The states that will emerge after the collapse of Russia will be anti-Chinese, their natural allies are the USA, Japan, and South Korea
How to make Russia collaps. Russia's might is a myth created by its propaganda and television.
Oleg Magaletskyi, a researcher of Russian Federation regionalism and the co-organizer of the Free Peoples of Postrossia forum, told TEXTY what can change the situation on our north-eastern borders. And also how the emergence of independent states on the territory of the Russian Federation will affect the general security situation in the world.
Read this article in Ukrainian
Hopes for the Russian opposition are false
— A year of war has passed, and there is no news about any uprisings of the enslaved peoples of Russia. Perhaps we have overestimated their potential for resistance?
Yes, it is not there now, moreover, it could not be. The fact is that Russia has an authoritarian regime, which is moving towards totalitarianism, and all efforts in the public sector regarding national movements were wiped out as much as possible by Putin's Chekists back in the early 2000s. But this question is also to us, Ukrainians. Why, having been at war with Russia since 2014, have we not tried to work systematically with our natural allies, namely the enslaved peoples?
And even after the full-scale invasion of 2022, when the start of a major war in late February-early March, we were again unprepared. Unfortunately, these processes cannot start in the Russian Federation without external support. Because any real oppositionist is either imprisoned there, not like the pseudo-oppositionist Navalny, who can scribble tweets, but in conditions where there is not only access to the Internet, but also access to food or opportunities normal sleep.
Any hopes for an all-Russian opposition are false after Nemtsov's murder. He was probably the only person capable of leading an effective protest. What the rest of the pseudo-liberal opposition is capable of was perfectly demonstrated last year. Although in St. Petersburg or Moscow at least 15-20% of residents are clearly do not support Putin's regime, Russian oppositionists still did not take advantage of these sentiments and were not able to bring a sufficient number of people to the streets of Russian cities to close the issue of both war and Putin himself.
Ukraine is a point of reference for many enslaved peoples in the region. It is perceived as a force that will help them free themselves from the Moscow Empire. Accordingly, our state needs geopolitical subjectivity working with indigenous peoples, regions of the Russian Federation, and external work to convince our partners in the EU countries and NATO that Russia is not a monolith, that Russian propaganda stories about a single Russian people are the same delusion as the stories about the Soviet people, which at that time in all circles of the EU and NATO were perceived as equivalent to the word Russia. At that time, Ukraine was also identified as a part of Russia.
If this spring we begin a system work with the relevant movements and their leaders, then by the end of 2023-2024 we may receive rebellions, acts of disobedience and sabotage from various revolutionary and national movements there.
Everything can change very quickly, as it already happened with the results of the First World War. Until 1914, the idea of Ukrainian independence was supported by several figures such as Michnovsky. Any administrative and business elits at that time did not accept this idea at all. Starting with Tereshchenko and ending with Skoropadskyi, it was displayed with an ironic smile at best. But in just three years of the First World War, the ineffectiveness of the Russian Empire as a state, as well as its army, became clear. Against the background of defeats and the beginning of the search for a way out of the stalemate, the issue of independence of the various peoples of the empire became mainstream.
Of course, history does not repeat itself completely, but in my opinion, in 2023-2024, a mix of 1917 and 1991 will await these remnants of the Russian Empire, which are now called the Russian Federation. In part, it will be a rapid growth of interest in gaining independence by both peoples and individual regions, and it will also become interesting for the local establishment.
The Russian vertical is a house of cards held together only by faith that the center is strong. And when the local establishment receives signals that this is no longer the case, more and more cracks appear in the ruling monolith. Russia's power is a myth created by its propaganda and television. But there is nothing behind this myth, because the current racist regime lacks any ideology. They are trying to "draw" something there, some kind of "Pobedobesie", "Russian world", but it is all so inconsistent and chaotic that people have no faith. In fact, "racism" is a collection of the worst defects of the "soviets" and the modern Russian Federation, which is governed by the most inept people in the history of Russia. The greatest luck of the Ukrainians lies in the fact that, although the Russians have their quasi-Hitler, they do not have their own Wehrmacht. Hitler was not capable without Rommel, Guderian and other leaders of the Wehrmacht. All this current Russian power vertical could hold when it was calm, but when the storm started, it would collapse very quickly.
Changing the situation in Russia does not require working with the masses. We don't even need 20% of citizens of the Russian Federation to support the idea of regions independence. Most of the inhabitants of Russia are passive and used to accepting orders from the top without hesitation. Therefore, 1-5% of the passionate minority will decide what to do next. We don't even need it to happen simultaneously in all Russian regions, it's enough only 3-5 key regiones to start to trigger a cascading effect throughout the Russian Federation. Let's not forget that independence movements were not equally developed in all republics of the Soviet Union, but when the Baltic republics and Ukraine gained independence, all the others gained independence shortly.
I think we will see something similar on the territory of the Russian Federation in the next 18 months.
We are an outpost of freedom for enslaved nations
— But won't it turn out that Prigozhin, Kadyrov and others will become these new "passionaries", who will simply outperfrom the current regime?
This is one of the worst scenarios for Ukraine. If there is an internal coup in Russia, which is carried out by the Russian special services, it can have two manifestations. The first is the coming to power of various Ultra-Imperialists, such as Prigozhin or Girkin. The second is the pseudo-liberal election of the same Khodorkovsky or Navalny. And this is very bad for Ukraine. Because the hot phase of the war will be over, but the Russian imperial system will definitely remain. After some time, sanctions will be lifted from Russia, they will stop providing us with military and financial aid, and it will only be a matter of time before they start a new phase of the war.
But I am sure that the dismantling of Russia is inevitable. All empires fall. It's just a matter of time. Because for Ukraine, the question of how long it will take for Russia to disintegrate is a question of survival. If we simply want to survive and build a successful comfortable state, we must speed up the historical process of Russia's disintegration. Accordingly, the question of dismantling the Russian Federation must be an irreplaceable solution for us, and we must figure out how to do it.
— What should Ukraine do for this?
Ukraine must become for the enslaved peoples of the Russian Federation and its colonized regions what Poland has been for Ukraine for the past 30 years. We should be their civilizational, cultural, economic, security partner. Teach representatives of national movements to build, create states, act as a promoter of their cultural diplomacy, promote their recognition at the global level. After all, to provide military aid to nations willing to rebel and wage armed struggle.
In general, our task should be to create a broad anti-Russian coalition that would unite all states neighboring the Russian Federation, starting with Georgia and Azerbaijan and ending with Norway and Japan. Today, unfortunately, there are no mentions of the Russian-occupied northern Kurils and Sakhalin in the Ukrainian information space.
It should also be mentioned that between our closest allies — Poland and Lithuania — is the Russian-occupied territory of East Prussia with the city of Königsberg, which the Russians call the Kaliningrad Region. Stalin received it for 50 years as reparations during the Potsdam Conference. The status of this region after half a century - in 1995 - should be reviewed. That was not done. Accordingly, the de jure status of East Prussia is currently undefined completely. And this territory, which Russia has made a military bridgehead, poses a threat to all neighboring countries. I think it's time to start a dialogue about the future of this region, which has every chance of turning into another successful Baltic republic.
— To what extent does Ukraine today effectively carry out work among the indigenous peoples of Russia?
I do not see, unfortunately, that this topic is given the attention it deserves today. We don't have a foreign policy doctrine, we don't have an understanding of what the foundations of the security of our north-eastern borders are. Unfortunately, after the war, we will not have an ocean in the north and east, but this north-eastern border will continue to exist, and we have to сope with it. We also did not work out scenarios of how events unfold there, and concrete road maps of what we should do in a certain case.
— We have, for example, the "Dom" TV channel, where Russian oppositionists are invited often. Maybe our information policy needs some changes?
Unfortunately, a situation has arisen today when in our information field, at the expense of our taxpayers, we spread the narratives of "good Russians", who the same time work for the "office", that is, the Russian special services. In fact, this is another face of Russian imperialism, which was specially inspired and introduced to various countries, including Ukraine.
The preparation is doen for the case, when there is a need to put on the mask of a new "thaw" or "liberalization" to leed the new Russian empire by people fromthe old system. Instead, we must clearly state that there cannot be any Russia or the Russian Federation, and new independent states must emerge on its territory, and here are their leaders. Both live streams and diplomatic channels should be given to the leaders of national and regional movements.
