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Staunton, March 21 – There is only one thing more unpleasant to the ears of many Russians than the suggestion that their country may fall apart. That is to hear others suggest that when it does, they stand ready to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. And Russians are especially angry and alarmed when the author of such suggestions is Chinese or Polish.

Now, a Beijing publication, “Sohu”, has done just that, saying that Russia faces some of the same problems the USSR did in 1991, will therefore face  disintegration, and that this time around its neighbors, including China, need to be ready to seize the parts that used to belong to them (links to articles in the author's blog - edit).

The Chinese article compounded its offense by resting its arguments on a lecture a Polish legal specialist recently gave in which he suggested that by 2025, Russia would again fall apart – or alternatively grow into a new and threatening Soviet Union. If the former, then its neighbors need to be ready to take back their own.

Casimir Fritskevich, the Chinese outlet said, predicted that Russia would fall into dozens of “petty states,” some of which might work out a new modus vivendi of cooperation but others would fall under the influence or even complete control of neighbors, something that will trigger new geopolitical conflicts much like those in the Middle East today.

“Sohu” suggested that much of the Polish lawyer’s argument seemed based more on emotions than on reality, but at the same time, it continued, “Russia today really is somewhat similar to the ancient empires in the history of China.” And the Chinese outlet concludes that it faces disintegration just as the USSR did.

The reasons for that, “Sohu” says, are the following: out-of-date thinking among the leaders, a powerful but inefficient bureaucracy, economic problems and “too strong” a commitment to being a hegemonic state. “For many Russians, getting out from under the central government would be profitable.”

China, Europe and the U.S. do not want Russia to grow strong but neither do they want to see it disintegrate, the article continues, an attitude that resembles that in their capitals 35 years ago. But Russia has no chance to recover as an industrial power, “Sohu” says; and “from that point of view, the future disintegration of Russia seems inevitable.”


Paul Goble



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