Risks From Russia Falling Apart Far Less Than Risks From It Remaining In One Piece – OpEd


Now that some are predicting that the Russian Federation will fall apart, a veritable army of Moscow commentators and Western analysts are pointing to all the risks that such a development could entail ranging from chaos and violence on the territory of what is now the Russian Federation to a third world war.

But what they are not doing is comparing those risks to the risks to the peoples of the region and the world if Russia does not fall apart. As a result, the impression has been created that there will only be problems if Russia falls apart and that there won’t be any if Russia remains in one piece.

That is a clear mistake, as Prague-based Russian commentator Vitaly Ginzburg observes in a comment on a recent post by the Tallinn-based regionalist portal Region. Expert. He writes: “The risks of the disintegration of Russia undoubtedly exist, but they are an order lower than the risks of the preservation of its unity” (stress supplied) (region.expert/after-defeat/?fbclid=IwAR1KEZ4oiHvW6qIwTtQRWxVLk4imFr4SaDQnJh_X65mgrb_mrnwH3Caaigo).

Ginzburg’s point may seem a small one, but it is anything but for both those who believe and want the Russian Federation to fall apart along ethnic and regional lines and those who believe and want it to remain in one piece. Both groups have a responsibility to address both halves of this equation.

Up to now, those who want the Russian Federation to disintegrate or believe that it will even if they don’t want it have done the far better job because they are seeking a fundamental change, but they too need to do far more to point out the real dangers and risks that the continued survival of the Russian Federation would present.

Those risks involve not only the kinds of threats domestic and foreign that the Russian Federation now presents but also additional risks that are likely to emerge as the Kremlin seeks to hold things together both by repression at home and aggression abroad. As the Putin period shows, those risks are not only real and great but almost certainly increasing.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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