Saturday, August 1, 2009

RE: Will Russia fall apart if North Caucasus' problems aren't solved?

In reply to my post, "Will Russia Fall apart if North Caucasus' problems aren't solved?" ( ) Michael Kuznetsov has left the following comment:


I have just found and read through all the interviews with, and public declarations made by Valery Gizoyev.

He is a good and loyal citizen of the Russian Federation. He warns against the Western Destructivists who want to tear the Caucasus off Russia.

Thus, the Paul Goble's interpretation of the situation is wrong. In fact, North Ossetia is not willing to break away from Russia.

It is simply because they are not madmen, and they can clearly understand that the next day after their would-be independence all the Ossetians will be brutally slain by their immediate neighbours.

So, neither Putin, nor Medvedev has to pull a gun, point it at North Ossetia and say, "Get back in the kitchen and shut up."

Relax everybody!

COMMENT (by Lawrence):


I'm not sure Goble is doing much interpreting in his article. He begins his article with, "Unless Moscow comes up with and implements a carefully thought out set of policies for the North Caucasus, something it has signally failed to do up to now, a member of the North Ossetian parliament says, then there is a very real risk that Russia itself will "fall apart into 'separate principalities.'" Surely Gizoyev actually said that. And Gizoyev's litany of things wrong with the way the Caucasus is being treated by Moscow surely is quoted or paraphrased accurately. What caught my eye, of course was the implication that the Russian Federation might fall apart if the problems Gizoyev described weren't solved by Moscow. So I went looking for Gizoyev's argument and, as I said, didn't find it.

Here in the West there is a story about "Chicken Little." Something falls on Chicken Little's head and he rushes around telling everyone "the sky is falling." Indeed something did fall on his head, so that should have been his concern, and if it had been, his argument would have been justified. His conclusion that the sky was falling was not justified by the evidence. The only evidence he had, if he stopped to look at it, was whatever it was that fell on his head. I ended up thinking Gizoyev was something like Chicken Little. Things are wrong in North Ossetia, but his conclusion that the sky will fall (that is, that the Russian Federation will fall apart if they aren't fixed) doesn't seem justified by the evidence he presents.

But I don't see quite the emphasis you place on these matters. Gizoyev doesn't say that the Western Destructivists (as you call them) are causing the North Ossetian problems, but merely that these efforts are going on in parallel with the problems he describes. I'm sure Gizoyev is loyal to the Russian Federation. He comes across that way in Goble's article, but he is very worried about several problems, problems that Moscow doesn't seem willing to address.

Unless . . . you (and Moscow) are saying what I said would be the response if Governor Scharzenegger submitted such a list of complaints to Washington. Washington would tell him that his list contains problems California is fully capable of solving by itself. A difference, however, is that California is forbidden by law from seceding from the Union, and that doesn't seem to be true of North Ossetia. And surely there are those in North Ossetia who do want independence. How numerous and influential they are doesn't seem to worry you, but perhaps they worry Gizoyev.

By the way, who are these "Western Destructivists"? I hope you won't tell me the US is one of them.

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