EDITORIAL: Disintegrating Russia


Disintegrating Russia

Today we offer a wealth of material showing how Russia is coming apart at the seams.  To start off, two recent reports from the Russian press, relayed to us by the indispensable Paul Goble, indicate the Russia is cracking and crumbling at its very foundations.

First, Goble reports how the Kremlin’s totally failed policy in the Caucasus is threatening wider social instability; then, as if to emphasize the first point, he reports on how Russians across the country are stocking up on guns.

Goble’s Russian sources say that there is now one gun for every sixty people in Moscow and 1.2 million in private hands throughout the country. That’s more guns than the Russian army itself can field on its best day, if they were melded into a single anti-government fighting force designed to oust Putin from power.  There is even some opposition in parliament to government moves to regulate weapons more heavily, indicative of the presence of a nascent political movement similar to the NRA in the United States.  Putin’s failure to manage the economy has resulted in massive pressure on the social network, and as it frays and unravels Russian crime levels, already appallingly high, combined with police corruption and unreliablity are pressuring citizens to take matters into their own hands.  This independent basis for gun ownership, separate from any desire to challenge the regime, makes it very difficult for the Putin regime to crack down on guns in order to protect itself from insurrection.  Indeed, doing so might only make the liklihood of a public backlash that much greater.

And Putin’s crazy policy in Ossetia, encouraging separatism, has set a horrifying precedent by which these guns might be turned against the Kremlin.  Goble’s Russian sources — in this instance, an actual Ossetian writer — warn that whole sections of Russia burdened by failed economic policies may seek to break away from Russia proper, and they may not take “nyet” for an answer.  The writer points out that “Russian officials and media types portray people of the Caucasus” as one group and in an invariably negative way. As a result, when Russian soldiers come to the North Caucasus, they come with a negative attitude toward the local population and see in everyone they meet a militant.”  In other words, Russians are none to circumspect about their virulent racism, and the peoples of the Caucasus are only too painfully well aware of it.

On top of that:  “Average incomes in the North Caucasus are half the Russia-wide average, and a third of all the unemployed [in the country as a whole] are concentrated in this region alone. Such conditions open the door for those who hope to recruit people to extremist causes.”  Putin, himself a shameless racist, simply couldn’t care less how much the people of these outlying regions are suffering, and in his isolated neo-Soviet arrogance has no idea of the powder keg he has created.

Inevitably, this fissures make Russian vulnerable to influence from foreign states, particularly those who wish to support the development of Islam in Russia.  As well, corrupt local leaders and organized criminals are enabled and emboldened.

14 responses to “EDITORIAL: Disintegrating Russia

  1. This is so worrying, it makes you wonder how such system can still be alive. I lived 5 years in Russia and now in Ukraine and everything became clear since MK was sent to jail. I dont get why European states just close their eyes, it may just be that they dont care as you wouldnt if you had a banana Republic leaving next to you. I defy anyone to list three good things that have happened to Russia in the last few years aside from cheap credit and high oil price.Henry

  2. one good thing was they sent their navy to protect ships and attck pirates in africa and other they are against official positive propaganda of homos. don’t know more :-)))

  3. Yeah, those damn Russian homosexuals, like… Tchaikovsky… and Diaghilev… and Nureyev…

    I think rather that the screams of Luzhkov about homosexuality and the disgusting attacks on the pride marches in Moscow only confirm how barbaric Russia is. For a thriving, interesting society, give me gays over skinheads and alcoholics and gangsters any day…

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Adrian: gays, as people, can be good too, and their culture is in many ways quite interesting. Skinheads, on the other hand…

    But I must say, though, that homophobia seems to be more of an Eastern Europe phenomenon, not limited to Russia. Poles, Letts, Lithuanians are apparently just as homophobic (didn’t the Lithuanian parliament recently forbid open positive depictions of gays? weren’t there terribly homophobic protests against the Rīga gay pride parade? Hasn’t the Polish government also made a number of quite homophobic statements?) They’ll still have to come to terms with that. I suppose gays were simply never really talked about or considered as a human group during communist times… They still need to go through years of evolution that the West has already had.

    • Random commenter

      I’m a regular hetero guy and live in Australia and i’m in my 30s; and i’ve seen the worst of the harassment of gay folk from when I was younger to the current state of almost complete integration into being just another group of people in our society. It seems that once people point out the ridiculousness of hassling someone because of their sexuality, it eventually becomes a non-issue over time.
      Why should anyone care about what others do in their private life with another consenting adult? It really is just ignorance that makes people homophobic. If by going by Australia (and New Zealand)’s path, it’s just a matter of time and acceptance that eventually makes most people not care about another person’s sexual persuasion.
      The people that are rabidly anti-gay tend to be on some kind of political/religious popularism feeding on fear and ignorance, or have seriously pent up sexuality issues and feel the need to lash out. The most homophobic people i’ve ever met also tend to be closet gays themselves.

