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Books by Grigory Yavlinsky
Economics and Politics in Russia
The Center for Economic and Political Research (EPIcenter)
Nizhni Novgorod-Moscow, 1992
CHAPTER 2. The New Policies of the Administration.

2.3. Regional approach

Ethnic and cultural basis

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The ethnic factor is, without a doubt, the strongest one, determining today and in the foreseeable future the isolation of separate regions, and their particular relationship with the center and with other regions.

The future of the Russian government as a defined integral whole depends to a significant extent on its position toward national governments and national territories, objectively evoked by the wishes of the people and ended by the inclusion in the 1977 constitution of unequal nations and peoples, the creation of national territorial structure of the first (union republics), the second (autonomous republics), the third (autonomous regions) and the fourth (autonomous areas). In the line of territorial demarcation of artificial bodies in one national territory structure of differing peoples, Kabardians and Balkartians, Chechens and Ingushans, Cherkessians and Karachaevans. The Ingush Republic in the structure of the Russian Federation already exists (although without a territory and capital, which, it seems no one will give the Ingushans and over which they still must fight based on "legal procedures"). To such areas are added such ambiguous problems as the creation of a republic for the Germans of the Volga region, for Kazak areas and the creation of national regions.

Various types of execution of the powers of the national government structure depends on the level of activity of the aboriginal people, which in turn, determines: -- the preponderance of native (non-Russian) people. -- An ethnic mosaic in the region (the existence of many nationalities, none of which predominate) -- a change in the population structure to the advantage of the native population, owing to an anticipated higher natural rate of growth compared to that of the Russian population, and similarly, the departure of Russians from the national structure. -- the overtaking in population by non-Russian nationalities. -- the concentration of native population in the affairs of the government structures. -- Historical relationship of the nation and national culture with Russian culture.

From the four basic groups of national government structures grouped by language family of the native populations (Turkic, Mongolian, Finnish, and North Asian), in the regions, turning toward the last two groups, the native populations in most cases have strongly been assimilated into Russian groups. Therefore here nationality factors may even be disguising the true, fundamentally economic factors as motives for sovereignty.

For the first two groups, the ethnic factor is the decisive one for the determination of their special behavior. Movement toward interregional economic and political cooperation in these republics on national soil can also, by all likelihood, strengthen (Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, the republics of the northern Caucasus, Buryatia and Tuva), but the creation of alliances is most oriented toward those states with close ethnic relations (Kazakhstan, Turkey, Mongolia).

To solve socio-cultural problems of some nationality living in a given region, as the leadership of some republics can attempt to do with the help of their isolation from Russia, is impossible without having created the corresponding conditions which would promote the revitalization of all nationalities. In the opposite case (in the absence of corresponding economic conditions), the actual cultural revitalization of some will unavoidably occur at the expense of the redistribution of resources and the restriction of individual rights of other nationalities. And although in the first stage of the burst of self-awareness of the aboriginal people of the republic and autonomous regions of Russia is occurring in just such a manner, if it is not an economic boost, it inevitably winds up in a dead end.

The achievement of economic success, the revitalization of nations, harmony among them, and likewise the creation of a good neighborly relationship by different regions is only possible when based firmly on interregional cooperation.

Nations upon which national government regions are trying to rely in their own development potentially economically significantly take a back seat to Russia, but the path of national isolation in multi-ethnic regions, which essentially comprise all the national government regions of Russia, is fraught with dangers of the possibility of internal interethnic conflicts such as those in Yugoslavia.

In connection with these reasons, the interests of the national regions include close economic cooperation with each other and with Russian lands.

For the Russian regions, the motive for isolation may be not ethnic, but plain regional factors, tied with the historical, economic and geographical division of the country. The awareness of one's own belonging to a definite part of the country is most strongly felt in the inhabitants and leadership of Russian regions of the Far East, Siberia, the Urals, the Volga region, the Northern Caucasus and the European North. It is not by accident that there are found regional associations of economic cooperation, which could, in cases of uncontrolled processes transform into political formations of regional groupings with the goal of pressuring the center.


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