The purpose of the Institute of Russia’s Regions is to study the political, economic and cultural specifics of Russia’s Regions in the perspective of their sovereignty after the inevitable collapse of the imperial Putin regime.
The task of the Institute of Russia’s Regions is to fill the empty niche in the field of studying Russia’s Regions, which is observed in modern Western institutions. Many foreign researchers are remarkably similar to the Kremlin centralists. Because both of them look at Russia “through the Moscow prism” and therefore do not notice and do not understand the events taking place in more than 80 regions located in a gigantic space from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean.
Let us recall the opinion of the famous American analyst Paul Goble – the collapse of the USSR in 1991 was a completely unexpected surprise for many Western Sovietologists, because they did not pay enough attention to the situation in various Soviet republics. Researchers of modern Russia may find themselves in a similar situation …
The study of regions in Russia itself is carried out only for the purposes of the colonial policy of the Kremlin, but not in their own interests. Due to Putin’s repressive laws of recent years, which interpret any protection of regional interests as “calls for the violation of territorial integrity”, there are no independent regional studies institutions in modern Russia.
Moreover, the current “Russian Federation” has now remained only an official name; in reality, under Putin, Russian treaty federalism, which appeared in the early 1990s, was eliminated. The Institute of Russia’s Regions believes that the “new federalization” of the consciousness of the people of Russia’s Regions, their switching to solving urgent local problems, will help overcome the Kremlin’s imperial propaganda, which unifies all regions and builds up hostility towards other countries.
Today, elections of the governors in Russia have been turned into a formal procedure, in reality, governors are appointed from the Kremlin, and the free nomination of independent candidates has been made practically impossible due to various legal obstacles. In today’s Russia, regional political parties are prohibited, which freely exist even in unitary European states.
In the Russian “Federation” they cannot nominate their deputies to local parliaments. Direct elections for mayors in most Russian cities have also been canceled. Thus, regional civil communities are deprived of the right to vote.
From an economic point of view, most of the Russia’s Regions are today turned into colonies,
since their resources are usually owned by oligarchic corporations, whose headquarters are located in Moscow, and most of the taxes collected in the regions also go to Moscow. From a cultural point of view, strict unification is being carried out in today’s Russia, since the languages of the national republics are actually deprived of their state status.
This hypercentralist, neo-colonial policy of the Kremlin gives rise to an increase in protest moods in various regions of Russia (Arkhangelsk Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, the Republic of Ingushetia, Bashkortostan, etc.) The most massive protests of recent years have been taking place in the regions, not in Moscow. Our Institute intends to study the reasons for these regional protests and cooperate with their representatives so that their points of view are known to the world, and not hushed up by the pro-Kremlin media.
For Lithuania, of particular interest is the situation in the bordering Russian Kaliningrad region, where civil protests are also frequent. Our Institute plans to investigate in detail the situation in this enclave, which, under Putin, was transformed from a “pilot region of Russian European integration” (as it was called in the 1990s) into a Russian military base against Europe, and the local residents actually turned out to be powerless hostages of the Kremlin’s militaristic policy.
The Institute of Russia’s Regions plans extensive interaction with experts from various countries, holding international conferences and seminars, issuing fundamental scientific research and analytical works devoted to specific problems of a particular Russian region.
The media tool of the Institute of Russia’s Regions is the webjournal Region.Expert, which has been published since 2019 in Estonia. Currently, it is the only independent web portal dedicated to the topic of Russian regionalism. Dozens of authors from various Russia’s Regions, as well as engaged foreign experts, publish their analytical articles and conduct free discussions, not constrained by the current Russian censorship.