Last week, on June 23, a United States government agency under the name Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, held a Congressional briefing titled “Decolonizing Russia”. Democrat representative from Tennessee (D-TN) Steve Cohen opened up the presentation, during which he claimed that the Russians “have in essence colonized their own country,” arguing that Russia is “not a strict nation, in the sense that we’ve known in the past.” Casey Michel, who authored an opinion piece in The Atlantic last month, titled “Decolonize Russia”, was also present at the meeting. His op-ed seems to have been the impetus for the highly controversial briefing. According to Michel, “decolonizing Russia” is not solely about “partitioning” and “dismembering” the Russian Federation, but about an “authentic commitment to anti-imperialism.”
The panel discussion participants urged the US to give more support (clearly implying actual support currently exists already) to separatist movements inside Russia and in the diaspora, and specifically mentioned Chechnya, Tatarstan, Dagestan, and Circassia as the possible candidates for “decolonization”. Siberia was discussed separately and, according to the Commission, it is to be divided into several republics. During the (First) Cold War, the US, a premier imperialist power, sponsored numerous separatist groups inside the USSR. Thus, this is most certainly not the first time prominent figures in the political West have adopted a hard line towards the Russian Federation, seeking ways to dismantle the Eurasian giant, just as the political West did the same to Yugoslavia over 30 years ago.
What is significantly different nowadays is the blatantly open and public call to do so. Apart from being highly controversial and dangerous, as Russia isn’t yet another helpless country the political West can destroy and kill millions of its inhabitants with impunity, but a military superpower which can easily turn its rivals into a radioactive wasteland in minutes, to suggest Russia should be “decolonized” is exceptionally hypocritical, especially coming from the pillar of (neo)colonialism, the US itself. Since its unfortunate inception, the belligerent imperialist thalassocracy invaded and dismantled numerous countries, reducing them to rubble and turning them into almost perpetually failed states.