      • “have seriously pent up sexuality issues and feel the need to lash out”

        I agree wholeheartedly: consider the prevalence of buggery (as torture, punishment, and display of power) in neo-Nazi Russia’s prisons, concentration camps, and armed forces.

        Mind you, sexuality issues have bugged the Russians for a long time. I recently read the memoirs of a German girl about her experience of the mass rapes during the Soviet invasion of 1945. She notes with surprise that even the rapists were diffident and had to get drunk before engaging in their violence.

    • Ashepe, first of all, homophobia in Russia and in Poland are not comparable, that I know for sure. Sure there is homophobia in Poland, but it is not as widespread and instutionalized like in Russia. And there is no legislative discrimination against homos in Lithuania, Latvia or Poland (one could possibly begin to split hairs about the Lithuanian “child protection” law).

      Secondly, there were no terribly homophopic protests in Riga against the latest pride march. Though Riga city council (largest party is actually pro-Russian PCTVL!) tried to ban it.

      Thirdly, when you say: “They still need to go through years of evolution that the West has already had” you are paternising. You are implying that Poles, Lithuanians, etc are underdeveloped peoples with unciviliced cultural practices who are still behind in evolution. But perhaps you would not say the same about, f. ex. Danes, although just last week in Copenhagen, at the World Outgames, three homos were hospitalized after an horrible attack by a mob.

      • I don’t think I’m being “patronizing” in suggesting that Eastern Europeans still have certain problems with homophobia that some other countries (say, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, etc.) have already solved — just like it is not patronizing to say that Eastern Europe may have certain economic problems that other countries have also solved. Or even that other countries may have problems that Eastern Europe has already solved.

        No — I am merely trying to point out that such problems exist, and that the probable cause is that Eastern Europe has not had to confront the issue of homosexuality, since this issue was completely ignored in the communist era — which allowed all kinds of old myths and misconceptions to survive and thrive in people’s minds.

        That does NOT mean they are more “primitive” — I am not saying this. But frankly, trying to hide the existence of these problems in Eastern Europe is not going to help find a solution for them. (In fact, my own native country — Brazil — also has problems with homophobia, and I don’t think I’m being “patronizing” or “offensive” to my fellow Brazilians by trying to find reasons for that in Brazilian culture and history.)

        Finally, aren’t you being also a little exaggerated in apparently attributing the cause of homophobia to Russians? I know quite a few Russians who are not at all homophobic — just as I’ve seen homophobia in countries not affected by Russia (e.g. Brazil, the United States). Of course, Russia does have a problem with homophobia — but it is not at all obvious to me that it is a deeper or more complicated problem than in other Eastern European countries (and the causes look the same to me — communism made any real, open-minded discussion of homosexuality impossible in Russia.)

        Also, I’m not suggesting Eastern Europeans are “primitive” or “different” — hey, Random Commenter above reports strong homophobia in Australia and New Zealand less than 30 years ago, adding that this has changed since then. The same may very well happen in Eastern Europe and Russia — if Eastern Europeans and Russians will address the issues, rather than pretending they don’t exist.

        • I don’t see the first part of my message, in which I had listed a number of links to cases of state-supported or -approved homophobia in Poland, and links to Juris Kaza’s blog posts on Latvian homophobia. For some reason, they just didn’t show up here. Anyway, let me say that if you just (as I did) google for “homophobia” + “Poland”, you’ll see a big number of news stories from reputable sources (BBC, Deutsche Welle, Human Rights Watch, the European Parlament, etc.) about state-backed homophobia; if you have a look at Juris Kaza’s blogs “Free Speech Emergency in Latvia” (for the 2008 ban) and “Telecoms in Latvia” (for the 2006 incidents), you’ll also see that he doesn’t agree with you that homophobia is not a big, deep, institutional problem in Latvia. And he’s a Latvian himself.

          Links like those show that Eastern Europe has problems that go much, much deeper than the case you mentioned of a Danish mob hitting homosexuals.

  5. Yes its all quite interesting, you can have a go at homos but to gun down journalists like a dog in daylight is fine.Cowards!, sice when a journalist is a physical threat to anyone. If they were spies they woul be doing a different job no?

