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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russia is Headed toward Collapse and Only Federalism Can Be a Road Back, Pastukhov Says

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Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 25 – Calling for federalism in the absence of the collapse of the current state is a fool’s errand because there is no chance that the current rulers of Russia would ever accept such a diminution of their powers or that the territories they control would accept anything less than complete independence from them, Vladimir Pastukhov says.

            Instead, those like himself who urge federalism as a solution to Russia’s problems presuppose that the Russian state is headed toward collapse and see federalism as the only way back that does not lead to the destruction of Russia and the Russians as such, the London-based Russian analyst says (polit.ru/article/2022/10/25/pastuhov/).

            Pastukhov says he is certain Russia is headed toward collapse because it is currently engaged not so much in the defense of empire at a time when empires have already died or are viewed as antithetical to the future but rather because it is engaged in a struggle against civilization and its rules as such. That makes its collapse highly likely and not so distant.

            “If we begin some long-term planning,” he continues, “then in a paradoxical manner, we must plan not on the basis of the current situation. That is a major mistake.” If one does that, one only ensures that the future won’t be much different from the present and the current trajectory toward collapse won’t be significantly altered.

            Instead, one must make such proposals for change on the basis of what the landscape will be like following the collapse. “What will that be like?” Pastukhov asks. From his point of view, he suggests, “it will be a volcanic one, where there will be a very, very large crater.” The exact details are unclear, but the center with all its current features will have collapsed.

            That arrangement can exist for a time, but rather quickly other players will appear, some who will seek to rebuild what was and others who will try to end what they see as internal colonization. Those who want to restore the past on the model of Lenin’s defense of the empire after 1917 will almost certainly fail because conditions are different.

            And so there will be either the course of those who want to repeat what happened in  1991 with a variety of new independent states emerging and the former center much reduced but aspiring to rule what it used to control or an arrangement that will hold things together. That arrangement can only be a federal system, Pastukhov argues.

            The reason for that is that some will try to come up with a new ideology to justify a common state who will compete with those who reject that common state and want to go their own way, between as it were the forces of the heart and the forces of the stomach. If either wins on its own, Russia won’t recover.

            Only federalism promises to provide a matrix that could combine the two, Pastukhov concludes.

2644322 Window on Eurasia — New Series

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