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  • Writer's pictureDmytro Levus

Disintegration of Russia. Trends

1. On the establishment of the "Free Ingria" platoon within the International Legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine


Perhaps the flag of Ingria will become the state flag

In early July 2023, the coordinators of the Free Ingria movement announced that they had decided to create a Free Ingria platoon within the International Legion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which is positioned as a volunteer military unit. It is especially emphasized that this process is taking place with the assistance of the Civil Council (For more information: The Civil Council or Civic Council is an organization of Russian oppositionists, which, unlike most of the Russian opposition, in its program and declared goals does not support the preservation of the Russian Federation in its current form and composition and proclaims work with national liberation movements of the Russian Federation, up to and including the creation of national military units that could take part in the war against Russia on the side of Ukraine).


In the case of the Free Ingria movement, it is significant that the movement is positioned as regionalist and non-ethnic, although it uses the word Ingria in its name, otherwise known as Ingermanland or Izhoria, which is the territory where St. Petersburg is currently located, but which was previously home to several Finnish peoples, including the Lutheran Ingermanlanders and the Orthodox Izhorians, as well as the small Voda people. At present, the processes of assimilation have gone so far that the revival of these ethnic communities is extremely unlikely; even in the most positive scenario, they will not be able to become numerous and will remain relics and exotic. At the same time, the name Ingria is used by a rather powerful movement with a long history that goes back to the late Soviet era. It is based on the idea of the independent existence of St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas as a separate state project outside of Russia. It should be noted that although the Ingria movement itself may resemble other similar initiatives in Russia, it is somewhat different in terms of its vitality and the presence of intellectual potential with a certain circle of sympathizers. Ingria flags have long been a common attribute of political rallies in St. Petersburg. This regional construct is convenient for uniting both those who want to live without Moscow and Russia, who believe that there is a separate Ingrian mentality, and those who are simply regional patriots or even try to restore and preserve the Ingrian or Ijorian culture of their ancestors. Thus, in the event of real turbulence in Russia, there are certain prospects that supporters of Ingrian independence will become a prominent phenomenon and an idea that will be acceptable for a declaration of separation from Russia, which has become toxic and only discredited.


It should be noted that the announcement of the formation of a platoon, and not some other unit, in a way indicates the realism of the organizers against the background of other movements that may declare the creation of regiments and battalions, but in reality the number of soldiers in them does not exceed a platoon.


The message says that "the process (of creating a platoon) is supported by the Civil Council, and a representative of Free Ingria is a member of the Civil Council. The formation will fight against the army of the Russian Federation until the complete liberation of all the occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as conduct guerrilla operations in the territory of the Russian Federation. The unit will become the basis of the future Army of Free Ingria, which will engage in an armed struggle for the self-determination of Ingria (Ingermanland) within the current administrative boundaries of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. The coordinators of the Free Ingria movement, Pavel Mezerin and Denis Ugryumov, are engaged in the formation of a unit in Ukraine." That is, they have specific political goals, namely the formation of their own state. This indicates that the Central Committee consistently continues to focus on the use of regional identity and ethnic factors in the fight against the ruling regime of the Russian Federation, does not express fears about the collapse of Russia, but would rather accelerate it, and, against the background of other groups of the Russian political, conditionally liberal opposition, considers it acceptable to fight by armed means.


2. Idel-Ural. Regarding the Russian reaction in the Republic of Mordovia to the strengthening of the Moksha and Erzya national liberation movements against the background of Russia's war against Ukraine


