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Russia Won’t Model US Federalism

Russia won’t model
Trenin 2006 (Dmitri Foreign Affairs July/August “Russia Leaves the West” Lexis)

As President Vladimir Putin prepares to host the summit of the G-8 (the group of eight highly industrialized nations) in St. Petersburg in July, it is hardly a secret that relations between Russia and the West have begun to fray. After more than a decade of talk about Russia's "integration" into the West and a "strategic partnership" between Moscow and Washington, U.S. and European officials are now publicly voicing their concern over Russia's domestic political situation and its relations with the former Soviet republics. In a May 4 speech in Lithuania, for example, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accused the Kremlin of "unfairly restricting citizens' rights" and using its energy resources as "tools of intimidation and blackmail." Even as these critics express their dismay, they continue to assume that if they speak loudly and insistently, Russia will heed them and change its ways. Unfortunately, they are looking for change in the wrong place. It is true, as they charge, that Putin has recently clamped down on dissent throughout Russia and cracked down on separatists in Chechnya, but more important changes have come in Russia's foreign policy. Until recently, Russia saw itself as Pluto in the Western solar system, very far from the center but still fundamentally a part of it. Now it has left that orbit entirely: Russia's leaders have given up on becoming part of the West and have started creating their own Moscow-centered system.

Russia has silenced supporters of federalism
Stephen J. Blank, 2002 Professor of National Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College, WASHINGTON QUARTERLY, Winter, 2002, p. Lexis
The situation in Chechnya has led Moscow systematically to repress supporters of federalism; local governors; opponents of the war; politically minded entrepreneurs, business owners, and oligarchs; the television and newspaper media; foreign and Russian scholars; foreign students; environmentalists; nongovernmental organizations; and non-Orthodox religions.

Russian Federalism Good: Civil War

1) Russian federalism is key to prevent Russian civil war.

Yuri Krasan, Director of Social Programmes, the Foundation for Social and Economic Reform, 1994, Federalism and the New World Order, p. 67

Even the idea that regional separatism will save Russia has recently been expressed. It has been suggested that, given the likelihood of a collapse of federal structures, it would be possible to preserve a sound social element only at the regional level, which could become the foundation for a renewal of Russia itself. Whatever the positive motives may be in support of regionalization, such an approach undermines the foundation of Russian federalism—the very basis of Russian statehood. Its implementation would turn Russia into a con-glomerate of peculiar independent principalities without any guarantees that they would again merge into a single federative organism rather than drifting even further apart, joining different geopolitical centres. Within the current confrontational political environment in Russia, without an agreement on a federal structure, Russian territory will become an arena of hostility and struggle, sterile soil for the development of modern democracy. Given Rus­sia’s nuclear military capability, this instability has serious implications for the global community. The shaping of a stable Russian Federation is, thus, a cornerstone for the success of democratization in post-totalitarian Russian society and for Rus­sia’s transformation into a responsible and influential member of the world community. At the same time, the development of the Russian Federation is unthinkable outside the context of society’s democratic reformation. Stability is only possible through improvements in the democratic process and insti­tutions, including a reform of the federal system that provides for an ef­fective distribution of powers between the centre and the rest of the fed­eration.

2) and, Russian civil war leads to nuclear war with the US

Steven R. David, Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University, Foreign Affairs Jan 1999

Should Russia succumb to internal war, the consequences for the United States and Europe will be severe. A major power like Russia -- even though in decline -- does not suffer civil war quietly or alone. An embattled Russian Federation might provoke opportunistic attacks from enemies such as China. Massive flows of refugees would pour into central and western Europe. Armed struggles in Russia could easily spill into its neighbors. Damage from the fighting, particularly attacks on nuclear plants, would poison the environment of much of Europe and Asia. Within Russia, the consequences would be even worse. Just as the sheer brutality of the last Russian civil war laid the basis for the privations of Soviet communism, a second civil war might produce another horrific regime. Most alarming is the real possibility that the violent disintegration of Russia could lead to loss of control over its nuclear arsenal. No nuclear state has ever fallen victim to civil war, but even without a clear precedent the grim consequences can be foreseen. Russia retains some 20,000 nuclear weapons and the raw material for tens of thousands more, in scores of sites scattered throughout the country. So far, the government has managed to prevent the loss of any weapons or much material. If war erupts, however, Moscow's already weak grip on nuclear sites will slacken, making weapons and supplies available to a wide range of anti-American groups and states. Such dispersal of nuclear weapons represents the greatest physical threat America now faces. And it is hard to think of anything that would increase this threat more than the chaos that would follow a Russian civil war.

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