"Who is the power here?": Russian revolutionaries and national movements "mark the territories"

Michael Pugliese

Kolumnist Harun Sidorov answers the question why the national
movements reacted so sharply to the Congress of People's Deputies,
which is taking place in Poland today.

Congress of People's Deputies, which opened today in the Polish city
of Yablonn, — this next bold application Ilyi Ponomareva and his
like-minded people on political leadership within the unsystematic
Russian opposition, which has moved either to emigrate ( political
wing ), or underground ( combat ).

Unlike the Belarusian opposition, which has put forward an armed wing
from its ranks in the form of voluntary formations in Ukraine, and
announced the creation of the Transitional Government, the leaders of
the Russian opposition deliberately avoid both the first and the

Moreover, if the reluctance to support at least the same Legion
"Freedom of Russia" ( as Belarusian emigration supports the regiments
of "Kalinovsky" and "Pagony" ) cannot be explained in any way except
for commonplace fear, then for the absence of its organ, applying for
transitional power, there is a formal justification.

As you know, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, which formed the Transitional
Government of the united Belarusian opposition, was actually elected
President of Belarus by the vast majority of Belarusian voters.
Although the results of these elections were later falsified by the
Lukashenko regime and protests against this were suppressed, the very
fact of such a victory gives Tikhanov a certain legitimacy and the
right to speak on behalf of the Belarusian people. The Russian
opposition does not have a leader who has received at least such a
mandate from his people. And all the proposals to create a collective
Russian analogue of Tikhanovskaya from the coalition of leaders of the
non-systemic opposition were swept away by its prominent
representatives on the pretext that no one chose them and they did not
have a mandate from the Russians.

Ilya Ponomarev inside the Russian unsystematic opposition was the
first to try to solve both of these problems. At the end of August —
the beginning of September of this year, he announced a statement on
the creation of the National Republican Army and the Political
Representation of her and the Legion "Freedom of Russia". Yes, in
comparison with Belarusian counterparts, they look like semi-virtual
structures, but this speaks more about the quality of the entire
Russian opposition, which failed to put forward anything more
impressive from its ranks. However, Ponomarev, as a politician, at
least made a corresponding application. And now he is making an
application to solve the second problem of — legitimacy.

As such a decision, he was proposed by the Congress of People's
Deputies, whose delegates were deputies of any level, ever elected in
the Russian Federation, who joined the radical opposition to the
existing regime. According to the estimates of the Ponomarev team, a
total of about ten million Russian voters voted for the deputies
gathered at this Congress. This, of course, is not the majority, like
Tikhanovskaya. But this is at least something, especially against the
background of those statements that the deputies decided to make.

Nomination and institution

A they gathered, no more, no less, to recognize, that after Putin’s
usurpation, "there are no longer legally elected institutions of power
in Russia, from the president to municipal assemblies, and therefore
the current situation is virtually extraordinary".

In this connection, they declare "Congress of People's Deputies a
permanent body of the people's representation and state power of
Russia, the task of which is to prepare legislative foundations and,
subsequently, the formation of temporary institutions of the executive
and judicial branches of the transitional period, until the
establishment of legal and democratic rule".

Moreover, the agenda raises the issue not only of power in the state,
but also of the state as such. The congress is going to declare that
"the Russian Federation as a democratic, free, prosperous and safe
state — did not take place", "Russian statehood is in the deepest
crisis that threatens the survival of peoples living in the Russian
Federation" and as a result, "the need for large-scale reforms, as a
result of which a new, democratic and legal Russian state should

Earlier, Ponomarev repeatedly stated that following the results of the
Russian-Ukrainian war, the Russian Federation must cease to exist:

"Peoples must decide whether they want to continue to exist within the
Russian Federation. Probably not even the Russian Federation: I
believe that the country will be so rebooted that there will be a new
name and a new state that will exist in this place. For example, the
Russian Republic. But you need to re-create it. The new Constitution
should be a joint creation of people and territories and republics.
And they need to agree with that. And those who agree with the new
design will remain; and whoever does not — they can separate".

