boyaryshnik? Or has the dwarf run out of money to pay for the rotgut samogon they get for their “contributions”, and have they all been sacked in consequence????
    Surely they should be here proclaiming Dwarfstan’s Great and Glorious Future, thanks to the visionary policies of their demented pedophile Führer-ski Tsar Vladimir the not-so-Great of the House of Putolini????

    • Czech Mate

      could they be working on US news servers now as Trumpy needs some help at the moment?

      • zorbatheturk

        They work on sites where there is more daily traffic, Bloomberg, Guardian, CNN, etc. Or where their superiors at the MOI tell them to comment. But they may yet arrive on this site with their paid lies.

        • Czech Mate

          well I certainly do not miss them, do you? :)

          • zorbatheturk

            The are the scum of cyberspace.

  • zorbatheturk

    Bring it on! No more RuSSia! No more Putins! No more FSB! No more Savushkina trolls infesting media sites! RuSSia at 17 million sq kms is still far too big. The other large countries, being Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and the USA, all make some sense geographically and are only half the size. They all work on a federal system. The RF makes no sense. It is a geographical inkstain, a mad tsarist opiod fantasy. Vlalice in Wonderland.