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PW: Caucasus 2012

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  • Norbert Strade
    January 15th 2010 · Prague Watchdog Caucasus 2012 By German Sadulayev, special to Prague Watchdog St.Petersburg, Russia Russia is greeting the New Year in a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2010
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      January 15th 2010 · Prague Watchdog

      Caucasus 2012

      By German Sadulayev, special to Prague Watchdog

      St.Petersburg, Russia

      Russia is greeting the New Year in a state of depression. The real
      standard of living is falling, unemployment is rising, there is a
      massive budget deficit, manufacturing output is exhausted, the country
      has neither the means nor the energy to modernize, nanotechnology and
      other intricate projects have failed, society is split and stratified
      and unwilling to gather its forces in one single "army". If no drastic
      measures are taken, 2012 will be a year of disaster for Russia. In order
      to save the country we will have to reduce our "non-core" aspirations,
      to abandon our ambitions.

      I think that Russia needs to leave the Caucasus. There needs to be a
      public admission that the integration of the Caucasus with Russia has
      failed. In tsarist times, Russia held onto the Caucasus by three
      methods: diplomacy, bayonets, and Russian immigrants. In addition,
      Russia had the idea of empire, the "Third Rome", which involved
      Christian education and a civilizing mission, and brought its own
      benefits to the smaller nations that belonged to it. The Soviet Union
      can be called an "empire" only figuratively. The USSR was a grand
      historical project aimed at creating a global workers’ state, with the
      subsequent demise of the state and a transition to Communism. In the
      national question, the official ideology combined the principles of
      political unity and cultural diversity. Socialist internationalism was a
      second chance to achieve the integration of the Caucasus. To some
      extent, this project was a success. However, the USSR has ceased to
      exist. In the absence of the unifying concept of socialism, even
      Christian Georgia and Armenia are neither able nor willing to live in
      harmony with the new capitalist Russia. Modern Russia has no general
      civilizing idea, no basis that might help it to keep territories that
      are ethnically and culturally different together within a single state.
      Where the USSR had a plan to build a society of equality and fairness,
      the new Russia has condemned Communism. Where the United States and
      other Western democracies are based on the rule of law and civil
      society, our New Russia has announced that Western democracy does not
      suit us, that we have a special path of our own. And while that is
      perfectly possible, it does not necessarily apply to Ukraine, Georgia or
      Ingushetia, for the simple reason that the path is special, unique, and

      Russia is spending too much effort trying to hang onto the Caucasus and
      not succeeding. In Transcaucasia there is neither peace nor harmony. De
      facto, Russia's North Caucasus has become a set of territories. each of
      which has a special status: Chechnya is a state within a state,
      Ingushetia – a hot spot, Dagestan – a mass of contradictions, and so on.
      Nothing seems to work, and Russia’s strength is running out. In such a
      situation, a good manager needs to make a decision to change his
      priorities. After the breakup of the USSR, Russia (if Russia is
      considered as the USSR’s successor) lost all of Eastern Europe, the
      Baltics, Transcaucasia and Central Asia. That was a defeat, but it was
      not a collapse. Now there is reason to suppose to think that the
      separation of the former republics and protectorates was not only
      inevitable but also desirable, like the process of reorganization in a
      bankruptcy case. Otherwise, Russia might have torn itself apart. Russia
      will be able to survive the separation of the North Caucasus without any
      prejudice to its status as a world power. Moreover, such a separation
      would not necessarily mean a complete loss of influence. In the Caucasus
      the interests of various global actors – Europe, United States, the
      Islamic world – collide. By playing on these contradictions Russia might
      be able to maintain a presence in the region. As in the former British
      Empire, a division of diplomats would be able to do the job better and
      at lower cost than an army, thus avoiding war and bloodshed.