True, in the draft declaration of the Congress, the possibility of
such a branch is stipulated by a number of conditions: "... the right
to self-determination can be realized in the form of separation from
the Russian state and the creation of its own, independent statehood,
exclusively non-violent by, on the basis of universal free will and
subject to international law and relevant Russian legislation, which
democratic authorities are required to develop".

But this approach does not suit everyone.

"New Russia: enter or exit?

A statement dedicated to the start of the Congress was made by the
League of Free Nations ( LSN ). Noting that the national and
regionalist movements included in it do not recognize "no political
forces and centers that will justify the preservation of the Russian
Federation in its modern form" and do not need "in arbitrators from
Moscow — neither from the authorities nor from the opposition, "she
said that she was open to" dialogue and contacts only with those who
publicly supported the right of enslaved peoples to create independent

According to LSN, "the process of forming a new Russian state should
be voluntary, and take place exclusively on the basis of those
entities whose legislative bodies will speak out for joining the new
federation", and therefore "there can be no entry into "updated
Russia" automatically, "by inheritance" cannot be".

Actually, this does not contradict the fact that in some cases
Ponomarev — himself stated that regions like the American states of
the time of the struggle for independence from England should gather
and establish a new country, and whoever wants to become part of it
will do it, but whoever — no, that — no. But here is the wording from
the draft Declaration of the Congress and the approach described by
Ponomarev, as well as the approach voiced by LSN contradicts. After
all, it follows from it that the expression of will is necessary in
order to leave the country that receives its rights to the territory
of the Russian Federation precisely “by inheritance”, and not in order
to enter it.

Some linked this focus of the draft Declaration to the fact that one
of its authors was Dimitri Savvin, Russian nationalist known for his
love for ( revolutionary ) Russian Empire. The Russian nationalist,
but already anti-imperial, a supporter of the creation of the
Zalesskaya Rus state on the basis of the current Central Federal
District, also drew attention to this Ilya Lazarenko. He pointed to
the revolutions generally characteristic of a unitary rather than
federal state, such as: "The congress ... recognizes the need for
broad and comprehensive autonomy to all the peoples of Russia,
legislative support of conditions for the preservation of their
language and culture, including — support of educational programs in
their native language ... and affirms the right of the regions to
broad and comprehensive autonomy".

"“So that everyone understands: the subjects of the Federation
voluntarily unite in a union, have equal rights and delegate part of
their powers to the federal government. This is, for example, the USA.
Or even formally the Russian Federation. Autonomy is given by the
central government and means the self-government of the regions at the
discretion of the center. This, for example, is the unitary monarchy
of Spain, — noted Lazarenko. Demetrius Savvin answered this emotional
replica the meaning of which is that the Declaration recognizes not
only the right to autonomy, but also the right to secession, however,
"no one will give out the keys to pieces of Russia to funny men with
the flags of Narnia and Hobbitshire at any situation". For what Ilya
Lazarenko noticed, that with his answer Dimitri Savvin only confirmed
his fears.

Thus, the ideology of the Savvin project is quite obvious that the
will of the regions is not required in order to enter a new country,
but in order to get out of it. One of the leaders of the LSN, the
chairman of the Bashkir National Political Center, fundamentally
disagrees with this formulation of the question Ruslan Gabbasov.

"First independence, then referenda, but not vice versa. Ukraine
succeeded in — because the Verkhovna Rada first proclaimed the
independence of Ukraine, and only then, after many months of actively
explaining the consequences of colonial politics, what position our
people found themselves in, what independence gives us and what
prospects does — open a referendum. So it should be with all enslaved
nations. First Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Kalmykia, Buryatia, etc. must
proclaim independence, take control of the situation, and later, maybe
in 2-3 years — there will be a democratic referendum. This is normal
international practice — the history of Ukraine confirms this, "—
stated he.

Bear and his skin

The positions of the parties are understandable, but in order to
evaluate them adequately, they need to be placed both in the
historical and international legal context.

