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Fourth World Eye Blog

Russia’s “Recollapse” – Chechnya’s Independence: The lesson of Somalia

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The Russian Federation is broken. It is unable to function as a state according to the ordinary terms that define an internationally recognized state. Like Burma (Myanmar), Haiti, Colombia, Congo, Honduras, Indonesia, Bangladesh, North Korea, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Burundi, the Sudan and Somalia the Russian Federation is incapable of fulfilling the fundamental requirements of a state. The key issue is whether the Russian Federation can exercise sovereignty over all the territory it claims and whether central authority extends universal legal systems to claimed boundaries. Russia can claim neither.

The Russian Federation is a broken state and should be systematically dismantled into pieces more governable, economical and manageable. Any state that is broken, no longer capable of functioning as a legitimate political entity, it should be declared bankrupt and placed in international receivership. All relevant cultural and political interests should be brought into negotiations to organize and function as smaller political entities. Where states cannot be formed, internationally recognized nations should be recognized. Independent indigenous nations like those in the declared Republic of Somaliland can often function stably and peacefully in a way many states fail to function. Chechyna should be recognized by the international community as an independent political community. The Russian Federation should be declared by the international community a bankrupt state. A smaller Russia with responsible economic relations with its neighbors in the Ukraine to the west, Komi to the east and the small nations of the Caucuses to the south would serve its people better and it would not threaten instability in the region in the way it now does. The Somaliland example should inform international policy toward all broken states. There will be fewer wars, fewer refugees, fewer dead and more peace.

Crazed with anger at its own impotence after years of German and United States economic aid, and growing, uncontrolled corruption throughout its government in Moscow Russia turns to its terrorist heritage to strike the Chechen people. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took the helm of the Russian sinking ship and decided in early September to turn loose a frustrated, unpaid and often demoralized military to attack one of the smallest republics in Eurasia. In a desperate attempt to distract the Russian people from their economic and social woes Putin launched a war on the pretext of "fighting terrorism." In an effort to attempt a reversal of the humiliation Russia suffered after the recently ended Chechen war of independence Putin seeks to reoccupy the Republic of Chechyna. Symbolically showing a threatening grimace to indirectly threaten other non-Russian peoples in the Federation to prevent others from breaking away from the Russian Federation Putin notifies other non-Russians that they too would fall under the weight of the Russian cannon. Finally, and for Russia's economic interest, Putin has invaded Chechyna again to lay claim to economically important Chechen ruled territory over which oil pipelines could be laid to feed the money bandits in Moscow.

When the main constituents of a government no-longer support its policies nor its leaders conventional wisdom calls for a war. Confirming its slide into political, economic and moral poverty, Russia turned rockets and cannons on the war weary and weakened Chechen people killing thousands, but not receiving serious opposition from the Chechen military-who seem to be laying in wait for a counter attack. Russia is on the verge of recollapse, only this time Russians have the most to loose. The core territory where most Russians live-mainly around Moscow, St. Petersburg and in land areas in an arc running south of Moscow and a little to the east-has little to sustain the Russian population economically. Russia needs to control non-Russian populations because virtually all of the natural wealth in the Russian Federation is in non-Russian territories, like the Republic of Chechyna. Most of the money from the International Monetary Fund has been frittered away or stolen through graft and little or no infrastructure has been rebuilt in the Federation. The Russian people know about government incompetence. They have watched it and allowed it for generations as long as the corruption benefited most of the people. Now, the world sees what was hidden by formerly secretive dictators. Now, very few of the Russians actually benefit from the corruption thanks to rampant bandit capitalism. The collapse of the Russian Federation is already well underway.

The non-Russian populations of the Russian Federation have more to gain by being loosely associated with Moscow or going their way as independent republics. In the face of a bankrupt economy, corrupt government officials, a ham-fisted bureaucracy and a continuing and unending winter of discontent, Russia viciously attacks a small republic and the public press draws attention to the only thing that seems to put a good face on events: public opinion polls. Citing unidentified opinion polls the press reports that Russians are pleased with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's leadership. We are now led to believe that somehow all the problems befalling the Russian people have been swept away. Just as it was an illusion that Russia was being transformed into an open society by Michael Gorbechev's glasnost before 1991, the propaganda coming from the public press and the Russian government are no less an illusion.

The United States of America and European governments and their policies toward broken states like the Russian Federation carry a great deal of responsibility for failing to develop a practical policy to deal with bankrupt, corrupted and bandit states. In virtually every state where the European and United States governments intervened, they have contributed to further breakdown. Applying a combination of military, money and morality Washington, D.C. and Brussels (where the European Parliament operates) strengthened the corrupt and enriched the bandits while undermining the forces of cultural stability.

Evidence of this failure is slowly being revealed in the 1993 intervention in Somalia. United States and UN intervention introduced enormous instability, food stuffs available for a black market, weapons to strengthen bandits and money to enrich the corrupt in and around Magadishu-southern Somalia. After 24 UN peace keepers were killed and 18 members of the United States military were killed, both quickly pulled out. These elements contributed to the further breakup of the collapsed state and the establishment of warring gangs. Six years after the intervention, the warring gangs remain engaged in a condition of violence and instability. Where no such intervention took place in the far North of Somalia, the various indigenous nations quickly stabilized their part of the former state of Somalia and established the rule of law and a functioning economy.

Claiming the capacity to function as a state and demonstrating the ability to order their affairs the indigenous nations of the north declared their independence as the Republic of Somaliland. Despite its achievements in six years since the collapse of Somalia, the Republic of Somaliland is not being recognized by neighboring states and not by the United States and European states. The leaders of Africa's states and the leaders of the United States and Europe are frightened by the prospect that an independent Somaliland might mean other states in Africa will break up. They ask: "What might happen to Nigeria, whose vast territory is riven by ethnic and religious differences? Or to Congo, Sudan and Angola, where competing factions and countries have exploited civil wars to carve fiefs that are essentially self-contained states?

The fear that broken states will break up along indigenous nation lines freezes leaders in their tracks. They can watch Russia commit murder against the small nation of Chechyna, they can watch while the Indonesian authorities in Jakarta kill hundreds of thousands of East Timorese, Mollucans, West Papuans and Sumatrans for the sake of keeping a broken state together and they can use force themselves to try to rebuild a broken state. In virtually each instance the policy has failed. There are more broken states now than twenty years ago.

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