      But there is a territory whose loss would present a far greater danger
      to Russia than a withdrawal from the Caucasus – that of the
      geopolitically different Far East and Siberia. It would not be
      surprising to learn that China and Japan have already signed a secret
      agreement on the division of spheres of influence in eastern Russia.
      There will be no maneuvering, no room for diplomacy. Should Russia show
      weakness, it will lose most of its land to the east of the Urals, which
      will fall into the hands of the Chinese and Japanese, and this would
      bring about a complete collapse. Without Siberia and the Far East,
      Russia really would become a Third World state. These sparsely populated
      but vast and resource-rich expanses represent the most important part of
      Russia’s inheritance, its capital and its potential for development.
      They are its hope for the future for Russia. Without the Caucasus,
      Russia will remain Russia, but without Siberia and the Far East it could
      change its name to "The Moscow Federation of the Central Russian
      Upland”. And the process of disintegration would not stop there. If
      Russia were to lose the resources of its Eastern territories, neither
      the Bashkirs not the Tatars nor the Buryats would see much sense in
      remaining within such a small, weak Russian principality.

      If Russia is unable to keep all its territory and influence in all the
      regions along the perimeter of its borders, it should concentrate its
      forces on the main, vitally important area – the East. If Russia had an
      administration that was intelligent and patriotic, it would have done
      just that. But we see quite the opposite. Russia continues to deplete
      its last resources in an attempt to hold onto the Caucasus: it carries
      out endless "mop-ups" in Ingushetia and Dagestan, enables the despotism
      of the regime in the Chechen Republic, supports the self-declared
      republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in defiance of the international
      community, and so on. But it is giving up the Far East! A large piece of
      territory has been transferred to China, Russia inclines towards giving
      back the Kurile Islands to Japan (the official line is that Russia is
      ready to "make compromises" in this territorial dispute with the Land of
      the Rising Sun), Siberian deposits are being conceded to Chinese
      capital, and a temporary "lease" is preparing the ground for a change in
      the jurisdiction. It seems that despite all the slogans, Russia's
      current government is not patriotic and not even efficient, guided more
      by ambition than by the interests of its own country.

      The total destruction of Russia will only bring problems and troubles to
      the world community, and especially to Russia’s neighbours, because a
      disaster of this magnitude always entails armed conflict, humanitarian
      disasters, refugees, poverty, hunger, death and the tragic fate of
      ordinary people. Russia would do better to take care of its eastern
      regions, e, to prevent chaos and catastrophe, to save itself and the
      world – and to let the Caucasus look after its own destiny. The
      “freedom” of the North Caucasus from Russia is a perfectly real
      historical perspective. It is quite probable that our homeland will
      acquire a different political configuration. But what will it be?

      The people of the Caucasus, and especially Russia's North Caucasus, need
      to think long and hard about the possible future alternatives to
      government by Russia. Our future development should be discussed, we
      must think and choose, and not simply take what is offered to us. “The
      worse, the better” is a slogan that is familiar to us. It was the slogan
      of the Bolsheviks and Bolshevism. What it really means is that the worse
      things are for the country and the people, the better they are for the
      party that seeks to seize power. Contemporary Russian nationalists – the
      National Bolsheviks – like to say that they have no ideology, that they
      need no ideology in order to live their homeland, and that they have no
      political program but that when they take power they will do the right
      things. This is all too similar to the theses and statements of the
      supporters of the Caucasus Emirate who say that their ideology is the
      Koran and the Sunna, that they have no program, but that what matters is
      to crush the apostates and infidels. That way Sharia law will be
      established in natural fashion – the good people will be treated well
      but the bad people will be treated badly. And, given the Emirate’s
      predilection for violent methods, the assumption is that all the good
      people will get together and kill all the bad people. Thus we will end
      up with a form of Islamic "Bolshevism" – the Communist idea with the
      addition of God. There are those who believe we have had enough of such

      The Caucasus Emirate persistently presents itself not as a narrow
      religious and partisan network organization, but as a fully-fledged
      political project. Therefore we need to know: what is that project? A
      future article will endeavour to find out.

      (Translation by DM)

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