Both Ponomarev and the LSN actually advocate the cessation of the
existence of the Russian Federation as a failed state. Now there are
all factual grounds for this approach. However, the problem is that
whoever and whatever he wants, but the Russian Federation is
recognized and will be recognized by international law and the
international community in the territory of the Russian Federation as
its sovereign until a decision is made on otherwise. As an option, at
an appropriate international conference like Potsdam or Yalta.

And this in turn means that without international recognition as the
power of the new territorial-political entities that may arise in
parts of the current Russian Federation, so will applicants for the
role of the new Russian government remain unrecognized or limitedly
recognized entities like the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan or the
Hamas administration of the Gaza Strip. From the actual point of view,
who will control what and build on recognition depends on who and what
can take control of. And both Ponomarev, who claims that "the rifle
gives rise to power," and the LSN participants, who stated that "the
desire to teach us about, how to exercise our right to
self-determination will be discarded by us, and with obsession — will
receive a strong answer".

However, the debate about who will politically moderate the
self-determination of certain peoples and regions — national and
regional movements or Russian revolutionaries so far looks like a skin
of an unbroken bear. After all, even in the case of the hypothetical
elimination of Putin, those for whom the first and second are enemies
and who will not automatically disappear not going to recognize any
right of peoples to self-determination in any form. As well as
returning Crimea to Ukraine, paying reparations and agreeing to the
demilitarization of Russia, which is declared as goals by both LSN
participants and Russian revolutionaries.

And here we must admit that both of them cannot solve any of these
fundamental issues outside the international coalition to which they
see themselves as — Ukraine and its supporting countries. Ilya
Ponomarev repeatedly drew analogies between her and the allies in the
anti-Hitler coalition. But if inside the latter from a certain point
there was a clear understanding that the fight against Hitlerism
should end in its den and lead to a radical reformatting of Germany,
it’s premature to speak of such a consensus on Putin’s Russia.

The consensus goal of the allies of Ukraine at the moment is to assist
her in the de-occupation of her internationally recognized territory.
But its decision alone will not automatically mean either that the
regions and peoples of the Russian Federation will be freed from the
power of Moscow, or even that Russian revolutionaries will come to
power in the latter. The collapse of the existing central government
in Russia is really highly likely after its defeat in the war with
Ukraine, but it must be understood that such forces have already been
grown in its bowels, including militaristic, whose plans do not
include giving control over it or its parts to Russian organizers or
post-Russia from emigration.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that only those who are aimed at
establishing a new government and gaining its international
recognition can be ready for such a turn of events in emigration, and
does not endlessly pour from empty to empty. And which of them will be
able to get the necessary support for this, and how relations will be
built between them depends on who and how successful they will be in
their endeavors.

Michael Pugliese

Michael Pugliese

Re : "A statement dedicated to the start of the Congress was made by
the League of Free Nations ( LSN )."

I have a gut feeling this League of Free Nations , is part of the old
Captive Nations Lobby of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations/World
Anti-Communist League.
"Freedom and independence to captive nations of Russia! "
, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lf0HCHQuiww .

Divided Russia: risks and perspectives ,
From November 17-19, Rome hosted the cultural forum "The European
Pavillion", which hosted a panel that examined Russia's colonial
policy towards indigenous peoples.
The invited participants were one of the leaders of the Tatar National
Movement, Rafis Kashapov, one of the leader of the Buryat National
Movement, Rajana Dugar-de Ponte and the leader of Bashkir National Go
of the Political Center Ruslan Gabbasov.
It is remarkable that all three are members of the League of Free Nations.
Video from the panel will be released later.
I will add that the Europeans present in the hall were horrified by
what we told about imperial Russia's policy towards colonized peoples.
After the panel, people came up supporting us saying they were unaware
of the problems of colonized peoples, for many it was a shocking
All this indicates that all European platforms are filled with "good
Russians" who talk roughly about all-Russian problems, but say nothing
about the problems of other Russian peoples.
Ruslan Salavatovich Gabbasov ,
https://www.facebook.com/ruslan.gabbasov.3 ,