Acmeofskill on April 7, 2015, published an article by Dr. J Michael Waller also published by Kyiv Post. Excerpts below:
Ukraine has a secret weapon that it can deploy to defend itself against Russian aggression and subversion, and to deter further Russian hybrid hostilities against other countries.
It’s an old idea that doesn’t require guns or bombs. All that it needs is the will to harness the aggressor’s internal vulnerabilities. While Russia is militarily far stronger than Ukraine, it shows signs of much greater weakness inside its borders.
Ukrainians know Russia’s political cultures, national fears and paranoias, socioeconomic divides, and other vulnerabilities that are ripe for adroit strategists to exploit.
By making war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has broken the surface tension that, so far, has held the Russian Federation together. In its own defense, Ukraine has the capability to attack the Putin regime’s internal power base.
This doesn’t mean fomenting horrible civil wars within the Russian state. To the contrary. It means showing solidarity with the peoples of Russia.
Ukraine can become a platform for leaders and movements across Russia’s 11 time zones that are seeking autonomy – and even independence – from Moscow.
Some of those voices are ethnic Russians in the country’s far-flung cities and regions that suffer from economic and demographic collapse. Many realize that they would be better off with federalist-style autonomy.
That autonomy would threaten Putin’s control complex. It would allow rival political factions to flourish. It would require Moscow to cater to the regions’ deepening social demands by diverting cash from the central regime and its offensive weapons modernization, and back to the people.
Siberia has achieved significant autonomy, with the fearsome potential to cede more than half of Russia’s territory to Chinese influence and economic domination. For some Siberians, autonomy is not enough. They seek independence from Russia.
Within Siberia and the Russian Far East, movements grow along ethnic and regional lines, as Paul Goble chronicles in his “Window on Eurasia” blog. A Buryat Mongol independence movement around Irkutsk identifies heavily with neighboring Mongolia. In the Sakha Republic, a region almost as large as India in the Russian Far East, an awakening of the Yakut people has begun. Some Russian thought-leaders are urging European-style plebiscites, like those of Catalonia and Scotland, for independence.
In the Caucasus, ethnic Chechens and others have long sought autonomy or independence, and have already volunteered to help Ukraine. Some have given their lives. Many of these minority groups identify with one another, with Muslim Chechens aiding Orthodox Christian Georgians and vice-versa.
In Russian-occupied territory across the Black Sea, leaders of the Crimean Tatar nation are calling for Russia to leave their homeland and return it to Ukraine. Kaliningrad, the decaying Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania whose legal status was never resolved after World War II, might well be settled by plebiscite.
The key is for Ukraine to serve as the sponsor, integrator, and magnifier of Russia’s voices for freedom and autonomy. That is Ukraine’s secret weapon.
J. Michael Waller is a senior analyst with Wikistrat. His book, Secret Empire: The KGB in Russia Today (1993) warned that failure to uproot the old Soviet secret police would allow the security apparatus to take control of Russia.
Comment: This blog will return to to the subject of this article in the future. For the time being it will enough to say a few words about Siberia.
The argument for an independent Siberian republic is that Siberia makes up 77% of Russian territory (13.1 million square kilometers) and includes 40 million people. Western Siberia has rich oil and gas reserves, but the taxes go directly to Moscow. Getting extraction companies to pay taxes in the regions where they operate would for instance benefit Siberia.
The idea came about the Republic of Siberia was born during the 19th century. During the Civil War after the Bolshevik coup in 1917 two provisional governments were formed in 1918, one in Vladivostok and one in Omsk. It then lasted only a few years but the idea of independence is still alive.
Siberians could, with support and encouragement, follow the path of the Ukrainians and seek independent statehood. A third of the inhabitants of Siberia at present identify as Siberians, and not Russians.
“Sibiryaki” see themselves as a distinctive people and that they can themselves resolve many social and other problems. As an independent nation Siberia with an abundance of raw materials could supply other nations.
Since the 1990 the “Sibiryak” movement has grown but there are other movements such as Rus Zalesskaya, Ingermanlandiya, Mat-Zemly in the Gorno-Altay, and many others.
In Siberia there are other possible independent republics such as Buryatia located along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal (over 350,000 square kilometers) and home to the Buryats.
The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is home to the Yakuts (around 500,000) with an area of over 3 million square kilometers.
The question is if Siberia and several non-Russian peoples has had enough of Russia. This blog will follow the question of the development of separatism in Russia and how liberationists in the Russian empire can be supported in the 21st century.