Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turmoil in Russia's Post-Soviet States

The above article by Paul Goble is entitled “CIS Intelligence Agencies Warn Economic Crisis is Growing into a Social and Political One”

I recall in one of Krastev’s article the suggestion that Putin thought the American Financial Crisis was a sign that America’s “Hegemon” was on the downslope. The only thing I would say about “downslopes” is that perhaps the American economic crisis sent the world’s economy on a downslope. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems possible, an now no nation seems to be immune from these current financial troubles. However as we who were exposed to Marxist theory know, it is all going to snap back again, probably sooner rather than later thanks to Keenesian theory and so many nations taking actions to keep the economic valley from going any deeper.

But in the meantime, some of those “post Soviet states” that were developing the forms of nationalism Leokadia Drobizheva described, have more than the normal reasons for being unhappy with Russia. Perhaps some of them will be thinking “enough is enough” which wouldn’t take a whole lot of thought if they are already inclining toward nationalism.

Goble writes, “. . . the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center yesterday warned that “the economic crisis is growing into a social one” and that “extraordinary anti-crisis measures” are needed to prevent explosions. . . States, Russian Col.Gen. Andrey Novikov, who heads that organization’s common anti-terrorist group, said that the situation is at least potentially very dangerous in many or all of the post-Soviet countries. . . “In all the [CIS] states,” he said, “currencies have been devalued, industrial sites have contracted or even stopped work, unemployment has grown, and serious threats of an increase in crime of all kinds are emerging,” creating a situation to which the governments are now being forced to come up with a response.”

Times are hard so migrant workers are losing their jobs. Novikov mentions the CIS states, but he is worrying about what is happening in the non-Russian federation states as well, as he evidences by mentioning Rostov Oblast. Here in the US, our economy is affecting migrant workers. They are losing their jobs and returning to Mexico. However Mexico is not part of an American Federation. It is already an independent nation. The same cannot be said about what is going on in Russia right now.

Goble continues to quote Novikov: “In the near term . . the situation is likely to deteriorate in Central Asia, “to which labor migrants are returning from Russia after the quota for foreign workers has been cut by the powers that be of the Russian Federation as a result of the crisis.” And consequently, this makes “cooperation in warding off terrorism and extremism today especially important.”

Ah yes, “Terrorism.” That wasn’t quite the concern of Drobizheva, and I know it’s not the concern of Krastev, but there could easily be some terrorist-like activities. How best can you further a nation’s nationalism if not by terrorism? At least that is how Islamists think, and some have argued that those influenced by Islamist-thinking are most likely to engage in terrorist acts when the economy is poor.

Goble continues:
“Novikov and other speakers at yesterday’s session said that they expected that “terrorist and extremist organizations will begin to seek means for their existence through thefts” – a form of “self-financing,” they said -- from banks and other agencies, as has already happened in Rostov oblast.

And “ noted that ‘it is characteristic that in addition to terrorist organizations, the Anti-Terrorist Center of the CIS is concerned about extremist ones, which are usually considered as groups involved in ‘anti-government’ propaganda.’

“. . .it is . . . possible that the counter-terrorist centers in the Russian Federation and the other CIS countries plan a more sweeping crackdown against anyone they suspect of disloyalty of any kind to the existing regimes.
But there is at least the possibility that Novikov’s speech represents something else as well: an effort to increase the chances that governments in the region will not cut back their financing of such [crackdowns], even as these regimes are forced by the economic crisis to reduce government spending on almost everything else.”


Russia will be first of all concerned about those nations within the Russian Federation even though most of what Novikov has to say pertains to non-Russian states in the CIS. It is interesting that Novikov implies that Russia isn’t going to help the other CIS nations with its “terrorist” problems. They are going to have to crack down on them themselves. Maybe in Russia today that goes without saying, but it is still refreshing to see in these Post-Soviet days that Russia does not intend exercise a Soviet-type fist and crack down on non-Russian CIS terrorists itself.

No comments: