The other Russia: Siberia as a model

A map of Siberia
Siberia has managed to maintain a certain independence from Moscow, allowing it to develop a distinct political culture (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • Siberia is the true ‘core’ of Russia
  • Throughout history, it maintained some independence from the central authorities
  • Siberia’s version of democracy would be based on freedom as a core value
  • This could serve as a model for Russia’s future political development

Siberia is frequently regarded either as Russia’s curse or its blessing. Both claims have a certain validity (interestingly, the facts behind each interpretation are virtually the same). Like almost any two contrary judgments, however, this dichotomy is false. The real meaning of Siberia for Russia and its global partners lies elsewhere.

The discussion does not even have defined geographical limits, apart from Russia’s southern border. When moving from west to east, Siberia begins soon after the Urals and peters out somewhere beyond Lake Baikal (Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg are not yet Siberia; Yakutia and the whole Far East are no longer Siberia). To the north, close to the Arctic Circle and beyond, somewhere between the taiga and tundra, Siberia almost imperceptibly fades into something else, an almost extraterrestrial terrain.

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