The Face of "Erzya Separatism" from the United States Vitaliy Romashkin

Publications in the official newspaper of the Republic of Mordovia, Stolitsa S (Stolitsa S refers to Saransk, the capital of the Republic of Mordovia), show that the Russian Federation is concerned about the growing activity and popularization of the Erzya and Moksha movements. In particular, this is demonstrated by a large article: "Vladimir Romashkin was a true patriot, he loved his native land and respected his countrymen". As a popular band, Torama was at the forefront of the ideological front." Analysis of this publication leads to the conclusion that the Russian authorities in Mordovia currently see the Erzya and Moksha movements as a direct threat to themselves, as they may curtail Russian propaganda efforts to mobilize the population of Mordovia, in particular the Erzya and Moksha, for the war against Ukraine. In particular, the Russian authorities are concerned about active criticism of the state folklore ensemble "Torama" by Inyazor of Erzya Bolyanyan Siresy (Oleksandr Bolkin - citizen of Ukraine, Erzya, participant of the Russian-Ukrainian war, He was a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the UN as Inyazor Erzyan, accusing Russia of assimilating Erzya) and Vitaliy, son of the late director of the ensemble Vladimir Romashkin (an activist of the Erzya movement, critical of Russia, lives in the United States), for performing in the occupied territories of Ukraine and in hospitals in front of soldiers of the invading Russian army. It is also evident from the publication that Russians are concerned about the possible influence of Erzyan and Mokshan nationalities on the residents of Mordovia through telegram channels, which the article tries to discredit. Similarly, the idea of independence of Mordovia, creation of national state projects of Erzya and Moksha states, and the confederation of peoples of the Volga region Idel-Ural are discredited. Similarly, the participation of Moksha figures in the unification projects of national liberation movements, in particular the Alliance of Free Peoples, which advocates the dismantling of Russia and the creation of national states on its territory, is presented only as negative. It is expectedly negative for the Russian Federation to bring the problems of the peoples of the Russian Federation to international platforms (speeches by Inyazor Sires at the UN). The idea of coexistence with Russia and the need to support the so-called "CIU" is seen as allegedly non-alternative. Outright disrespect and lies are used. For example, it is stated that allegedly Erzyan movement opposes Mokshan movement and creators of future Erzyan state Erzyan Mastor have plans to deport Mokshan from their territory. The phrase from the editorial board of the SS newspaper in the article is quite revealing: "The special military operation has shown who is an enemy and who is a friend, who is an ally and who is a 'bad person'. The front line passed through people's hearts. And now you can't hide behind all the "I'm out of politics", "no war", "peace be with you" and other husks that are thickly packed on social media. Real, whole, sincere and faithful people are now worried about the Mordovian soldiers who are on the front line. And it is a great honor for them to be at least mentally close to Zema, Phase, Medvezhonok, and Walter 13. That is, the intention to fully mobilize the population of the Russian Federation for the war against Ukraine is obvious.


3. North Caucasus - Chechnya. Regarding the involvement of "Kadyrov's men" in the war against Ukraine and possible mass mobilization of Chechens.


Whether Kadyrov will have to shoot himself under the threat of mass riots

Kadyrov is the only leader of a national region of Russia with its own armed forces under his control. At the same time, during the war against Ukraine, the haze of romanticism around Kadyrov's men has dissipated, including their allegedly high combat capability and bravery. During the "Pryzhynsk crisis," Kadyrov claimed that Chechen structures would take over after the Wagner PMC's withdrawal. This did not happen as expected. However, throughout the war, it was noticeable that, in addition to the ambiguous combat capability of Kadyrov's forces (units and soldiers of different levels, unwillingness to take risks), it is obvious that the Chechen dictator himself is somewhat limited in his ability to send his troops on high-risk operations. This is primarily due to the unwillingness to lose his fighters, who give him weight and authority at the level of the whole of Russia and a cushion for the future in case of possible turbulence and power struggles in Russia. In addition, oddly enough, despite his complete power over the population of Chechnya, Kadyrov has to take into account the fact that the deaths of a large number of Chechens will cause discontent in the republic. Given the close family ties in Chechnya, unrest can spread quickly, and even a pacified republic can turn into a trap for the dictator himself in an instant. Meanwhile, the course of the war itself is forcing the Kremlin to find reserves to mobilize into the army. The lack of replenishment, nervousness of the authorities and the crisis of governance mean that Chechnya may cease to be a privileged region and be subject to mass mobilization. This is what is being said in the Czech Republic, and this information is being disseminated by opposition bloggers and is resonating. In particular, they say that mass mobilization may take place in the fall. Currently, most of the conscripts are serving in Chechnya, and this will not happen again. As a result, the situation in the Czech Republic may change dramatically, and hidden discontent may become open.

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