Friday, April 25, 2014

Sakha Republic : Final Analysis

            Sakha Republic plays an important role in the economic life of the Russian Federation.Sakha Republic was one of the ethnic republics which challenged the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation at the initial years of Soviet disintegration.I found that the leaders of the central government were able to overcome the threat raised by the ethnic republics.The case study of Sakha Republic will help us to understand about the development of center-periphery relations in the Russian Federation. Sakha Republic is the biggest sub national entity of the world.But Sakha Republic's population is very low in relation with its size.The harsh climate and relative negligence from the center make life in Sakha Republic difficult.Fragile ecology and lack of transportation facilities further exacerbates the problems of Sakha. But in any case Sakha Republic enjoys better economic freedom than under the Soviet Union.However, Sakha Republic is forced to compromise with its political aspirations.

            Ancestors of the Sakha people were supposed to arrive from the south.Those Turkic speakers led a pastoral life based on horse.Later this group predominantly settled in center and northern part of the present day Sakha Republic.The real inhabitants of the territory, 'the small people of north' ; Even,Evenki,Chukchi and Yukagir were reindeer herders.Russians and other Slavic speakers arrived only in the 17th century.But large scale Russian immigration happened only under the Soviets when southern part of the Sakha Republic went through a large scale industrialization. Soviet period also witnessed the urbanization and modernization of the Sakha people.But majority of the Sakha people remained in rural areas and depended on agriculture and animal husbandry.The newly arrived Slavs (most of them were workers) settled primarily in the industrial towns (ex.Mirni). However, Sakha people controlled the political life of the republic.We can see that it is as part of the Communist policy of korenizatsiia (nativization).Sakha people also had significant representation in the white collar jobs.But this peaceful co-existence started to decline under Mikhael Gorbachev. Gorbachev period witnessed the first major Sakha-Russian fight in Yakutsk in 1986.This inter-ethnic tension continued for a while and even challenged the territorial integrity of the new state, Russian Federation.

             What are the reasons behind these sudden eruption of ethnic conflicts in the comparatively peaceful Sakha Republic.Giuliano analyses this issue in a quite detailed manner.There is general perception that the political entities which are economically rich may challenge the central government. But Giuliano find that this theory is not fully right in the case of Russian Federation.According to him the disappearance of nomenklatura forced local politicians to become more responsible towards their republic and not towards Moscow.The same period also went through tough financial crisis all over the Russian Federation. Sakha's subsidy from the center cut down drastically and the prestigious white collar jobs became a venue for competition between Shaka and Slavs.Politicians played their ethnic card pretty well and through that they got legitimacy from the ordinary Sakha people.Sakha Republic adopted its own constitution in 1992 just one year before the federal government.Sakha Republic also accepted Boris Yeltsin as Russian President . But Yakutsk maintained its control over the major natural resource of the region . However Vladimir Putin's rise into the power witnessed the reversal of these policies.As an advocate of strong center, Putin pursued ethnic republics to follow federal constitution.So under Putin, Sakha parliament was forced to remove the term 'sovereignty' from its constitution.

                  Sakha Republic tries to play a major role in the politics of Arctic region. From economic point of view, Sakha's future lies with the East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia than Russia proper or Europe.East Asian countries could have investment in Sakha Republic. From cultural point of view, Turkey was really interested in pushing its relationship with the Sakha Republic. For example Sakha delegates attended various Turkic Congresses which took place in Almaty, Baku and Kazan.The first President of the Sakha Republic, Mikhel Nikolayev was able to protect the economic interests of his republic and at the same time Nikolayev slowly and steadily destroyed the major nationalistic parties of the Sakha Republic.The republic also witnessed Slavic migration after the Soviet disintegration but not as big as in other republics.To an extent Nikolayev was able to gain the confidence of the Slavic population. Vyacheslav Styrov, the successor of Nikolayev further continued this legacy.Under Styrov Sakha Republic neglected the issue of political sovereignty in favor of economic sovereignty.

                   In conclude, Sakha Republic has the potential to play a major role in the various aspects of Russian Federation.It is extremely rich in the terms of natural resources.But lack of proper infrastructure and hostile climate makes the chances of Sakha in question.Russian government still consider it as a colony for the precious raw materials.I think the opening of the Northern Sea Route may change the destiny of the Sakha Republic.At the same time both federal and provincial governments also seriously concern about issues such as environmental pollution and the rights of the indigenous communities.I feel Sakha separation is a closed chapter but it may open again if some uncertainties similar to Soviet disintegration occur in the center.

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