— Does Ukraine carry out any special work with prisoners representing different indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation?
I cannot be responsible for the work of the Ukrainian special services, so I certainly cannot say whether such work is actually being carried out. But from what I see from the outside and hear from the national movements, there is no such work. Although there is a real request and willingness of activists of national movements to work with both prisoners and those who are outside the borders of the Russian Federation or who are ready to join the armed resistance within the country. But from our side, this work is not at the proper level.
In general, currently on the side of Ukraine, among national formations from the territory of the Russian Federation, in addition to several Ichkerian battalions, the Bashkir battalion "Bashkort" and two Russian battalions: "Svoboda Rossii" and "Russian Voluntary Corps" have been created. Unfortunately, supporters of the independence of their nations, in particular Yakuts, Buryats, Circassians and representatives of other nations, because we did not provide adequate support for them to create their own combat units, are forced to fight in these two Russian battalions, where they are not separated in any way.
— But the question still arises regarding the readiness of the enslaved peoples for an independent life. Don't you think we're overestimating them a bit here?
Let's remember Ukrainians were 30 or 40 years ago. When we fought for our independence in 1991, not everyone in Ukraine was aware of what was happening. The same Ukrainians fought and died in Afghanistan, boys from Frankivsk and Mykolaiv traveled and died somewhere in Kandahar. And it lasted for 10 years. And no one held numerous rallies against the war in Kyiv and Lviv.
And before that there was the participation of Ukrainians in the aggression against Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Or let's recall the 1990s, when a real genocide was taking place in Ichkeria, and we were silent and traded as usual with Russia. And they did not break diplomatic relations. By the way, we still haven't ceased diplomatic relations with Belarus, from which tanks were already coming and missiles were hitting us.
Therefore, this process of self-awareness of the enslaved nations will continue for a long time, it will take place in parallel with the construction of their states. And at this stage, the question of readiness is not critically important, because we now have to work with a passionate minority, and not with a passive majority.
— We talk a lot about national republics, but you also mentioned Russian regions. Where do you think noticeable centrifugal movements might start?
If we are proactive, our allies will also be proactive, in particular Japan, whose position is very important for the Asian part of the Russian Federation - this has an even greater perspective than national movements. Because regionalism and dislike of Moscow is very strong. The most powerful regions will be much more successful than they are now and than Russia as a whole. Siberia, the Urals, St. Petersburg, the Don, even the former metropolis of Moscow - even with very mediocre management, but without all the militaristic, nuclear madness, can achieve a level of development like Poland.
The collapse of Russia will weaken China
— There is a very widespread opinion in the West that the final collapse of Russia cannot be allowed, because it can destabilize the region and strengthen China. Are such statements true?
Of course, we have to work here, and a lot. Public opinion is not a gravity. It can and should be changed. This idea about preventing the collapse of Russia is the result of the propaganda of the Russian Empire, which lasted for centuries. And also the consequence of Russian attempts to corrupt Western politicians and media circles.
Appeals about the alleged strengthening of China as a result of the collapse of Russia are complete delusions. On the contrary, the collapse of Russia will weaken China, and in the future will lead to the overthrow of the communist regime in this country as well. Because all the countries that will emerge north of China on the territory of the Russian Federation will be anti-Chinese. Because the people who live there now do not like the Chinese and do not like the PRC. Their natural allies are Japan, Korea, and the USA. And with the active position of the latter, the newly created states will be multi-vector or anti-Chinese in general. And the condition under which China can really strengthen is if Russia remains united, weak and isolated.
It should be realized that the controlled collapse of Russia is not a risk, but primarily an opportunity for the whole world. Just as the collapse of the Soviet Union was the best thing that happened to the world at the end of the 20th century.
— So, is Putin right when he says this is a war over whether Russia will be called Russia?
Yes. My goal is for the name "Rus" to remain only in the name "Belarus" on the world map. Because it is from this name that Russians draw the ideas of the "Third Rome" and messianism. I think that after the war, none of the newly created states on the territory of the Russian Federation will have the word "Rus" in their name.