Staunton, January 27 – Russia faces something even worse than disintegration, a long period in which the regions ignore Moscow because Moscow has insufficient funds to ensure their loyalty lest they lose all chance of getting money in the future and in which Moscow ignores how them are ignoring the center lest it provoke secession, Dmitry Oreshkin says.
In a comment for Apostrophe, the Russian commentator says recent events in Chechnya point not to disintegration, as some predict and others want, but rather to a situation in which Moscow and Grozny increasingly ignore one another but in which they avoid any final break (apostrophe.com.ua/article/world/2016-01-21/kogda-u-kremlya-zakonchatsya-dengi-grozit-li-rossii-razval/3029
(For discussion of this possibility, see this author’s “Russia as a Failed State,” Baltic Defense Review, 12:2 (2004), at bdcol.ee/files/docs/bdreview/bdr-2004-12-sec3-art3.pdf and
Chechnya is a major recipient of federal aid, but the situation is complicated by the fact that Kadyrov “has in fact created a sovereign state in which there is its own law and economy, even though it is subsidized.” But Moscow “doesn’t actually control it.” The center provides money but “Kadyrov spends it as he likes.” In such a situation, he isn’t ready to try to secede.
As for other regions, their leaders will try to get what they can and Moscow will increasingly recognize that it has lost control over exactly what they do with the subsidies. Calling for secession is political death, but ignoring Moscow is increasingly possible – and hence the common legal space Putin promoted earlier will disappear.
Instead, the regional elites will use whatever money they do get as they like, “and the Kremlin will look through its fingers at their activity in the region.” All will be as satisfied as they can be with limited resources, but the Russian Federation will increasingly look like anything but a unified state.