When is Putin’s secession-referendum for Chechnya, Dagestan and Karelia?

Vladimir Putin’s concern for the will of the people brings a tear to the eye and a glow to the heart.

The Kremlin cares, gosh darn it, and if you want to secede, then Russia is going to make it happen.

And they’ll start with a referendum, just as the Russians have done in the Ukrainian region of Crimea where a whopping 96% of those voting, voted to leave! The Russians were so insistent on Crimea’s right to be “liberated,” that they only gave the Crimeans two choices on the ballot: secede; or secede and join Russia.  (Seriously.)

In view of Russia’s George-Washington-like zeal for freedom and independence, I’m looking forward to the upcoming referenda in Russian Chechnya, Dagestan and Karelia.


Old wooden churches on island Kizhi on Onega (Onezhskoye) lake in region Karelia on North of Russia, UNESCO World Heritage site (Shutterstock)

Old wooden churches on the island of Kizhi in Kurelia, Russia — a UNESCO World Heritage site (Shutterstock)

A funny thing happened a few years ago when a man in Russian (occupied) Karelia, along the Finnish border, sent some emails and posted some flyers around town advocating a referendum for Karelian independence.

He was arrested and charged with “extremism.”

The unnamed man’s specific crimes included “putting leaflets into mailboxes in the Karelian town of Sortavala and e-mail[ing] his appeal to Russian and foreign media outlets and nongovernmental organizations.”

He didn’t invade.  He didn’t bring his little tank into town, put on a mask and take over the local hotel.  He simply handed out some leaflets and sent a few emails.

And that got him arrested and charged with extremism.



"HOW would you react to the possible secession of Chechnya from RUSSIA?" Poll of Russian citizens by Levada, June 2013

“How would you react to the possible secession of Chechnya from RUSSIA?” Poll of Russian citizens by Levada, June 2013

Chechnya has been yearning to breathe free from Russia for 155 years.

Russia acquired the region in 1859, but then Chechnya broke free immediately following the Russian Revolution of 1917, only to find its reacquired again in 1922.

Then, after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Chechnya declared independence.  That didn’t go over too well with Moscow.

Interestingly, only 23% of Russians in a poll last year seemed to give a darn about Chechnya seceding from Russia at all.  And only 10% would want the Kremlin to actually do anything about it were Chechnya to leave the glorious union.

Sounds ripe for a referendum, nyet-pas?


The Russian region of Dagestan declared independence in the late 1990s. It didn’t go so well either. Putin responded swiftly and put the revolution down.

Interestingly, Chechnya and Dagestan are both pretty near Crimea (see map below).

Look, we all know Putin is full of it.  He claims to be invading Ukraine in order to stop “the nazis,” even though he’s more than happy to tolerate Nazis at home.  And no one is surprised that the Russians fixed the election in Crimea, North-Korea-style, ensuring it won a victory in the upper 90s (only someone who has no concept of democracy and freedom would think a plausible election result is in the 90th percentile range).  Still, it’s important to call them out on their lies.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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