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You're reading: Is Siberia becoming Russia’s Catalonia?

For a long time, Denis Terentyev says, most political analysts viewed Siberian separatists as “a marginal movement,” one “whose goal is a prior unattainable, and thus quite unlike “the more or less serious” movements in the Caucasus, Tatarstan, and Urals Republic” because “Siberian separate from Russia could not exist”.

Siberian separatism received a great deal of attention ten to fifteen years ago, Terentyev notes, even though “the movement of independence in Siberia did not arise then” and has not disappeared so. Instead, in recent years, “unique actions of civil disobedience have seized the entire region,” with it becoming the done thing to identify as a Sibirian in the census.

Terentyev suggests that these people are in fact Russians and have identified as such in the past, but he notes that “Irkutsk journalists say that the number of ‘separatists’ is really about 80 to 90 percent” of the population and that now “in local business the first question addressed to a potential partner is whether he is a Siberian or a Muscovite.”

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