    I am now understanding what nobody has yet spotted. it is not Ukraine that depends on Russia, but the opposite . It is Ukraine’s future that will change Russia. It is Russia which has totally inverted the role on both regional and supranational level. It is Ukraine that Russia fears most. And here we go with the thesis:
    Ukraine was the essential backbone of Russia, spiritually,economically,regionally,and culturally, tourism,climate,fashion. Remember Russia built its culture by syphoning others.It is Ukraine infrastructure that allowed to sell gas, still is today ( gas is worth zero if its located on the moon as we know), it is Ukraine that built Soviet tanks and the huge heavy engineering capacity(check Antonov plane), it is Ukraine that fed Soviet union, it is again Ukraine which had access to the sea(do you want a naval base?), it is Ukraine that makes the Russian orthodox church exist today(no wonder the Kirill dude is so worried, the thing would just collapse on itself without unity with Kiev,and take the russian orthodox church out from the equation and you have a revolution in no time). The list goes-on with writers,artists,sportsmen and fashion design. Russia cannot exist simply without Ukraine,that is the truth the soviets and others hide from of all. The superpower of Russia only exist because its has nukes, ukraine gave it up in 91. The rest is a headfake that was well spread with propaganda to the world. Oil unfortunately doesnt buy you all that. What Ukraine got for all that is unchecked aggression,starvation,deportation,harrassment,initmidation,humiliation from the one government that couldn’t exist without it. if you want a proof it s easy: you dont create a 2bn$ + hole in less than 10 days in the wholly saint gazprom just for the sake of a country Ukraine. These idiots in bruxelles and especially germany angela dont fckg get it. The irony is when you talk to russians they envy ukraine. best, henry

  6. Hi Henry,

    Kirill is on a tour of Ukraine now. The KGB controlled moscow Orthodox Church wants to continue the russification of Ukraine. Kirill comes to Ukraine and makes false statements, without regard to the Ten Commandments of God. The Ecumenical See of Constantinople never accepted Moscow’s authority over Ukraine’s Church and still recognizes the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as an integral part of its jurisdiction.

    Ukraine does not need KGB that are given pulpits to stand on, and work as priests, and shrive the people.

    When the moskali occupied parts of Ukraine in the 17th century, they did what they do best – the moskali stole the name Rus and took over the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and claimed it as their own. The kremlin has been destroying Ukrainian churches, and killing Ukrainian priests {PRONOUNCED GENOCIDE} for ages. More info in my comment at:


    Patriarch calls on autocephaly proponents in Ukraine to reject simple view of church history

    Russian Patriarch Kirill has called on the proponents of separation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate to stop their speculations and take a neutral approach to the history of Russian church in the middle of fifteenth century, when it got its autocephaly.

    He said that the autocephaly proponents had a very simple understanding of history.

    “I don’t want to go into too much detail. All I want to say is that the Ukrainian church also got autocephaly [in 1448]. This was one Church [for Russia and Ukraine],” he said when asked to comment the statements by autocephaly proponents that the Russian church fought for autocephaly from Constantinople for 140 years, yet now doesn’t want to give freedom to Ukraine.

    He said that the Constantinople patriarchate carefully preserved the unity of the Russian church when it was part of the Constantinople patriarchate. But when the Russian church received its independence, the Kyiv patriarchate emerged to build its own independent church.

    The patriarch said that church officials couldn’t treat history in a simple way, because they are responsible for the people.

    Speaking about the possibility of a schism, he said that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate has the best potential for building a single Orthodox church in Ukraine, as it is the most canonical and traditional church of all.


  7. One gun per 60 people? Horror of horrors! Can you imagine what that kind of gun ownership would do in the United States?

    Oh wait, ours is MUCH higher, over 50 guns per 60 residents.

    And what about Switzerland or Canada or Sweden?

  8. Henry, Les,

    Should I mention that Kiryll wouldn’t mind to get the Ukrainian citizenship and reside in Kiev for six-month at a time .. What a clever, perfidious move, worthy of a KGB agent. The next step would be to cause a scandal if Ukraine refuse, organize all Russian population of Ukraine, seek solidarity from the orthodox of the world, involve Protestants and Catholics in the ‘tragic’ case of Ukrainian persecution of the Russian ortodox etc., etc… just to destabilize Ukraine, using religion this time.

    Russia is trying to use the religion in case of Georgia too. The Georgians and Russians are the orthodoxs brothers – we hear – .. Doesn’t matter that Georgia adopted Christianity 7oo hundred years before the poor Russians did [which is the whole Russian history – we have to extract 400 years of total mongol domination, of course].

    There is also a problem of where Kirill would reside – Filaret is there so for the temporary residence for Kiryll may I suggest the homeless shelter or, better still, the public toilets in Kiev.

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